Thursday Thoughts

  • Fall has officially arrived in North Carolina. Monday, the kids wore shorts and t-shirts to school. That afternoon, I heard complaints of how hot it was!  The house temperature was 78.  Today, the kids both are wearing long pants and long sleeves. The house temperature is currently and I am hopefully to avoid the heat til at least Saturday.
  • We will have to dig up sweet potatoes and grab the last of viable veggies from the garden as we are predicted to get our first frost Sunday night.
  • I planted some lettuce bottoms in May and after we ate some they ended up self seeding.  We have really been enjoying this lettuce during September and October. I walked out this afternoon and grabbed enough lettuce for 6 salads! This is probably the third full meal we have gotten and I grab usually a salad a week for my lunch.
  • I am coming to the realization that my job in Guam may never come about. I have already received notice that I need to renew my Guam license by Oct 26th for next year. I have yet to use this license so I am thinking that I will not renew and mark it up to a learning experience. The biggest issue is that I will need to re-do our budget in December and eliminate the need for that income.
  • Dinner this week has been a challenge, as I have had after school meetings 4 out of 5 days.  I am hoping to get a better/easier plan for next Monday and Tuesday. I also have a meeting on Monday evening so we may be ordering pizza after all.
  • I have spent my grocery budget for the month so I am forced to say No to a really good sale at Harris Teeter.
  • Going to end on a positive note, we currently are 1/3 of the way to have our Christmas completely paid for via Swagbucks. I am hopefully that by December we can purchase all large items using this free money!

Sheila’s She-Shed

This adventurer started shortly after my father’s past away unexpectedly.  In the last few years of his life, my dad acquired several building and filled them up.   After his death, we realized that no one had been in the 4 buildings nor realized how full they really were. We decided to empty out as many as we could. It took almost an entire year but we were able to move everything that my mother wanted to keep in one building, including items from under the house and attic as well. It was decided that my brother would inherit one building and I would inherit the second. My brother lives across the street from my mother so he moved his building first.  In September, I paid to have the building moved from my mother’s house to my house.

This could be considered a huge expense but in my opinion it was well worth the money. The company charged $350 and I came home to a perfectly level building and empty building.

The first “free” project was to build steps into the building. We used material from the deck steps that we just replaced. They are not pretty but very functional.

Next we used 2 old door hinges to cut two small opening in the front to allow for air to circulate in the building. Screen was again salvaged from cleaning of the building at my father’s. Inside the building we discovered several pieces of lumber that had been placed up high for storage. There was also an old rake handle and a multiple nails and screws.  We did end up purchasing a fast track storage system at Lowe’s using gift cards from Swagbucks.  The candy canes are hanging on an old broom handle that we found after the shed arrived to my house. My father used it to hold the door open with. The chairs above the candy canes are on the rake head that was previously used to hold shovels.

Beach umbrellas, pool noodles and surf boards are placed on shelves that were already in place in the building.

The caddy in the corner was purchased at Aldi for $4.99 and everything on the back wall is connected to hang from nails and screws that were already in place when the building arrived.

Yesterday, we used the wood found in the building to add this 10 foot very sturdy shelf with storage above and below the shelf. The top shelf was already in place when the shed arrived and had been installed by my father for storage.

Total spent on my new “she shed” including cost of moving is less than $400. I have gained a TON of storage and organizing space! Can you tell how excited I am to finally show off the results?

 

Saving on Saturday

This been a very different week, Amanda had an emergency C-section on Tuesday night and I did not work on Wednesday. Tropical Storm Michael came through on Thursday, we lost power around 8:30pm and I did not work on Friday.  I have always said it is the small things that add up, and this week is the proof. Here are the ways I know we saved money this week:

  1. Using the McDonald’s app. I ate lunch on Wednesday and we all had breakfast on Friday. We saved at least $5 with each use.
  2. Ate lunch at Costco on Friday.  3 slices of pizza, 2 hot dogs and 3 drinks for $11.  At least a savings of $10.
  3. Grilled Hamburgers and ate a huge salad out of the fridge for dinner on Friday. By eating at home and using things we were afraid that would spoil we saved at least $35.
  4. Used my Target debit card to save 5% on baby items.
  5. Purchased new “winter jackets” for both Matt and I at Costco for $19.99 each. I am estimating a saving of $50 each or $100.
  6. Purchased Kendall’s Christmas dress for $18.99. I am going to estimate a saving of $25 but probably more.
  7. Purchased a set of new tires at Costco saving $70.
  8. Washed and hung out to dry all the sheets and comforters today. Saving at least 8 hours of dryer time. Estimate of $2-4 on electricity.
  9. Repurposed some hooks and a basket in the laundry room to hold lunch boxes. Saving $14.95 on the purchase of a crate for this purpose.
  10. Built shelfs out of materials we already have for my she- shed. Estimate a minimum of $50 savings. I plan to share more on this soon!

