Five Things Friday

  1. No Monday Menu will be posted this week. Next week our church is hosting Vacation Bible School from 6 to 8 Monday thur Thursday and a pool party on Friday. Dinner is provided for workers and their children.
  2. Our new oven has arrived!  I have been experimenting and getting use to it over the past couple of days. So far I am very impressed!
  3. With only 3 weeks left of summer vacation, I have established a couple of goals that I want to work toward which will make my life easier in the fall. First- prepare easy to heat and eat meals as much as possible. This week we have focused on making pizza dough. We have all the ingredients but it takes around 2 hours to make the dough. Kendall has made 12 this week. This will make for easy pizza in the fall. Simply unthaw the dough in the morning and add toppings. We also made 2 additional cheeseburger pizza toppings to add to the dough. Second- Stock up and organize the freezers and pantry.  This is also close to completion. I will be adding a couple of cookie, bread and cake mixes during the next week. Finally-enjoy lots of down time by sitting by the pool.
  4. Square Foot Garden- we are making plans to add cement to complete this area but I am also continue to try and figure out how I can improve the soil for next year. We are fortunate to get tomatoes but I am so frustrated that the money I spent on soil is basically worthless this year!
  5. July has turned out to be one of the most expensive months EVER but we are still holding our heads above water. I am ready to start reaping the benefits of all my bargains and saving.

June in Review

June has come and gone!  I am enjoying my summer off but to be honest, we are staying extremely busy it seems. We did not receive our new stove in June so that has added a little bit of  expense and stress. Braxton is staying with us lots which is always fun. We have enjoyed a family shopping day and several days in the pool. I am hoping for a less expensive and less stressful  July.

Groceries– budget amount is $650.   We spent a total of $1346.80 this month which included $800 for 1/4 of a cow. I am happy to say that our pantry and freezers are stocked up. The focus of July will be making some easy to prepare either just cook or throw in the crock pot.  The budget should also be alot less so it will help even out our spending.

Auto/ Gas / Insurance: . My goal is  $400 a month. $428.50. Gas prices are rising and we have made several trips to Durham to visit with Haley.   I may need to increase this due to cost but will wait and see,

Cash Envelope system-  I am going to say No to this.  We ended up shopping at the outlets.  I am happy to say that I was able to cover all expenses without incurring interest!

Goal #4- Blogging- 15 post per month.  Post 15!   Success at last!

Goal # 5- Fitness– Goal is to exercise of some type at least 10 days a month.  At least there is improvement this month. I managed 5 days of 30 minutes of exercise this month!

Goal #6 – Bible study- Goal-  Read or Listen to the entire Bible in a year. I have finished the bible podcast. Need to get back on track with this

Earnings– $45 in gift cards. I had my oldest spam email account hacked this month so I doubt that I will be able to continue this but it has been an awesome source of extra income.  Matt and I have discussed that my job in Guam is alot more profitable and I will continue to work this second job but at a much more limited amount!

No Spend Days- One is an improvement but I don’t count that as successful.  I will likely not stress over these until school starts in August. Summer is fun and spending~

July our full month of summer and fun- Here we come!

5 Things Friday- Spending

This will be a little different from my random post of 5 things. This time I am going to tell you 5 things that we have been spending money on this month.

  1. Mattress and box springs for Kendall- Kendall’s antique bed is technically a three quarters bed. It was given to me when I was single and needed a bed. Matt and i have been married 16 years so likely 20 years ago. The same mattress and box springs have been used the entire time.  Definitely time for an upgrade. Total spend $500.
  2. Shoes- We spent most of Sunday shopping. Even needed new shoes. We ended up with the following Matt a pair of dress shoes, Kendall a pair of sneakers and slides, Lily a pair of sneakers and Zach two pair of sneakers. Kendall and Lily both bought themselves a pair of Van shoes as well.
  3. Clothes- Lily will be going to school in January for the first time in 6 years. Kendall is actually taller than me and Zach wanted.
  4. Hair and nails- I ended up with a cut and color this week. In addition I am getting my nails done every 2 weeks over the summer.
  5. Swim stuff- All three kids are swimming this summer. New suits and googles were needed.

Thrifty Thursday

I have plans for tomorrow to share some things that we are spending money on this week but first I wanted to share some ways that we are saving money this week.

First up shopping at Dollar Tree.  I have discovered that for the boys and Lily, I can purchase body wash for $1 a bottle. This bottle last around 2 weeks so $2 for a month is much cheaper than $4 a bottle at most other places. I also buy conditioner just to change things up.  This trip I was able to grab sandwich bags and snack bags for $1. I am not anti-plastic but it does bother me to spend 5 or more cent on a bag that ends up in the trash after one use. I found fold top sandwich bags as less than a penny each so I am good with tossing each day. I did also purchase sandwich bags with a zip top to use for other things.   Snack bags will be used for freezing small serving such as 1/2 cups.

