5 Things Friday

  1. Everyone except for Lily has a 3 day weekend. Lily is working all three days. The next scheduled holiday or break from school is Thanksgiving.
  2. Our project for the weekend is to convert the old playhouse to a green house. We will be removing the roof and replacing it with plastic. Adding shelves and a watering system. We are hoping to reuse most of the materials. The plastic has already been purchased with a gift card!  I will plan to share pictures this week.
  3. Zach has officially started baseball practice. We have agreed to let him play both rec ball and AAU team. The AAU team is only going to travel in state and hopefully less than 2 hours away.
  4. The weather has finally decided to start to cool down a bit. We have been at or above 90 degrees for most of the month of August.  Fortunately we have no more 90 degree days in the forecast but I expect it to be close to the end of September before we are able to turn off the air conditioning.
  5. This week we are having a drive way addition installed. It will also include cement around the garden boxes that we bulit in the spring. I can’t wait to have a finished product!

5 Things Friday

  1. Guam’s school year officially ends on Monday (Sunday for me) this means that I will be only working on Sunday night from now until the beginning of August!
    1. A sweet Guam mother sent a care package that I received on Thursday!  It included all items exclusively available in Guam. I cried!  Everything is beyond delicious.  I really needed this boost!
    2. I will have worked at least 40 hours in Guam in the month of May!  This is after sharing the majority of my caseload with others!
  2. We were able to go 45 days without heat or air. We caved yesterday May 20th and turned on the air condition.
  3. Unfortunately we discovered a water leak last weekend. The leak was in the line to one of our ice makers so that was a $5 fix.  It had been leaking on our HVAC duct work which had to be replaced. I have not received a bill for this yet.
  4. Gas prices have risen significantly over the past several week plus we need to get the oil changed in the van. Our gas budget is going to be higher than previous month but still under the budget.
  5. Grocery prices continue to rise much more than I can ever remember. We have a fully stocked pantry and freezers so I am currently focusing on re-stocking only items that we are absolutely out of in addition to more “convivence” items just to make the weeks go easier with less eating out!

Thursday Thoughts

  • Today is a remote learning day for both myself, Zach and Kendall. We are expecting serve weather from tropical storm Zeta to move through this afternoon. Zach is already enjoying watching the wind and rain bands move through. It is very different based on the fact that we are all working on school related task but at home. I will admit it takes the fun out of missing school but should make the schedule much easier to manage.
  • Following the storm today, it is suppose to turn much cooler.  With freezing temperatures on Sunday night and Monday night. We still have not turned on heat or air so I am hopefully to make it to at least Monday or Tuesday before needing to turn the heat on.  We are also going to have to harvest the remaining peppers and tomato from the garden. This is actually the longest that I can remember having items still growing.
  • November is a very expensive month for us. We have car insurance ($408.27), Microsoft renewal ($100), my web site renewal ($30) and the rest of Christmas presents.   Thankfully I have a ton of hours in Guam this month. I am hoping to cover most of our December Disney trip. A sad realization is that I receive a paycheck this Friday but will not receive another check until after Thanksgiving.
  • We survived our busiest week so far this year!!  I even have a list on the board of task to complete on Saturday.
  • Budget wise October has been a great month. We are at $250 for gas and $550 for groceries.  I am planning to hit my goal of paying of one credit card by the end of December.  We also should not use most of the grocery budget for November and December as our freezers are full. I am now looking a small holes such as soups for lunch and other convenient items. I have also restocked the paper supplies as well.

Saving on Saturday

The front of our house needed some work. We have not changed anything since we built the living room addition prior to Lily’s birth so 15 to 16 years ago. Here is where we started.

Last weekend, when the kids were in Durham we decided to purchase a new light, replace the hardware for both the storm door and paint.  We spent around $300  total for everything, in comparison it would be around $2000 to replace the door and the side lights.   I am really LOVING the difference!

