I have to admit I did not stick to the grocery shopping plan last week. Harris Teeter was running an awesome sale on items that we use and can be store for a long time. I decided it was worth the trip to grab the items. I took my mother for her first trip of couponing with me. I was able to purchase cases (12 packs) of soda for $2.67 each, Hamburger helper (87 cent each) can vegetables (34 cent each) and pasta (67 cent a box). I can say that I am not over my goal of $150 this month and fully expect to stay on track the rest of the time. You will notice a lot of left-overs on the menu. I don’t want to waste food and I also don’t plan to leave any left-overs in the fridge during our trip. You will also start to see some “more creative” meal on the list as we are focused on using the food we have here.
Breakfast-Our standard choices now are toast, French toast, eggs/omelets and fried Bologna. Saturday-Omelets Sunday- Big breakfast including eggs, sausage. gravy and grits. Monday- choices , Tuesday and Wednesday- choices Thursday- baked oatmeal and Friday choices.
Lunch- I actually picked up 5 bags of chips during my shopping. We are planning to open these one bag at a time to use for school lunches. Saturday- sandwiches , Sunday- Taco soup or Stuffed green pepper soup, both left-overs. Kids are having sandwiches, grab and go. I have a salad for Monday Chicken Salad wrap on Wednesday and left-over on Friday.
Dinner- Saturday- pizza-dills Sunday- chicken nugget biscuits Monday- Meatloaf muffins, mashed potatoes, green beans and fruit. Tuesday-Chicken nugget parmesan , Wednesday- Breakfast casserole Thursday-cube steak nachos . Friday- steak and baked sweet potatoes.
This was a different month for us. On the positive side, we did not put any “regular/usual expenses” on credit cards. But on the negative note, our debit load did increase but this should be the highest it goes and from December forward it is the focus!
Debit Reduction: Did not happen see above
Blog Post: This is my 12th post of the month. I seriously need to up my game. I did notice that I did not even post regularly on Wednesday this month so pictures should be an easy addition.
Days on Treadmill: Goal Met! We walked a total of 20 days this month!
Groceries- Goal met! We spent $291 on groceries this month! Two months in a row, below budget. I am hoping for a third! I will say that we have cleaned out and turned off one of our freezers and plan to turn off our third refrigerator prior to our trip. The pantry is also starting to look empty. My current plan includes a minimal month for November with a huge trip to Costco planned for December. I am also very hopeful that Food Lion will run it’s quarter back sale in January. I will be re-evaluating our grocery budget at the end of December. I honestly think that I will raise this to at least $600 next year because of the growing kids that live here.
Gas: Fail! We are over budget this month by $75. I did have another flat tire this month but other than that gas is a huge expense for us.
Earnings: We are continuing to focus on bringing in every extra penny we can. This month was an average month
Swagbucks = $175 Matt earned $75 and I earned $100
Ibotta= $20 Matt was able to cash out this month.
November is a fun month with our trip to Disney!
For the next month, menu planning is one of the most if not the most important thing that I will be doing. The goal for the month of November is to use what we have, buy only what we need for this month. I do plan a huge Costco trip after we return from our trip. I did make some changes to the plan last week but it actually saved us food! Left-overs instead of steak, so of course I just moved the steak to this week. This weeks plans look different because I am off today (Monday) but will be work on Saturday.
Breakfast- Our standard choices now are toast, French toast, eggs/omelets and fried Bologna. Saturday-Bacon and pimento cheese biscuits Sunday- cheese grits. Monday- gravy biscuits, Tuesday, Wednesday Thursday and Friday choices.
Lunch- Snacks are our biggest concern at this point but at least the kids like popcorn and with Halloween it gave us a couple of extra days. Saturday- left-overs, Sunday- Taco soup. Kids are having sandwiches, grab and go, chicken and stars soup and wraps. I have a salad for Tuesday, Chicken Salad wrap on Wednesday and left-over on Friday.
Dinner- Saturday- left-overs Sunday- hot dogs at the church trunk or treat Monday- Country style steak with left-over sides Tuesday- IHOP (gift card and kids get a free pancake) , Wednesday- Chicken stuffing (new recipe in crock-pot), Thursday- left-overs are my bet but I may add something . Friday- steak and baked sweet potatoes.
Definitely need to keep a good handle on using up the left-overs so I may plan on this at least once a week for the next several weeks.
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.
