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.
Today, I am saving time and money by cooking ahead! I am also sticking to items that I have in the pantry or freezer as I have a very small grocery budget this month. Today, I focused on using frozen chicken breast. I was very pleasantly surprised when my instapot was able to cook 10 breast from frozen to done in less than an hour (30 minutes actually pressure time). I shredded those in my kitchen aid and used for a Chicken Taco Casserole and Chicken Enchiladas. I also froze 2 packs of shredded chicken. The casserole is one of our quick easy items to use on a busy day. Chicken Enchiladas will be lunch tomorrow. While the instapot was working, I started dinner for tonight, which was Creamy Italian Chicken. This is a recipe that Amanda has made before so I knew that it was good. That is a total of 5 meals in less than 2 hours of total time.
Matt made a batch of homemade pimento cheese that we will use for breakfast in the morning . I also pulled out the ingredients for a beef stew for dinner tomorrow night. This recipe is from Zach’s calendar so he is excited to try it.
The best part of all these meals is cost today is $0! We used all the ingredients from the pantry and freezer. First week of January behind us with a total of $20 spent in groceries!
I have not been stock piling since August. In fact, I have been trying to use anything and everything that we had in order to reduce our grocery budget. My rule for the last 3 months has been if we did not NEED it, we did not buy it. Things started to look a little bare around her and I became a lot uncomfortable. So the time has come for us to re-stock. I am going to say that I have learned what things we need and what thing we like to have around. I am hopefully that in the future, I can continue to reduce the budget by using things we have and only purchasing things that we NEED or things that we can use in the next couple of months.
One of the stores that I have not been shopping at is CVS. I have picked up some items here and there but am becoming more and more frustrated with the rules and how they feel like as an individual store they can make up certain rules. Currently, the rule is “2 transactions per person per day.” I have been able to do 4 transaction just by asking and got the explanation as to why the rule but it is stupid. Anyway, Zachary needed 6 pictures printed out for a project. I remember getting a $2 off photo coupon several weeks ago. I also had $2 ECB from a candy purchase. Sunday, I order the prints from home and had to add a seventh in order to be above $2. CVS also has a sale $0.99 for Hershey candy bars with a store coupon printing for $0.74 off one. Finally, I had a raincheck for a bottle of glue that was also needed for Zach’s project. I spent a total of $0.98 on 3 full size Hershey Candy Bars, a bottle of glue and 7 pictures. I also have 50 cent ECB that was associated with my raincheck. I am very pleased with this trip!
The next way, I am saving is using what we have. I used the last of the dog shampoo before our Disney trip. My Dad told me last year to use cheap shampoo instead. Of course, I went a step further and used a small bottle of shampoo from one of our hotel stays. The dog smells awesome and I did not spend any money!
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!