 

5 Things Friday

  1. I am full and over the top full in Guam.  I am currently serving 15 schools in Guam and attempting to attend all OT related IEP meetings. What this means is 10-12 hours a week currently.  I have been told that i should be able to reduce my hours by January. I am waiting to decide if this is something I want to do or just continue at the rate I am at.  Currently, I am able to handle most of it but my leisure time and blog posting will be very limited for the next month.
  2. Lily, Kendall and Zach are spending the weekend in Durham with Haley. This is the first time in YEARS that Matt and i have had a free weekend.  Last night we went on a date to Applebee’s  Today we are going to attempt to update the front door.
  3. We are definitively in Fall.  My goal is to go without heat until November 1st.  Our October electric bill was significantly higher than usual due to the summer heat lasting well in September. So far so good as the house is currently sitting at 70 and the outside temperature is 47.
  4. I did a fair amount of shopping on Amazon prime day. Since we are updating our front door including a new keyless entry, we decided to go ahead and start moving toward a smart home. I purchased several echo dots which came with a couple of smart plugs and smart light bulbs and  2 echo flexs (one in my office and one in the kitchen). So far we are enjoying the novelty of them. I also purchased several Christmas gifts and cheap ear buds.
  5. Our December trip will include Braxton, Haley, her boyfriend David and his kids!  We are currently at 60 days!

May In Review

May was another different sort of month. It definitely did not fly by but was not as slow as March or April. I am still working from home. I was able to get an additional 17 hours from my Guam job so that was extremely nice. We decided to go ahead and tackle one more home improvement in the month of May, our sink room. I am glad it is finished and LOVE the results.

The square foot garden is actually growing! I was getting really discouraged in the middle of the month. The weather was just not cooperating at all but finally in the last two weeks we are starting to harvest some small items and even the cucumbers that I had written off have returned to life. We did have to spray with bug killer today so hopefully we will not lose alot to these pesky insects. We continue to get a ton of lettuce and a finally a batch of snap peas that made it inside instead of Kendall eating them all!

Goal #1 Grocery Budget of $550- I was doing so well but decided to purchase 4 gallons of strawberries yesterday and a trip to Aldi put us at $607.45 for the month. I keep telling myself that spending will decrease soon. We have almost 2 completely full freezers! I have added an additional 3 meals this week along with some simple breakfast ideas! I think at this point, unless we are set with meat. Going to make a realistic grocery budget for next month…. stay under $550!

Goal #2 – Record and keep up with gas/ auto purchase- $284.40 is the total for the month which does include taxes and tags on the CRV. The CRV was filled 3 times and the van twice. I do actually expect our driving to go up this month as I finish up work and start to enjoy the summer. We also will be returning to church and going to the pool. The goal for June keep the gas budget down to $300 with the extra going to pay off debit!

Goal #3-Use a cash envelope system for everything possible. Success! No spend days are 3 this month YIKES! I knew going in to May that spending would increase. But still the goal for June is to have at least 5 no spending days. I am going to change a couple of rules. First, we save change all year to spend at the pool so this does not count as spending! Second an purchases for clothing, hair or piano that come out of a budget envelope does not count as spending as these are “spent” each payday when it is placed in the envelope. I am also planning to switch at least half of my grocery spending to cash as well.

Goal #4- Blogging- 15 post per month. This is post number 17 for the month! At least this is staying on track!

Goal # 5- Fitness- Goal is to walk 3 times a week. yea I did walk 3 times this month but only 3 times. This is something that I definitely need to improve on.

Goal #6 – Bible study- Goal- 3x a week –Not there at all!

Goal #7-Attempt at least 52 new recipes this year.-  Still way ahead of this one! I have blogged on 32 new recipes but I have 3 more to post this week!

Earnings_ $75 in gift cards. Slow and steady.

June is an exciting time of the year! I finish up work, the kids finish up school and we enjoy the summer. I am extremely grateful that we have the pool open this year. I am hopeful that by the end of the summer, our lives will return to normal with a crazy busy schedule! Our first Disney trip is planned for the end of August, my goals for June and July are to save save and find more ways to save!!!

Tuesday Money Thoughts

We are approaching the end of May! Typically, this is a stressful time of year around our house. We are trying to coordinate multiple activities and plans for the summer. This year it is not quite as stressful but lots of changes on the horizon as well. I wanted to share some financial information with you both past present and future.

Let me start by saying that we are on the most financial stable ground that we have been on in many years.

