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!

Saving on Saturday 3/17/2018

I mentioned yesterday that we had purchased a trailer of mulch. The cost of the mulch was $15. I was totally amazed at the amount of mulch that we received. Here is a picture of the trailer AFTER I worked on spread for a couple of hours on Friday night.

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This was a picture of the mulch uncovered about half way through Saturday. F04326A2-961B-4E22-97B5-3DD6D659BC09

I have never purchased mulch this way before. I am used to purchasing by the bag at Lowes.  I would have been able to purchase approximately 7 bags at Lowes during the best sale which is $2 a bag. This was ALOT of mulch. We were able to apply mulch to all 3 flower bed around the house in addition to the two areas in front of the building and the new area I started in front of the kids play house.

8FAE3612-7839-48E7-A581-43F5C55CAFDC57878C0A-03E0-47E6-9DC4-B9A4B5CD62EFFinally I decided to add mulch around the square foot garden and mulch in the area directly beside several of the beds. I have been doing some research and the mulch should help maintain the temperature better, hold water and prevent weeds.

E46F18F3-8B5C-4FE1-8ABA-913F6A383F0E 0AE1EE75-92D9-4434-90C3-8D57D61F9780 EA87F234-42A5-4F78-B7FC-7EE2F7774505I will admit defeat, I was unable to use the entire trailer of mulch, left approximately a fourth of the mulch for someone else.  It did take a lot of effort or more accurately plain old hard work but we saved over $200 in mulch.

Saving On Saturday 02/03/2018

I am super excited to share about my trip to Harris Teeter.  I receive the weekly email but often delete it before checking it out, however this week the 12 pack of Cokes for $1.99 caught my eye.  I also was glad that I found packs of shredded cheese for $0.99 each. I stocked up on my limit of 10 and may have convinced by Mother to purchase another 8 on her card. The other really exciting part of this trip was that they are doubling coupons up to $2 this week. This is the most I have saved!

By the numbers:
Total before VIC Card and coupons $176.18
VIC savings                                       $126.20
Coupon Savings                                $19.98
Total Savings                                    $146.18
Total spent                                        $57.30
Saving Percent                                  77%

 

 

Monday Menu Plan- 10/16/2017

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.

Saving on Saturday 9/23/2017

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The first way I am saving is the easiest and I have blogged about it several times. I am staying at home. Even if I decide to run out just to grab one item, I am 100 times more likely to spend money than if I simply stay at home.  I should also add that I am avoiding online shopping as well. Unless I find a deal that is below stock up price I simply do not shop.

I am saving time and money both my cooking ahead. This morning, since we are at home. I made a batch of Breakfast Burrito bowls. Totally cost for at least 3 mornings of breakfast for all of us $4. I was able to use green pepper from the garden which helped reduce the cost. The kids love Banana Chip Bites. These are basically milk and bananas blend and frozen in muffin tins. They also add chocolate chips to make them special. My using bananas that were previously frozen, this makes a really cheap breakfast or desert. Some of our other favorite for cooking ahead right now are meatloaf muffins and chicken enchiladas.

The final way I am saving money this Saturday is by shopping my pantry and freezers. I am trying to dramatically reduce our grocery budget over the last several month of this year. In order to accomplish this I am trying to make sure I use what is in our freezers and pantry. I headed out to the building this morning to bring up stew beef, cubed steak, roast, ground beef, chicken and chicken fried rice.  We have a menu plan but I usually don’t plan ahead for weekends or Thursdays. This gives us a chance to eat up leftovers or be a little bit more creative, the only problem is that I forget what we actually have in  the freezers. This morning I brought up several items that are not on the plan but that I can use to create a meal. I also made sure to restock our snack drawers and found three additional boxes of pasta that can be used over the next several months. I know myself well enough to realize that if my freezer’s are full than I won’t “think” I need to go shopping even if that is really not the case. At least for the next week or so, I know we have plenty of food so I will continue to try and use what we have to make meals.

5 Things Friday 9/22/2017

  1. Matt has started a part time job.  It is a huge change for us, but so far the first week has not been bad. I am thinking that as long as we all work together it will be a smooth transition.
  2. Kendall is hoping to have her braces removed prior to our trip to Disney, in order for this to happen, we are having new wires and/or tightening every 3 weeks. This time she had a difficult time with the process and is back to eating soft food only.
  3. The temperatures have jumped back in the eighties so our air condition is on. The good news is that our bill for October is down $25 so at least that is helping. Hopefully in the next month we can turn off the air for good.
  4. Lily informed me on Saturday that she only had 3 pair of shorts. We headed to Goodwill and found 5 additional pair for $11.46 a HUGE saving for us.
  5. Zach is playing baseball again so we now added to our schedule 2 games and a practice for the next 6 weeks…. Life is busy!

Monday Menu Planning 9/11/2017

This week we started our normal busy lives, we are still in a bit of flux as we are not sure of Matt’s work schedule or Zach’s baseball schedule yet.

Breakfast: Saturday-Bacon, eggs biscuits and grits. Sunday- left-over French toast and left- over biscuits and gravy. Monday- Cereal, Tuesday- choices, Wednesday- choices, Thursday- scrambled bowls, Friday- Baked oatmeal (maybe it will be pumpkin?) Choices include: eggs, grits, left-overs, pancakes, French toast, toast or cereal. 

Lunch- Saturday- Sandwiches, Sunday- Taco Soup. We were able to pack the kids lunches on Sunday, which included taco soup, grab and go, sandwich, chicken nuggets and wrap. I packed 2 salads that Lily and I will share and I hope to start taking some leftovers soon. 

Dinner- Saturday- Sausage, peppers and onions on rolls and French fries, Sunday- taco soup or left overs. Monday- Broccoli-chicken casserole, Tuesday- steak Fatijia and Mexican rice. Wednesday- Spaghetti, Thursday- undecided? I am thinking this will depend on the weather? Friday- beef and broccoli

A plan always makes things easier. 

 

August in Review

The weather outside makes it easier to remember fall is just around the corner. And another positive note is that I see small progress.

Debit Reduction:  Failure
Summer is always a tough season for us in regards to spending. Accountability is going to make me get these number down.
Blog Post: Fail
This is post number 14 for the month. I am back to steadily increasing  I should hope to get back on a minimal of 15.  I did some checking and this is actually the closest I have came to meeting this goal in a long time maybe even this year.

Days on Treadmill or Walking for Disney: 16
Water walking days-1
I am so excited to see this being met. I hope to continue in the next couple of months as well.

Groceries- Fail!  We spent a total of $792.17.  I am hoping that we can manage a couple (or 3) months of low grocery bills in order to get us back on track.

Gas: Goal Met! We spent $211.35 for gas including filling both our vans today (31st) in anticipation of a price jump and maybe shortage.

Earnings:  August ended up being a good extra money month of us. We had a week break for our beach trip in addition to being out of data for the final week of the month which really affected MPlaces.
Swagbucks: $75 for Me, $105 for Matt
MPlaces/Cricket Rewards:  $10
Shopkicks: $10
Total for the month $200!

I am choosing to celebrate the small gains this month with extra money and gas budget met. I can also see progress toward all the other areas so even if we did not met this goal we are making progress.