Saving money often takes a little time. This Saturday, we spent time doing some things at home that will save us big money later in the week.
First, we spent about 3 hours this morning cleaning and detailing our vans, in addition to my Mother’s car. This was a family project because we all get to enjoy the benefit of a clean better smelling car to ride in. My mother paid the kids for helping with hers so it was definitely a winning situation. I am basing my prices from my local full service car wash. A comparable package is $37 plus tax. I am subtracting $7 that we will spend at a car wash for the exterior wash, total saving of $30 a car times two cars is $60.
Next, our trip to Michigan is coming up very quickly so I did some extra cooking today. The items I cooked will each reduce our need to purchase meals by 2 meals so that is a total saving of $100. Matt has a list of other items that we will be bringing with us that will make this trip even more affordable. I plan to post detail descriptions in addition to total spending and savings once we return.
Matt is working at the coliseum this evening so the kids and I decided to go to a local church which was sponsoring a community day. The kids had lots of fun in the bounce houses and even a horse back ride. They provided a meal of hot dogs and hamburgers. The kids enjoyed 2 snow cones each for desert! Total savings $40.
Savings for today =$200!
I should actually title this post making money on Saturday but let me tell you the story to back up the facts first. This week, Lily made a sweet potato pie and used up the rest of our nutmeg. We also are running low on hand soap for the bathrooms. My original plan was to place an order through Target and use a gift card that I had from MPlaces. Target has changed their rules so that I was not able to get nutmeg shipped to me without a $25 purchase. We also needed some vegetables for a salad. So I decided to head to Walmart. I had $20 in giftcards from Cricket for there. First I checked Southern savers to see if there were any really good deals at Walmart, yes indeed there were. I ended up finding a lot of good deals including free cereal. I checked the list of deals for Walmart and printed out the list that matched coupons I had. I ended up with 10 coupons to use. I also checked IBOTTA for the deals that she had listed on the site.
At the store, I did not fine one of item on my list and a second items was $1 more than expected so I did not purchase it as well. I also grabbed nutmeg, without a coupon in addition to a watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumbers and carrots. My total started at $46.36 before coupons and dropped to $38.61 after coupons. While in the store, Lily and Kendall enjoyed doing Shopkicks. I was able to cash out for an additional $5 gift card on Shopkicks in the store. I used $25 in gift cards, this brought my cash total down to $14.74. I came home and scanned my receipt in IBOTTA where I received back $8.50 in rebates in addition to $5 for a special promotion by cashing in one receipt this month. I don’t often use IBOTTA because I only purchase items we need and rarely find things on their list. In fact the last time I scanned a receipt was January of this year. You are only allowed to cash out IBOTTA for amount greater than $20. I had $11 sitting in the account starting last August so with my additional money today, I moved $24.50 to paypal. As soon as the money arrived in paypal, I transferred to my bank account. This entire process from start to finish took less than 10 minutes.
Final math: $24.50(rebate) – $14.76(cash)= $9.74 profit in addition to the $45 worth of groceries!
Sometime saving is not a choice but a matter of necessity. Late Thursday night, it was discovered that we had a major water leak. Matt spent most of the day Friday, figure out where the leak was and how to fix it. The leak was in the supply line that runs from the water meter under the foundation and addition to our main water line. The water was actually running under our foundation. This was not something that could wait. After much research and discussion the only option was to replace the main water line. A professional would charge someone about $100 for this. This option was not even possible on our current budget. We started working around 6pm Friday. Haley helped by venturing under the 18 inch crawl space under the addition (30 feet) and pulled the water line from a foundation vent in a the front back to the main connection. We decided to insulate and use a second pipe for protection at the foundation vent.
Next we all started digging.
And digging……..and digging……and digging……and digging. Several hours Friday night and again for several hours on Saturday morning.
Next we laid down the new pipe
Finally we moved all the dirt back into the hole and planted grass seed.
The materials ended up costing around $150 including the 50lbs of grass seed that we will save and use in the fall.
Total savings over $800 not by choice but by necessity.
As we continue with our busy lives and race into the Summer, meal planning becomes even more important for us. We enjoy spending time at the pool. In fact we spent close to 18 hours at the pool just this 3 day weekend. If we are not diligent about making and sticking to a menu plan, we often end up ordering pizza, picking up fast food or Chinese on the way home. Today was our anniversary, so as a treat we had planned to order pizza, we spent $33 for pizza for our dinner. Even at once a week, that adds an extra $120 a month to our budget, over the course of the summer that is half the cost of the condo we rent at Myrtle Beach, so 4 days at the beach vs. pizza once a week. We have built in a little bit more flexibility this summer as we are beginning to start some harvesting from our garden. I want to use and maximize as much of this food as possible.
Breakfast– Saturday-Pancakes. Matt ended up making a super double patch, which means they will be a choice for breakfast over the next couple of weeks. Sunday- Gray biscuits. (I made extra gravy, to use as dinner or as a choice as well.) Monday-Banana/chocolate chip muffins. Tuesday- Choices Wednesday- French toast in crockpot . Thursday- choices . Friday- Choices. Choices include : fried bologna, eggs, grits, left-overs , toast or cereal.
