We were out pulling weeds and watering this afternoon. Zach’s quote “This is a lot of work for food.”
- I have a 3 day weekend! WOO HOO I am so excited to have at least one day to stay at home!
- Our square foot garden is thriving. I am so very hopeful at this point. We have enjoyed lots of lettuce and some basil. I am excited to watch everything grow but even more excited when we start eating out of the garden.
- Our freezer is once again full. Matt picked up our 890 of beef on Tuesday. Our chest freezer was a great fit. We have spent several hours cooking, so far we have 13 bags of cooked grounded beef. 32 beef and bean burritos, 12 meals of Salisbury steaks and 5 meals of sloppy joes (minus the buns).
- May has been a slow and expensive month. I am holding on tight to make it till June. We are definitely over budget with both gas and groceries for the month.
- Lily has not had an episode in almost 2 weeks (Sunday). This is a huge praise in our books.
- The Square Foot Garden is looking AWESOME! We are already enjoying lettuce that we sprout from some we had purchased. I am truly amazed at how much we are harvesting. Everything is growing so well. I am so hopeful that this garden will help us reduce significantly our food bill this summer.
- I have really enjoyed baseball season this year and always look forward to swim team starting. However, these two overlapping for 2 weeks has added to the craziness of our schedule.
- Lily has been at a series of doctors over the last two week. The official count is 6 and that does not include our trip to the emergency room. I am very grateful for my decent insurance and our medical flex spending card that has help cover most of these expenses.
- I should start my part time job in July!! I am super excited at this opportunity not only for the extra pay but a definite change overall for me.
- The pool is officially open but with the weather stating rain all weekend, who knows when I will enjoy a relaxing day by the pool?
Financial- We are attempting to use a cash only method for the first six month of the year in order to get us some better financial balance. We have had several large expenses this month but we continue to focus on the small gains.
- Total paid to credit card debit $1483 total reduction in credit card debit approximately $612.We are final down to a level that is less than we ended with in December of last year. We have experienced a boast in income which we hope to increase and continue in the summer.
- Grocery budget $475- Total spent $531.77. Yikes, It happened again and this does not include our cow purchase. The good news is that I have already made a menu plan for the month and plan to stick to $100. We will be receiving our cow sometime this month but I really don’t expect this to add to our cost at all. I am going to limit spending to what we are out of and Suddenly Salads if they go on sale.
- Gas budget- $280- Spent $230. Gas prices are starting to increase in our area so I seriously doubt we come in under budget for the next couple of months.
- Kid/Summer expenses :Swim team and Baseball games.
- Earned $88-this is indeed a much lower amount than any of the previous months I have tracked but it is still extra money. We have decided to use this “extra money” for gardening and other yard supplies.
- Blogging- 9 for the month. Super busy this month. The blog was technically down for over a week. Hoping to get back in the swing of things.
- Exercise- 2 total days for the month. a goal of 15 but not sure if that is realistic or not. This weather SUCKS! I am looking forward to the summer and time in the pool.
- We stopped at Lowes after the baseball game tonight and purchased $95 worth of plants. The full moon is scheduled for Sunday so according to farmer’s you are suppose to plant during the upswing of the moon. I am just so excited to get my garden started this year. I do know that we will need to purchase several additional items but I wanted to at least get the majority started at the “best” time this year.
- Matt’s debit card numbers were stolen this week and I have spent almost 5 hours dealing with the aftermath. We are expected to get back the entire amount that was taken but it is a HUGE pain in the mean time.
- I can file this under the “joys of motherhood.” Tomorrow it would appear that all three of the little kids have somewhere/ something to do. Which means that I will be playing “taxi” for the part of the day that I am not planting outside.
- We are in the middle of baseball season. I actually really enjoy the games but it adds a different level of complexity to our schedule.
- Next week, both Kendall and Zach have field days at school which last half a day. Zach has a field trip on Thursday. I am basically take off 2 days of work. But I do realize how quickly they grow up.
One of the largest expenses that we have each and every month is groceries. I spent a lot of time trying to control these numbers. If you will recall I had a HUGE grocery budget overage in the month of March ($726). I was planning to attempt to keep the April budget to less than $100. But to be honest that is already not possible and we are in the middle of April. What I can say is that I have been able to stock up on lots of canned items and grab some quick and easy breakfasts for us as well. Harris Teeter has been having some huge sales in the past couple of weeks, for example, I grabbed 15 cases (12 packs) of soda for $1.99 today. This alone is a saving of $50. Cereal, grits, oatmeal and yogurt round out the list of items that I purchased today as well. My plan for the rest of April is to only purchase things we are completely and totally out of that we can not survive without milk and eggs being the biggest things that I can thing of. Otherwise to be honest I am going to avoid all grocery shopping. I am going to allow for one exception “Suddenly Salad” Pasta that usually go on sale for approximately $1 a box. I need/ plan to purchase 25 of these to use once a week this summer as a quick easy and delicious meal.
