Our Savings Today- 10/21/2017

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In preparation for our trip, we have been taking inventory and making a list of needed items. The goal is that once we start packing, I don’t have to run out in a panic to grab items. A unique challenge is that this trip is actually longer than our normal ones by 3 days. I also have absolute no plans for doing laundry on vacation.  The girls , Kendall and I spent most of the day in Winston- Salem shopping but we manage to maintain some decent savings as well.

But first, I am going to start with Matt’s savings, one of the blogs I regular follow Couponing to Disney, posted yesterday about combining Dollar General digital coupons and Ibotta. Matt was able to purchase 8 20 oz drinks for $10.17 in the store. He came home and submitted the items to Ibotta and with a $5 bonus received back $8 in rebates.  This puts his total out of pocket to $2.17 for 8 drinks or 27 cent each. Total Savings $9.50

The girls and I stopped for lunch between piano and shopping. I used my McDonald’s app to grab 10 chicken nuggets for $2. Because we always carry drinks, our total was $7.91 to feed all three of us. For the sake of fairness I am only count the saving from the app in my grand total.  App savings $1.98

Last week, I received a “rebate/coupon” from a “settlement ” with the Justice company for $30.  I vaguely remember filling out a form online. Lily was able to find 2 bras she liked for a total out of pocket of $1.92 cent. Total Savings 30.00

Our next stop was JC Penny. I will admit to splurging on several items that were not on my “need” list but I am so glad I did. We ended up purchasing 4 bras, 2 dresses (that matched) and a pink pair of converses for Kendall. I saw the person in front of me use a coupon and asked. The sales associate had a coupon for 15% off. I was also able to use a $10 reward coupon that was sent with my new credit card. Total Savings $42.11

During the inventory I realized that I was in need of some items as well. I headed to Lane Bryant where I asked to ring up 2 separate purchases to use a coupon that was sent via text twice.  Total Savings $93.

Kendall requested to go to Walmart to check out the Christmas Ornaments, she has a $25 gift card from her birthday to use for this purpose. I did purchase 5 2-liter Diet Coke.  Total Savings $2.50

Grand total for saving today $179.   Not bad for a Saturday in my book!

Saving on Sunday- 10/15/2017

We are approximately six weeks from our Disney vacation. As you can guess, I am in fully saving mood.  Here are the ways that I have been saving money and or time this weekend.

  • Coupons- I found and printed rare coupons for sodas this weekend, saving a total of $1.50 on the sale price which was a .75 cent savings from the regular price.  I also found coupons for $1 kids meals at Olive Garden. We were able to save $15 dollars just on Amanda’s birthday meal by using these.
  • Apps- I don’t always talk about this but free money is saving money in my book. On Saturday, we headed to Walmart, I was able to earn a $2 gift card while in the store and used it to reduce our total expense.  This month alone with money made from different apps we have purchased 5 T-shirts and 3 Christmas presents. Total saved $60
  • Planning ahead- yes we have another busy week scheduled. In order to save time and money, by not eating out, we plan ahead. I am taking sandwiches to church tonight for Kendall and Zach to eat instead of a quick trip to McDonalds. I have to be at work at least 2 mornings by 8am so I have muffins made in addition to green peppers and onions chopped for eggs to make things quick and simple. I will not be home to eat dinner on Monday night so Matt is bring chicken nuggets to the ball game for Lily and I to eat. I estimate each meal to be $10 so that is $40 saved right there.
  • Waste not/Want Not- It is a deliberate effort for us to use things and not be wasteful. This weekend we were gifted 5 pounds of potatoes and 3 pounds of ground beef.  I honestly was not in the mood to cook and shepherd ‘s pie which would use both of these ingredients does not sound appealing right now. Instead, I used the 5# of potatoes to make mashed potatoes which went right into our freezer for use in the future. Out of the ground beef, I made a pot of chill. This is at least 2 meals if not more for lunches and 2 meals of meatloaf muffins. Peppers of all variety were picked from the garden and cooked or chopped for later use. The three banana left on the cabinet were turned into muffins for breakfast.  I can honestly say that we waste less than 5% of the food that is brought in the house.

How are you saving money?

