Thursday Thoughts

  • Fall has officially arrived in North Carolina. Monday, the kids wore shorts and t-shirts to school. That afternoon, I heard complaints of how hot it was!  The house temperature was 78.  Today, the kids both are wearing long pants and long sleeves. The house temperature is currently and I am hopefully to avoid the heat til at least Saturday.
  • We will have to dig up sweet potatoes and grab the last of viable veggies from the garden as we are predicted to get our first frost Sunday night.
  • I planted some lettuce bottoms in May and after we ate some they ended up self seeding.  We have really been enjoying this lettuce during September and October. I walked out this afternoon and grabbed enough lettuce for 6 salads! This is probably the third full meal we have gotten and I grab usually a salad a week for my lunch.
  • I am coming to the realization that my job in Guam may never come about. I have already received notice that I need to renew my Guam license by Oct 26th for next year. I have yet to use this license so I am thinking that I will not renew and mark it up to a learning experience. The biggest issue is that I will need to re-do our budget in December and eliminate the need for that income.
  • Dinner this week has been a challenge, as I have had after school meetings 4 out of 5 days.  I am hoping to get a better/easier plan for next Monday and Tuesday. I also have a meeting on Monday evening so we may be ordering pizza after all.
  • I have spent my grocery budget for the month so I am forced to say No to a really good sale at Harris Teeter.
  • Going to end on a positive note, we currently are 1/3 of the way to have our Christmas completely paid for via Swagbucks. I am hopefully that by December we can purchase all large items using this free money!

5 Things Friday

  1. This is the first night we have been home this week with no practice or events. I think this should occur at least 2 more times during the month of October 2018.
  2. My job in Guam is “suppose” to be starting in the next 2 weeks.   I also have received notice that I need to “reapply” for licensure by the end of October. I am so reluctant to even think about this but am leaving an open mind. I do have a call schedule to speak with someone on Tuesday and I am very hopeful that I can get an idea of the scope of the time commitment including when it will start on this call.
  3. My favorite sale of the year is the Food Lion “quarter back” sale. Last week, I even took my mother shopping. We ended up shopping two different Food Lion stores and realized that each store has different prices and sales. The stores are less than a 10 minute drive apart. My favorite deal of the week was free yogurt. The Food Lion brand yogurt was on sale at 4 for $1. Each still qualified for $0.25 back so free yogurt. I still have approximately $40 in my grocery budget remaining but may honestly skip shopping the rest of the month.
  4. Gas and other auto related expenses are continuing to be above the budget amount. My initial plan was that all “mileage expense” money would be “fun money” may have to be rethought.
  5. We are celebrating Amanda’s birthday this weekend!

September in Review

Whew… we made it.  September was another busy month with lots of money being spent.  You can read about out budget reset here.    To be quite honest, I am glad to have all the spending and buying hopefully behind us.  I actually paid bills twice this month as we move to paying most bills with my paycheck, we are paying a month ahead so it is much easier and quicker. My goal for both October and November is to have more days of no spending than spending days.  We still have not settled on a final budget as I have not started my second job via Skype yet.  At this point, I am even becoming doubtful if this is going to materialize. If I do not being this job it will me a reduction in our budget as I will need to cover our two remaining credit cards from regular bill money. I will definitely keep you posted. But now here is what our month looks like.

Financial- We have moved toward a cash envelope system with most of the budget. We are continuing to use our Costco credit card for the HUGE rewards (total of 8%) in the form of cash back but otherwise we have no plans to acquire any more debit.
Grocery budget $500- Total spent $500 for September and $440 of our October budget. Because I was paid on Friday, we went ahead and shopped at Costco for the month in addition to I have been stocking up at Food Lion during their quarter back sale. I do not anticipate spending more than $60 in October and it is in cash so when it is gone, I am done!
Gas- We are currently around $75 over for the month. I was initially very unsure about the exact cost with both Matt and I traveling at least 30 minutes to work each way. I did increase our gas budget to $400 for the month of October. I may have to continue to monitor and adjust this as time progress. The good news is that I will be earning mileage which should cover at least part of this expense.
Kid/Summer expenses :Lily is participating in youth theater and including tickets for the show so far we have spent $200. Remaining cost include several items for her costume and at least one silent auction item. Zach is playing baseball- $90 sign up fee, $25 on new uniform and around $5 a week for game entry fees.
Earned $75- We are continuing to use this money in different ways. This month it was to purchase items for my building including a light. We are planning to put at least $50 a month for the next three months toward Christmas gifts. Every little bit helps!

Personal-
Blogging-10 for the month.  I have been sick for the past week and we have been incredible busy over the past two weeks but I am going to hopefully stay above this number in the future.
Exercise- 3 total days for the month. I am going to again blame my cold on part of this but I know I can and need to do much better in this area!