Ordering vitamins and supplements via Amazon. Both Lily and Kendall are on a daily iron supplement. I ended up saving 50% simply by ordering it on scribe and save on Amazon plus this allows me to order and forget about it!

I purchased a good bit of extra fruits and vegetables last week. Things have been slightly more hectic than I anticipated so we have not used up as much. Today, I made a new crockpot meal with sweet peppers. I also cut up and froze two bags of peppers and onions to be used in spaghetti sauce when our tomatoes start to come in.  3 cups of chopped celery was frozen. I discovered that I have purchased 3 bags of onions recently. So Kendall and I chopped up two bags to freeze. We ended up freezing 7 cups of diced onions. This way it will not go bad and they will be super convenient to use as well.

I was also able to use 5 small containers of vegetables that were sent to us from the school lunch program.  This cleared up space in our freezer and also made an awesome pork fried rice meal.

Sheets were washed and hung on the line to dry in order to save electricity.

We have eaten all dinners at home this week which is a huge savings.  I have eaten a couple of lunches out and one breakfast but these are much less expensive than even one dinner meal.

What have you been doing to save money?

Monday Menu Post and Summer Cooking

My first full week of summer vacation and week #3 of no oven. We have not received any confirmation of when our new stove will arrive but it was scheduled for this Wednesday. I honestly have not hope of this happening but….   I am definitely a cook for the weather, in the winter and fall I like “soup Sunday” and lots of warm comfort food. However in the summer, sandwich and salads please. This summer as with most summers we have a swim meet on 4-5 Tuesday evenings. I like to take lots of food with us because the kids swim hard and get hungry. The only down side is the prep time. This  morning (Monday) Lily, Kendall and I spent about an hour cutting up watermelon, cantaloupe, peppers and tomatoes.  We made a pasta salad for lunches and for dinner tomorrow which will also help make things easier in the morning. Things to remember as you look at the menu- NO oven, fully stocked freezers and pantry( I am refusing to go to a store this week). Zach is at baseball camp and we have a swim meet!

Breakfast– Saturday-breakfast croissants  Sunday-Cracker Barrel  – Breakfast bowls minus the gravy. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday-choice of breakfast muffins, eggs, pop-tarts, sausage, oatmeal, cereal or grits, breakfast burritos, or omelets. Pretty much you find it and make it! Lily is making shakes for breakfast.

Lunch-  Saturday–Left-overs   Sunday- Way Back Jacks  I assembled a pasta salad. We have lots of salad and sandwich stuff, I made Matt several burgers while I was grilling hot dogs. We have several items left from school lunches and you always have left-overs.

Dinner-  Saturday-  Girls Chinese, Boy-hot dogs at the ball game.  Sunday-Left-overs   Monday-Hot Dogs and fried green beans   Tuesday-Pasta salad or sandwiches  Wednesday- Pork fried rice(from freezer combined with school frozen veggies)  Thursday- left-overs unless I get motivated Friday-Soft tacos.

Monday Menu Plan

We are on week 2 of no oven. Still going strong and actually no repeats yet!   We have the expectation of the oven arriving next Wednesday (June 16th) but I am not holding that as a promise. The kids are officially out of school!  I am working Monday and Tuesday.  We also are enjoying lots of fresh veggies from the farmer market.

Breakfast– Saturday-Cinnamon Roll waffles  Sunday- Biscuit King Wednesday,- Breakfast bowls minus the gravy. Monday,-  TuesdayThursday, Friday-choice of breakfast muffins, eggs, pop-tarts, sausage, oatmeal, cereal or grits, breakfast burritos, or omelets.

Lunch-  Saturday–Taco Bell    Sunday- Gregg’s  I assembled a pasta salad and Matt has hamburgers to round out his week.

Dinner-  Saturday-  Graduation party    Sunday-Left-overs (only once this week!)   Monday-Grilled Chicken with zucchini and broccoli.  Tuesday-Arby’s due to piano and ball game  Wednesday- Hot Dogs and Tator tots  Thursday- Costco chicken and squash Friday-Soft tacos.

May in Review

I can describe May in two words busy and expensive. Water leaks, new HVAC ducts, stove broken all these added to the fun.  We have had 2-3 ballgames a week along with church activities and a few end of the year activities. I am sure the next three months will go by quickly but I am so looking forward to them.