5 Things Friday 10/13/2017

  1. I have started my Christmas shopping. I had decided to scale back on Christmas this year, simply because my kids are blessed and don’t have any needs just wants. I am super excited that I have purchased a total of 5 gifts one for eachfor  a total of $15.10!
  2. Matt and I both were able to pick up extra work this week. This should be very helpful in keeping us on budget for the month.
  3. I do anticipate our credit card debit to increase overall this month. The reason is that I paid for a continuing Education class today. My company will reimburse me once I have completed the class and have a certificate. The only down side is that will take at least a month so the balance will be higher than I anticipated through October.
  4. Free food is the best! This week we have been given 5 pounds of potatoes and 3 pounds of hamburger. The plan for Saturday is to turn this free food into quick delicious meals!
  5. We are FINALLY starting to enjoy fall temperatures which also mean a reduction in our electric bill.

Menu Plan Monday 10/9/2017

I made a trip to Aldi this weekend to grab some items that we were total out of or need to complete our meal plan for the week. We ended up spending right at $70 which included ice cream for desert as well. I will say that we may end up changing plans on the fly this week as we are going to celebrate Amanda’s birthday at Olive Garden one day of her choice.  You will notice that we also ate out for lunch on Sunday. I did have soup in the crockpot however when we arrived home it was not cooked so we had to improvise.

Breakfast- Saturday- Bacon Biscuits Sunday- Sausage cheese cresant rolls ( we actually have enough filling to make at least one more if not 2 more days of these. . Monday- Pumpkin spice muffins. Tuesday- Choices, Wednesday- Choices. Thursday- Cheese Grits or baked oatmeal , Friday- choices. Choices include- left-overs, eggs, French toast, cereal or toast.

Lunch- Saturday- Sandwhiches Sunday- Godfather’s Pizza . We are back to a regular lunch week here this week we have salad, sandwhich, grab and go, dipping day and wraps.

Dinner- Saturday-BBQ beef, squash casserole, deviled eggs, ranch potatoes and apple pie desert.  Sunday- Stuffed Green Pepper Soup. Monday-Pancakes and sausage balls, Tuesday- Hamburger and Tator tots Wednesday-Spaghetti Thursday- left-overs   Friday- meat loaf muffins, glazed carrots and fruit.

September in Review

September brought about some major changes from us. The first of which is that Matt started a part time job which will mean a weekly income. I have choice not to include his checks in our budget until after our trip. We will use the money to supplement what is missing and also to pay on the trip.

Debit Reduction:  We managed to hold the debit to the exact same level as August. This is not quite a success but a huge jump in the right direction over the last several month.

Blog Post: Fail
This is post number 12 for the month.  Life is busy and I have got to still find a good balance with work, kids and life. .

Days on Treadmill or Walking for Disney: 28!  This is a huge accomplishment! I am so excited!

Groceries- Success !  We spent a total of $392.08.This alone is a savings of $400 when compared to last month!

Gas: Goal Met! We spent $189 for gas including filling both our vans which is a $50 decrease from last month.

Earnings: We are continuing to make money via apps this month things are starting to improve but we also saw huge changes in MPlaces. I have been averaging $15 a month and now $5 is good. But free money is free money. 
Swagbucks: $100 for Me, $50 for Matt
MPlaces/Cricket Rewards:  $5
Shopkicks: $5
Ibotta: 21.78 (you can only cash out for greater than $20, so this amount has been building for a couple of month. And I don’t expect to cash out with this one again this year.)

Total for the month $190!

We officially have 55 days until our Disney Trip. My goal is to tight the belts and save as much as possible.  I will be going back to a cash envelope for groceries this month. I already have a menu plan in place so I am optimistic that we can keep the groceries down to $200 or less for the month. I do anticipate a trip to Costco but this will have to be part of my cash only. October also bring Amanda’s birthday. We will be going out to dinner but I have already given her a DVD player so that definitely will save on expenses.

5 Things Friday 9/15/2017

  1. We were unable to repair the kitchen faucet so we ended up purchasing a new one yesterday. We decided to go with a name brand and great warranty. It was expensive but this should be the last kitchen faucet that we ever buy.
  2. Lily is really enjoying the youth theatre this fall, they are working on “Annie” Each family is required to provide a silent auction item. We purchased 2 stainless steel cups and Matt has customized to make a special souvenir.
  3. We did end up spending more money than I had anticipated on groceries this month again. We also had to renew our Costco membership as well. The total spent for the month is $353. My strategy for the rest of the month is to avoid grocery stores.  I am sad that Food Lion is running their quarter back sale but I am not planning to go.
  4. I was able to score an awesome deal on soda. We managed to grab 4 cases for my mom, 5 8 packs for our Disney trip and 11 12 packs for us to use. Spending a total of $40.14!!!! This should keep us stocked until the end of November.
  5. I have returned to using a paper planner. Partially by choice and partly because of the new computer. EVERYONE is assigned a different color and so far I am liking the ability to glance ahead and behind.

