Saving By Buying Chicken

Last week something very strange and odd happened. We ran out of frozen chicken broth.  I actually used some turkey broth in the chicken and dumplings I was making. The easiest solution would have been to just add chicken broth to the grocery list. Instead I added a rotisserie chicken to the Costco list.  The total cost of the chicken was $4.99.  We ate it for dinner on Saturday night, I had left-overs on Sunday and I think at least one other person did as well.  Today (Wednesday) I pulled the rest of the meat off the bone  which was almost exactly a pound and used in our new recipe, Chicken Tetrazzini. The bones and skins went into the crockpot with 24 cups of water to make broth out of.  So instead of spending $5.00 on chicken broth, I spent $5.00 on three meals and made the chicken broth for free!

 

October in Review

October has turned out to be a very busy month.  I ended up taking on more students in Guam.  The upside is that I have met my goal of purchasing our tickets to Disney.  I am also planning to pay our entire December trip from Guam money as well!   Another change in October is that we started our “smart home” with the purchase of an electronic door lock and several “alexa” devices. So far, I am enjoying the convivence.  Another HUGE milestone is that we managed to reduce our overall debit by $500. It may sound like a small step but it is a step in the right direction.

Gardening-  We are expecting our first frost today (October 31st). So we decided to go ahead and pull out the rest of the summer garden. I managed to freeze two cups of green peepers and roasted over a dozen pimentos.  We also hung up basil to dry, started a small basil plant inside and found a few tomatoes.

Goal #1 Grocery Budget of $550- The total for the month is $552.  This did include the huge ($450) Costco trip that I made the end of September. I am very impressed with this budget and plan to stay around $200 for the month of November.

Goal #2 – Record and keep up with gas/ auto purchase- $248.66 . This is actually less than I had anticipate. Currently any extra in the budget is going to reduce debit. I am very hopeful to totally pay off our gas credit card by the end of the year.

Goal #3-Use a cash envelope system for everything possible!. Becoming easier!  I am currently trying to save the additional money needed for the Memory Maker for our Disney Trip. I think that this will become easier once we finish baseball games.

Goal #4- Blogging- 15 post per month. This is post number 10 for the month! Between working and baseball I am still struggling to make time for everything.

Goal # 5- Fitness- Goal is to walk 3 times a week. ummm no comment

Goal #6 – Bible study- Goal- 3x a week –Yikes!

Goal #7-Attempt at least 52 new recipes this year.-  We have met this goal in September. I did manage to try 3 new recipes this month so I am very happy.

Earnings_ $30. Swagbucks are really really limiting our earning so I don’t anticipate this to improve significantly before the end of the year. Because of some internet issues this is becoming more of a time waster than anything else. I am going to stick with it to the end of the year but this is something that I may have to re-evaluate and stop until summer.

November appears to be another very different from the ordinary month. I do know that for the first time in a long time, we will be having Thanksgiving at my house and will not be joining my brother.  Change is hard and the unknown is very hard for me, I am hoping by the end of November the world will have returned to a more normal place.

Thursday Thoughts

  • Today is a remote learning day for both myself, Zach and Kendall. We are expecting serve weather from tropical storm Zeta to move through this afternoon. Zach is already enjoying watching the wind and rain bands move through. It is very different based on the fact that we are all working on school related task but at home. I will admit it takes the fun out of missing school but should make the schedule much easier to manage.
  • Following the storm today, it is suppose to turn much cooler.  With freezing temperatures on Sunday night and Monday night. We still have not turned on heat or air so I am hopefully to make it to at least Monday or Tuesday before needing to turn the heat on.  We are also going to have to harvest the remaining peppers and tomato from the garden. This is actually the longest that I can remember having items still growing.
  • November is a very expensive month for us. We have car insurance ($408.27), Microsoft renewal ($100), my web site renewal ($30) and the rest of Christmas presents.   Thankfully I have a ton of hours in Guam this month. I am hoping to cover most of our December Disney trip. A sad realization is that I receive a paycheck this Friday but will not receive another check until after Thanksgiving.
  • We survived our busiest week so far this year!!  I even have a list on the board of task to complete on Saturday.
  • Budget wise October has been a great month. We are at $250 for gas and $550 for groceries.  I am planning to hit my goal of paying of one credit card by the end of December.  We also should not use most of the grocery budget for November and December as our freezers are full. I am now looking a small holes such as soups for lunch and other convenient items. I have also restocked the paper supplies as well.

Saving On Saturday

Today we focused on using what we had.  Kendall has been spending ALOT of time in her room lately. Literally staring at the walls. She decided this week she wanted to remove a couple of shelves and make it more decorative. Here is the before picture

Matt was able to cut out the round holders for her “Minnie Ears” using a drill bit that was purchased to help place lights in the ceiling. The wood was from some plywood, he salvaged from cleaning out my Dad’s shed several years ago. The current debate is to paint the circles white or black. I will update once this is finished.

