Summer Goal!

I finally feel like an adult!  Yes I am 52 years old with 5 kids and grandkids but I finally did something that is very adult. We purchased a new car without a hassle or worry about whether we can afford it?

Let me give you the back story.   Lily was accepted into the Disney College Program. She will be at Disney working and taking college classes from Aug to January 2nd.  She purchased her 2007 PT Cruiser about 5 years ago. It is a cute little car and perfect for driving around in Lexington and the surrounding area.   I would not feel comfortable with her driving even 30 minutes to and from work each day. Kendall is turning 16 this summer and will need a car to drive in Lexington and the surrounding area.  So after some prayer and discussion, between Matt and I we decided that it would work best if I purchased a new car.  Kendall purchased Lily’s car for fair market value, this money became a down payment for my Equinox .  LIly will be paying $50 a month for the Equinox until she gets a real job and can make a real car payment.

I have known about the need to purchase a new car for several months and even put it on my list of goals for the summer.

But life happens and the timeline to purchase a car has become very urgent.    On Monday, I found and purchased a 2022 Nissan Rogue.  This was a fairly easy process.

Second goal for the summer has been met.

Saving on Saturday- Pantry Challenge

Each year #threeriverschallenge (a youtube channel I LOVE) host a pantry challenge for the months of January and February.  I usually attempt to participate in January only.  This year I have decided that we will attempt to participate in both January and February.   To be completely honest, we did not start the challenge until January 3rd because of our travels.  I did run to the store on Wednesday 1/3 to grab milk and cream cheese, spending a total of $10.  My goal for the challenge is spend less than $150 over the next two month not including my subscribe and save from Amazon.  I did start to prepare the kids on the way home but to be honest we are so fully stocked right now it will take a good couple of weeks if not a month for anyone to notice that I am not buying new items.

I have gone thru my subscribe and save on Amazon, reducing my scheduled delivery from 25 items to 5 items for a total of $72.97.   I will do this again in February as well.  I am hopeful that we have enough lunch grab and go items to make it but I may need to keep some of those in the subscribe and save.   My plan is to set aside $500 each month for the purchase of a side of beef.  The remaining monies will be used for medical debit from last year.

This past week, I focused on simple easy meals. Wednesday night, I made pepper steak in the crock pot and also made some rice.  Thursday night we had tomato soup and grilled cheese.  We used sour dough bread from the freezer for our sandwiches. Friday was spaghetti and meatballs.

As I was thinking on Friday, I remembered that we have 4 more whole chickens in the chest freezer outside.  I sent Lily down to find one and start it defrosting in a sink of cold water.  I came home and used the instant pot to cook the entire chicken. Last night I separated the meat and bones.  The bones and skin were thrown in a crockpot with water to make a delicious batch of broth.   This morning I started the cut up chicken, 2 onions and 7 cups of potatoes in a huge stock pot on the stove. I am making a batch of my Dad’s chicken stew   this is really a labor of love, as it requires almost 4 hours of cooking. My plan is chicken stew for lunch and dinner. I will also be freezing at least one additional if not two additional meals. I am hopefully for a couple of lunch as well but we will see.

My plan is to discuss the pantry challenge each week in one of two ways. If it is as simple as what we are eating with very little to no spending I will include in Monday menu planning. If something requires a bit of explanation then I will do a separate post likely on Saturday.

Are you participating?

August in Review

August is sort of a sad month. I have to end my summer break and head back to work. This year we decided to add some last-minute fun and headed to Florida to visit Haley and David for a 5-day trip. It was just what we needed!  September is a month of change with football and pool closing and the ending of the summer garden.

Groceries- Budget = $975.   $775.74   Goal met! My freezers are full! We have lots and lots of prepared food!   I am going to change this goal for September until December to $475 a month to help reduce our overall debit. I will also be buying only items we need but buying a re-stocking amount.

Auto/ Gas. Goal -= $600.  Goal not Met!  We have spent $651.19 this month. This was mainly our trip to Florida. No regrets. I am expecting that this amount be reduced by half to $300 a month with Matt’s driving cut down my more than half. However, I will not change the official goal until December.

Blogging- 15 post per month.  12 post this month.  Trying to live in the moment and enjoy more than posting. I am better in August but need to step up my game!

Exercise-  5 days of exercise makes this an ok month.  I am going to try and continue walking one day a week.

Summer Goals- These were established in June so this will be a good way to keep up with where I am at.  I will say that we ended up cleaning and organizing both Matt’s building and the dinning room closet.  I did not meet all these goals but I am proud of what I accomplished!

  1. Get 100 dinner meals and an assortment of other food items prepared for simple cook and eat meals.   Goal reached! Now to enjoy the hard work.
  2. Organize the office and shred any paperwork that is no longer current and relevant.  I need to go through and shred the items in the top drawer but otherwise this is almost complete. Still have one more drawer to shred!
  3. Redo our master spreadsheet.   No progress
  4. Organize and delete pictures from my phone in order to free up space.- Goal met! Next I need to work on my photo books.
  5. Earn a $50 gift card from Fetch.  I am almost 75% there!  This is taking a long long time. I am going to continue to save for this $50 goal!