I received the news today that we will also be purchasing a cow in the next month. This cow currently weighs 1400 pounds. This meat should last approximately 2 years. I am super excited about this meat.
The other food related good news is that within a month we should be able to start harvesting items from the garden. I am excited this year because all the plants should be purchased with gift cards earned from Swagbucks. This means that the entire garden is a profit not matter how little we may harvest.
- Yes, it has been over a week since I posted. My only reason life. I am hopefully to get up a better post over the week but here is the short version.
- Zach had his first official baseball game today. I am so excited that his team won 8-7! Zach is playing catcher and doing a great job.
- Spring is hopefully here! We have the windows open!
- I am so excited about our Square foot garden! I have planted potatoes. Honestly, I probably jumped the gun and went ahead and planted several cucumbers, squash and a jalapeno pepper. The worst thing that could happen is that I will have to replace them. I just really am ready for Spring.
- April is going to be a really expensive month for us as we have to pay a deposit on both the girls camp, Pool dues, and need to pay for Zach to attend a baseball camp.
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.
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.
Finally 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.
I 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.
We received our income tax return today. I was very determined to use it in the most efficient way possible. In order to accomplish this I have spend the better part of the morning, looking at budgets and trying to put together some plans and strategies. One of my main concerns and areas of focus was “known” expenses. These are expenses such as yearbooks, pool dues, brakes, and oil changes that I know are coming at some point. These are also where I feel like I really don’t plan enough. I have tried to come up first of all a list of these expenses and more importantly a plan to pay them. My overall goal is to be able to set a budget and any money saved from that budget can be used to help cover kids expenses, or reduce our debit. Currently it is more like a move money to cover this expense but opps now I need to cover this expenses. I am overall really pleased with where I think we stand as far as a budget goes.
The tax return will be used to cover the deposit on our beach vacation in August. The rest of this will be paid from my “extra” check in June. We will also replace the windshield in my van, replace the brakes on Matt’s van and get an oil change for his van. The rest of it and our state return will be used to help fill some gaps that I have identified in our budget.
The weather for the last few days has been cloudy but with temperatures in the low 70s. We have turned off the heat and opened a couple of windows. Both our electric and water bill have decreased in February but an extra week without heating and air goes a long way. Matt has also been able to stop a leak in the hall bathroom and did some minor repairs on the dryer. We are very hopeful that these small changes will bring both bills down to a lower level.
A huge surprise or change that we expect in March is a reduction of our cable television bill. With Septrum our bill that we just received jumped $35. We have made no changes to our service. Matt called and it was a “your promotional period has ended” increase. We are currently researching options and will honestly give Septrum one last chance to match our current price. If not then we are cancelling our landline and switching to HULU live. This change will save us around $40 a month. I know that the first two months saving will be used to purchase one additional box for our televisions.
The thing I am most excited about is my plan to purchase mulch and all plants for the Square Foot Garden this year with earning from Swagbucks. In the past, I have used the grocery budget for these purchases but this way the pressure is off to “harvest ” enough to cover the expenses!
I am reminded today that we start in November next week, so I need to be thankful for even the small things.
First Matt was able to design and create some really cool shirts for our Disney Trip. The best part is that we purchased both the shirts and the vinyl using gift cards earned from Swagbucks so total out of pocket equals ZERO.
Next the weather has finally started to feel like fall. In fact we are suppose to receive our first official frost this week. Because I was able to get off work earlier today, we picked the rest of the pepper and pimentos from the garden. I froze 4 cups of green peppers and saved enough for several omelets in the next week. We have been searching for ways to save money. I am thankful to have discovered two. First Matt has been able to arrange Roku boxes in the house so that we have turned in 3 of our cable bill. I am thinking that this should reduce our total cable bill by around $30 a month. The best part is that it will not affect any of our viewing! Next, because we are attempting to eat out of our freezers and pantry for the last couple months of the year, we are able to clean out and unplug one of our freezers. This will also allow it to be clean really well prior to our purchase of a cow next year. I am also thinking that after our trip we should be able to turn off a refrigerator as well. Finally, by watching the weather and opening and closing windows we are currently in our second full week of no heat or air.