Budget Friendly Easter

We celebrate Easter but it is usually in a low key kind of way. Today was no exception. This morning we started with Easter Baskets at around 6:30am.

84C83166-A3B3-44F3-892A-97512DEC11AA 6FD73009-2379-4E4A-BD8C-95089A5C0940 DAFE24D7-0D81-4246-A94F-14EBB505078FBasket and emoji toys are great things to pick up at the after Easter sales. I would wait until everything is 75% off. Candy is always a good deal at CVS with the ECB, another option is also Target. The Dollar spot at Target can be great for some small socks and stickers. Finally shop at Five Below to grab even more candy and Hot Wheels Cars if you need.

Easter outfits are always fun! Especially when you plan ahead.  Lily and Kendall’s dress were purchased at Costco in February for $16. each. I order Matt and Zach’s matching purple shirts from JCPenny on sale for $9.99 each. Amanda found her dress at Goodwill and David’s shirt was another sale purchase. My outfit was the cheapest from my closet.

5FFF4F5F-2A22-47B9-AFE3-B1F82BBBADF8We all enjoy lunch at my brother’s house and the kids spent the afternoon playing outside and hunting Easter eggs.

I planned ahead and purchased the ham at Aldi using a $5 off $30 coupon several weeks ago. We came home and enjoyed left-overs for dinner in addition to ham salad I made that will last for several weeks.

 

Five Things Friday

  1. We have made it halfway through the month of March.  I am so excited to say that we are on track financially for the month!  We have spent $371 for groceries and $153.70 for gas.
  2. Both the vans had an oil change this week and Matt was able to change the brakes on his van.  This was one of the expenses we used our tax return for.  Even better he stayed under budget.
  3. Next week is quite possibility the busiest week of the year.  Kendall has her Battle of the Books. Zach has a preseason baseball tournament. And Lily play starts on Friday night with longer practices every night.
  4. I decided to go ahead and purchase new glasses as I am starting to have trouble seeing. I purchased from Zennni Online.  The total cost was $131. I am very anxious to try them.
  5. We purchased a trailer of mulch today. More details hopefully to follow…

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Seven Things On Saturday- 3/10/2018

  1. My work schedule for the past several weeks has literally been insane. I am working most days from 8am till 5:45pm. I have to leave at 5:45 in order to pick up Lily from practice at Lexington Youth Theater.
  2. Yesterday, was a very long and stressful day. Our good friend experienced a stroke. We are praising God that he has regained all movement and is expected to make a full recovery.
  3. I spent most of the morning working on bill paying and update our budget. I am happy to say that we have survived! Our state tax return came in and with that I finally feel like we are on a solid financial track. We are still working on paying for summer camps and pool dues but those are the only extra expenses I see from this point forward.
  4. Our cable was scheduled to increase by $35 dollars this month. Matt and I are in agreement that we can not continue to pay so much for internet, cable and home phone service. After 3 separate phone calls, we managed to keep our favorite television stations and increase our internet speed but reduced out bill down $60. We are losing our home phone but in the end this works well for us.
  5. Zach is playing spring baseball, we have purchased a new bat and glove. We are very fortunate that he has been loaned the gear to play catcher. I am most definitely ready for warm weather and baseball.
  6. Kendall will be completing both her sign language club and Battle of the Books this month. This will definitely allow for more home time.
  7. We are expecting (predicted) to have one last winter event Monday. I am so ready for spring.

A Very Expensive Day

I often post about how I save money but today I am going to share about why it is important that we save everywhere we can.

Today, all three of the little kids have eye appointments. The appointments are in Greensboro, which is approximately 30 minutes north,   The first stop of the day is Costco.  We needed to fill my van, $26.50.  We needed to pick up several spices and I found a new dress that I love !    Total spent is $58.70. By 10:30, we have already spent $85.20.

Actual eye appointments cost because we have to see a specialist out of network, is $225.   The reason for going out of network is simple, there is currently not a provider in network.

Lunch is a requirement because it is 12:30 and every one is hangry.  We agreed on Mo’s Southwest Grill.   Each of the kids ate an entire kids meal, guess I miss the days of one kids meal for all three,   Our total for lunch $38.70.  Total at 1:30pm is. $348.90.

Now that we are civil again, we are headed to VisionWorks to purchase glasses,  VisionWoorks has a special Buy One Get One Free.   The original plan was for each of the kids and me to get a new pair of glass.  The estimate for my pair was $630 so we decided to order online.  Zach ended up with 2 pair for a total of $299.95 and both the girls got a pair for $229.

