Five Things Friday 6/8/2018

  1. After much prayer and consideration, Matt is currently seeking a full time job. In the short term, he is picking up extra hours as they are available. Every extra dollar helps and I have to have a new budget in the next month or so that includes EVERYTHING that we need.
  2. Zach was invited to go to the beach with a friend this weekend.  This is his first real time away from family. I am hoping he has an awesome time but it is really quiet around here tonight.
  3. We have our first swim meet next Tuesday. I love to be outside and cheering on the kids.
  4. Bath and Body Works is currently running their semi-annual sale. I used the last little bit of my last bottle yesterday. I am so happy that I received both the orders I placed. I split up the order even though it costed more in shipping in order to use $10 off $40 for each order.
  5. I pre-purchased an additional 80lbs of chicken today. This order will not arrive until October. I also have ordered 40lbs that we will receive in July. The reason, I placed the second order is that I was able to purchase at $0.99 a lb. This is the lowest and best price. I am hoping between the two orders this will last us an year!

Five Things Friday 6/01/2018

Did you hear that sigh of relief? Do you have a clue what it means for us?

  1. This is the month, that we hopefully final get our feet back on solid ground. In addition, we are actively seeking ways to increase our overall income as well.  My prayers is that by the end of June, we will have significantly increased our income and can adjust our budget accordingly.
  2. The square foot garden should been to produce. We currently are able to harvest lettuce, basil and cilantro. I hope to add at least cucumber and squash to the mix by the end of the month.
  3. Matt and I will have some “alone” time this month.  For dinner tonight, we used a gift card and enjoy a large meal at Applebee’s. Total spent was $11! Amanda has taken all the kids with her camping this weekend.  All three kids are planning to attend our church camp which be for the entire third week of June.  Currently, I have scheduled myself an additional 10 hours the week they are gone to camp. This weekend, my plans are to finish up some spring cleaning and relax.
  4. School ends for Lily next Wednesday. Zach and Kendall will both finish on Friday. This summer will be a definite change as Matt will be working one or more days. We get to start using our “Wet and Wild” pass for the summer. I am hoping to go twice in the month of June alone.
  5. I am finally feeling caught up. I still have several things I would like to accomplish around the house but they are all things that are simple items that will just keep things moving smoothly.

Thanks for sticking with us!

May in Review

This has been a long EXPENSIVE month. I am so excited to say goodbye to May and hello to June. Matt and I both are still working on increasing our income and hopefully we can start to see increases in the month of June.

Financial- This is the worst month this year in regards to finances. The good news is that I receive an “extra” paycheck in June. My goal is to reset and hopefully get our feet back on steady ground. I blogged here  about most of the expenses. I was not able to cover them all but we are still eating and floating so I am so thankful to head to another month.
Total paid to credit card debit $1173 total, however this did not produce an reduction Instead we increased our overall debit by almost $600.
Grocery budget $475- Total spent $608.08. Yikes, It happened again and this does not include our cow purchase. I checked and we have been over budget in this year for 5 out of 6 months. I need to take a good look at this for the next 2 months and may in reality need to increase this to a larger more realistic number. We are well stocked and I would love to say we are planning to spend much less this month but I honestly think the kids are growing and we are eating more.
Gas budget- $280- Spent $285. This does not include the inspection, or tags on Matt’s van.  I also plan to re-evaluate this during the next two months and may increase if needed.
Kid/Summer expenses : Camp deposit, swim team, baseball games and we are not even going to talk about the medical expenses.
Earned $75-this is the lowest month to date. I am somewhat frustrated but extra is extra so we will continue to attempt to use whatever we can get.
Personal-
Blogging- 9 for the month. No goal met here either
Exercise- 0 total days for the month.

This is real life and just because we have a bad month does not mean we stop working. I am super disappointed but I lived the real struggle this month.  I am praying and holding steady for better times ahead.

5 Things Friday 5/25/2018

  1. I have a 3 day weekend! WOO HOO I am so excited to have at least one day to stay at home!
  2. Our square foot garden is thriving. I am so very hopeful at this point. We have enjoyed lots of lettuce and some basil. I am excited to watch everything grow but even more excited when we start eating out of the garden.
  3. Our freezer is once again full. Matt picked up our 890 of beef on Tuesday. Our chest freezer was a great fit. We have spent several hours cooking, so far we have 13 bags of cooked grounded beef.  32 beef and bean burritos, 12 meals of Salisbury steaks and 5 meals of sloppy joes (minus the buns).
  4. May has been a slow and expensive month. I am holding on tight to make it till June. We are definitely over budget with both gas and groceries for the month.
  5. Lily has not had an episode in almost 2 weeks (Sunday). This is a huge praise in our books.