September in Review

Whew… we made it.  September was another busy month with lots of money being spent.  You can read about out budget reset here.    To be quite honest, I am glad to have all the spending and buying hopefully behind us.  I actually paid bills twice this month as we move to paying most bills with my paycheck, we are paying a month ahead so it is much easier and quicker. My goal for both October and November is to have more days of no spending than spending days.  We still have not settled on a final budget as I have not started my second job via Skype yet.  At this point, I am even becoming doubtful if this is going to materialize. If I do not being this job it will me a reduction in our budget as I will need to cover our two remaining credit cards from regular bill money. I will definitely keep you posted. But now here is what our month looks like.

Financial- We have moved toward a cash envelope system with most of the budget. We are continuing to use our Costco credit card for the HUGE rewards (total of 8%) in the form of cash back but otherwise we have no plans to acquire any more debit.
Grocery budget $500- Total spent $500 for September and $440 of our October budget. Because I was paid on Friday, we went ahead and shopped at Costco for the month in addition to I have been stocking up at Food Lion during their quarter back sale. I do not anticipate spending more than $60 in October and it is in cash so when it is gone, I am done!
Gas- We are currently around $75 over for the month. I was initially very unsure about the exact cost with both Matt and I traveling at least 30 minutes to work each way. I did increase our gas budget to $400 for the month of October. I may have to continue to monitor and adjust this as time progress. The good news is that I will be earning mileage which should cover at least part of this expense.
Kid/Summer expenses :Lily is participating in youth theater and including tickets for the show so far we have spent $200. Remaining cost include several items for her costume and at least one silent auction item. Zach is playing baseball- $90 sign up fee, $25 on new uniform and around $5 a week for game entry fees.
Earned $75- We are continuing to use this money in different ways. This month it was to purchase items for my building including a light. We are planning to put at least $50 a month for the next three months toward Christmas gifts. Every little bit helps!

Personal-
Blogging-10 for the month.  I have been sick for the past week and we have been incredible busy over the past two weeks but I am going to hopefully stay above this number in the future.
Exercise- 3 total days for the month. I am going to again blame my cold on part of this but I know I can and need to do much better in this area!

Monday Musing 9/24/2018

  • I am sick, not the need to go to the doctor sick but the I feel miserable and need to take medicine sick. I do feel much better today than on Saturday but we have something every night this week so I can’t be too sick. Uggh did I say I am sick.
  • Amanda’s baby shower was Sunday. It was a huge success but did I mention I am sick. I will try and post pictures one day this week.
  • Zach has his first baseball game this week. We are moving up to Kid pitch so it should be interesting to say the least.
  • We were able to get my building moved last week and also purchased a new lawn mower. We mowed the yard on Friday night and I spent several hours in the building on Saturday but I was so miserable that I called it a day with about 50% done.
  • I will receive my second paycheck this week and I am actually really pleased with how our budget is working. I also received the news that I should start my second job in Guam in October.
  • I have started buying Christmas presents and actually am over half way finished!

Did I mention I am sick? So it is off to bed I go!

Reset Budget

As promised, here is our reset budget that started September 1st. The current plan/ goal is to stick with this budget until next July.  This represents a combination of both Matt and I regular salary in addition to my extra money earned via Tiny Eye. I will share some additional information if you are interested after the budget

offering 580
Mortgage  944.52
water 30
electric 276
Road runner 138.2
Car Payment 344.02
cellphone 306
Groceries 500
Adobe/Computer 75
AAA/Insurance 100
Gifts 298
Gas 300
Piano 120
Clothing/Hair  80
Medical 100
Saving 120
Chores 200
American Express 200
5/3 Card 200
kids/pool 200
Auto 100
total 5211.74

The last four lines American Express, 5/3 Card, Kids/pool and Auto are all based on my expected income from Tiny Eye. I still do not have a start date nor a steady schedule so these are very fluid at the moment. I hope once things settle ( By December) I can post more realistic numbers.

The following categories are cash: Groceries, Gifts, Gas, Piano, Clothing/Hair and Chores.

Currently any “extra money” is being held in our main checking account. In the near future any extra cash will be place either for fun or in the kids/ pool account.

