5 Things Friday

  1. No menu plan for this week for a couple of reasons. First we are on week 6 of no oven.  Scheduled delivery is 2 weeks away.  I wanted to use up a lot of the fresh ingredients in my pantry and refrigerator as well as left-overs. And the final reason… I was just too tired.
  2. Made the first batch of spaghetti sauce from the garden this week. IT was awesome.   Unfortunately, we have discovered that the soil that I purchased from Home Depot was not good. We have been working to salvage anything by adding lime.  We were able to harvest some snap peas and some tomatoes. The tomatoes beds were over half full with dirt that I had already been using so they are at least producing a first harvest. I doubt it will be enough to fill the freezer this year but at least I can make a few batches of spaghetti sauce.  The sweet potato bed which is all old dirt seems to be doing the best so maybe I can salvage a few of those as well. My plan is to continue to add lime a bag a month until we get the beds close to where they need to be. Ugggh  I had high hopes and expectations this year!
  3.  We are headed on our beach trip soon. Not going to share all the details but this will be a totally new experience for us. We are planning a trip to Oak Island. I have never stayed on a NC beach!
  4. Lily is really enjoying her job as a lifeguard. She is actually working much more than she hoped and is enjoying spending the money as well.
  5. My summer is officially half over. I return to work in 6 weeks.  I have actually completed all the items on my summer to do list except stock the freezer. I am hoping that the next 6 weeks are at a much slower pace than the last 5!

5 Things Friday

  1. Today was Zach and Kendall’s last day of school for the year. Lily actually has class until June 9th officially.  We no longer have elementary age children!
  2. I have 2 work days left before summer vacation from my regular school system.  This included 6 meetings so I am not looking forward to these days at all.  I also will start back serving kids in Guam on Sunday evening this week.  I will be working 2-3 hours per week so hopefully this is the right balance.
  3. We have survived the first full week of no oven. It appears that we have another 2 plus weeks before we can expect delivery.
  4. I am going to break down tomorrow and buy a couple of zucchini  and squash plants.  The ones I planted did sprout but don’t appear to be doing much else. The leaves are a strange yellow color. My mother said they got too much water but I am thinking it is probably the seeds themselves.
  5. I already have a busy week schedule with a dentist and eye appointment on Wednesday!   I really can’t wait for my break to begin!

May in Review

I can describe May in two words busy and expensive. Water leaks, new HVAC ducts, stove broken all these added to the fun.  We have had 2-3 ballgames a week along with church activities and a few end of the year activities. I am sure the next three months will go by quickly but I am so looking forward to them.

Groceries– budget amount is $650.  $338.23 this did include some soda stock up. I would like to keep the summer grocery budget down to $300 a month but I am also wanting to maintain a food level so that in September I can reduce the budget again.  We will see how things go!  But so far we are under budget for all 6 months this year! HUGE success in this area.

Auto/ Gas / Insurance: . My goal is  $400 a month. $394.89. This month was a huge jump in gas prices plus an oil change. This seems to be the right amount.

Cash Envelope system- GOAL Met!   This seems to be working well so no plan change now! We are going back to a more strict use of cash in May.  I did excellent on only cash until the last week. But still working well so I am going to continue!

Goal #4- Blogging- 15 post per month.  10 post for the month.  My reason is that I worked 40 hours in Guam.  This should be the last month of so much work. My plan is to stay at one day a week (Monday) for next school year as well.

Goal # 5- Fitness– Goal is to exercise of some type at least 10 days a month.  Nope and again I blame Guam.

Goal #6 – Bible study- Goal-  Read or Listen to the entire Bible in a year. I have finished the bible podcast.  I am planning to start a reading program this summer.

Earnings- $25 in gift cards. I have a strong sense that this will need very soon.

No Spend Days- NONE! Yikes  2 months in a row means we need some belt tightening.

I knew May would be busy and I am hopefully to make June less busy and less expensive but we shall see.

March in Review

March was overall a great month. During the last two weeks, I have been able to reduce my Guam work load by at least half!  We also completed a re-fiancé of our mortgage and were able to update and re-build a new square foot garden.   We spent a lot of time anticipating our upcoming Disney trip as well. I am very excited and please with all the results.

