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!

Wordless Wednesday (Almost)

We were out pulling weeds and watering this afternoon. Zach’s quote “This is a lot of work for food.”

Menu Plan Monday-6/4/2018

As I was searching for the last menu plan, I realized I have not posted once since March. I am seriously hoping to get back on track in June with blogging in addition to everything else. 

This is another busy/usual week for us. This past weekend, the kids went camping with Amanda so our eating has been way off.  Lily finishes school on Wednesday, Kendall and Zach finish on Friday. Zach’s baseball team starts a tournament tonight and will play each night until they lose.   We have quick and easy meals most of the week.  I also purchased lunchables for less than $1 each several weeks ago. These make school lunches so much easier and quicker in the mornings.

Breakfast- Saturday-grits , Sunday- Bacon, eggs and hashbrowns , Monday Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday- Choice of cereal, eggs, pancakes, grits or pop-tarts  Thursday- Baked oatmeal

Lunch- Saturday-chicken nuggets  , Sunday- Costco. Lunchables for the kids and I plan to eat at work several days. My favorite sandwich is on the menu and I am treating myself.

Dinner – Saturday- Arby’s  , Sunday- Shrimp scampi Monday- Chicken Nuggets with French Fries , Tuesday- Soft tacos/burritos Wednesday-Spaghetti with meatballs , Thursday- Mongolian beef? or left overs , Friday- hamburger helper.

 

Saving on Saturday-6/2

I am so excited to share this.  Amanda and three little kids are camping and rafting down the Dan River this weekend. I am getting some pictures and it looks like a lot of fun.  I have been putting off some much needed spring cleaning tasks for several months and this house is starting to look like a hoarder lives here.  I am going to go ahead and admit that the plastic totes from our yard sale were still sitting empty in the living room.  That makes this weekend a perfect time to get some cleaning and organizing done. I decide to tackle the closet in the living room on Thursday. I was pleasantly surprise at how good it looked afterwards.  Did you ever read the book “If you give a Mouse a Cookie?”   This is exactly how my life works.  If you clean out the Living room closet and takes something to the Linen closet, you realize how bad it is and you must clean it.   I was actually able to make a huge difference in the Linen closet using storage bags and rearranging plastic containers. I ended up moving a plastic drawer set from my shower room closet. Did you guess?  Next up was the closet in the shower room.  This is actually a closet that I see daily, so it was one of the cleanest and neatest but I did a little bit of straightening. I decided to move the vacuum into this closet to make it easier to get to out for the kids this summer. I opened the “extra closet” in the dining room to get the vacuum and here is where the real work and savings began.

I, first, should explain that this closet is the access to the garden tub in our master bedroom, and it is also the original front door to the house.  I have always “envisioned” this as an extra storage space. After Matt finished working, I shared my idea with him. The biggest challenge was that we really did not have any money to put toward this project. I am happy to say, we salvaged some wood and nails from my parents house/building last year and it worked awesome for this project.

Empty

full

Next we removed an organizer from the laundry room, to allow for more space. Relocated a shelving unit to the corner and add more storage for our food supply.  Matt and I both spent several hours and ideas but finally were able to re-use the wood from the laundry organizer and some screws that we claimed from my dad’s building.

I am super excited that we actually finished all this! No food is left sitting in the floor and we also moved the plastic totes.   Total time spent was around 12 hours on Saturday.  Total out of pocket $0 (ZERO)!

Five Things Friday 6/01/2018

Did you hear that sigh of relief? Do you have a clue what it means for us?

  1. This is the month, that we hopefully final get our feet back on solid ground. In addition, we are actively seeking ways to increase our overall income as well.  My prayers is that by the end of June, we will have significantly increased our income and can adjust our budget accordingly.
  2. The square foot garden should been to produce. We currently are able to harvest lettuce, basil and cilantro. I hope to add at least cucumber and squash to the mix by the end of the month.
  3. Matt and I will have some “alone” time this month.  For dinner tonight, we used a gift card and enjoy a large meal at Applebee’s. Total spent was $11! Amanda has taken all the kids with her camping this weekend.  All three kids are planning to attend our church camp which be for the entire third week of June.  Currently, I have scheduled myself an additional 10 hours the week they are gone to camp. This weekend, my plans are to finish up some spring cleaning and relax.
  4. School ends for Lily next Wednesday. Zach and Kendall will both finish on Friday. This summer will be a definite change as Matt will be working one or more days. We get to start using our “Wet and Wild” pass for the summer. I am hoping to go twice in the month of June alone.
  5. I am finally feeling caught up. I still have several things I would like to accomplish around the house but they are all things that are simple items that will just keep things moving smoothly.

Thanks for sticking with us!

May in Review

This has been a long EXPENSIVE month. I am so excited to say goodbye to May and hello to June. Matt and I both are still working on increasing our income and hopefully we can start to see increases in the month of June.

Financial- This is the worst month this year in regards to finances. The good news is that I receive an “extra” paycheck in June. My goal is to reset and hopefully get our feet back on steady ground. I blogged here  about most of the expenses. I was not able to cover them all but we are still eating and floating so I am so thankful to head to another month.
Total paid to credit card debit $1173 total, however this did not produce an reduction Instead we increased our overall debit by almost $600.
Grocery budget $475- Total spent $608.08. Yikes, It happened again and this does not include our cow purchase. I checked and we have been over budget in this year for 5 out of 6 months. I need to take a good look at this for the next 2 months and may in reality need to increase this to a larger more realistic number. We are well stocked and I would love to say we are planning to spend much less this month but I honestly think the kids are growing and we are eating more.
Gas budget- $280- Spent $285. This does not include the inspection, or tags on Matt’s van.  I also plan to re-evaluate this during the next two months and may increase if needed.
Kid/Summer expenses : Camp deposit, swim team, baseball games and we are not even going to talk about the medical expenses.
Earned $75-this is the lowest month to date. I am somewhat frustrated but extra is extra so we will continue to attempt to use whatever we can get.
Personal-
Blogging- 9 for the month. No goal met here either
Exercise- 0 total days for the month.

This is real life and just because we have a bad month does not mean we stop working. I am super disappointed but I lived the real struggle this month.  I am praying and holding steady for better times ahead.

5 Things Friday 5/25/2018

  1. I have a 3 day weekend! WOO HOO I am so excited to have at least one day to stay at home!
  2. Our square foot garden is thriving. I am so very hopeful at this point. We have enjoyed lots of lettuce and some basil. I am excited to watch everything grow but even more excited when we start eating out of the garden.
  3. Our freezer is once again full. Matt picked up our 890 of beef on Tuesday. Our chest freezer was a great fit. We have spent several hours cooking, so far we have 13 bags of cooked grounded beef.  32 beef and bean burritos, 12 meals of Salisbury steaks and 5 meals of sloppy joes (minus the buns).
  4. May has been a slow and expensive month. I am holding on tight to make it till June. We are definitely over budget with both gas and groceries for the month.
  5. Lily has not had an episode in almost 2 weeks (Sunday). This is a huge praise in our books.