5 Things Friday- Labor Day Fun

  1. We spent last weekend (Labor Day) in Florida!  We left at midnight on Friday night and returned Tuesday at around 8:30pm.
  2. We spent around 3 hours Saturday at Melbourne Beach.  This was very different from what we are used to but it was awesome. I did manage to get out and jump a few waves myself.
  3. This trip could have centered around food. Saturday night- David (Haley’s husband) made some of the best steaks I have ever eaten. Sunday morning, we enjoyed breakfast at a local breakfast place in their new hometown. Sunday night we ate at “Hoop De Do Review” amazing does not begin to cover the food and entertainment. Monday- breakfast at Ohana’s.  We also eat alot at the “Mickey’s Not so Scary Halloween party.”
  4. We attended “Mickey’s Not so Scary Halloween party.”  It was fun but not something I would recommend or even plan to do again.  We did collect enough candy to get us to Halloween!
  5. The weather was extremely hot!   I don’t think I can remember when I sweated so much. I did manage to burn my feet in the sand on Saturday. Sunday night was as storm that left the camper sounded like a tin can.

5 Things Friday

  1. School officially starts Monday. Lily is a senior at Davie County High School and completed her second year at DDCC for her associates degree. Kendall is a freshman at Central Davidson High School and Zach is a 7th grader at CDMS.  3 kids at 3 different schools.  I am starting my 5th year at Davie County Schools.
  2. We have a couple of quick trips plan during the month of September. Both are going to be using the camper. This makes things much much easier as we can pack in advance!
  3. The first week back at work full time has been busy and stressful. I am hoping to establish a good routine over the next couple of weeks.
  4. Zach will be playing in his first football scrimmage tomorrow…not sure how I feel about it.
  5. We are finally getting green beans and cucumbers from our garden!!!! Been waiting all summer for these!

Disney Numbers

Camper spot and park tickets: $5700
Golf cart rental $727
Gas for Trip  $430

These numbers are not exact but a good representation of what I recall.
Snacks in Park average of $35 each day. $210
Lunch meals $500
Dinner  Meals $1200
Breakfast Meals $500

Souvenirs  $500

Memories made and family time = priceless and worth every penny spent!

5 Things Friday

  1. North Carolina weather in March…last Sunday 80 and this Sunday expected low of 18*
  2. The greenhouse is currently empty. We have moved all the plants outside, one of the reasons is that it was getting over 100* during the day in the greenhouse and that would cause most of the colder plants I had planted to bolt.  We have been enjoying both lettuce and spinach. The best part is walking by the lettuce and picking some to eat.  We have started both tomatoes and green peppers inside. It is easier to start inside for the first few weeks.  They will be moved outside about 4 weeks prior to plants to continue to grow in the greenhouse and for protection against our final freeze that usually occurs sometime in April.  We also turned off the heater to save a bit on electricity.
  3. This week for the first time in history, we paid over $4 a gallon for gas. $4.11 to be exact. But the knowledge that it took 16 years for gas to go from $3 a gallon to $4 should bring us all comfort.
  4. We are doing excellent on the grocery budget for the year. We have currently spent $2.82 for groceries this month.  For the sake of transparency, we did make a trip to Costco yesterday and used our credit card earnings to purchase sugar, dog food and some other items that we were out of.
  5. Our busy season is starting. Lily’s play is next week, Zach is managing the middle school baseball team while enjoying playing his last year at the booster club. I am now working 2.5 nights a week in Guam. And best of all our Disney countdown is shrinking!

Saving on Disney

Our next big adventure of camping is going to be a trip to Disney World.  I will be the first to admit that this is one of the reason that I agreed to buying the camper.  I thought today I would share some of the ways that we are saving money on and during this upcoming trip.

The camper is the biggest savings for several reasons.  First the cost of a campsite is approximately half that of a resort room that would hold our family. The campsite also allows us all the perks of being on property except for one thing which is clean towels. We are fully expecting and planning to need to wash at least towels twice during our upcoming trip but even with this cost factored in the savings are huge!  When we take into consideration the additional gas needed I will still venture to say that we are still saving at least 1/4 the cost of a resort room. The second reason is that by bringing the camper we are not limited to what items we can bring. I am planning to bring a fully stocked refrigerator, we will be able to carry water and drinks in the parks which is also a huge saving. We will not be taking in many snacks because we prefer to enjoy all the good food that Disney has to offer. But at $4 a bottle, even bringing one water a day per person is a saving of $20 a day or $100 for the week!  We will also be bringing 4 or 5 days of breakfast with us. We typically spend about $65 for a resort or even a quick breakfast at the resort. With the camper, we will be shopping and bring our favorite breakfast including lots of fruit and yogurt. So it will still be a huge treat but just a much cheaper treat. We will also plan to eat our favorite breakfast meals as well so no hurt feelings here.

