Thursday Snow Thoughts 1/18/2018

  • Today is actually day #2 of Snow her in NC. I ended up not heading in to work yesterday because of the weather and today is my normal day off.  Yesterday, I cooked several things and today I worked on doing some extra Spring cleaning. Which includes 6-7 loads of laundry and vacuuming of the walls in the living room.

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  • The kids all had eye appointments scheduled for today but because of the snow, they have been rescheduled to March. Lily is most worried because she has 2 pair of contacts left.
  • January continues to be a tight budget month but we are doing excellent with our grocery budget which was $160 for the entire month. Currently, we have $6.41 left. The snow has also helped our gas budget. Neither Matt nor I have been anywhere since Tuesday.
  • For Breakfast, I tried a two ingredient recipe for pancakes. Lily and Kendall LOVED these, Matt and Zach ate theirs but did not want seconds. I liked them and it was a great way to use up bananas.
  • Lily is upset because her charter school, which is online, is continuing while both Zach and Kendall have not had school in the last two days.  I had to remind her that she has days out of school when they attend as well.

 

Monday Menu Plan 1/15/2018

I have always said that menu planning saves us a ton of money, now I have the proof.  On Saturday, we headed to Aldi to purchase some items that we were out of, we even added in three boxes of cereal to help with breakfast this week.  Our total was $25.57.  Matt was working Sunday morning and the kids and I decided that we wanted to make a big “Cracker Barrel Breakfast”. After checking, we need a couple of items to make the things we wanted.  Kendall and I took our list and headed to Food Lion.  The one meal list cost $25.47.  No more special meals for us. Everyone is home on Monday but then it is back to reality.  To end on some good news, we have $6.41 left out of our $160 grocery budget.

Breakfast- Saturday- Pimento Cheese and Bacon Biscuits, Sunday- Cereal and toast, Monday- Sausage Gravy and Biscuits, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday- Choice of cereal, eggs or left-overs, Thursday(kids have eye appointment) pancakes or waffles.

Lunch- Saturday- Left-overs/sandwich, Sunday- Baked Potatoes, Monday- Sandwiches. The kids are taking 1 day of sandwhiches and 2 grab and go days. I will be taking left-over soup all this week.

Sunday- Saturday- Chicken Tacos, Sunday- Egg Casserole, Hashbrown casserole and cooked apples, Monday- Pizza Rolls, Tuesday- Chicken Pot Pie (from freezer), Wednesday-Hamburger Helper, Thursday- Country style steak or pulled pork, Friday- Chicken Nuggets and French Fries.

We are eating a lot of quick simple meals and sandwiches this week but it is just what we feel like. The menu may change depending on the weather and my work schedule.

Saving on Saturday

The weather has improved slightly here (50s) so Matt and I spent a considerable amount of time outside working on improvements.  We have a tower that we have replaced the tarp cover on at least once a year. We had initially thought about covering with tin or wood but after much thought and debate, decided that easiest and most cost effective solution was to remove the top and leave it open. Next, we tackled an upgrade to our composite bins. These were built several years ago with all scrap material. The tops are deteriorating quickly so we used some salvaged tin to cover. This did not cost us anything and hopefully will speed up the process due to extra heat and keep unwanted animals from eating out of it.  The final improvement outside was to reinforce the structure of our rain barrels.  We added several pieces of scrap wood and the difference is amazing.  We will be reconnecting the rain collection system in March to prepare for the summer.

A different way that I am trying to save money is finding ways to reduce our water and energy consumption. I am enjoying my huge bathtub on these cold days! To try and save even a little bit, I have been dipping out a small bucket of water from the tub each night and using it to water the house plants.  The only issue is me remember to water the plants.

The final way I am “saving money” requires a little bit of flexibility. Both Matt and I actively complete Swagbucks to earn extra money. In December, we discovered that they were discounting gift cards to Burger King. We decided to purchase these instead of placing the money in our “extra account”  This month, they are discounting Domino’s pizza cards. At 20% off this is huge. So far we have “earned” $65 in gift cards with my personal goal to earn $100 by the end of the month.  Especially this summer, this will save us time and money!

5 Things Friday 1/12/2018

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  1. I took a sick day today.  This is the first time I have totally called in sick since working at the hospital. The last and only other time I have used a sick day was two years ago when Shingles put me out of work for a week.  I am really tired tonight but at least feeling some better.
  2. I received my first paycheck of the year today. I am very excited that we were able to meet our the required obligations as budgeted. We also are starting a second checking account to use for monies that don’t have a designated name. This way, if the account has money we can spend without touching our budget. I want my budget to be as close to zero as possible but also a way to have some extra money.
  3. We decided to order pizza for dinner today, first because of how I feel and second as a little reward for working so hard at the budget.  Total for dinner was $10.76!
  4. My goal for this long weekend (total of 4 day including today) is getting the snow village packed and put away.
  5. The weather here is crazy, school was delay one week ago because of the extreme cold, today it was 70* outside. The predicted temperature for Sunday is a high 35.

Savings this week- 1/11/2018

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.

Menu Planning Monday

Back on a tight budget means back to menu planning for us!  I was able to spend some time on Saturday and get a good idea of what foods we have in addition to doing some extra food prep that should come in handy when things get busy in the spring again. If you want to check out the new recipes I used you can!

Breakfast- Saturday- left-over pancakes and sausage balls from dinner on Thursday. Sunday- Bacon and Pimento cheese biscuits. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday- Leftovers (baked oatmeal or pancakes) or choices. Thursday- Omelet, Friday- Baked oatmeal.

Lunch- The kids have 2 sandwich days, 2 grab and go days and soup. I am taking left-overs each day. Lily has left-overs, mac and cheese or ramen noodles.  Saturday lunch- left-over wings and pizza from Amanda. Sunday- Mexican rice and Chicken Enchiladas

Dinners- Saturday- Italian Cream Chicken, Sunday- Lazy Day beef Stew, Monday Spaghetti, Tuesday Salisbury Steak, glazed carrots and rice, Wednesday- Chicken Fried Rice and Friday- Pulled Pork.

So far so great on our grocery budget for the month, we have spent $21.61 which includes the purchase of a Sunday paper.

Saving on Saturday

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!

5 Things Friday 01/05/2018

  1. We did a budget reset this month and today was the first paycheck. The good news is that everything is covered but I had to use “other” money to purchase gas. I am hopeful that if we can stay lean in January, February forward will be a much easier budget-wise.
  2. The little kids are staying with Amanda tonight!  A huge win for us is that Matt and I cooked dinner. Shrimp Alfredo with Penne Pasta and cheddar bay biscuits.  We really enjoy eating out and that is always our first instinct when the kids are gone.
  3. So far this month, we have spent $20 in groceries.  I am very hopeful to keep our spending at this weekly level for the entire month. I did budget $160 for the month but need definitely need to spend less as we have had an extra couple of bills pop up this month.
  4. Lily is currently practicing to audition for the Youth Theater in a couple of weeks. I am amazed at her talent and glad to see she is practicing and not expecting it just to happen.
  5. IT IS COLD!  In fact, we have not been about freezing the first 5 day of January! I DISLIKE  the cold and would just love to stay in bed all day.