Groceries– budget amount is $650.  $338.23 this did include some soda stock up. I would like to keep the summer grocery budget down to $300 a month but I am also wanting to maintain a food level so that in September I can reduce the budget again.  We will see how things go!  But so far we are under budget for all 6 months this year! HUGE success in this area.

Auto/ Gas / Insurance: . My goal is  $400 a month. $394.89. This month was a huge jump in gas prices plus an oil change. This seems to be the right amount.

Cash Envelope system- GOAL Met!   This seems to be working well so no plan change now! We are going back to a more strict use of cash in May.  I did excellent on only cash until the last week. But still working well so I am going to continue!

Goal #4- Blogging- 15 post per month.  10 post for the month.  My reason is that I worked 40 hours in Guam.  This should be the last month of so much work. My plan is to stay at one day a week (Monday) for next school year as well.

Goal # 5- Fitness– Goal is to exercise of some type at least 10 days a month.  Nope and again I blame Guam.

Goal #6 – Bible study- Goal-  Read or Listen to the entire Bible in a year. I have finished the bible podcast.  I am planning to start a reading program this summer.

Earnings- $25 in gift cards. I have a strong sense that this will need very soon.

No Spend Days- NONE! Yikes  2 months in a row means we need some belt tightening.

I knew May would be busy and I am hopefully to make June less busy and less expensive but we shall see.

Menu Planning Monday

5 weeks left of the school year with not a break in sight until after then.  After cleaning and organizing the freezers this week, I want to keep grocery spending as low as possible while continuing to stock up on different items to make things easier in the fall.  I am very proud of the amount of left-overs we are managing to get rid of this week!

Breakfast– Saturday-bacon and eggs  Sunday- Biscuits from Biscuit King  Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday-choice of breakfast muffins, eggs, sausage, oatmeal, cereal or grits, breakfast burritos, or omelets.

Lunch-  Saturday–Left-overs   Sunday- Gregg’s   I assembled salads, a pasta salad  and hamburgers on Sunday. The kids will eat left-overs  on Wednesday.

Dinner-  Saturday-  Left-overs again    Sunday-country style steak (left-overs) made some instant mashed potatoes to go with it.  . Monday-Chicken and green bean casserole. (new recipe)  Tuesday-chicken nuggets and French Fries  Wednesday- Taco Bell or Chinese or Ballgame Thursday- Sloppy Joes and Tator tots  Friday- Grilled chicken

Saving On Saturday

There is nothing mind blowing or extremely different in this post. But I wanted to share just to remind myself and anyone else who reads that simple things make a difference in the long run.

Today, we spent around 2 hours clean, organizing and making a list of the items that are in our outside freezers.   I am pleasantly surprised to find that we have over 60 meals currently available in our freezers.  We now have an accurate list and even should be able to find the items that are needed to make our meals.

Plus check out how nice it actually looks!

The challenge is a little bit different for me than it has been in the past. I can honestly say that our freezer is full stocked.  I would normally decide to do a clean out the freezer challenge and use everything up but the summer is fast approaching. This summer I should have some additional money and time to actually stock the freezer with lots of easy to prepare meals for the coming school year. So I think that my first challenge is to make double meals.. Meaning if I can make double of something and freeze why not this way I can simple just heat and eat.  I also want to focus on keeping the grocery budget way under control.  But also take advantage of deals if they appear!   So for now we will continue to eat out of the freezer and try to keep it full stocked at the same time!

April In Review

Basically the first two weeks of April were sent getting ready for and enjoying our Disney trip. The rest of the month has been spend recovering from our Disney trip. The best news is that I have 5 weeks until Summer!  Our spending was higher in most places but we currently have no credit card debit and our “baby” emergency” fund of $1000 is in place. So I am going to call it an awesome but exhausting month and move on!

Groceries– budget amount is $650.   We have actually spent $542.12.  This included a last minute pre0trip to grab some extra things for the trip.

Auto/ Gas / Insurance: . My goal is  $400 a month.  I had to pay taxes on the car and with gas for the trip I am way over!  $536.39.

Cash Envelope system- GOAL Met!   This seems to be working well so no plans to change now! We are going back to a more strict use of cash in May

Goal #4- Blogging- 15 post per month.  This is post number 6 but things get better from here.

Goal # 5- Fitness– Goal is to exercise of some type at least 10 days a month.  I should count the 7 days of Disney miles. But hope to make improvements in  the coming months.

Goal #6 – Bible study- Goal-  Read or Listen to the entire Bible in a year. Still on track with this. I should finish my first podcast this month.

Earnings- $50 in gift cards

No Spend Days- NONE! Yikes.

I knew April would be a spend month. Hopefully we are back to a more stable way of spending and saving.