November in Review

I know very well how quickly things can change but November gave us a good reminder of just how change affects everything. My goal for November was to reduce spending basically a no spend month. Sounded like a reasonable goal with the focus on paying off all the bills by the end of year. Just three days into November and we learned that Matt would be losing his job. After looking at our situation, some prayer and as the shock wore off, we decided to first sell the van and try to arrange our lifestyle to live on what income we could be certain would be available. I am thankful that it really will not be a difficult adjustment. Things are different but not awful.

Groceries– budget amount is $650.   $484 I have already been purchasing some items for Lily’s party.  I also did some stocking up on drinks and other things that I wanted to have on hand.  I am not sure what the month of December holds as far as groceries but I know that starting in January and lasting until Matt has steady employment is to reduce the grocery budget to $50 a week which or $200 a month for fresh veggies and bread only.  I may try to do this as well in December after Lily’s party.

Auto/ Gas / Insurance. My goal is $400 a month. $385.80.   Met! One of the big downsides to the new Tahoe is the gas mileage of 15 miles per gallon. We are trying to be diligent about driving it only when needed. The Equinox gets awesome gas mileage and we can drive as much as we need without a second thought.  I am going to keep the goal the same with alot of monitoring at this point.

Cash Envelope system-  Goal not  met!  This goal becomes one of the most important part of our budgeting system. It is no longer a choice but a requirement.

Goal #4- Blogging- 15 post per monthGoal Met! This is post number 15

Goal # 5- Fitness– Goal is to exercise of some type at least 10 days a month.  Nope Naa

Goal #6 – Bible study- Goal-  Read or Listen to the entire Bible in a year. Need to find something to get started on this.

Earnings– Cashed out Ibbota for $28 and fetch for $3, with another 7 currently in the account, I am waiting to cash out at 10 this time. Verizon for $5. Total $36 free money this month!

No Spend Days– Did not keep up with this as it just was too difficulty.  I worked hard to make sure things were paid. I know we had 1 day of no spend and even that is an improvement over zero.

We had some unusual expenses during this month. We also spent a ton of money but in the end, I have been able to balance out most things. We are ending the month with a brand new Tahoe, new to us camper and a huge drive way!  Most of this was covered by Matt’s inheritance so we are grateful.  We also have to figure out how to cover the expense of Lily’s car.

I know of at least one more project that we want to finish which is some better organization in our closet.   We also have our first camping trip planned for December. And best of all is CHRISTMAS!

Menu Planning Monday

This is the first real week that we are going to try eat from the freezers and pantry.  The grocery budget for this week is going to be spent on Lily’s party.

Breakfast– Saturday-left-overs.  Sunday-Biscuits   Monday, Tuesday, figure it out!  Wednesday, Thursday, Friday-choice of breakfast muffins, eggs, pop-tarts, sausage, oatmeal, cereal or grits, breakfast burritos, or omelets.
Lunch- – Saturday-Outback for the girls   Sunday- Cracker Barrel. Left-overs, pizza and soup should work for most of the week.
Dinner- – Saturday-Pizza Sunday- Left-overs. Monday- Cowboy beans Tuesday-soft tacos   Wednesday-Chicken nuggets and FF Thursday- Cube steak and mashed potatoes     Friday-Baked potato bar at Lily’s party.

5 Things Friday

  1. Wow how things change yet they remain the same.  Last Thanksgiving, Matt and I both had COVID-19. At least we were on the recovery side but still it was not fun.  We missed Thanksgiving almost completely.  This year we celebrated at my brothers for a big family lunch. Haley and her crew spent the night at our house.  Today, we find out that Braxton’s father has COVID so Amanda and Braxton will be spending the next 7 days with us.
  2. I wanted to decorate outside this year. Zach has complained for the past two years that we leave his window dark.  We spent a couple hours on Wednesday and finished up yesterday. I saw or heard the idea of using tomato cages for Christmas trees so we now have 4 small trees on our front yard as well. I  am planning to get some pictures to post this week.
  3. Lily really enjoys decorating especially trees. So I let her do most of the tree decorating and fluffing. We have 2 large trees along with each kid has a smaller tree in their room.
  4. I really did not do any Black Friday shopping this year. I did order from Bath and Body Works on Thanksgiving and a white shirt for Zach from Amazon today.
  5. Lily turns 16 in a week.

Wordless Wednesday

Lily says the lighting in the Tahoe is amazing….

Monday Menu Post

Things will look a little different this week because of Thanksgiving. I wish I could just plan to eat left-overs Thursday and Friday but this will not be happening around here. I will be taking the turkey to my brothers on Thursday but seriously doubt we have any left-overs from it. I actually have another turkey breast in the freezer that I might make if the mood is right. Haley and Amanda will both be over on Thursday night for our appetizers and most likely Friday morning for breakfast.  Lunch on Friday will be a find it. Dinner on Friday might be a homemade pizza or it may be left-overs depending on what the fridge looks like.

