Six Things On Saturday- 2/10/2018

Yes this is the “day late and dollar short” version of 5 Things Friday. I will be the first to admit that the last couple of weeks have been very stressful and emotionally exhausting in addition to being financially straining.

Yesterday, was our first full paycheck for the month of February. The good news is that we were able to catch up from the snow week. I have a plan in place for both our tax returns and am very hopeful that this will allow us back on a slow but steady track to paying down our huge debit this year. We are working to reduce both our electric and water bills to a more normal level. Matt and I have already worked out a Menu plan for the month which means we should be able to keep the grocery bill on a lower than usual level. Another positive is that Matt has been selling vinyl decals on a very steady basis this month. This is definitely helpful as we have lots of unexpected expenses.

I am battling left-overs in our fridge.  Our super bowl party is always fun but we end up with some interesting left-overs.  This week, I made an effort to make meals of left-overs and strongly suggested that Matt and Lily eat left-overs for lunch. Today, I am repurposing left-overs, we had a bag of carrots, and a bunch of celery, several cups of rice and some pulled pork.  I did a little bit of thinking and decided to make pork fried rice.  I chopped up the pork and realized that we had over 4 cups left which is enough to make 2 full meals for us. I let Kendall help chop up the carrots and celery. I added some green peppers and onions and that became our veggies for the stir-fry. One set for dinner and a second set in the freezer for a crazy day of what is for dinner.

Zach has officially started taking piano. He has been asking for over a year but we really wanted him to wait until he was a strong reader before attempting. Kendall started teaching him this week for fun. He even practiced every day without being told. This is definitely an expense that I don’t mind adding.

I am so ready for spring, in fact I have already planned out our square foot garden and added several more containers. I am very hopefully that with a little extra work this year we will have a bumper crop.  I purchased trees a couple of years ago to start work on a landscape line. The trees came with a 2 year guarantee. I received an email yesterday that a new peach tree is being shipped this week. My mother has also been growing several pecan trees in her flower bed. So we should be able to finish the border without spending any additional money!

Our busy schedule has returned. Some days, I am honestly thinking how do we actually do this. This week, Lily has practice for her play, 4 nights and a party the 5th night. Kendall has 2 days of extra curricular activities in addition to church on Wednesday night. Matt has also doubled his hours at work for this week. Yikes, better rest up today!

$30 Grocery Budget

I have often shared about our huge shopping trips to Costco in addition to great sales I find here and there. This week is a different week for us, we are not in need of many things and I could not find a great sale either, so I have spent less than $30 on groceries for the week.

First stop was Dollar General. We needed, like down to the last 2 rolls of cheap spare toilet paper needed, toilet paper this week. I did some research this morning and discovered that Dollar General had a $2 off 2 digital coupon on our favorite brand.  The lesson learned is that you can not combine digital and paper coupons.  Total spent $8.70

Next, was a quick trip across the street to Food Lion to grab some breakfast deals. They are currently having their Buy 2 Get 1 Free Sale.  My receipt showed a 50% saving which is great for this store. I purchased 6 boxes of cereal, 3 boxes of pop-tarts, 6 bowls of instant noodle soup and 2 packs of hot dogs for $16.77

I did stop at CVS but did not receive the coupon I needed to get a great deal on hair styling products so zero spent there.

My last stop was Aldi to pick up the other two needed items milk and half and half. Matt uses the half and half as creamer.  Total spent $3.01

How are you saving?

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.

Awesome CVS post…

I have really slacked off with CVS over the past year. In fact, I usually only go every couple of weeks. One of the main reason is that they are making it difficult to save money.   Just a few weeks ago I was greeted by a sign that stated “Limit of two transactions per household per day.”   I asked and got a crazy explanation and thankful someone has at least told them that is not legit.  Earlier this week, I stopped by to grab a good deal on deodorant that I found on Southern Savers. I ended up with 4 sticks of deodorant for $5.12 and 5 ECB to save.

Today, Matt and I made a quick trip to CVS to grab more deodorant on a different deal. I also had printed coupons for Campbell’s Soup, $0.80 off 4 cans. I did  not realize that Tomato Soup was on sale.

Today I spent a total of $2.25 for 3 sticks of deodorant, 4 cans of Tomato soup, and 2 kit kat bars.   I purchased the 3 sticks of deodorant in the first transaction using the 5 ECB from earlier in the week, and the soup with the 4 ECB I received back!

Matt should have enough deodorant for several months and Kendall is one happy girl with four cans of Tomato Soup!

