This is the week that I am counting on Menu planning to really pay off. Matt and I both will be working full time and the kids are don’t start school until next Monday. I did try to stock up on Breakfast foods this past weekend.
Breakfast- Saturday-Breakfast burrito bowls (using gravy from Friday), Sunday- Eggs with pesto and cottage cheese for Zach and me, Pop-tarts for the girls and left over burrito bowl for Matt. Monday- Burrito bowl minus gravy for me, fruit for kids and cereal for Matt Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday- Choice of pop-tarts, breakfast burrito bowl, egg muffins, cereal, eggs or grits.
Lunch- Saturday-lunch out with friends Sunday- Pizza from Dominos. I will be eating out most of the week at my new job, Monday- left over pizza and bagel bites, Tuesday- burritos for everyone but Kendall who is eating a lunchable. Wednesday- Mac and chesses, the blue box kind, Thursday- Sandwiches, Friday- left-overs or uncrustables.
Dinner – Saturday- Hot dogs Sunday- Baked potatoes , Monday- Salisbury steak, mashed potatoes, green beans and watermelon, Tuesday- Chicken Enchiladas from freezer, Wednesday-Slow cooked pepper steak , Thursday- Corn dogs from Sonic after meet the teacher and Friday-Pull pork, veggie and fruit.
Matt and I actually planned the menu for the next six weeks but will make adjustments and changes are we see fit. I am so excited and ready to see the kids every night at dinner!
- 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!
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
1. We are currently on vacation in Cherry Grove South Carolina. Our vacation started last Sunday and we will head back home this Sunday, the August 12th. Haley came down on Sunday and stayed to Wednesday. My mother came on Monday and will be leaving on Saturday. Amanda and her significant other arrived late Wednesday night and will stay till Sunday. We have had the perfect beach weather with lots of time on the beach!
2. On Tuesday, I was offered a position at Davie County Schools. I accepted it the same day. This is a different school district than the kids are in, but the schedule should be similar enough to allow us the flexibility we need. I will get off two months in the summer in addition to a couple of weeks at Christmas, a week in the Spring and all major holidays.!
3. After accepting the new position, I realized that I have been wearing scrubs for the past 7 or more years. I have purchased some jeans and shorts but did not have but one pair of pants other than jeans. We have also spent some time shopping at the outlets near by. I was able to purchase 3 pair of pants, 2 shirts and a long sleeve dress for $125.00
4. Today is my 46th birthday! We spent the morning on the beach. We shopped at the Nike outlet this afternoon, prior to going to eat real fresh seafood. We also spent time shopping at a Christmas store. Both LIly and Amanda purchased new items for my birthday at the store. This has been an awesome birthday.
5.On Saturday our lawn mower, started an untimely death. We will have to replace it during this next week.
I really think it is more important to have a menu plan on vacation than on most normal weeks. The reason is that a plan allows you to bring food from home and prevents overspending. So here is our plan for this week.
Sunday: breakfast- Biscuit King, lunch-TGIFridays, dinner-pasta salad, made at home.
Monday- breakfast- gravy and biscuits, lunch-sandwhiches,dinner- hot dogs
Tuesday- breakfast- Jimmy Dean crossiant, lunch- tacos, dinner- Cheeseburger in Paradise
Wednesday- breakfast- Poptarts or leftovers, lunch Pizza, Dinner- baked ziti
Thursday- breakfast- Atlantis, lunch- sandwhiches or leftovers, Dinner- Amanda cooking
Friday- poptarts; toast donuts or crossiant, lunch sandwhiches or leftovers, dinner – seafood
Saturday- breakfast Atlantis, lunch- leftovers or McDonald’s Dinner- leftovers
Sunday- Breakfast- Atlantis, lunch- fast food on way home, Dinner- chicken nuggets
So July did bring some much better news for us financially. Matt started his new job in July! We will not see a huge benefit with this until at least September but it is a huge first step.
Financial- July was not as good as June, We increased our overall debit by $459. I am hoping to see a significant change in this in August. We have some outside of the box plans that I will share as they occur.
Grocery budget $475- Total spent $580.23. Yikes. This is another month over budget. I may need to increase this amount again in the coming months when things settle down.
Gas budget- $280- Spent $291. I am going to increase the budget to $300 a month starting in August. We purchased a small car to use for my home health job so I am hopeful that this will keep our expenses close to $300 each month.
Kid/Summer expenses : No extra expenses for July. However both Baseball and LYT will be due in August
Earned $115- This is also a slight improvement over the month of July. Shopkicks has been the difference this month. Extra money is always a bonus!
