Monday Menu Planning

The goal for this week is to make it till Friday when my Spring Break begins. We are definitely starting to see some holes in the pantry and freezers especially where our convenient foods are usually.  On a positive note, we purchased a new grill on Friday of last week so we are definitely planning to use it a lot during the next fun and warm weeks of Spring! I will not be posting a menu plan for next week, I am going to fly by the seat of my pants and try to cook ahead so that should be interesting to say the least.

Breakfast- Saturday–  bagels, Sunday-bagels (we slept late) Monday-bagels, breakfast burritos found in the bottom of the freezer. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday– Choice of eggs, oatmeal, grits, cereal, or toast.
Lunch–Saturday- Hamburgers and French Fries  Sunday-Mexican with friends  Monday– soup  for everyone, Tuesday– Chicken salad lettuce wraps  , Wednesday-Thursday and Friday- soup or sandwiches.
Dinner – Saturday- KFC bowls, these were planned for Friday but we ate Raman Noodles instead. Sunday- Gifted left over pizza Monday-Spaghetti and Meatballs  Tuesday– Hot Dogs and Tator tots  Wednesday–Pulled pork with corn and broccoli  Thursday– Grilled Chicken and pasta salad  Friday- Eating out for Haley’s Birthday

Sunday CVS Shopping 3/17/2019

I am starting to see a cycle with CVS shopping.  The best sales are usually January and February with a huge slack off after that, It has been true again this year. I have gotten in the swing of checking out the CVS sales every week. I have skipped a few weeks of shopping just because they had little to nothing that I need or use in the stock pile to grab.

Last week, I was able to score both cans of Diet Coke and 2L on sale for my stock up price. I only buy 2L at or below $1 each and I stock up at seventy-nine cent each.  I was able to purchase a total of 6 case and 16 2L this past week. Even better is the rain check I got for 16 more 2 litters.

This week was a great week to shop CVS. I spent a total of $6.83 and saved $37.60 or 85%. I purchased 4 bottles of body wash and a bottle of mouthwash in addition to most of the candy I will use at Easter.  I used only 1 coupon for $1 off Irish Spring Body Wash.  The other savings came from using ECB and coupons from the red machine. I started the trip with $10 in ECB and ended with $7.45 in ECB.  They have changed the rules for earning ECB with beauty products but I am anticipating getting another $6 in rewards when I shop next week.  This makes grocery shopping so much cheaper in the long run!

Saving on Saturday 3/16/20199

The sun is finally shining in North Carolina on a Saturday. What does that mean? Time to wash all the sheets and bed covers so they can air dry. I am so excited. I was able to get 7 loads of sheets and comforters on the line. I did have to throw my mattress pad in the dryer for an hour  but overall saved at least 6 hours of dryer use! The best part is how amazing the sheets all smell!

Food Lion and Aldi are the only choices except for Walmart for grocery shopping so I rarely get excited about sales or clearance items. This week was the exception.  I found bags of flavored popcorn and cheese puffs on clearance for seventy-five cent each. I was able to grab 15 bags at this price!  Yes, I grabbed all the I could find!  Food Lion also had Lance crackers BOGO for $3.09 which works out to be twenty-six cent a pack. They are a great snack for the kids especially at ball games and for the pool. I was able to grab 12 packs at this price. CVS ran a sale last week for Coke products.  I am good for at least two months.  I now have spent exactly half of our grocery budget for March so I need to be careful with my future purchases.

I am hoping to reduce our out of pocket to less than $20 for the square foot garden this year. One way is to use seeds instead of purchasing plants for many of the items I plant. I have been collect packs of seeds for fifty cent over the past several weeks and also looked at what I have purchased in years past and plan to use as much as that as possible.  Lowes ran a sale this weekend on plants for 1.50 each which is a little less than half off. I grabbed 2 containers of broccoli and planted them as they need to be in the ground and produce before the heat arrives with summer. I also purchased 10 green pepper plants, these will take ALOT more work as I have to move inside at night and remember to set in the sun during the day.  If I am able to keep these alive until the last Spring frost usually mid to late April this will be a huge savings.  I am collecting gift cards from Swagbucks to help cover the other expenses of the garden. Free Food will taste awesome this summer!

Menu Planning on Tuesday

I am only one day late with this post and because the reason was the pictures from our kitchen, I don’t feel at all bad.  Last week turned out to be very interesting as Kendall was sick, my mom was sick and I ended up spending a lot of time not feeling great.  I did break down on Saturday and make a quick grocery store trip which push our grocery spending to $215 this month.  Thankfully, I have also been able to organize and re-arrange the freezers and I feel much better about the amount of food we have on hand these days.  We should easily make it until the end of the month before needing to grocery shop and we also have enough ground beef to last the rest of the year!  We are continuing to use items on hand and even try some new ideas!

Breakfast- Saturday– BLT biscuits, Sunday-Bagels  Monday Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday– Choice of eggs, oatmeal, grits, cereal, or toast.
Lunch–Saturday-  Pizza Sunday-Meatball vegetable soup (new and something we will repeat) Monday– Sandwich for kids and left-overs for me Tuesday– Soup , Wednesday-Thursday and Friday- Chicken nuggets and chicken salad wrap with leftover soup at least one day. We are out of uncrustables so the kids are having to think about lunches a little bit more. 
Dinner – Saturday-Gravy and biscuits and grits Sunday–Left-overs  Monday-Salisbury steak  Tuesday– Soft Tacos  Wednesday–Sweet Hawaiian beef (new)  Thursday– Spaghetti and meatballs Friday- KFC bowls 

Picture Heavy- New Bar/ Buffet

Where we started at:

Beginning frame work…

First painting …

Next came doors and a top

Final project…..