Tuesday Thoughts 9/12/2017

  • Lily and Kendall both removed the training wheels from their bicycles this weekend.
  • We decided to go ahead and dig up our sweet potatoes as some of the vines appeared to be dying. It was a huge success with approximately 25# of sweet potatoes. These are completely free as we started the plants from the potatoes that were dug from the year before!
  • I was able to save 89% at CVS this week!  This is huge as they have been changing coupon policy and I have not been receiving many of the coupons I wanted.
  • The windows are still open in the house!
  • Matt remember that we no longer needed the digital convertor in our dinning rooms so he returned it. This should save us $2-3 dollars a month.
  • My goals for September and October were to keep the grocery budget and all other expenses as low as possible. I had not planned a Costco trip but it will be needed this week. I am still hopefully to keep the budget at half of it’s usual.
  • Our kitchen sink started to leak. Matt was able to repair it for less than $2!!!!

5 Ways We Are Saving 9/8/2017

  1. Tis the season for weddings at least in my department at work. Matt and I were able to make a gift this week. The bride to be really liked the gift as well. Total Saved $40.
  2. Windows are open!  This means no air conditioning and/or heat. We ended up running the air from Thursday to Monday last week but based on the predictions for our weather for the next 10 days and the average highs after those 10 days/ Our plan is not to use air until next spring!
  3. Eating from the freezers and pantry. I have a lot of food in our a stockpile. This month I am really sticking to the idea of eating what we have. The one exception is if we run out of a staple such as eggs. We currently do not have any sausage for breakfast but I am going to attempt to use lunch meat in omelets for the month.
  4. Staying at home, I know that I have said this before but I need to post it again for my benefit. If we don’t run out to pick up x then I am not spending money. I am also saving gas money!
  5. I wanted to have a no spend month but I needed a haircut this week, cost of $10. Matt is anticipating starting a job and is in need of black shirt and pants. We were able to locate 2 additional shirts at Goodwill but will most likely need a couple of pair of pants. We ended up spending $8.54 for the shirts.

How are you saving money?

Tuesday Thoughts 9/05/2017

  • My computer died on Saturday. I was thankfully able to get a replacement but I am still trying to re favorite and find all the things that I had carefully arranged on my monitor.
  • We ended up celebrating Zach’s birthday Thursday, Friday and Saturday. He had a great time. Thursday evening his friend came over and they played with Nerf Guns inside because it was raining. Friday night was cake and family. Saturday was a trip to ToyRUS and eating out at Red Robin. I am hopefully to get some picture up soon.
  • The weather here in North Carolina is much cooler than normal. We were able to turn off our air conditioning last week for a total of 4 days, have been running for 4 days and again turned off the air. I am very grateful for the stretches of time that we are able to not turn on the air. This is definitely the earliest I can remember not running air constantly.
  • September is going to be a no spend month for us.  Zach is playing Baseball so we will have the expense of games but unless it is broken and or empty then I really want and need to tighten down on our spending for September, October and November.
  • This weekend along with some major food preparation, I took a good inventory of what meats and other items that we have. Currently our plan is to purchase another cow in January and purchase chicken breast in February.
  • Lily auditioned for and received a part in the Lexington Youth Theatre production of Annie. She does not have a solo but we are all very excited for her to be part of this.
  • I have been successful at using my Electric Pressure cooker for 3 things this weekend. I am actually really surprised but glad that I have been able to use this and hopefully will get more use as the winter comes.

Sunday Savings

This Sunday, I spent a lot of time to save time and money.  After church, lunch and school preparation. I decided to tackle some cooking. I had several reasons that factored into this decision including the NEED to save on groceries for the next 3 months in addition to our schedule returning to it’s normal amount of busy.  I asked the kids at lunch what foods they really wanted to have, they all three came up with the same answer…twice baked potatoes.

I decided to go ahead and prepare 20  potatoes. One thing that I did learn is that next time I will most likely stick to 10 at a time, my hand was really tired by the end.  The kids came in and out of the kitchen to help with some of the recipes. Matt helped before he headed out to do a couple of errands.

By the numbers..
4-5 total hours spent
4 meals completed, 40 twice baked potatoes, 6 boiled eggs and 2 dozen banana chocolate chip bites.

After completing all 4 meals which were chicken, we have decided to wait to order chicken breast until the spring. This is a HUGE money saver and probably worth the entire afternoon.