The next way we are saving is gift cards.  We were actually given gift cards at Christmas and I have rescued several old unused ones as well.

A great way to save is by purchasing gift cards at Target, you automatically get 5 % off so you get an instant savings. I currently have $150 in gift cards for myself! Depending on what happens in the next couple of months, I would ideally like to have $2000 on these type of gift cards to cover all of our “restaurant meals”

Along the same lines as gift cards is my Disney Credit card.  I earn “Disney Dollars” with each purchase.  I have been using this card for our trips and paying it off immediately. I also pay for this trip on the card and then pay it off. Currently I have $379 on this card. I anticipate around $500 to be on this card before we actually head to Disney!

I talked about purchasing food for this trip earlier. My initial plan was to use the grocery money for the month of April to cover the cost.

However, we will be receiving our Costco Cash from our Costco credit card in March. This should cover most if not all of the food expenses.

IF I do need to use some of the grocery budget it will allow me to stick to $200 or less in April instead of $600!

The final way to save money on our trip to Disney is to make the kids each responsible for their wants and “needs”  At around 100 days I started reminding the kids that they will want to have extra money for Disney.  I typically only buying Christmas presents for each kid at Disney. I do purchase all the food and drinks they want but just by not buying say a shirt for each kid saves at least $500 on the overall trip cost.

Simple ideas that stretch the budget!

5 Things Friday

  1. We are continuing to focus on our electric usage. There are certain things that are beyond our control such as needing to connect the camper to the house when someone is staying it in.  And the need to keep a heater in the greenhouse in order to prevent the plants from freezing and of course our usage will be greater with Christmas lights. We also have discovered ways to save electricity in small ways. Unplugging the camper even during the daylight decreases our usage and we are beginning to experiment with the temperature we must keep the greenhouse at. Turning off lights and using the dishwasher and dryer at night continue to save us.
  2. I have realized that a year can change things completely.  This year which has been our best year ever financially has also brought more changes and twist than are even imaginable. Matt is currently unemployed but yet the goal is to end the year with our only debit being the house and Tahoe payment.
  3. Our final project of the year is going re-organizing and re-arranging our master closet.   We have started making some simple changes which already make it feel much lighter and more open. We will be installing a new closet organizer on one side and continuing to sort through clothes which will finish this project. I am projecting that the entire project will end up costing less than $200.
  4. We have several count downs going on in the house right now. First up is our first “camping” experience in Asheville right before Christmas, followed by Christmas and New Year then our January trip to Mrytle Beach which will be for 4 days instead of 2 and a longer drive. Finally our Disney trip in April. It has been an entire year since we have been to Disney! Plus this will be our first real experience camping at Disney.
  5.  I am starting to look ahead at some major home improvement projects for next year. These will be expense that we will pay out of promised money.   We will likely end up spending around $20k on these so I want to make sure they will be exactly what we want and of top quality.

Friday- Catch up

I think that April has been one of the busiest months that I have had in a long long time. Today April 23rd is the first night of the month that I have not had a need for a place to go!

Honesty is always the best policy so I am going to admit right now that this is also the first blog post that I have written the entire month.   I did make a decision that I am going to post 5-7 pictures a day for the time we were in Disney. I also need to make a birthday post for Matt, update on the square foot garden and of course talk about Zach and his baseball as well. I am  very hopeful to get all these pictures post in the next week.

We have decided to turn the playhouse that is no longer in use into a greenhouse for next year. My goal is to re-use and re-purpose as much as possible but also provide a watering system and organized way to use the space.  I have already gotten plants started in the new square foot garden. I am looking forward to lots of fresh vegetables this year!

Financially we are still on the right track. Our gas budget is getting close for the month but his does include taxes and tags on the car in addition to the gas for our Disney trip. Grocery so far are really low but we have a Costco trip planned for tomorrow.

Now to enjoy some quiet time.