Season of Change

I have hinted several times that big changes were in the works for our family.  I am so excited and scared to death to share and start these changes. First  let me explain the reasons for the changes.  We have been struggling for over a year with two things, first finances and second- how busy we are. The answer to our financial problems seems easy- increase your income. The answer to our crazy busy lives seems much harder.  I could have never imagined that both of these problems could be answered at the same time.

Both Matt and I have been actively seeking different employment during the last several months. I am excited to share that we both have been successful and will be changing jobs in the next month. Matt is the marketing manger for the Davie County Humane Society. He actually started with training this past week  and will officially start this Monday.  I have given my resignation and will be completing my employment in mid August. I have accepted two different contract positions. One is for local pediatric home health and the second is school system contracting in Guam and several other states.  Matt position is for 30 hours per week, so he is increasing both his pay and hours.  The positions I have accepted are going to start at around 20-25 hours per week but may/ hopefully increase to around 30 hours in the next year. My hours will be school hours (8-2) and 7pm to 10 pm Sunday and Wednesday nights.  These are flexible and will allow me to be at home and spend much more quality time with the kids. I am so excited. Kendall expressed why this is so important to us with this statement “Mom, you will be home for dinner EVERY night?  That is the best news EVER!” My salary should remain about the same as now depending on the number of patients, I am given to start with. The biggest change will be with insurances and taxes.

Change is scary! Change in jobs is really scary!  I will not be able to establish a good budget or really much of any budget until at least September. My best estimate is that we will work paycheck to paycheck until November with the goal of establishing and maintaining a budget by January.  There are several reasons that establishing the budget will be so difficult. First, I will have a two-three week period where I am not working at all or very minimal at best. Second, I am still unsure of how many hours I will be working at each position. Third, my hours will continue to be unsteady until at least October. We must also decided and obtain health insurance and figure out our tax liability.

In anticipation of these changes, we have tighten the budget and are really working to save every penny possible during the month of July.  I will try and share more about these major changes as I process through them.  We have decided not to change our scheduled Beach vacation so that will give us some time to re-charge and actually communicate!

Inexpensive/no Cost Staycation

We like to travel and it the past we have travelled ALOT!  Some of our travel was based on competition cheerleading and some on Matt’s family being in Michigan. In 2017, we spent 10 days in Michigan, 8 days at Myrtle Beach and 10 days in Disney World. We also travelled to Raleigh for a competition as well. This year has been a much slower year. I am actually enjoying a 5 day staycation this week. The rehab department at the hospital is closed for the Fourth of July, I don’t normally work on Thursday. In addition,  I was lucky enough to find someone to cover Friday of this week to make it a nice long break.

Yesterday, Wednesday, was the Fourth of July.  I started the day by washing and hanging Kendall and Zach’s bedding on the clothes line. We LOVE the smell of sunshine and sheets and energy-wise we saved about four hours of time in the dryer.  I  received some cucumbers and tomatoes at work on Tuesday. Matt started bread before heading to work. For lunch, we enjoyed BLT sandwich’s instead of eating out. Matt worked until 1:30 but as soon as he made it home we loaded up and headed to the pool.  We always take a cooler and the kids have their own spending money earned thru chores if they chose to purchase ice cream at the pool. To celebrate we had a cook out with friends. We provided the hamburger meat, slaw and chill. Everything came out of the refrigerator. To end the day, we headed out to enjoy our town’s free fireworks display.  Total spent $0

Today, both Matt and I have appointments.  I washed and hung out to dry a total of 5 loads of bedding before lunch. This saved us at least 5 additional hours of dryer use. I have spent some time getting together a grocery list with coupons for Harris Teeter.  After much consideration, I decided to make egg rolls and fried rice for lunch , again vs a trip out. Matt will be making Sloppy Joes for dinner so we should be save with the no eating out again today.  We are currently out of spray sunscreen as the last bottle purchased did not work. I am waiting on gift cards from Swagbucks before heading out to return and purchase more.  We are planning to head to swim team practice tonight so no additional spending there.  Total spending today should be only out of the grocery budget.