Lunch- Zach and Kendall have sandwiches, grab and go, and salads. I have a salad packed for Tuesday, chicken salad wrap for Wednesday and leftovers for Friday.
Dinner- Saturday-Lunch- Hot Dog with chili and slaw Dinner- -Pasta salad with chicken
Sunday- Lunch- Roast and sauté squash. Dinner- Leftovers (Zach-hot dog with cheese grits, Kendall-broccoli cheese soup, Lily pancake, Matt- sausage ball, and me egg over grits and gravy.)
Monday- Pizza to celebrate our anniversary
Wednesday- Pork chops with squash and/or carrots
Thursday- ?? Beef and broccoli
Friday- Grilled chicken salad.
After starting this post I realized that I have not posted this since mid March. Opps. So I thought I would give a food update as well. We have used approximately 1/2 of our whole cow. One of the biggest problems right now is not eating beef 5x a week. We are actually starting to run out of vegetables which works out well. I did purchase and freeze 2 gallons of strawberries earlier this month in addition to make jam. We have to finish up out sweet potatoes from last year before September. A final food challenge of the month is our planned trip to Michigan at the end of the month. I need to sit down and make a plan, at least for our travel days, we have already been gathering gift cards that will make it much easier and decrease the overall expense.
Today was a really exciting day for me… we harvest our first items from our garden, broccoli!
They don’t look very large but they make excellent Mickey ears and we harvest two of our four plants. Just two gave us enough for 2 meals.
I stockpile for a couple of different reasons, first is savings, second is convenience and third is nutritional. Today, we used up our loaf of sour dough bread that I made on Thursday so I decided to make another batch. I have been putting dates on the items I buy in bulk to determine if I really am saving money. I used the last 6 cups of bread flour that was purchased in March 2016. The savings is broken down this way, $15 for a 25 pound bag which lasted fourteen months. That is $1 a month for not only bread but also pizza dough. Even if the cost of the other ingredients is $1 a week, I am still saving at least $5 a month on bread by making our own.
Today was also the day that we chose to go strawberry picking this year. The kids LOVE this and it actually saves us $3 a gallon to pick our own. We have enjoyed lots and lots of strawberries today in addition to make strawberry jam that will be enjoyed for the next year. We also have frozen a gallon for use in smoothies.
We have been very fortunate this week to find and be given some great items. Since I have not done a post with bullet points in a long time this is a fun way to be random.
- Food Lion had a sale on “Suddenly Salad” $1 each. We discovered last year that we could add chicken, cucumbers and or tomatoes to make a great lunch or pepperoni and tomatoes for a very different but just as good lunch. I grabbed 10 with plans to use weekly this summer.
- Purchased tomato plants from a local nursery for 50 cent a plant.
- Found a couple of blueberry bushes on clearance at Walmart for $3 and onion starters for $2. We planted the blueberries and placed the onions under our house in storage for next spring.
- Use a $2 off coupon to purchase “Got2b ” hair spiking glue for $0.87 cent. I went to a CVS in High Point and the cashier tried to make me feel bad for using coupons. Didn’t work but seriously just scan coupons I promise they will work. We also grabbed Easter Twizzlers for $1.50 a bag.
- Used gift cards earned from Swagbucks to purchase drinks for everyone at Starbucks.
- Matt has been enjoying his birthday freebies including a drink from Dunkin Donuts
- I used office depot rewards to purchase a pack of AAA batteries and a notebook. Spent zero out of pocket and earned another $14 in rewards to spend later.
- We have been given several bags of clothes recently so the only purchase has been swim suits for swim team.
What are your good finds?
The weather in North Carolina is just about as random as my thoughts and updates. Yesterday, it was 83 degrees and sunny, today 52 degree with rain and wind.
- We are currently working on fourth week with no heat or air. I am doubtful that we will make it a full six weeks because of the forecasted temperatures for the end of the week.
- Our electric and water bill for the month of April are both significantly lower than budget. Our water bill is most likely due to fixing the leak that has been present in the front yard for six month or so. We are also utilizing our rain barrels for planting.The electric bill is from lack of heat or air and diligence in turning off things.
- The weather has been helpful in some ways. Because it has been so warm, I was able to begin planting a full 3 weeks soon than I expected this year. I have been very cautious but our last possible frost date is April 30th. I currently have planted 14 cucumbers, 5 yellow squash, 15 sweet peppers, 2 banana peppers, 2 jalapeno peppers, 4 broccoli, 2 cabbage. I also have planted 5 asparagus plants for the future. My oregano, mint and rosemary all survived the winter. The plant is to finish planting the square foot garden this coming weekend.
- I seriously did not think our schedule could get more full, but we were unable to attend piano last week because we did not have an hour of spare time.
- I am spending part of the day cooking ahead for the week. I am scheduled to attend a continuing education class on Friday. The following week, I am working only 2 days as Kendall has field day on Monday and Zach has one of Tuesday.
- Summer plans are starting to come together. Currently, we are planning a trip to Michigan in June and a trip to the beach in August. Swim team and lots of pool time will also be on the schedule.
- We are planning a yard sale in mid May. The kids are actually sorting through toys and clothes today to add to the sell pile.
- Lily has decided to continue in charter school for the next year! We all agree that this is the right decision!