I have a few things on my to do list for September but will share as they happen!

Summer Goals

Today was my last day of summer break.  I actually used a sick day today because Zach had dental work done this morning.  After today, I am working full time at the schools.  I established these goals in June.  I am actually impressed and pleased with everything that we got accomplished this summer.

  1. Get 100 dinner meals and an assortment of other food items prepared for simple cook and eat meals.   I have 87 “homemade meals” in addition to cans of supper and several other items that we can combine for dinner. GOAL MET!
  2. Organize the office and shred any paperwork that is no longer current and relevant.  I need to go through and shred the items in the top drawer but otherwise this is almost complete.  I did not get to work on this but I am very pleased with where we are!
  3. Redo our master spreadsheet.   No progress. Not Met!
  4. Organize and delete pictures from my phone in order to free up space.- Actually finished up this today. My phone is down to 350 pictures, I now need to order photo books from the ipad.
  5. Earn a $50 gift card from Fetch.  I am almost 75% there!  Sitting at 30000 points so not met.

July in Review

July is one of my favorite times of the year.  I have the entire month of summer break!  Ad of today, I have 17 days left until I return to work.  I do have some fun plans for August, but I also have alot of task that need to be completed before I return to school. I have just started with massive food perseveration from the garden.  This year has also been different due to Matt losing his job the last day of June.

Groceries- Budget = $975.   $1090.77   Goal not met!  I am working to stock the freezer for the school year. My thought is that everything will even out in a couple of months.

Auto/ Gas. Goal -= $600.  Goal Met!  We have spent $359.02 this month. Matt and I are both driving less. This does include our trip to Oak Island and also the trip to Atlanta.

Blogging- 15 post per month.  10 post this month.  Trying to live in the moment and enjoy more than posting. I will be better in August.

Exercise-  7 days of exercise makes this the best month this year! We also have a YMCA membership through Lily so I am going to hope to continue this trend.

Summer Goals- These were established in June so this will be a good way to keep up with where I am at.  I will say that we ended up cleaning and organizing both Matt’s building and the dinning room closet.  Next up is painting the living room.

  1. Get 100 dinner meals and an assortment of other food items prepared for simple cook and eat meals.   I currently have 52 dinner meal. Not sure I will hit 100 but I am going to be close.
  2. Organize the office and shred any paperwork that is no longer current and relevant.  I need to go through and shred the items in the top drawer but otherwise this is almost complete.
  3. Redo our master spreadsheet.   No progress
  4. Organize and delete pictures from my phone in order to free up space.- I may need to make this a yearly goal.
  5. Earn a $50 gift card from Fetch.  I am almost 75% there!  Slowly but surely this is working.

August here we come!

Tuesday Thoughts- Groceries and Summer Goals

When we returned home, I knew that I wanted to get busy on preparing food for the school year which is one of my summer goals.  I was very hopeful that we would return to a ton of ripe tomatoes. That did not happen but I still knew this was one of the weeks that I wanted to focus on getting things in the freezer.  Sunday morning Matt and I went to the store. I had planned to re-stock our pantry and see what deals I could find.   I was so excited to find that Food Lion had lots of good things on sale.  One item that I wanted to get in the freezer this week was at least 4 Baked ziti.   Without tomato sause I did not think that was possible. Buy 2 Get one Free made the Ragu jars $1.33 each so we purchased 12.  The ziti pasta was on sale for 54 cents along with a 25 cent digital coupon!  English muffins were BOGO and we found sausage patties on clearance. This was probably one of the high spending single trips to Food Lion in 2 years or more. I spent $201. But this should assist with 12 dinner meals and at least 3 breakfast meals.

Monday morning this summer have included a trip to the Bargain store as everything is $3.  Followed by grocery shopping with my Mom.  I had planned to grab a couple of items that are usually cheaper there.  What I did not plan to grab was chicken breast. These were on sale for $2.29 a pound. I decided to go ahead and stock up. I ended up spending $78 at Aldi with over $50 of that in Chicken breast. I came home and with help from the kids I bagged up 2 bags of Italian chicken for the grill, 1 bag of chicken teriyaki and 5 bags with 2# pounds each. We also started Pineapple Chicken in the crockpot for dinner.

Today I have spent most of the day chopping veggies. Matt and I made philly cheese steak casserole (one for dinner and one to freeze). I will also get omelet bags in the freezer this afternoon.  Tomorow the plan is to make 5 Baked Zitis. We also got 15 English muffins in the freezer yesterday!

It feels awesome to be able to work toward a goal and stay on budget!