Happenings-5/20/2018

Things around here are always busy and usually pretty interesting. May has been a really busy and expensive month. Lily’s strange “episodes” have added both and of course cause lots of worrying and frustration. I thought I would try to update on the happenings and upcoming plans for the last week and half left in May.

I am going to start a new part time job soon. It is a very unique experience, providing Occupational Therapy via skype.  I am still wading through the process of learning the ropes and applying for licensure. I am so excited.

We should receive our cow that we purchased some time in the next week. I have spent some of my time trying to clean out the freezers and get a good idea of what food we need to eat in order to store the meat.  I anticipate that we will make a 10 or 15 pound batch of Salisbury steak next weekend. I am also planning on making around 5 lbs of taco meat and turning most of that into heat and eat burritos.

In addition to our 900 pounds of beef, we are also scheduled to receive 40 pounds of chicken breast. Hopefully everything works out so that we have approximately 2 weeks between the beef and chicken. I am planning to make packets for grilled chicken in addition to cooking and shredding some to use in dishes over the summer.

I have been able to finish my hours of continuing education that are required every year and have successfully renewed by Occupational Therapy license. I was also required to purchase malpractice insurance which was more than I anticipated.

All three kids have decided to go to church camp this year. I am excited for them but this is by far the biggest expense of the summer. Matt and I are both anticipating being able to work extra during the week they are gone.  That should help offset the expenses.

We currently have approximately three weeks of school left. Our local store “Food Lion” ran a special this week on lunchables.  Most ended up costing $1 each while others were $0.50.  I decided that this was a justifiable expense and purchased enough for the kids to use for lunch every day for the rest of the school year. Matt and I are also focusing on bring food for lunches so that we do not add to our already, over stretch food budget.

The kids are practicing for swim team in addition to Zach’s baseball games and regular church activities for the next two weeks which again means less time to do anything.

Finally a positive note, I get to look forward to a 3 day weekend starting next Friday!  My goal is to get everything caught up so that I can enjoy at least 4 hours sitting by the pool.

April in Review

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. We have had several large expenses this month but we continue to focus on the small gains.

  • Total paid to credit card debit $1483 total reduction in credit card debit approximately $612.We are final down to a level that is less than we ended with in December of last year. We have experienced a boast in income which we hope to increase and continue in the summer.
  • Grocery budget $475- Total spent $531.77. Yikes, It happened again and this does not include our cow purchase. The good news is that I have already made a menu plan for the month and plan to stick to $100. We will be receiving our cow sometime this month but I really don’t expect this to add to our cost at all. I am going to limit spending to what we are out of and Suddenly Salads if they go on sale.
  • Gas budget- $280- Spent $230. Gas prices are starting to increase in our area so I seriously doubt we come in under budget for the next couple of months.
  • Kid/Summer expenses :Swim team and Baseball games.
  • Earned $88-this is indeed a much lower amount than any of the previous months I have tracked but it is still extra money. We have decided to use this “extra money” for gardening and other yard supplies.

Personal- 

  • Blogging- 9 for the month. Super busy this month. The blog was technically down for over a week. Hoping to get back in the swing of things.
  • Exercise- 2 total days for the month.  a goal of 15 but not sure if that is realistic or not. This weather SUCKS!  I am looking forward to the summer and time in the pool.

Monday Update

So I think it is pretty obvious that I will not meet my blogging goal for the month. I do have a legit reason for it this month, so I wanted to make sure that I have it recorded.  We ended up having to move things from Go Daddy due to price and this web site disappeared for approximately a week. That is as technical as I understand. I am very happy that it has all been saved including the huge amount of pictures that I post each year.  The good news is for now we have three years until we have to deal with the same thing again.

I am over grocery budget again. So far this month I have spent $436 in addition to purchasing our cow. We will still have to pay the processing fee in May but this is a years supply or more of beef.

On a positive note, we have been able to reduce our total debit this month. I am so excited about this small accomplishment. I do anticipate that the next 3-4 weeks will be very expensive as we have several summer expenses that are due. These include pool membership, swim team, church camp and baseball camp.  We also have our car insurance due in the month of May. Yikes

My plan/goal is to get some baseball pictures posted in addition to some other special ones over the last week.