Favorite Sale of the Year

I am so excited but I almost missed it. Food Lion, our local grocery store, is having my favorite sale of the year. The quarter back sale! Basically for every “store brand” item you buy you receive a quarter back for your next order/ trip.   I usually watch for this sale and plan ahead making sure I stock up on things like ketchup and mustard.  Opps missed that whole sale announcement.  I went to the store last night to purchase a few groceries needed to make baked ziti.  As I am walking around the store, I see the sale sign and know I need to take advantage of it. I quickly  start thing and start exchanging items in my cart for store brands in addition to trying to find the best deals.    I grabbed muffin mix, pasta mix, rice mixes and some breakfast items that we always need!  Matt was excited to see hot sauce (6 bottles).   I also found some items on clearance that increased my total but overall I am so excited. My overall goal was to purchase the needed items with “quarter back”,

By the numbers:
Original items on the list   $25.45
Summer clearance Items (skewers)  $ 2.79
Total Spent  $54.90
Total Saved $30.18
Saving Percentage is 54.97%

Food Lion is the only local grocery store and to save 55% on store brand items is AWESOME!

We are using the cash method for groceries this month which makes it a bit more difficulty for me to make another trip because I want to keep my cash. I will likely wait and monitor sale and make only one trip a week for the rest of the month!

Monday Menu Plan

We have added several kid activities this week and anticipate that I will begin skype in Guam some time this month. We are adjusting our plans and hopefully will find a new normal very quickly. I have discovered that I simply do not have the time to fix eggs in the morning. I also do not like cereal and a eggo waffles is not enough food. Matt and I cooked up breakfast burrito stuff and egg muffins to make our morning much easier.

Breakfast- Saturday-Biscuits (choice of toppings), Sunday-Men’s breakfast and gravy biscuits. Monday- Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday- Choice of pop-tarts, breakfast burrito bowl, egg muffins, cereal, toast. eggos or grits.
Lunch- left-overs Sunday- Gregg’s Restaurant with friends . Kids have lunch packed including lunchables, uncrustables and wraps. My goal is to only eat out on Friday this week: salad, humus , pimento cheese and crackers . I was successful with only eating out last week on Friday.
Dinner – Saturday-steaks and sweet potatoes, Sunday- left-over or breakfast food prep , Monday-Rice Creola, Tuesday- cheese quesadilla and Mexican rice , Wednesday-Bagel bites , Thursday- Pork fried rice and egg rolls  Friday-cowboy beans and corn bread.

5 Things Friday 8/17/2018

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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?

Inexpensive/no Cost Staycation

We like to travel and it the past we have travelled ALOT!  Some of our travel was based on competition cheerleading and some on Matt’s family being in Michigan. In 2017, we spent 10 days in Michigan, 8 days at Myrtle Beach and 10 days in Disney World. We also travelled to Raleigh for a competition as well. This year has been a much slower year. I am actually enjoying a 5 day staycation this week. The rehab department at the hospital is closed for the Fourth of July, I don’t normally work on Thursday. In addition,  I was lucky enough to find someone to cover Friday of this week to make it a nice long break.

Yesterday, Wednesday, was the Fourth of July.  I started the day by washing and hanging Kendall and Zach’s bedding on the clothes line. We LOVE the smell of sunshine and sheets and energy-wise we saved about four hours of time in the dryer.  I  received some cucumbers and tomatoes at work on Tuesday. Matt started bread before heading to work. For lunch, we enjoyed BLT sandwich’s instead of eating out. Matt worked until 1:30 but as soon as he made it home we loaded up and headed to the pool.  We always take a cooler and the kids have their own spending money earned thru chores if they chose to purchase ice cream at the pool. To celebrate we had a cook out with friends. We provided the hamburger meat, slaw and chill. Everything came out of the refrigerator. To end the day, we headed out to enjoy our town’s free fireworks display.  Total spent $0

Today, both Matt and I have appointments.  I washed and hung out to dry a total of 5 loads of bedding before lunch. This saved us at least 5 additional hours of dryer use. I have spent some time getting together a grocery list with coupons for Harris Teeter.  After much consideration, I decided to make egg rolls and fried rice for lunch , again vs a trip out. Matt will be making Sloppy Joes for dinner so we should be save with the no eating out again today.  We are currently out of spray sunscreen as the last bottle purchased did not work. I am waiting on gift cards from Swagbucks before heading out to return and purchase more.  We are planning to head to swim team practice tonight so no additional spending there.  Total spending today should be only out of the grocery budget.

Friday, the plan is to head to Wet and Wild to spend the day. Zach is bringing a friend. We have season passes and our pasta salad for lunch is already made. We have already used our passes enough to cover the cost. Matt and Lily will be heading back  on Sunday with the youth group so again a no spend day.

My goal is to not eat out the entire staycation which will also save a ton on expenses!   I am actually excited to be able to enjoy some extra time with the kids without spending money.

What is your favorite thing to do on a “staycation”?

June in Review

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!
Personal-
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!

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!