And my Favorite part….

Saving on Saturday- DIY cabinet

I have mentioned several times that we have been working in our dinning room to add a bar seating area and new cabinets. We were finally able to finish it this weekend!

I want to be really honest and say that one of the reasons we decided to build it ourselves was the fact, I wanted the drawer to be huge and functional.  I am going to share all the picture soon but today, I want to focus on the cost and savings  of this upgrade. Which it turned out perfect!

So now on to the savings-

Recycle/ Reused-paint from several years ago when we actually replaced all the cabinets.            – door pulls that we salvaged from the cabinets we replaced.
– at least one set of hinges from the old kitchen cabinets.

Gift Cards-
Each month Swagbucks offers the first gift card earned at a 12% or $3 discount. We also used 2 $10 Visa gift cards earned from Swagbucks to pay for items. 

Doing It Ourselves- 
I did mention that I wanted both the drawer and cabinet to be a specific size as one of the reasons we chose to do this improvement ourselves, it is also a cost saving measure as a cabinet alone is between $75 and $200 depending on the size and things you want included.

Now the cost-
Wood and Framing material from Lowes after gift cards- $64.54
Bar/Counter-top from IKEA -$138.35
Four Chairs from IKEA-$80

TOTAL cost- $282.89

This is a total win in my book as except for the flooring, the kitchen/dining room area finally looks and feels complete. I have lots of storage and can keep things neat and organized!

 

Random Tuesday Thoughts

  • We have spent more money on “unexpected medical cost ” in the past month than in the past 2 years. Matt had an infection under his crown, $17 prescription and $129 dentist bill, Lily had strep throat, $40 co pay and $5 prescription and Kendall has a virus that has kept her out of school for the past 2 days $40 co pay.
  • I am becoming more and more frustrated this month as I am tracking every dollar we are spending. We currently have spent $267 in the past 8 days. There is only one day in that time period that has been a no spending day.  $99 of that is gas and $40 for a copay. The rest of the list is wants not needs.  I am planning to continue until the last week of the month. I am really surprised at the amount of money we are spending and how fast it is leaving my accounts.
  • I spent some time this weekend and have planned out most of the square foot garden. We are going to try something different this year, planting/starting most of it from seeds instead of buying plants. I have been collecting seeds at fifty cent a pack over the past several month and will also be using seeds that I have stored for the past couple of years. I am going to over sow the area as well and may have to weed out some plants but this still appears to be cheaper option than purchasing the plants. I do need to buy probably 4-5 bags of soil to add to some of the beds but I have decided against buying the expensive $18 a bag and plan to use gift cards from Swagbucks to purchase at Lowes.
  • We have started 2 separate grocery list, one for Costco and one for Aldi/Walmart. I think that I have finally gotten everyone on board with the no grocery shopping until the end of the month. We ended up using French fries last night for the breakfast casserole because we were out of both hash browns and tater tots.
  • Hopefully Matt will get the buffet/ bar finished this weekend, we have had a delay in progress due to the weather and another delay due to items not being ready at Lowes.

Monday Menu Post

The focus of the month of March, is to use what we have and keep grocery spending to a bare minimum until the last week of the month. I did go out and check to make sure that we have all the ingredients to complete our meal plan for the month. I am going to only post by the week because we still need some flexibility to change plans as our taste and needs change. We are also using a lot of pre-made meals this month in order to be able to clean out and re-organize the freezer in anticipation of restocking most of the meals.
Breakfast- Saturday– Sausage egg and cheese bagels, Sunday-Matt and Zach; Men’s Breakfast and Sheila and Kendall enjoy a meal out. Lily is at a youth retreat. Monday Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday– Choice of eggs, oatmeal, grits, cereal, or toast.
Lunch–Saturday- Homemade Cheeseburger Pizza Sunday-Grilled Cheese sandwiches Monday– Left-overs for everyone, Tuesday– Soup , Wednesday-Thursday and Friday- uncrustables for the kids. I have a salad for one day and left-overs.
Dinner – Saturday-Left-overs (yes we have cleaned out most of the fridge at this point. Sunday–Instapot Potato Soup Monday-Breakfast casserole Tuesday– Chicken Enchiladas Wednesday–Chicken pot pie Thursday– Pepper Steak Friday- quick tortellini pasta

February in Review

February was a great month, I feel like we have actually figured out our busy schedules and I have begun to enjoy some of the extra time I have in the evenings.  Swagbucks was a much better earner this month that I expected. In total we earned $135! We also cashed in and used $4 in Walmart gift cards from Shopkicks.

We did much better sticking to a meal plan for the month. I also have reduced our grocery bill to $175 for the month!

We continue with a huge gas expense and ended up with putting brakes on the red car.

Unfortunately, we did not reduce our overall debt in the month of February but I am planning to write down each dollar spent in March to determine where the extra money is going.

I have continued with completing either Bible study or reading at least 3 times a week!

I did not use the treadmill this month, but I am really surprised at how much walking I actually do each day.

Blogging: I have posted 11  times this month.  This is a small increase from January but does not still meet my goal of 15 a month.

PLANS: I have a week of Spring Break at the end of March. The kids will all still have regular school hours so I am planning to get ahead of lots of cooking, get a pedicure and hair color as well. I will also need to make a large grocery trip.