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.

July in Review

July- Where did it go….

Debit Reduction:  Failure
We broke even for the month. This is an improvement from last month but still not where I want to be.

Blog Post: Fail
I had 12 total blog post for the month. Again an improvement from last month but still not where I want to be.

Days on Treadmill: Zero
Water walking days-7  Getting better……

Groceries- Goal Met!  We spent a total of $306.92  for the month of July in groceries! Second month in a row under budget with this and it did include our snack box for the beach trip.

Gas: $450 for the month. This is about $170 over budget which is the cost of annual inspection, tag and taxes on my van.

Earnings:  July was an awesome month for earning. Total $285
Swagbucks: $100 for Me, $75 for Matt
MPlaces/Cricket Rewards:  $10
Mileup: $100

Thursday Thoughts – Electric Pressure Cooker

I was so excited and pleased when Amanda purchased me a electric pressure cooker for my birthday and even let me start playing with it early.  I have been watching for about a year and it was on my list of things I wanted but could not justify.  I was planning to LOVE it!  But I have waited a full two weeks before writing this post because I really don’t love it.  I am not even sure I like it.  I am also thinking that once I learn this appliance and find the right uses for it I will LOVE it.  For the present here are some things I have learned.

  • When reading a recipe I really wish that it would say, Allow 30 minutes to pressurize.  This is major reason that I am not in love with it. I have been searching out recipes and reading where it says Cook for 15 minutes. So my brain says ok I can make this in less than an hour. Nope hold up, I need to add 30 minutes to my time in order for the pot to pressurize.
  • BBQ Chicken legs  will be the bomb. I even cooked chicken wings today without unthawing so this will be a great thing to remember when I have not laid out meat to unthaw and need a good meal in an hour.
  • Cheesecake is the bomb in the pressure cooker. I can’t wait to try this desert again.
  • Sunday Soups are going to be much easier especially beef stew. I made a trial run on Sunday and it was easy and really good!
  • Frozen ground beef is easier to unthaw and fry in large batches or even small batches and makes less of a mess than trying to use the electric pressure cooker.

I guess in the end, I prefer my Crock pot for the ease, clean up and convenience.