Friday, the plan is to head to Wet and Wild to spend the day. Zach is bringing a friend. We have season passes and our pasta salad for lunch is already made. We have already used our passes enough to cover the cost. Matt and Lily will be heading back  on Sunday with the youth group so again a no spend day.

My goal is to not eat out the entire staycation which will also save a ton on expenses!   I am actually excited to be able to enjoy some extra time with the kids without spending money.

What is your favorite thing to do on a “staycation”?

June in Review

If you know me at all, you realize that I have very little patience and hate wait for things to fall in place. But as usual God’s has better and other plans, so the month of June has been spent in anticipation.  My prayer is that by the end of July, I will be able to share what we have been waiting and anticipating or the process is complete and I will be content in our current situation.

Financial- After such a rough month of May, June is at least better. We reduced our overall debit by $220 which is a baby step in the right direction at least. Matt has accepted a different part time position with an increase of fifty cents per hour. I did receive and spent my extra paycheck in June but we are moving in the right direction and progress is progress.
Grocery budget $475- Total spent $361.20. Another win for the month. I am also very pleased to say that this includes a trip to Aldi today in order to grab items that are needed for next month’s menu plan and breakfast as well! I am going to continue monitoring this area as the kids were out of town for a week so that might have helped stay under budget for the month.
Gas budget- $280- Spent $311. I am going to increase the budget to $400 a month starting in July, approximately $100 a week. The cost of gas is increasing and Matt’s new job is a slighty longer commute so this should help to balance things out. We also have to have the inspection on our van and pay taxes and tag fees in July.
Kid/Summer expenses : Camp , swim team bathing suits and new goggles. I think for the month of July we should not have any extra expenses!  We are enjoying our season passes to Emerald Point but the kids are aware that they need their own money if they want anything extra.
Earned $85- This is also a slight improvement over the month of May. Shopkicks has been the difference this month. I will admit that I could cash out for another $25 on Swagbucks but am choosing to wait for the discount tomorrow!
Personal-
Blogging- 11 for the month. Small improvement but did not meet goal.
Exercise- 5 total days for the month. Small improvements are key in this area.

June did turn out to be a better month all the way around for us! Waiting is hard but we are going to stay the course and wait for God’s timing!

5 Things Friday- 6/29/2018

Matt and I enjoyed two days off together this week! Wednesday and Thursday!

We spent Wednesday at Wet and Wild with the kids. I can honestly say it was one of the best days ever!

Amanda is having my second grandson in November. I think I am the least excited because everyone else is OVER the moon! I am really just as excited don’t tell them!

I get to enjoy a 5 day break starting next Wednesday! I can’t wait!

Kendall is celebrating her 10th birthday this Sunday. July 1st, how can this be?

Thursday Shopping 6/21/2018

Today is the first official day of summer! The little kids are all at camp, so I spent most of the day spending and saving money.

Matt and I started last night at Walmart. This was a quick trip to buy sunscreen and tea bags. We used almost half of his $25 gift card from Swagbucks and another $2 he had earned from Shopkicks.  Total spent $0

I picked up Mom not so early this morning and we headed to Winston-Salem.

Our first stop was Ulta. Lily has extremely sensitive skin. Two years ago, we discovered a sunscreen that did not burn, sting or break her out, the only down side is that each tube cost $40 before tax and shipping. One of the other moms at the pool shared “Australian Gold Sunscreen” with us last weekend. Lily loved it. I found a sale at ULTA that was Buy One Get One Half Off. I purchased 2 containers of sunscreen for $21 or half the price I have been spending.

Next stop was Babies R Us. The  prices are currently 60% to 80% off.  I was totally shocked at the deals we found. I purchased 2 bibs, a cute outfit, a set of shoe socks,  a gift for a baby shower next week,5 birthday presents and a Christmas present. I also grabbed 4 sets of invitations.  total spent was $107.39 Total saved was $171.18

I had my rebate check from Costco so we headed over to grab my normal grocery list. After using the rebate check, I spent $44. The best deal of the day was a pair of water sandals for me for $4.97.