The final stop is Costco to order Lily,s contacts.  Lily,s total is $177.95

Total for day= $1054.90,   Yes that is expensive,

What’s Happening?

I was doing so well and blogging several times a week, and then 7 days of silence what happened?
The short answer is LIFE

But in order to give you an idea about what that looks like for us here is a more detailed answer.

For the next six weeks, Lily has practice for the theater Monday- Friday from 4-6 pm. The good news is that we have worked it out so that Matt drops her off and I am picking her up most evenings on my way home from work. The bad news is that means we are eating dinner at 6:30 which means that the evening does not exist for me.

Kendall stays after school on Tuesdays for Battle of the Books till 3:30 and on Wednesday for Sign Language club. Zach and Kendall both attend a kid’s program on Wednesday nights from 6 to 8pm.

Zach has just signed up for spring baseball this past week. I am assuming that we will start a practice schedule of 2 or 3 days a week very soon. In the meantime, he was asked to play on a different team than he has in the past. This team is playing “kid-pitch” baseball so this adds some interesting changes and expenses to the table.

Matt has been working extra, in fact, today was his sixth day in a row working with it also being his 7th out of 8 days as well. We fully expect this to change over the next month but are open and encouraging to continue try and gain some financial ground this year.

Next let’s talk a little about the weekends.  Friday night, Lily stayed after practice for some fun and food with her cast mates until 8pm.  Kendall attended her very first sleepover on Friday night as well. On Saturday, all three kids had a piano lesson, this is a wonderful opportunity but takes a good 3 hour chunk from our day.  Zach ended up going to a friends house for several hours as well on Saturday.

As you can tell life is back to it’s busy pace around here.

January In Review 2018

The final week of January has been a rough one for us, on many different levels. Today is Thursday and I can see a small light at the end of the tunnel at least for this week. Both our electric and water bill will be extremely high for February so I am already working the budget numbers to accommodate the extra amounts.

Since I am not totally positive on what things I want to monitor this year I am going with a list method of goals and may decide to add or delete a few as the weeks go on.

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.

  • Total paid to credit card debit $1050 total reduction in credit card debit $415
  • Grocery budget $160- Total spent $200. This is still $275 less than budget.. I will be increasing the February budget to $300.
  • Gas budget- $280- Spent $235
  • Kid/Summer expenses : $85
  • Earned $170- this is indeed a much lower amount but this is the expectation until at least March.

Personal- This is truly where I am add or change several things

  • Blogging- 15 for the month. I am going to set a goal for 20 but realize that is probably not realistic.
  • Reading The Bible – 31 days complete!
  • Exercise- 7 total days for the month.  Again setting a goal for 15 but not sure if that is realistic or not.

5 Things Friday- Financial

Fair warning this is not a happy post, I had even considered naming it 5 Financial Woes but decided that was a bit dramatic.

  1. My snow days last week, which I did enjoy ended up being unpaid.
  2. On Saturday of last week, the windshield of my van started to crack for no apparent reason. The crack has now spread to cover 3/4 of the windshield. It is not actually in the line of site but the entire windshield will need to be replaced in the near future.
  3. Our water bill increased this month by $18.
  4. Our electric bill increased by $160 from last month and $80 from our average bill.
  5. Our earning apps, extra money has slowed to a crawl.  This is expected for the first several month of the year but still a cut in pay.

Saving on Saturday

Today, I am saving time and money by cooking ahead! I am also sticking to items that I have in the pantry or freezer as I have a very small grocery budget this month. Today, I focused on using frozen chicken breast.  I  was very pleasantly surprised when my instapot was able to cook 10 breast from frozen to done in less than an hour (30 minutes actually pressure time).  I shredded those in my kitchen aid and used for a Chicken Taco Casserole and Chicken Enchiladas. I also froze 2 packs of shredded chicken. The casserole is one of our quick easy items to use on a busy day. Chicken Enchiladas will be lunch tomorrow. While the instapot was working, I started dinner for tonight, which was Creamy Italian Chicken. This is a recipe that Amanda has made before so I knew that it was good. That is a total of 5 meals in less than 2 hours of total time.

Matt made a batch of homemade pimento cheese that we will use for breakfast in the morning . I also pulled out the ingredients for a beef stew for dinner tomorrow night. This recipe is from Zach’s calendar so he is excited to try it.

The best part of all these meals is cost today is $0!   We used all the ingredients from the pantry and freezer. First week of January behind us with a  total of $20 spent in groceries!