I was doing so well and blogging several times a week, and then 7 days of silence what happened?
The short answer is LIFE
But in order to give you an idea about what that looks like for us here is a more detailed answer.
For the next six weeks, Lily has practice for the theater Monday- Friday from 4-6 pm. The good news is that we have worked it out so that Matt drops her off and I am picking her up most evenings on my way home from work. The bad news is that means we are eating dinner at 6:30 which means that the evening does not exist for me.
Kendall stays after school on Tuesdays for Battle of the Books till 3:30 and on Wednesday for Sign Language club. Zach and Kendall both attend a kid’s program on Wednesday nights from 6 to 8pm.
Zach has just signed up for spring baseball this past week. I am assuming that we will start a practice schedule of 2 or 3 days a week very soon. In the meantime, he was asked to play on a different team than he has in the past. This team is playing “kid-pitch” baseball so this adds some interesting changes and expenses to the table.
Matt has been working extra, in fact, today was his sixth day in a row working with it also being his 7th out of 8 days as well. We fully expect this to change over the next month but are open and encouraging to continue try and gain some financial ground this year.
Next let’s talk a little about the weekends. Friday night, Lily stayed after practice for some fun and food with her cast mates until 8pm. Kendall attended her very first sleepover on Friday night as well. On Saturday, all three kids had a piano lesson, this is a wonderful opportunity but takes a good 3 hour chunk from our day. Zach ended up going to a friends house for several hours as well on Saturday.
As you can tell life is back to it’s busy pace around here.
Yes this is the “day late and dollar short” version of 5 Things Friday. I will be the first to admit that the last couple of weeks have been very stressful and emotionally exhausting in addition to being financially straining.
Yesterday, was our first full paycheck for the month of February. The good news is that we were able to catch up from the snow week. I have a plan in place for both our tax returns and am very hopeful that this will allow us back on a slow but steady track to paying down our huge debit this year. We are working to reduce both our electric and water bills to a more normal level. Matt and I have already worked out a Menu plan for the month which means we should be able to keep the grocery bill on a lower than usual level. Another positive is that Matt has been selling vinyl decals on a very steady basis this month. This is definitely helpful as we have lots of unexpected expenses.
I am battling left-overs in our fridge. Our super bowl party is always fun but we end up with some interesting left-overs. This week, I made an effort to make meals of left-overs and strongly suggested that Matt and Lily eat left-overs for lunch. Today, I am repurposing left-overs, we had a bag of carrots, and a bunch of celery, several cups of rice and some pulled pork. I did a little bit of thinking and decided to make pork fried rice. I chopped up the pork and realized that we had over 4 cups left which is enough to make 2 full meals for us. I let Kendall help chop up the carrots and celery. I added some green peppers and onions and that became our veggies for the stir-fry. One set for dinner and a second set in the freezer for a crazy day of what is for dinner.
Zach has officially started taking piano. He has been asking for over a year but we really wanted him to wait until he was a strong reader before attempting. Kendall started teaching him this week for fun. He even practiced every day without being told. This is definitely an expense that I don’t mind adding.
I am so ready for spring, in fact I have already planned out our square foot garden and added several more containers. I am very hopefully that with a little extra work this year we will have a bumper crop. I purchased trees a couple of years ago to start work on a landscape line. The trees came with a 2 year guarantee. I received an email yesterday that a new peach tree is being shipped this week. My mother has also been growing several pecan trees in her flower bed. So we should be able to finish the border without spending any additional money!
Our busy schedule has returned. Some days, I am honestly thinking how do we actually do this. This week, Lily has practice for her play, 4 nights and a party the 5th night. Kendall has 2 days of extra curricular activities in addition to church on Wednesday night. Matt has also doubled his hours at work for this week. Yikes, better rest up today!
As I have mentioned before, we are on a tight budget this month in hopes to get us on a good financial track for the year. I have been able to find some really good deals while staying on track this week.
CVS has the best sale that I have seen in a while. Add to the fact that Matt is completely out of deodorant and it was a definite stop. I was able to grab a tube of free toothpaste. Which BTW, I have not paid for toothpaste in at least two years. Matt ended up with one stick of deodorant, two were purchased for me and 2 bottles of shampoo. Total out of pocket was $6.38.
Lily had most of her Christmas money left so I took her to the stores of her choice today. I was able to grab Oreos on clearance along with a couple of items for Easter baskets at Target for $3.17. The overall best deal of the day was at “Five Below”, their Christmas items were discounted by 75%. I grabbed 7 rolls of Disney wrapping paper for $3.50, I also added a couple of items for Easter as well. So for a total of $8 between the two stores I am very pleased.
The final deal of the day, cost me the least. We continue to earn extra money through Swagbucks every month. This month, I was able to grab a $25 Bath and Body Works card. Bath and Body Works also has their semi annual clearance sale in January and July. I was able to use a coupon code in addition to the sale for 20% off. I ended up with 5 bottles of shower gel shipped for twenty four (yes $0.24) out of pocket.
Our car insurance jumped by $40 and when I called to find out why, I was assured it was nothing that I had done but that rates in my state had increased that much. The second piece of “great” news was that Gieco will only insure in NC for six months at a time due to rates.
On a slightly better note, I have been seeing an advertised special for Sirus radio that included 30 days of free service. This is usually awesome for us as we are traveling to and from Florida. Matt checked into it today and it was actually a 60 day free trial. This is awesome and will make driving a little bit easier for all of us.
I am actually looking forward to the month of December because it provides an extra pay check! My goal is to end the year on a positive financial note!
We are fast approaching our Disney trip. Everyone is super excited. Which means they are also pretty eager to make money by extra chores. The benefit for me is that means I should have time to get my decorating done prior to the trip. This weekend, my plan is to put up the snow village.
All three kids had dentist appointments today, no cavities for anyone!
I am reminded today that we start in November next week, so I need to be thankful for even the small things.
First Matt was able to design and create some really cool shirts for our Disney Trip. The best part is that we purchased both the shirts and the vinyl using gift cards earned from Swagbucks so total out of pocket equals ZERO.
Next the weather has finally started to feel like fall. In fact we are suppose to receive our first official frost this week. Because I was able to get off work earlier today, we picked the rest of the pepper and pimentos from the garden. I froze 4 cups of green peppers and saved enough for several omelets in the next week. We have been searching for ways to save money. I am thankful to have discovered two. First Matt has been able to arrange Roku boxes in the house so that we have turned in 3 of our cable bill. I am thinking that this should reduce our total cable bill by around $30 a month. The best part is that it will not affect any of our viewing! Next, because we are attempting to eat out of our freezers and pantry for the last couple months of the year, we are able to clean out and unplug one of our freezers. This will also allow it to be clean really well prior to our purchase of a cow next year. I am also thinking that after our trip we should be able to turn off a refrigerator as well. Finally, by watching the weather and opening and closing windows we are currently in our second full week of no heat or air.