Breakfast– Saturday-Eggs and hash brown casserole (new recipe).  Sunday- Biscuit King   Monday, Tuesday, figure it out!  Wednesday- planning on a pumpkin baked oatmeal.  Thursday sausage and cream cheese crescent rolls, Friday-choice of breakfast muffins, eggs, pop-tarts, sausage, oatmeal, cereal or grits, breakfast burritos, or omelets.
Lunch-  Saturday–Left-overs including cheddar bacon fries.  Sunday-Greggs .  I have planned to take 2 bowls of soup for Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday- cheese quesadilla, Thursday- Thanksgiving, Friday left-overs or pizza
Dinner-  Saturday-left-overs   Sunday- Broccoli-Cheese soup.   Monday- Hamburgers and FF  Tuesday-Chicken and Dumplings in the crockpot.  Wednesday- Left-overs Thursday- Appetizers.     Friday-Good questions seriously!

5 Things Friday

  1. Matt has been working on getting the greenhouse functional this week which including install shelves to hold the planter boxes. We had originally screwed the plastic boxes to the wall and some had already started to crack with the weather change. We are running a small heater at night which has increased our overall electricity usage so this is something we will need to monitor.
  2. We planted 8 more boxes with more fall vegetables. I am hopefully that we will be able to have a mid-winter harvest that carries into the spring. It does appear that some of the lose leaf lettuce has already started to grow.
  3. Matt was able to try a new recipe this week for Impossible Cheeseburger Pie.  Matt, Lily and Zach really liked it. Kendall said it tasted like beef. This will definitely be a repeat for us!  I also found a breakfast recipe that I am going to try in the morning!
  4. We have NOWHERE that we have to go tomorrow. My plan is to work on cooking as much as possible for next week so that I can spend the extra time working on Christmas decorations!
  5. Food Lion finally has a sale on 2 Liter Diet Cokes!   I have already stocked up on 30 with plans to add at least another 10 this weekend.

Menu Planning Monday

Things should start to settle in this week. Matt is officially unemployed and we are in the space between sports and holidays.   With some extra time off last week, I feel like I am caught up. The idea is to eat at home and use up left-overs.  I am trying to decide how to use the left-overs better. I usually do not plan for lunches or dinners on the weekends but since I have some spare time I like cooking  so I might try a left-over evening a week?  Any suggestions?

Breakfast– Saturday-Eggs, bacon and toast. Sunday- Apple cinnamon baked oatmeal   Monday- Banana muffins, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday-choice of breakfast muffins, eggs, pop-tarts, sausage, oatmeal, cereal or grits, breakfast burritos, or omelets.  We have managed to use up all the eggs so back to more traditional and quicker breakfast.
Lunch-  Saturday–Left-overs  Sunday-Christo’s . I am taking several days of left-over turkey and fixing this week as well as a day of Chinese left-overs.  If I have a plan I don’t end up eating out as much.
Dinner-  Saturday-Chill cookoff and McDonalds for the non-chili eaters.     Sunday- Turkey, mashed potato, gravy, stuffing, squash casserole and rolls.  Monday- Beef and broccoli and rice  Tuesday-Soft Taco.  Wednesday- Impossible Cheeseburger Pie Thursday- Rice Creola     Friday-Chicken and dumplings

5 Ways We Are Preparing for Unemployment

  1.  We decided to sell your Toyota Minivan.  We were planning to keep it as an extra vehicle and  to use for trips with my Mom.  After much discussion and given the fact that unemployment will be less than half of Matt’s normal salary. We decided to go ahead and sell.  We got an online offer from CarMax and made an appointment. We spent a total of 1 hour for the entire process in the store and walked out the door with a check for $10,600.
  2. Paid off every little last debit, we could find or knew about for the next six months. This included things like garbage bill, taxes, tags and inspections as well as a couple of small medical bills. We also went ahead and paid all of the credit card balances to zero. I have been using some of the no interest promos combining with paying off the amounts as they come due.  I felt like by going ahead and paying everything to zero, it would be easier to start and use a cash only system. We will continue to use our Sheetz card for gas as it reduces the cost by 8 cent a gallon. We have a set amount of $500 to pay each month on this.
  3. Finished purchasing Christmas presents. I actually already had 3/4 of it completed but this was the push I needed to finish.
  4. Took inventory and completely stocked up on groceries. We added items for appetizers and things we might only use for the Super Bowl as well to this list.  I need to make a Dollar Tree run for body wash. We will still need to purchase bread, diary and vegetable items.  My goal is to reduce the grocery budget to $300 a month which is half of what we currently are spending.  In reality, I may be able to reduce it down to $200 a month after November.
  5. Established an emergency fund. This is placed in a money market account which is still easy to access but separate from our normal savings accounts.

Thankful Thursday

Today I am thankful for some extra time off from work.   When I worked at the hospital, Veteran’s Day was not considered a holiday of any shape or fashion.  At the school system today is definitely a holiday.  I had some extra time today to spend at church preparing for the fundraiser this weekend. We all enjoyed a special treat with a lunch out.   Matt and I made a grocery store trip.  Finally haircuts for all of us!