Of course we re-purposed the shelf to use in the kitchen.

Another huge saving today is by re-using a device instead of purchasing a new one. This will take a little explaining but hold on. Zach is currently using the family phone. It is a Iphone 6 plus and the battery life is bad like less than 2 hours.  When we flew to Disney in August, he used the iPad to watch movies and play games on the plane.  Braxton is going with us in December and we have been trying to work out what device both he and Zach could use for entertainment. I have been looking at just replacing Zach’s phone.  But today, I spotted Lily’s old IPad mini.  It is probably close to 10 years old.  We ended up charging it cleaning off everything that we could and loaded around 10 toddler appropriate games for Braxton to use. We are working on figuring out how we could download at least one movie for him to watch. This device is so old that Disney plus nor Amazon prime will run on it.  We are looking into an Itunes gift card that would be the easiest way and cost less than $25 vs $1000 for a new phone.

So today has been a really good saving day!

September in Review

September was interesting to say the least. I did make one huge adjustment this month. We are now using budgets more strictly and I have being very diligent about extra money. My goal is to save the $896 for our remaining Disney tickets in December from extra money or from saving money. This means that I also much cover any overages.  So far we have $200 toward our goal.

Gardening- We ended up digging up the sweet potatoes this week and probably have around 25 pounds which should last us through the winter. We are still getting a few tomatoes and green peppers. Pimentos are still producing strongly. I am planning to start some lettuce and celery to see if we can supplement some food for the winter.

Goal #1 Grocery Budget of $550- The total for the month is $501.  I did also make a huge grocery trip to Costco this week but will move that $450 out of the October budget.  We are completely stocked up and I anticipate both November and December being lower spend months in order to bring down our yearly total and monthly average

Goal #2 – Record and keep up with gas/ auto purchase- $642.18  We had to replace the windshield in the van a second time this year, which pushed out monthly total way up.  I am going to anticipate around $300 for gas in the month of October.

Goal #3-Use a cash envelope system for everything possible!. This is a struggle but has become even more important as we attempt to save ticket money.  We managed 6 no spend days this month. I am going to plan on 10 next month as our needs should be much less!

Goal #4- Blogging- 15 post per month. This is post number 15 for the month! This is thanks to Disney pictures!

Goal # 5- Fitness- Goal is to walk 3 times a week. ummm no comment

Goal #6 – Bible study- Goal- 3x a week –Yikes!

Goal #7-Attempt at least 52 new recipes this year.-  We have met this goal! I am very happy and plan to just focus on what we know for October.

Earnings_ $50. Swagbucks are really really limiting our earning so I don’t anticipate this to improve significantly before the end of the year.

October is a long month with no real breaks. I am ready so bring it on!

5 Things Friday

  1. Zach starts his fall baseball season tomorrow with a pre-season tournament. This is a new team for him and lots of opportunity for growth.
  2. My personal saving challenge for the month is to save/find $369 to add one day to each of the kids tickets for December. So far I have $146 toward this goal.
  3. I am exhausted. I managed to work both of my jobs this week and I am starting to feel it. I am trying to keep my schedule a little bit flexible for Guam until getting a baseball schedule which means that I have schedule only 2 kids most night starting at 9pm.
  4. Zach and Kendall will start in person school next week on Monday and Tuesday. This will be an adventure for all. I am hopefully it will be easier to adjust than anticipated.
  5. The garden is continuing to produce just enough. We are harvesting basil, tomatoes, pimentos and peppers. I am excited to see more pepper flowers so maybe we can actually freeze some this year!

Saving on Saturday

    • We spent around 3 hours outside today working in both our flower beds and our garden!  The saving part comes in that we did not pay someone to come and do this. A second way we are saving is that by cleaning up the garden we are able to extend the growing season and continue to save on our grocery bill.  I had to take pictures just so that I could remember the differences.

Before

  • Mom and I made a trip to the Dollar Tree today. I was able to purchase new items for my sign for a total of $5.  I am so happy with the way they turned out!
  • Zach wanted Taco Bell for his birthday.  I decide to download the app in order to save time and headache for me placing such a large order. It actually worked the way it was suppose to and we have already earned two extra tacos for Free!
  • We had decided several month ago to have a much less than usual Christmas this year in order to be able to afford our trips to Disney.  I have started working on purchasing gift for the kids and I have decided that I am going to limit it to 3 gifts from Matt and I. The little ones at home will also get a Santa Claus gift but that is all!   Now to stick to this!

August in Review

August really went out with a bang…. 4 day trip to Disney! It was awesome and hopefully I can share some pictures this week.

Gardening- 1 watermelon from the garden and I thought we were pretty much done with extreme heat and lack of rain for the two weeks of August but I ended up with fresh salsa, a cup of green peppers frozen, along with several salads made from cucumbers. I even have another pot of spaghetti sauce going! I will probably let the sweet potatoes go until the end of September. The goal this month is to clean up and preserve anything that is left.