Groceries– budget amount is $650.   We have actually spent $91.84.  This is lowest month in a long long time.

Auto/ Gas / Insurance: . My goal is  $400 a month.  Both of our vehicles needed oil changes this month. So ending at $375.32 is a very good thing.

Cash Envelope system- GOAL Met!   This seems to be working well so no plans to change now!

Goal #4- Blogging- 15 post per month.  11 post for the month is definitely an improvement but not the goal.

Goal # 5- Fitness– Goal is to exercise of some type at least 10 days a month.   Nope not even close

Goal #6 – Bible study- Goal-  Read or Listen to the entire Bible in a year.  I have been listening to a podcast every day that I drive to work. I should be able to listen to the entire session by June.!

Earnings- $55 in gift cards

No Spend Days- 1

April begins with no credit card debit and a goal to pay off the house and car within 5 years. We finally have arrived at a stable financial place and need to just stay the course and enjoy life!

Financial Update

This is actually a very positive and happy post to make for me. As most already know, interest rates for mortgages are at a historically low right now.  We are receiving multiple offers each week to refinance our current mortgage.  After some prayers, we decided to check into doing a simple refinancing of our mortgage.  We actually did a refinance seven years ago and lowered our rate from 9.99% to 3.85%.  I was amazed to learn that we would qualify for an even lower rate, 2.75% to be exact.

We decided that since we have a sizable amount of equity in the house (over100k) that we could also look at paying off credit card debit.  We did not see any disadvantage to this as in significantly reduces the interest rate as well as allows us to free up over $1000 a month. Our van was scheduled to be paid off in July but we decided to go ahead and pay it off as well. In total we decided to use about $25,000 in the equity. This allows us to completely pay off our credit cards and the van.

We actually received the proceeds today and we are debit free except for the mortgage and the car we purchased in November.  We decided against paying it off as well in order to help establish and build Matt’s credit.  It would also have changed the interest rate on the mortgage.

In order to reduce the length of our mortgage from 15 years to 8 years, which is the length that was originally left we will be paying an extra principal payment a month. Our goal is also to pay an extra card payment each month to reduce the length of that payment as well. Finally we are working to establish an emergency fund of 3 months.

We have been working toward this point for several years and it feels good to finally be at a stable place financially.

What’s Up?

  • I wanted to share this in case any one wonders why my blog post are so sparse this month. The other probably more important reason to share is so that three or more years from now, I can remember why I can’t work 2 jobs.  Currently I am averaging an additional 15 hours a week in Guam. This is in addition to my regular 40 hours at Davie County Schools.  This week, I did receive several emails that Promise to  begin lighten my load over the next month or so.  The idea that they have hired 3 more therapist and when everything is said and done I will lose hopefully half my caseload shows a better picture of how busy I really.
  • Washer update- The pump is bad as well… currently waiting on the new pump to arrive, I honestly have no clue what the cost will be so…..
  • Making BIG plans for the garden this year, I am going to completely re-arrange and re-do the whole thing.  First it will be significantly taller. This should reduce the amount of dogs that decide they like it. Second it will make it much easier for me to work and maintain without bending over so  much. I am anticipating a huge expense but also hope to re-use as much as possible from the existing.
  • Our final Disney trip for at least 2 years is 50 something days away. I am currently working on saving the money to cover our food expenses. Not sure how much we will end up with especially with the washer repair a still unknown.
  • Goal of this week is no food waste, I have a plan and the refrigerator is nicely stocked. So far this month we have spent $172.74.I was planning on a trip to Costco but still not sure where to fit that in at either so I may try to make it to March before adventuring to Costco.

5 Things Friday

  1. I have not used this format since September ??? Really maybe that is the reason I have not been hitting my blogging goal?
  2. Today both the kids and I had a remote learning day due to the weather forecast of 2- 4 inches of snow. Instead, we have had a cold rain most of the day with a change over to snow around 4pm. It has been yucky!
  3. I have made a “extra” money goal. I would like to save $500 a month in January, February and March to use as our food money in April. So far for the first week of January I have “found” or saved $203. If I can get to $475 I can purchase gift cards at Target to save an additional $25.
  4.  We are working hard at staying on track with our budget in January. So far was have spent $55 in gas and $91 in groceries.  I did place a Norwex order for more of Lily detergent so that will be an additional $70.
  5. My van is still in the shop after I hit the deer. Because they are going to repair damage from when I backed in the pole at Baptist hospital while Amanda was in the hospital. They estimate it will be fixed next week. I paid $500 from our stimulus and the insurance covered the rest of the repair.