Matt is currently employed full-time and really enjoying his job. I am actually employed full-time and working a second job as well. We have been very blessed as COVID-19 had only a small financial impact on our jobs. My second job in Guam was closed entirely for the 3 weeks in March and first half of April. I have been able to resume on a limited basis for May and will have very limited work in June. I do receive reduced pay in April and May. The school system pays on a ten month system, therefore in the months of April and May a double portion of insurance is taken to cover the summer months. I am very fortunate to have a bank that is set up for state school system employees. I have a set amount automatically deducted during the 10 months I receive a regular check and it is place in a summer savings account. In June and July, on the same day as my regular checks the amount equal to my regular pay is moved over to my checking account. This makes budgeting so much easier and I really feel like I get twelve months of pay. We have always lived on a budget. The difference these days is that we have enough income to cover our expenses. We set our budget in January and each month I can arrange money and use as we see needed. We have currently paid off several of our debits and continue to make larger than the minimum payments on all of our credit cards. We are not totally out of debit but we feel like we can enjoy life and still work our way out of debit. We are not going to live rice and beans but we are definitely no overspending.

We did receive a government stimulus check. We had already begun a much needed home repair of replacing our kitchen and dinning room floor at the time that things closed. Our intention was to use the money from my Guam job to cover this expense. We decided to use the stimulus money to cover this expense instead and we also chose to redo our master bathroom. I am happy to say that both projects are complete and they are awesome!

My initial plan in January was to reduce our panty and freezers until June. I wanted to use up alot of stuff and then spend the summer re-stocking them, However this changed as we started to see shortages and limits placed on lots of items especially meat. In March, we doubled our grocery budget spending $1025. In April we spent $922 which included $180 in chicken. In May we have spent $542 which includes around $250 in meat purchased locally. I am being very deliberate in our grocery purchases. I want to maintain a stockpile but also continue to use the stockpile. My goal for the summer months of June and July is to reduce the grocery spending to less than $250 each month and save at least $250 for future purchase. However I am realistic and know that I may exceed this depending on food prices and our specific needs. For example, on my shopping trip today, I found Suddenly Salads on sale for $1 a box. I decided to go ahead and purchase 20 boxes as this is one of our summer favorites. This price is also $1.35 less than the lowest price I have seen lately. On a really bright note, I have already stocked our freezer with lots of convenient easy to prepare meals for the fall. My plan/goal is continue to prepare double batches of items we really like so that in the fall we can simply throw food in the crockpot or oven and enjoy a quick good meal. Our pantry is also nicely stocked. The garden should start producing in the next 3 weeks so I want to be able to use and not lose any food.

We are not planning a summer vacation, instead we have 3 trips planned to Disney World! This was a choice that the kids all made around Christmas last year. We will be attending both the Christmas and Halloween Parties in addition to a long two week trip over Spring Break next year! Currently, our trip in August for the Halloween party is completely paid for! We are hoping to use points and vouchers to cover the flights for our December Trip and anticipate paying it off in October!

I have been selling items on Ebay and we are also anticipating a large yard sale in the next several weeks depending on the weather. All proceeds go to Disney trips!

5 Things Friday

  • I think we are all starting to get use to everyone being in the house everyday. Matt and I both are currently working from home. Matt is going in to his office on Tuesday but I should be home through the middle of May! Zach and Kendall are working each morning on school work and Lily is continuing with her online classes. Lily is actually struggling a bit more than I expected because she is used to being home alone and not working around other people all day long.
  • We are actually eating out more than normal for us as we try to support local business. Matt went to lunch on his office day on Tuesday. I actually went into my office on Thursday and stop by our favorite Greek restaurant bring home a late lunch for everyone. Friday, we ordered from the local pizza shop and Matt and I splurged on ice cream to end our date night.
  • On our date night Matt and I ended up at Lowes. I purchased both mulch and paving stones to help work out in the yard tomorrow. My goal is to get most of the not plant work done this weekend and we will start planting in probably a week or so. I am planning to share pictures tomorrow after the work is done.
  • Family walks are a fun way for everyone to get out of the house and get some exercise. We actually walked 3 evenings this week.
  • The weather is still doing crazy swings from 80s to low 30s in just a matter of days. I am really fighting the urge to plant outside and have been bringing in our growing cucumbers and squash in on a daily basis.