5 Things Friday

  1. This is my first full week of summer break. Unfortunately we have spent more time than usual inside due to the weather.  Kendall said it best today after we spent some time at the pool. “It finally feels like summer.”
  2. I don’t know if I mentioned it recently, but I really LOVE my Electric Pressure Canner.  This is so simple and easy to use. Canning was not something I would have considered even two years ago but this summer, I want to can at least once a week.  I love the convivence of just opening a jar for broth and soups. I can’t wait to can spaghetti sauce and salsa! This week I used it to put away 4 quarts, 7 pints and 9 half pints of chicken broth.
  3. The rain, along with worm casting and blood meal have a HUGE difference in the garden. I can’t wait to post pictures of the changes this week!!
  4. The swim meet that was supposed to occur on Tuesday will be bright and early tomorrow morning.  I am excited to watch all three kids compete. In other swimming news, this afternoon Braxton was able to swim without a float!
  5. In not so great news, I have overspent the grocery budget!

Five Things Friday

  1. Countdown to Summer!
    5 weeks till Lily’s High School Graduation!
    5 weeks of school for the kids and 5 weeks and 3 days until my Summer Break!
    60 days till we go to the beach!
  2. We are all ready for the newest chickens to move outside. Last weekend, Lucky the rooster escaped!  This evening they have knocked over the water so much that the cardboard box is mushy and the floor is wet!  They should move outside full-time next week!
  3. I am starting to organize and prepare for canning this summer. I have been slowly purchasing jars since October. I have been lucky enough to find on sale at Walmart, Target and Tractor Supply for around $1 a jar including rings and lids.  I was hoping to pick up some jars used but they are at least $2 a jar so today on Walmart, I found an ordered 3 dozen pint jars and 3 dozen quart jars.  One of my goals for tomorrow (Saturday) is to get the canning closet organized and cleaned!
  4. This weekend is probably the least busiest one in a long time. We do have several small projects to complete but the goal is to rest and prepare for the busiest week of the school year!
  5. We tried one of the new recipes that I was hoping to use to stock the freezer this summer and it was a bust. No flavor!

Thursday Thoughts- Goals

The summer is fast approaching, and I am counting down the days!  I want to make a list of the things I want to accomplish during the summer break.   This way I will also have more accountability this summer as well.

  1. Gardening- My goal is to grow and preserve as much from the garden as possible. I am hopeful to restock the freezer. This goal may also include purchasing some items to make my life easier in the fall.
  2. Prepared Meals- I would like to get 100 dinner meals in the freezer. I will also work on adding convenient breakfasts as well. I also want to freeze at least 10 pizza crust and maybe even some pie crust as well.  The dinner meals can include both crockpot meals and casserole.  I actually need to get started on test meal during the rest of May to help determine what things we like and what is worth making again and again.
  3. Exercise-  I am going to set a goal of 3 times a week this summer. This can include walking in the pool and hopefully at least 1 trip a week to the Y to work out.
  4. Restock- I want to spend time organizing and restocking both the pantry and the freezers. I had actually thought about adding a goal for shopping at least one day a week.
  5. Store and organize all the pictures. I need to clean off my phone but am really afraid that I am going to lose pictures.  I also need to make and order several books from Shutterfly.
  6. VIew and Decide on at least one additional video course for our Sunday school class.
  7. Earn at least one $50 gift card using apps. This is free money but also something that I don’t always make a priority.
  8. Organize/sort and Print a new passwords list for home.
  9. Review, revisit and revise as needed our household budget.  I am hopeful that things will have settled down so that I can put together a realistic budget for paying off medical bills and reducing our overall debt.
  10. Enjoy at least one day a week either reading or just relaxing by the pool. OR at least one day a week on  a special adventure with the kids!

The overall goal for the summer is to get everything back organized and ready for the school year.

2022 in Review

2022 was an interesting year. Matt started the year unemployed, and I ended the year with only one job. We have adjusted and continue to achieve the balance of enjoying life and making memories with debt management and saving. This year has been the most balanced so far. We can definitely do better but I am hoping for another nice balanced year.

Groceries– budget amount is $700 I was able to meet this goal 5/12 months. Inflation is hard and especially felt at the grocery store. We are currently averaging $975 a month. This is the largest amount ever, including the years I had 2 in diapers.  I am going to make a couple of changes for 2023. First, I am going to increase the grocery budget to $975. With 3 teenagers in the house, I need to be realistic about this goal. However, I am going to attempt to participate in the pantry challenge for the month of January and February.  I will only be purchasing items we are completely out of during these months.  I am going to estimate $100 for each month. But depending on Diet Coke sales this may vary.

Auto/ Gas. My goal is $400 a month. Again inflation and we did use the camper for 5 long trips this year including two trips to Florida.  The average was $619.85 a month. This is another category that I need to increase. I am setting the amount at $600 a month with a strong hope that gas stays at less than $3.  a gallon. I will re-adjust this in June if needed.

Cash Envelope system- Goal Met!  This is currently a way of life so I am actually not going to include it next year.

Blogging- 15 post per month.  I have consistently blogged 11 or more times a month 11 out of 12 months. I also exceed my goal in August with 17.  I am going to leave this goal for consistency.

Exercise days-   This continues to be a struggle but not really a strong priority.

No Spend Days-No idea! I am wondering if I should eliminate this as long as we are using cash?

2023 will bring change for sure but I am hopefully that we adjust to the change without a roller coaster ride!