Blogging- 7 for the month. This should definitely increase with my new job!
Exercise- 5 total days for the month. Small improvements are key in this area.
I am going to be really honest and say that August appears to be another tight month until we are able to adjust to our new incomes. I will only be paid for 2 weeks in August and Matt will be short of pay for our week of vacation.
Life happens so you have to adapt some days. We usually plan out our menus a month in advance. This way we can use what we have and then purchase what we need. I also hope that it eliminates trips to the store. However, life happens, on Friday, Matt discovered that our small refrigerator in the building went out. We were able to salvage everything. But that meant we grilled 24 pork chops and I used the crock pot for a 5# bag of chicken legs. You will notice, we are eating a lot of chicken and pork this week. We also leave for vacation on Sunday, so I like to empty out the refrigerators as much as possible.
Breakfast- Saturday-BLT on sour dough bread with fresh tomatoes , Sunday- Bagels Monday- smoothies for kids, eggs and grits for me. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday- Choice of cereal, eggs or grits.
Lunch- Saturday-veggie day- to use our fresh garden vegetables and some we were given , Sunday- Lunch with friends. Matt and I will have leftovers or sandwiches and the kids will be treated to lunch by my mom at least 3 days this week. She is picking them up from VBS.
Dinner – Saturday- Grilled pork chops or BBQ chicken legs, potato salad and fried squash, Sunday- Leftovers from fridge, Monday- Steaks with veggies again from refrigerator , Tuesday- mashed potatoes or cowboy beans ( Lily and Zach have orthodontic appointments) , Wednesday- Chicken pie (using chicken legs), Thursday- Pork Fried rice (using grilled pork chops) and Friday-free style- including left-overs.
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!
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!
Today is the first official day of summer! The little kids are all at camp, so I spent most of the day spending and saving money.
Matt and I started last night at Walmart. This was a quick trip to buy sunscreen and tea bags. We used almost half of his $25 gift card from Swagbucks and another $2 he had earned from Shopkicks. Total spent $0
I picked up Mom not so early this morning and we headed to Winston-Salem.
Our first stop was Ulta. Lily has extremely sensitive skin. Two years ago, we discovered a sunscreen that did not burn, sting or break her out, the only down side is that each tube cost $40 before tax and shipping. One of the other moms at the pool shared “Australian Gold Sunscreen” with us last weekend. Lily loved it. I found a sale at ULTA that was Buy One Get One Half Off. I purchased 2 containers of sunscreen for $21 or half the price I have been spending.
Next stop was Babies R Us. The prices are currently 60% to 80% off. I was totally shocked at the deals we found. I purchased 2 bibs, a cute outfit, a set of shoe socks, a gift for a baby shower next week,5 birthday presents and a Christmas present. I also grabbed 4 sets of invitations. total spent was $107.39 Total saved was $171.18
I had my rebate check from Costco so we headed over to grab my normal grocery list. After using the rebate check, I spent $44. The best deal of the day was a pair of water sandals for me for $4.97.
Our final stop was Harris Teeter. Matt won out with this trip. 12 pack of Mountain Dew cans were $2.74 each. He ended up with a total of 10 packs. I also grabbed Kraft Mac and cheese for $0.39 a box!
I am so excited to find all the summer deals today!
We are still working diligently to maintain our spending and increase our income. However, it is summer time and we really enjoy the summer and all the fun activities that come with it. Here are the two secrets to creating a summer full of memories on a budget shoestring.
1. Plan AHEAD
2. Watch for specials.
Today was a great example of how we are enjoying our summer. Each year the water park, Wet and Wild, that is about a 30 minute drive away, offers some awesome deals. The only problem is the best deals run from Black Friday till February. We used the kids Christmas gift from Matt’s dad to purchase our season pass. We were able to purchase four everyday pass for the same price as one day of admission. In order to receive free parking, we upgraded Matt’s pass to priority which included parking and tickets to “bring a friend”. We also purchased refillable cups that can be used all season. We took our first trip to the water park today. I had planned ahead and packed lunchables in our cooler which waited in the car. We activated our season passes and got our refillable drink cups. I was pleasantly surprised to receive coupons with each of our season passes that included two additional refills on our cups. By planning ahead, we spent four hours enjoying the water park with no additional cost.
This morning, I received a text from Sonic with ice cream cones for fifty cent. After piano we stopped for a treat. $2.14 for four ice cream cones!
The kids are exhausted and very happy with our “awesomely fun day”