To be honest, I am starting to get a little freaked out over here, the pantry and especially the freezers are starting to look empty. Don’t get me wrong, we are not out of food. In fact I sat down today and planned out our meals through the month of November and we have enough to cover that many meals if we use what we have and don’t just give up. So I am trying to make myself more accountable by posting a meal plan in addition to any failures (going out to eat) that occur.
Breakfast- sadly all the cereal has been eating. Our standard choices now are toast, French toast, eggs/omelets and fried Bologna. Saturday- Omelet with green peppers, onions and cheese. Sunday- Sausage,egg and cheese biscuits. I will say that keeping chopped onions and green peppers make life much easier and quicker in the morning. Monday and Tuesday – choices, Wednesday- Baked oatmeal, Thursday and Friday choices.
Lunch- I did buy a couple of items to use for lunch this week. Saturday- McDonalds, Sunday- Wraps and left-overs. Kids are having sandwiches, grab and go, tomato soup and wraps. I have a salad for Monday, Orange Beef for Tuesday, Chicken Salad wrap on Wednesday and soup on Friday.
Dinner- Saturday- Chicken from Costco, potato salad and slaw from the party Amanda gave last week. Sunday- twice backed potatoes and more left-overs (yes we need to clean out that many) Monday- Steak Fajitas (using beef stew) Tuesday- Taco, Wednesday- Chicken and Broccoli, Thursday- debating between left-overs soup or Breakfast. Friday- steak and baked sweet potatoes.
Now to just stick to the plan!
In preparation for our trip, we have been taking inventory and making a list of needed items. The goal is that once we start packing, I don’t have to run out in a panic to grab items. A unique challenge is that this trip is actually longer than our normal ones by 3 days. I also have absolute no plans for doing laundry on vacation. The girls , Kendall and I spent most of the day in Winston- Salem shopping but we manage to maintain some decent savings as well.
But first, I am going to start with Matt’s savings, one of the blogs I regular follow Couponing to Disney, posted yesterday about combining Dollar General digital coupons and Ibotta. Matt was able to purchase 8 20 oz drinks for $10.17 in the store. He came home and submitted the items to Ibotta and with a $5 bonus received back $8 in rebates. This puts his total out of pocket to $2.17 for 8 drinks or 27 cent each. Total Savings $9.50
The girls and I stopped for lunch between piano and shopping. I used my McDonald’s app to grab 10 chicken nuggets for $2. Because we always carry drinks, our total was $7.91 to feed all three of us. For the sake of fairness I am only count the saving from the app in my grand total. App savings $1.98
Last week, I received a “rebate/coupon” from a “settlement ” with the Justice company for $30. I vaguely remember filling out a form online. Lily was able to find 2 bras she liked for a total out of pocket of $1.92 cent. Total Savings 30.00
Our next stop was JC Penny. I will admit to splurging on several items that were not on my “need” list but I am so glad I did. We ended up purchasing 4 bras, 2 dresses (that matched) and a pink pair of converses for Kendall. I saw the person in front of me use a coupon and asked. The sales associate had a coupon for 15% off. I was also able to use a $10 reward coupon that was sent with my new credit card. Total Savings $42.11
During the inventory I realized that I was in need of some items as well. I headed to Lane Bryant where I asked to ring up 2 separate purchases to use a coupon that was sent via text twice. Total Savings $93.
Kendall requested to go to Walmart to check out the Christmas Ornaments, she has a $25 gift card from her birthday to use for this purpose. I did purchase 5 2-liter Diet Coke. Total Savings $2.50
Grand total for saving today $179. Not bad for a Saturday in my book!
This is another busy week with 2 Baseball games, Musical practice 4 nights and church activities on Wednesday night. I will admit that this week is starting to show a little bare spots in the pantry and we are going to need to get creative to keep things on our tight budget.
Breakfast- Saturday and Sunday- Sausage cheese cresant rolls (this is the same mix we used last week so a total of four breakfast for less than $10. Monday- Banana chocolate chip 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- left-overs Sunday- Olive Garden to celebrate Amanda’s birthday. We are back to a regular lunch week here this week we have salad, sandwich, grab and go, dipping day and wraps.
Dinner- Saturday-Copy cat lettuce wraps Sunday- Sandwiches Monday-Chicken nuggets and tator tots Tuesday-Chicken helper and egg rolls Wednesday-Tomato soup and grilled cheese. Thursday- Orange Beef (new recipe in slow cooker) Friday- Hamburger helper.