Medical- $83 a month until April of this is being paid for Zach’s braces. The remaining is for doctor’s visits and prescriptions. I was able to stock up on most medication and doctor’s visits prior to changing jobs so I anticipate keeping this fund at the same level but allowing it to grow after April.

Gas- We are closely monitoring this category for the next several months as I am not sure about traveling and how much we will actually spend. I may need to increase by $50 a month just from observation so far in September.

Chore- I have checked local prices and this is most likely less than I would be paying for house cleaning every other week. Money that is not being used will either roll into fun money or may stay in the main account depending on our needs.

Clothing/Hair- this may seem high at first glance but with 5 heads of hair it is probably a little low. This is again a category I will be closely monitoring.

Gifts- 5 children for both Birthday and Christmas. This will also include gifts for parties or other occasions as well.

Thoughts or Questions?

September Financial Reset

Disclaimer– This is a hard post for me to write. I have actually been avoiding it for several days. It is not hard because of regret, I stand by our decision but it is hard because it is not the conventical choice and it requires that I admit how far in debit we really are.

History– With my recent job change, I needed to decided what to do with my retirement. For the past 10 years, it was mandated that I place 2% of my earnings in a retirement account. The best news is that the hospital matched this 2%. In addition because of my length of employment, I was fully vested.  I was given a choice of simply leaving things alone with a small percentage based fee every quarter. 2nd option was rolling the monies into my “new” retirement system or similar, or 3rd, take a partial  or  full withdrawal facing the penalties.

Choice made– After much thought, prayer and comparison, we chose to take a full withdrawal from my retirement. The penalties include 10% Federal tax, 5% state tax and 15% early withdrawal penalty. My logic for this decision is that I am not losing any money that I placed in the account. My employer match covered all the penalties and still contributed to my final pay out. Matt’s logic was a little different as although this was a HUGE boast to our budget, in retirement it was not enough to cover a full year, really a small drop in the bucket.

How we spent– I really wanted to use this money in a way that would affect us in a positive way. I did not want this to become a decision that even a year down the road, I looked back on and regretted.  I spent HOURS planning and working and re-working the numbers. First, my new job is awesome but I will actually be bring home around $400 a month less than previously.  I did set up a summer savings account which will “pay” out the two months that I don’t receive a pay check. I will receive 12 paychecks a year which allows budgeting to be much easier. We loosely based on decisions on the “Dave Ramsey 7 Baby steps”

First we established an Emergency Fund of $1000 dollars. Next we paid off all outstanding medical bills. Matt will not be covered by my new insurance so we decided to also set aside some money to off-set any medical cost we will incur. We also will all a line to our budget on a regular basis for medical cost. Our next step was to pay off credit card debit. We have been able to reduce our debit by half. We do have two remaining debit that we will continue to pay at with the goal of payoff within 2 years. We have also used some of the funds to fix/ repair/replace items around the house and with our vehicles.  Several of these are large purchases such as a car and both a new push lawn mower and a riding lawn mower.

The Result:  We did a total budget reset on September 1st.  I am excited to begin “fresh” we were able to start with a cushion for both groceries and gas. My pay schedule is once a month at the end of the month. This is exciting for me as we are leaving on last month salary and using a more cash system. I plan to share the budget in detail very soon! But for now… the clean start is working and feels awesome!

5 Things Friday 8/17/2018

  1. The past week has really flown by. I was able to accomplish almost everything on my list for this second vacation week! Including hair cuts for all of us and a nail trim for Rugar!
  2. Starting Monday, both Matt and I will be working full time. This will be the first time in our marriage (13 years) that we will both be working full-time.
  3. One of the main things I am concerned about is cooking and groceries. We will all continue to take lunches as well as eat the majority if not all of our meals at home. I have spent a considerable amount of time and money on groceries this week. I have visited Costco twice, Food Lion three times and Walmart and Harris Teeter. I have spent a total of $467 just this week. I will probably end close to $500 as I am going to stop at Food Lion for more Diet Cokes over the next several day. I am able to purchase 10 2L of Diet Coke for $9.52 until Tuesday.  After doing most of the cooking on Monday, I have continued to add simple things by cooking double most of the week.
  4. We finally got around to weeding and watering the garden today. I discovered that my lettuce had self seeded and I have a bunch of small plants. I am going to leave and see if any grow larger enough to eat. We also harvested several watermelon and two full buckets of green peppers. I am hopefully that we will continue to harvest tomatoes, pimentos and peppers for at least another month. I was also very excited to see that my sweet potatoes are starting to grow. They can stay in the ground until the first frost which is around the end of October.
  5. I was also able to complete a picture collage using pictures from our Disney 2015 trip. I have only had the collage picture for 4 months!