Recap of 2020/ Goals for 2021

I usually get this post completed in December and I usually look forward to reviewing and writing it.  Well like everything else in 2020, that did not happen. But I am going to take the time to recap the year and my goals and also include what we will be working toward for the next year.

Groceries– 2020 goal was $550 a month. I was able to achieve this goal four times this year, January, August, September and October. We have spent a total of $7578.12 on groceries or an average of $631.51 a month. After review and consideration I am going to increase the budget amount to $650. I will review that all household cleaning products and paper products are included in this amount. For January to kick start the year, I am going to complete a pantry challenge and plan to spend $100 or less for the month.

Auto/ Gas / Insurance: We did separate out our insurance and AAA membership from this budget. I transfer $99 a month to cover our car insurance and AAA membership. AAA is paid on a yearly basis and car insurance is every 6 months.  I am proud of myself for being more careful with keeping up with car expenses 2020.  We have had several unexpected expenses such as 2 replacement windshields in addition to a $500 deductible for repair of the passenger side of the van.  We are using our part of our stimulus money to cover the van deductible but both windshield replacements were included my records.  For 2020 we spent an average of $318 a month in auto expenses. My goal for 2021 will be $400 a month with any excess to be applied to debit.

Cash Envelope system- GOAL Met!   I do plan to keep using this system as I can see the benefit of it.  For the months of January-March an “extra” money will go toward our Disney trip in April to cover the food expenses.

Goal #4- Blogging- 15 post per month. This is more of an accountability goal for me. I met it this year 5 of 12 months. I am not going to change this goal as I can do it when I have time and focus.

Goal # 5- FitnessGoal is to walk 3 times a week.  I struggle with this goal. But I know the accountability is important so  I am going to change the goal to Exercise of some type at least 10 days a month.  This should allow some flexibility and also encourage me just to move.

Goal #6 – Bible study- Goal- 3x a week –Again this is truly an area that I struggle with.  I am going to try and listen to a podcast on my way to work each day. So I am going to change this goal to Read or Listen to the entire Bible in a year. 

Goal #7-Attempt at least 52 new recipes this year.-  Currently on #59 GOAL MET!

Earnings- This has decreased significantly over the past several years. In 2014 I could earn $200 a month on a regular basis. In 2020 we struggled to earn $50 a month. I leave this at the bottom just to help me remember every bit helps.

No Spend Days- I am going to add this section each month in order to see if I can get a good rhythm going to saving money by not entering the store!

December in Review

I spent a good chuck of time yesterday, paying bills, looking at the budget and see where we are and how we move forward. I want to share this December in Review post separately so that it makes it easier for me to comply the information. December was a busy month with a 5 day trip to Disney.  I have been using the last week to catch up and stock up for the months ahead.

Gardening-   We killed the last basil plant. I do have big plants for the garden in the spring including redoing all of the beds.

Goal #1 Grocery Budget of $550- The total for the month is $683.  This does include my stock up trip for soda. Definitely some changes coming next year.

Goal #2 – Record and keep up with gas/ auto purchase- $176.50 .  I ended up filing two insurance claims for damage on the van. The deer caused the door to need immediate repair but the insurance only wanted to cover half because of the damage when I hit the pole. I filed a separate claim for the pole damage in 2018 and now all repairs will be covered for $500 deductible.

Goal #3-Use a cash envelope system for everything possible!. This is finally starting to work and make sense to me.

Goal #4- Blogging- 15 post per month. This is post number 10 for the month!  Working both jobs and life make mean I need to reduce this goal for next year.

Goal # 5- Fitness- Goal is to walk 3 times a week.  We walked at least 5 miles a day at Disney does that count?

Goal #6 – Bible study- Goal- 3x a week –Yikes! Actually downloaded a pod cast to start listening to on my way to work.

Goal #7-Attempt at least 52 new recipes this year.-  Currently on #59

Earnings_ $30.   Extra money is extra money!