Our final stop was Harris Teeter. Matt won out with this trip. 12 pack of Mountain Dew cans were $2.74 each. He ended up with a total of 10 packs. I also grabbed Kraft Mac and cheese for $0.39 a box!

I am so excited to find all the summer deals today!

Almost Wordless Wednesday

Some pictures of the book box that Matt’s has made for Amanda’s Gender Reveal party on Sunday. The box was rescued from my parents house several years ago. We “think” it may have been my father’s tool box at work. Matt use all paint that we already had so total cost $0 but priceless after the paint job!

Monday Menu Plan 6/18/2018

This is a very different menu plan. The little kids are all away at camp this week. My initial plan was to throw my hands in the air and say “let’s go out to eat or make something for yourself.”  Fortunately, my frugal ways took over and I had to come up with a partial plan.

Breakfast- Saturday-frozen French toast , Sunday- Bacon, eggs and toast, Monday- toast with Nutella or peanut butter Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday- Choice of cereal, eggs or  grits. I am encouraging eggs as we were given 3 dozen by the neighbor.

Lunch- Saturday-chicken salad wrap at the pool  , Sunday- Baked ziti with friends. I have left over pizza and tuna helper or a salad for my lunch this week.

Dinner – Saturday- Cheeseburger pizza with homemade crust.   , Sunday-  Nachos Monday- Tuna Helper , Tuesday-  Steaks and twice baked potato, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday-free style- including left-overs.  We may eat out one night but I am debating that option.

Summer on a Budget

We are still working diligently to maintain our spending and increase our income.  However, it is summer time and we really enjoy the summer and all the fun activities that come with it. Here are the two secrets to creating a summer full of memories on a budget shoestring.
1. Plan AHEAD
2. Watch for specials.

Today was a great example of how we are enjoying our summer.  Each year the water park, Wet and Wild, that is about a 30 minute drive away, offers some awesome deals. The only problem is the best deals run from Black Friday till February.  We used the kids Christmas gift from Matt’s dad to purchase our season pass. We were able to purchase four everyday pass for the same price as one day of admission. In order to receive free parking, we upgraded Matt’s pass to priority which included parking and tickets to “bring a friend”. We also purchased refillable cups that can be used all season. We took our first trip to the water park today. I had planned ahead and packed lunchables in our cooler which waited in the car. We activated our season passes and got our refillable drink cups. I was pleasantly surprised to receive coupons with each of our season passes that included two additional refills on our cups. By planning ahead, we spent four hours enjoying the water park with no additional cost.

This morning, I received a text from Sonic with ice cream cones for fifty cent. After piano we stopped for a treat. $2.14 for four ice cream cones!

The kids are exhausted and very happy with our “awesomely fun day”

Five Things Friday 6/8/2018

  1. After much prayer and consideration, Matt is currently seeking a full time job. In the short term, he is picking up extra hours as they are available. Every extra dollar helps and I have to have a new budget in the next month or so that includes EVERYTHING that we need.
  2. Zach was invited to go to the beach with a friend this weekend.  This is his first real time away from family. I am hoping he has an awesome time but it is really quiet around here tonight.
  3. We have our first swim meet next Tuesday. I love to be outside and cheering on the kids.
  4. Bath and Body Works is currently running their semi-annual sale. I used the last little bit of my last bottle yesterday. I am so happy that I received both the orders I placed. I split up the order even though it costed more in shipping in order to use $10 off $40 for each order.
  5. I pre-purchased an additional 80lbs of chicken today. This order will not arrive until October. I also have ordered 40lbs that we will receive in July. The reason, I placed the second order is that I was able to purchase at $0.99 a lb. This is the lowest and best price. I am hoping between the two orders this will last us an year!