Thursday Snow Thoughts 1/18/2018

  • Today is actually day #2 of Snow her in NC. I ended up not heading in to work yesterday because of the weather and today is my normal day off.  Yesterday, I cooked several things and today I worked on doing some extra Spring cleaning. Which includes 6-7 loads of laundry and vacuuming of the walls in the living room.

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  • The kids all had eye appointments scheduled for today but because of the snow, they have been rescheduled to March. Lily is most worried because she has 2 pair of contacts left.
  • January continues to be a tight budget month but we are doing excellent with our grocery budget which was $160 for the entire month. Currently, we have $6.41 left. The snow has also helped our gas budget. Neither Matt nor I have been anywhere since Tuesday.
  • For Breakfast, I tried a two ingredient recipe for pancakes. Lily and Kendall LOVED these, Matt and Zach ate theirs but did not want seconds. I liked them and it was a great way to use up bananas.
  • Lily is upset because her charter school, which is online, is continuing while both Zach and Kendall have not had school in the last two days.  I had to remind her that she has days out of school when they attend as well.

 

Monday Menu Plan 1/15/2018

I have always said that menu planning saves us a ton of money, now I have the proof.  On Saturday, we headed to Aldi to purchase some items that we were out of, we even added in three boxes of cereal to help with breakfast this week.  Our total was $25.57.  Matt was working Sunday morning and the kids and I decided that we wanted to make a big “Cracker Barrel Breakfast”. After checking, we need a couple of items to make the things we wanted.  Kendall and I took our list and headed to Food Lion.  The one meal list cost $25.47.  No more special meals for us. Everyone is home on Monday but then it is back to reality.  To end on some good news, we have $6.41 left out of our $160 grocery budget.

Breakfast- Saturday- Pimento Cheese and Bacon Biscuits, Sunday- Cereal and toast, Monday- Sausage Gravy and Biscuits, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday- Choice of cereal, eggs or left-overs, Thursday(kids have eye appointment) pancakes or waffles.

Lunch- Saturday- Left-overs/sandwich, Sunday- Baked Potatoes, Monday- Sandwiches. The kids are taking 1 day of sandwhiches and 2 grab and go days. I will be taking left-over soup all this week.

Sunday- Saturday- Chicken Tacos, Sunday- Egg Casserole, Hashbrown casserole and cooked apples, Monday- Pizza Rolls, Tuesday- Chicken Pot Pie (from freezer), Wednesday-Hamburger Helper, Thursday- Country style steak or pulled pork, Friday- Chicken Nuggets and French Fries.

We are eating a lot of quick simple meals and sandwiches this week but it is just what we feel like. The menu may change depending on the weather and my work schedule.

How We Use Left-overs

This week has been filled with food. Starting last Sunday(Christmas Eve), my family has a huge dinner with BBQ shoulder. Left-overs are divided up, because we don’t like food waste. Christmas morning, I made country ham biscuits and orange cinnamon rolls, because only the five of us at home ate, we had left-overs. We also had a huge meal for Christmas dinner, again left-overs.  As you can guess my refrigerators were full to the brim.  I am proud to say that we have managed to use most of these left-overs up this week with a little creativity.

Tuesday and Wednesday we ate straight left-overs, one evening we all ate pork and the second evening it was turkey.  Lunch were a combination of left-overs or make a left-over sandwich/wrap.

Thursday, the little kids, Mom and myself spent the day shopping. We treated ourselves to lunch at Chick A Filet.  I grabbed a rotisserie chicken, I add the “cold/salad” left-overs and it was an awesome meal.

Friday was my Mom’s birthday and she requested hamburger steaks, sweet potatoes and  salad. I was very glad that we used our  fresh salad, cucumbers and tomatoes.  Matt decided to venture out and made “bbq pizza” using crescent rolls and pork. He again realized that we need to eat up our food.

Saturday morning, I cooked the remaining piece of country ham, some eggs and toast.  For lunch, I used the remaining turkey to make Turkey corn chowder, this was a huge hit and I will use for lunch at least one day. For dinner, we make chicken and cheese quesadillas from our left-over chicken.

Sunday, I made baked potato soup, this included the remaining pre-cooked bacon that we purchased for Christmas dinner. Again, I planned to use for at least one lunch this week. Dinner – sandwiches using left-over buns, chicken, pork or pepperoni. The pepperoni was in the top of my closet so I needed to use as well.