Trying to Save on Saturday

One of the largest expenses that we have each and every month is groceries. I spent a lot of time trying to control these numbers. If you will recall I had a HUGE grocery budget overage in the month of March ($726). I was planning to attempt to keep the April budget to less than $100.  But to be honest that is already not possible and we are in the middle of April. What I can say is that I have been able to stock up on lots of canned items and grab some quick and easy breakfasts for us as well. Harris Teeter has been having some huge sales in the past couple of weeks, for example, I grabbed 15 cases (12 packs) of soda for $1.99 today.  This alone is a saving of $50.  Cereal, grits, oatmeal and yogurt round out the list of items that I purchased today as well.  My plan for the rest of April is to only purchase things we are completely and totally out of that we can not survive without milk and eggs being the biggest things that I can thing of. Otherwise to be honest I am going to avoid all grocery shopping. I am going to allow for one exception “Suddenly Salad” Pasta that usually go on sale for approximately $1 a box. I need/ plan to purchase 25 of these to use once a week this summer as a quick easy and delicious meal.

I received the news today that we will also be purchasing a cow in the next month. This cow currently weighs 1400 pounds. This meat should last approximately 2 years. I am super excited about this meat.

The other food related good news is that within a month we should be able to start harvesting items from the garden. I am excited this year because all the plants should be purchased with gift cards earned from Swagbucks. This means that the entire garden is a profit not matter how little we may harvest.

 

Monday Menu Planning 2/26/2018

Thankful we have food prepared and will start making more quick and simple meals over the next couple of weeks.

Breakfast- Saturday-Cereal and breakfast burritos , Sunday- Cereal and milk , Monday Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday- Choice of cereal, eggs or left-overs, Thursday- breakfast burrito bowl.

Lunch- Saturday- pizza snacks , Sunday- meal at Red Robin , Monday- Chicken salad lettuce wraps for everyone . The kids are taking 2 day of sandwiches and 2 grab and go days.  I plan to eat at work a couple of times this week as they have my favorite sandwich.

Dinner – Saturday- Ladies Banquet , Sunday- Chicken enchiladas   Monday- Shepherd’s Pie, Tuesday- Chicken pie with Broccoli salad and squash casserole, Wednesday-Hamburger Helper, Thursday- Country style steak or chicken from Costco, Friday- Breakfast casserole or tater tot casserole. .

Thursday Thoughts 2/22/2018

We received our income tax return today. I was very determined to use it in the most efficient way possible. In order to accomplish this I have spend the better part of the morning, looking at budgets and trying to put together some plans and strategies.  One of my main concerns and areas of focus was “known” expenses.  These are expenses such as yearbooks, pool dues, brakes, and oil changes that I know are coming at some point. These are also where I feel like I really don’t plan enough.  I have tried to come up first of all a list of these expenses and more importantly a plan to pay them. My overall goal is to be able to set a budget and any money saved from that budget can be used to help cover kids expenses, or reduce our debit. Currently it is more like a move money to cover this expense but opps now I need to cover this expenses.  I am overall really pleased with where I think we stand as far as a budget goes.

The tax return will be used to cover the deposit on our beach vacation in August. The rest of this will be paid from my “extra” check in June. We will also replace the windshield in my van, replace the brakes on Matt’s van and get an oil change for his van. The rest of it and our state return will be used to help fill some gaps that I have identified in our budget.

The weather for the last few days has been cloudy but with temperatures in the low 70s. We have turned off the heat and opened a couple of windows. Both our electric and water bill have decreased in February but an extra week without heating and air goes a long way. Matt has also been able to stop a leak in the hall bathroom and did some minor repairs on the dryer. We are very hopeful that these small changes will bring both bills down to a lower level.

A huge surprise or change that we expect in March is a reduction of our cable television bill. With Septrum our bill that we just received jumped $35. We have made no changes to our service. Matt called and it was a “your promotional period has ended” increase.  We are currently researching options and will honestly give Septrum one last chance to match our current price. If not then we are cancelling our landline and switching to HULU live. This change will save us around $40 a month. I know that the first two months saving will be used to purchase one additional box for our televisions.

The thing I am most excited about is my plan to purchase mulch and all plants for the Square Foot Garden this year with earning from Swagbucks.  In the past, I have used the grocery budget for these purchases but this way the pressure is off to “harvest ” enough to cover the expenses!