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.

Thursday Thoughts- 9/28/2017

The stomach bug has been making its’ way around our house this week. Zach was sick on Monday and Tuesday. He ended up missing his first baseball game and we ended up with a extra night at home. Today, Kendall threw up before school and Lily started around lunch-time.  Thursday is my usual day off but I had also taken tomorrow off to go to an Antique festival with my Mom. Unfortunately, the plan has change and I am now going to be spending the day at home with the girls as Matt is scheduled to work.

I had stocked up on Sprites and Gatorades a couple of weeks ago. So the girls are using those along with rice and ritz crackers.Â

Lucky for me I actually have lots of things that need to be done around the house that will keep me occupied at least for a couple of days. My overall goal is to stay at home and NO spending. Today, Thursday, both Matt and I are home so it was easy to get things done and I already had a short list of things that needed to get done.

We washed and hung out to dry all of the sheets and comforters. Matt  had washed Zach’s already that is why we have at least one load less than usual. I counted a total of seven loads that were hung out today. I am guessing that would be at least a total of 10 hours of dryer time that was saved.

I am finding some deep cleaning that needs to be done.  We ended up cleaning screens and windows last night. I will admit this has been on my list for a couple of weeks but man they do look good.  This afternoon, we ended up spending some time cleaning in the kitchen. I know that both the refrigerators could still use some work but for the present everything else is as clean as it has ever been. I am planning to work on some problem areas in the bathrooms tonight as well.

Another way that I am spending my time today is menu planning. I have a plan in place for the month of October. I will need to purchase a couple of galloons of milk and at least 6 dozen eggs next month but my overall goal is to keep the grocery budget at $150 for the month.

Hopefully by Saturday everyone will be back to normal and I can enjoy a nice relaxing day.

Menu Planning Monday on Tuesday

Zach ended up with a stomach bug yesterday and most of today(Tuesday) so that is the reason I am later than usual.  A couple of things are influencing our menu planning for the next couple of months, first we are trying to manage our grocery budget, meaning spend as little as possible. Next the current plan is to purchase another cow for our freezer in February. So we are using as much of the beef in our freezer as possible. Matt is working some mornings so that also changes the plan. And finally our schedule is crazy busy through the month of October so we will be trying to keep our meals simple.

Breakfast Saturday- Breakfast burrito bowls Sunday-leftover Monday-choices Tuesday- Toast Wednesday- Choices . Thursday-Choices .  Friday- Choices. Choices include : eggs, grits, left-overs, French toast , toast or cereal.

Lunch-The kids have packed with leftovers and grab and go. I am going to pack wraps a couple of day and left-overs for others.

Dinner-Saturday-Cheese Quesadilla and Mexican Rice
Sunday- Pot Roast, mashed potatoes, carrots and pineapple casserole  Dinner-McDonalds for $15 due to crazy busy church schedule.
Monday- Rice Creole ( last of our kielbasa)
Tuesday-Hamburgers and French Fries (last of our fries)
Wednesday-Sonic (50 cent corn dogs)
Thursday-Good Question?   Maybe beef and broccoli as we have not actually had this in a long time.
Friday- Steak, twice backed potatoes, 7 layer salad and desert. Yes it is a company night.

Saving on Saturday 9/23/2017

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The first way I am saving is the easiest and I have blogged about it several times. I am staying at home. Even if I decide to run out just to grab one item, I am 100 times more likely to spend money than if I simply stay at home.  I should also add that I am avoiding online shopping as well. Unless I find a deal that is below stock up price I simply do not shop.

I am saving time and money both my cooking ahead. This morning, since we are at home. I made a batch of Breakfast Burrito bowls. Totally cost for at least 3 mornings of breakfast for all of us $4. I was able to use green pepper from the garden which helped reduce the cost. The kids love Banana Chip Bites. These are basically milk and bananas blend and frozen in muffin tins. They also add chocolate chips to make them special. My using bananas that were previously frozen, this makes a really cheap breakfast or desert. Some of our other favorite for cooking ahead right now are meatloaf muffins and chicken enchiladas.

The final way I am saving money this Saturday is by shopping my pantry and freezers. I am trying to dramatically reduce our grocery budget over the last several month of this year. In order to accomplish this I am trying to make sure I use what is in our freezers and pantry. I headed out to the building this morning to bring up stew beef, cubed steak, roast, ground beef, chicken and chicken fried rice.  We have a menu plan but I usually don’t plan ahead for weekends or Thursdays. This gives us a chance to eat up leftovers or be a little bit more creative, the only problem is that I forget what we actually have in  the freezers. This morning I brought up several items that are not on the plan but that I can use to create a meal. I also made sure to restock our snack drawers and found three additional boxes of pasta that can be used over the next several months. I know myself well enough to realize that if my freezer’s are full than I won’t “think” I need to go shopping even if that is really not the case. At least for the next week or so, I know we have plenty of food so I will continue to try and use what we have to make meals.

5 Things Friday 9/22/2017

  1. Matt has started a part time job.  It is a huge change for us, but so far the first week has not been bad. I am thinking that as long as we all work together it will be a smooth transition.
  2. Kendall is hoping to have her braces removed prior to our trip to Disney, in order for this to happen, we are having new wires and/or tightening every 3 weeks. This time she had a difficult time with the process and is back to eating soft food only.
  3. The temperatures have jumped back in the eighties so our air condition is on. The good news is that our bill for October is down $25 so at least that is helping. Hopefully in the next month we can turn off the air for good.
  4. Lily informed me on Saturday that she only had 3 pair of shorts. We headed to Goodwill and found 5 additional pair for $11.46 a HUGE saving for us.
  5. Zach is playing baseball again so we now added to our schedule 2 games and a practice for the next 6 weeks…. Life is busy!

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!!!!

Monday Menu Planning 9/11/2017

This week we started our normal busy lives, we are still in a bit of flux as we are not sure of Matt’s work schedule or Zach’s baseball schedule yet.

Breakfast: Saturday-Bacon, eggs biscuits and grits. Sunday- left-over French toast and left- over biscuits and gravy. Monday- Cereal, Tuesday- choices, Wednesday- choices, Thursday- scrambled bowls, Friday- Baked oatmeal (maybe it will be pumpkin?) Choices include: eggs, grits, left-overs, pancakes, French toast, toast or cereal. 

Lunch- Saturday- Sandwiches, Sunday- Taco Soup. We were able to pack the kids lunches on Sunday, which included taco soup, grab and go, sandwich, chicken nuggets and wrap. I packed 2 salads that Lily and I will share and I hope to start taking some leftovers soon. 

Dinner- Saturday- Sausage, peppers and onions on rolls and French fries, Sunday- taco soup or left overs. Monday- Broccoli-chicken casserole, Tuesday- steak Fatijia and Mexican rice. Wednesday- Spaghetti, Thursday- undecided? I am thinking this will depend on the weather? Friday- beef and broccoli

A plan always makes things easier. 

 

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?