Today, we had sandwiches again for lunch. For dinner, I used the remaining BBQ dip with our last pack of Beef ribs and pulled out all the remaining leftover sides.

We are down to left over stuffing, macaroni and cheese and green bean casserole. I plan to use soups at work a couple of days! I will definitely call this a win!

Saving on Sunday- 10/15/2017

We are approximately six weeks from our Disney vacation. As you can guess, I am in fully saving mood.  Here are the ways that I have been saving money and or time this weekend.

  • Coupons- I found and printed rare coupons for sodas this weekend, saving a total of $1.50 on the sale price which was a .75 cent savings from the regular price.  I also found coupons for $1 kids meals at Olive Garden. We were able to save $15 dollars just on Amanda’s birthday meal by using these.
  • Apps- I don’t always talk about this but free money is saving money in my book. On Saturday, we headed to Walmart, I was able to earn a $2 gift card while in the store and used it to reduce our total expense.  This month alone with money made from different apps we have purchased 5 T-shirts and 3 Christmas presents. Total saved $60
  • Planning ahead- yes we have another busy week scheduled. In order to save time and money, by not eating out, we plan ahead. I am taking sandwiches to church tonight for Kendall and Zach to eat instead of a quick trip to McDonalds. I have to be at work at least 2 mornings by 8am so I have muffins made in addition to green peppers and onions chopped for eggs to make things quick and simple. I will not be home to eat dinner on Monday night so Matt is bring chicken nuggets to the ball game for Lily and I to eat. I estimate each meal to be $10 so that is $40 saved right there.
  • Waste not/Want Not- It is a deliberate effort for us to use things and not be wasteful. This weekend we were gifted 5 pounds of potatoes and 3 pounds of ground beef.  I honestly was not in the mood to cook and shepherd ‘s pie which would use both of these ingredients does not sound appealing right now. Instead, I used the 5# of potatoes to make mashed potatoes which went right into our freezer for use in the future. Out of the ground beef, I made a pot of chill. This is at least 2 meals if not more for lunches and 2 meals of meatloaf muffins. Peppers of all variety were picked from the garden and cooked or chopped for later use. The three banana left on the cabinet were turned into muffins for breakfast.  I can honestly say that we waste less than 5% of the food that is brought in the house.

How are you saving money?

5 Things Friday 10/13/2017

  1. I have started my Christmas shopping. I had decided to scale back on Christmas this year, simply because my kids are blessed and don’t have any needs just wants. I am super excited that I have purchased a total of 5 gifts one for eachfor  a total of $15.10!
  2. Matt and I both were able to pick up extra work this week. This should be very helpful in keeping us on budget for the month.
  3. I do anticipate our credit card debit to increase overall this month. The reason is that I paid for a continuing Education class today. My company will reimburse me once I have completed the class and have a certificate. The only down side is that will take at least a month so the balance will be higher than I anticipated through October.
  4. Free food is the best! This week we have been given 5 pounds of potatoes and 3 pounds of hamburger. The plan for Saturday is to turn this free food into quick delicious meals!
  5. We are FINALLY starting to enjoy fall temperatures which also mean a reduction in our electric bill.

Menu Plan Monday 10/9/2017

I made a trip to Aldi this weekend to grab some items that we were total out of or need to complete our meal plan for the week. We ended up spending right at $70 which included ice cream for desert as well. I will say that we may end up changing plans on the fly this week as we are going to celebrate Amanda’s birthday at Olive Garden one day of her choice.  You will notice that we also ate out for lunch on Sunday. I did have soup in the crockpot however when we arrived home it was not cooked so we had to improvise.

Breakfast- Saturday- Bacon Biscuits Sunday- Sausage cheese cresant rolls ( we actually have enough filling to make at least one more if not 2 more days of these. . Monday- Pumpkin spice muffins. Tuesday- Choices, Wednesday- Choices. Thursday- Cheese Grits or baked oatmeal , Friday- choices. Choices include- left-overs, eggs, French toast, cereal or toast.

Lunch- Saturday- Sandwhiches Sunday- Godfather’s Pizza . We are back to a regular lunch week here this week we have salad, sandwhich, grab and go, dipping day and wraps.

Dinner- Saturday-BBQ beef, squash casserole, deviled eggs, ranch potatoes and apple pie desert.  Sunday- Stuffed Green Pepper Soup. Monday-Pancakes and sausage balls, Tuesday- Hamburger and Tator tots Wednesday-Spaghetti Thursday- left-overs   Friday- meat loaf muffins, glazed carrots and fruit.