Did I mention how excited I am to start at Davie County Schools on Monday?

Inexpensive/no Cost Staycation

We like to travel and it the past we have travelled ALOT!  Some of our travel was based on competition cheerleading and some on Matt’s family being in Michigan. In 2017, we spent 10 days in Michigan, 8 days at Myrtle Beach and 10 days in Disney World. We also travelled to Raleigh for a competition as well. This year has been a much slower year. I am actually enjoying a 5 day staycation this week. The rehab department at the hospital is closed for the Fourth of July, I don’t normally work on Thursday. In addition,  I was lucky enough to find someone to cover Friday of this week to make it a nice long break.

Yesterday, Wednesday, was the Fourth of July.  I started the day by washing and hanging Kendall and Zach’s bedding on the clothes line. We LOVE the smell of sunshine and sheets and energy-wise we saved about four hours of time in the dryer.  I  received some cucumbers and tomatoes at work on Tuesday. Matt started bread before heading to work. For lunch, we enjoyed BLT sandwich’s instead of eating out. Matt worked until 1:30 but as soon as he made it home we loaded up and headed to the pool.  We always take a cooler and the kids have their own spending money earned thru chores if they chose to purchase ice cream at the pool. To celebrate we had a cook out with friends. We provided the hamburger meat, slaw and chill. Everything came out of the refrigerator. To end the day, we headed out to enjoy our town’s free fireworks display.  Total spent $0

Today, both Matt and I have appointments.  I washed and hung out to dry a total of 5 loads of bedding before lunch. This saved us at least 5 additional hours of dryer use. I have spent some time getting together a grocery list with coupons for Harris Teeter.  After much consideration, I decided to make egg rolls and fried rice for lunch , again vs a trip out. Matt will be making Sloppy Joes for dinner so we should be save with the no eating out again today.  We are currently out of spray sunscreen as the last bottle purchased did not work. I am waiting on gift cards from Swagbucks before heading out to return and purchase more.  We are planning to head to swim team practice tonight so no additional spending there.  Total spending today should be only out of the grocery budget.

Friday, the plan is to head to Wet and Wild to spend the day. Zach is bringing a friend. We have season passes and our pasta salad for lunch is already made. We have already used our passes enough to cover the cost. Matt and Lily will be heading back  on Sunday with the youth group so again a no spend day.

My goal is to not eat out the entire staycation which will also save a ton on expenses!   I am actually excited to be able to enjoy some extra time with the kids without spending money.

What is your favorite thing to do on a “staycation”?

June in Review

If you know me at all, you realize that I have very little patience and hate wait for things to fall in place. But as usual God’s has better and other plans, so the month of June has been spent in anticipation.  My prayer is that by the end of July, I will be able to share what we have been waiting and anticipating or the process is complete and I will be content in our current situation.

Financial- After such a rough month of May, June is at least better. We reduced our overall debit by $220 which is a baby step in the right direction at least. Matt has accepted a different part time position with an increase of fifty cents per hour. I did receive and spent my extra paycheck in June but we are moving in the right direction and progress is progress.
Grocery budget $475- Total spent $361.20. Another win for the month. I am also very pleased to say that this includes a trip to Aldi today in order to grab items that are needed for next month’s menu plan and breakfast as well! I am going to continue monitoring this area as the kids were out of town for a week so that might have helped stay under budget for the month.
Gas budget- $280- Spent $311. I am going to increase the budget to $400 a month starting in July, approximately $100 a week. The cost of gas is increasing and Matt’s new job is a slighty longer commute so this should help to balance things out. We also have to have the inspection on our van and pay taxes and tag fees in July.
Kid/Summer expenses : Camp , swim team bathing suits and new goggles. I think for the month of July we should not have any extra expenses!  We are enjoying our season passes to Emerald Point but the kids are aware that they need their own money if they want anything extra.
Earned $85- This is also a slight improvement over the month of May. Shopkicks has been the difference this month. I will admit that I could cash out for another $25 on Swagbucks but am choosing to wait for the discount tomorrow!
Personal-
Blogging- 11 for the month. Small improvement but did not meet goal.
Exercise- 5 total days for the month. Small improvements are key in this area.

June did turn out to be a better month all the way around for us! Waiting is hard but we are going to stay the course and wait for God’s timing!