Goal #1 Grocery Budget of $550- The total for the month is $250. I was able to continue to fill some small holes in the pantry but am just buying things as we need them. I do need to restock on quick easy lunches during September as the kids will likely be home 2-3 days a week the entire month. I am going to anticipate another low month but if that changes then we are still ok.

Goal #2 – Record and keep up with gas/ auto purchase- $174.65 the total for the month. Another low month on gas. The price has been all over the place but I have been driving to and from work for the last three weeks so gas around $200 a month should be the normal until the end of the year. I am most excited that this should allow us to pay off the gas credit car which has a set of tires on it as well!

Goal #3-Use a cash envelope system for everything possible. We are getting better at this. I am going to continue working on this. One issue I am having is that Aldi, one of the stores I shop almost weekly is only excepting exact change or debit cards. This makes it harder for me to remember to keep extra change on my at all time.

Goal #4- Blogging- 15 post per month. This is post number 14 for the month! I am actually proud of this goal especially going back to work on both of my jobs. I hope to continue in September.

Goal # 5- Fitness- Goal is to walk 3 times a week. Did not come close but did manage a 7 mile day at Disney!

Goal #6 – Bible study- Goal- 3x a week –Yikes!

Goal #7-Attempt at least 52 new recipes this year.-  I only need 2 more recipes to mark this goal off of my list.

Earnings_ $65. This is a small improvement so we will continue to hope for the best. This covered our breakfast at Magic Kingdom on Saturday and even some cold drinks at the airport.

Things are slowly returning back to normal. We survived and enjoyed August so now to settle in to a new school year and continue to focus on enjoying each moment!

5 Things Friday

  1. Today is a happy and sad day. I return to work full time onsite starting Monday. I worked from home from March 13th until June 15th. Since June 15th, I have been on summer break. I am definitely ready for a normal routine to began but I really like my 5 minute commute from the dinning room to the office. I also have enjoyed not being dressed prior to work each day! The kids and I have stay busy this summer but all good things must come to an end.
  2. I have debated how much information to share during our COVID-19 but decided that hopefully ten years from now I will want to remember what we decided and how we coupe.
  3. School is going to look alot different this year especially to start with. Lily officially starts on August 17th with her online charter school NCVA. This will be her last year in high school as the plan is for dual enrollment starting next fall. Kendall and Zach both will attend an orientation day on August 17th. The rest of the week they will not have much work. Starting August 24th, they will complete 3 weeks of total remote learning. Then September 14th, they will begin attending school Monday and Tuesdays each week. This may or may not change depending on any decisions made by our state governor. Because I will be working onsite 5 days a week in my school system, the current plan is for Matt work from home 2.5 days a week until the kid return full-time to school.
  4. Our garden is dying. We are still getting a few tomato each day but otherwise I need to spend a good couple of hours out getting rid of anything dead. We had a garden of just enough this year. I am pleased with the extra tomatoes but everything else has just been enough to eat.
  5. I was saving money for our August Disney trip via gift cards. I had been storing the gift card numbers and combining so I would only need to carry one card. Unfortunately, the day after vacation July 27th, someone access my account, changed by password and moved $1140 to another gift card they have. I have spent several hours on the phone and multiple email later, it does not appear we will be able to recover that money. We are blessed that with some budget changes and cut backs we should still enjoy our trip but it just sucks!

$20 Food Lion Trip

I am very very happy with my current stockpile. I estimate we have approximately 200 meals ready to use for the first half of the school year. I am very hopefully that I will have some time during Christmas break and a good couple of snow days to replenish our stock. I did make a trip to the local meat shop on Monday. I spent $129 and purchased chicken wings, pork butts and beef. The freezers are full! I did leave additional money in our grocery budget this month in order to purchase some items as we run out or if we find a awesome sale.

I was pleasantly surprised to receive a flyer from Food Lion with coupons to use on store brand items this weekend. A better surprise was the fact that 2L Diet Cokes were on sale for $0.99 each. I decided to challenge myself and see what I could purchase for $20 using the coupons that they sent.

I purchased: 10 2 L of Diet Coke, using the sell price plus the $3 off $10 coupons these were $0.69 each.
2 six packs of plastic bottles of peach flavored drink, the original price was $1.99 each, using $1 Food Lion coupon, each bottle is twenty-five cent each!
2 pack of sausage patties that had been reduced to $1.74 each
4 packs of Hazelnut M&Ms that were reduced to $0.48 each
Pack of Frozen broccoli- original price $1.20 with $0.35 off coupon making it ninety-four cent. I use this in several casserole recipes and it is one of the few vegetables everyone will eat.
Jar of Alfredo sauce originally $1.49 with coupon for $0.45 off making it $1.04
2 boxes of elbow macaroni, original price $0.79 each with coupon for $.50 off two makes each box fifty-four cent.

I spent a total of $19.46!!!!!