June in Review

June has come and gone!  I am enjoying my summer off but to be honest, we are staying extremely busy it seems. We did not receive our new stove in June so that has added a little bit of  expense and stress. Braxton is staying with us lots which is always fun. We have enjoyed a family shopping day and several days in the pool. I am hoping for a less expensive and less stressful  July.

Groceries– budget amount is $650.   We spent a total of $1346.80 this month which included $800 for 1/4 of a cow. I am happy to say that our pantry and freezers are stocked up. The focus of July will be making some easy to prepare either just cook or throw in the crock pot.  The budget should also be alot less so it will help even out our spending.

Auto/ Gas / Insurance: . My goal is  $400 a month. $428.50. Gas prices are rising and we have made several trips to Durham to visit with Haley.   I may need to increase this due to cost but will wait and see,

Cash Envelope system-  I am going to say No to this.  We ended up shopping at the outlets.  I am happy to say that I was able to cover all expenses without incurring interest!

Goal #4- Blogging- 15 post per month.  Post 15!   Success at last!

Goal # 5- Fitness– Goal is to exercise of some type at least 10 days a month.  At least there is improvement this month. I managed 5 days of 30 minutes of exercise this month!

Goal #6 – Bible study- Goal-  Read or Listen to the entire Bible in a year. I have finished the bible podcast. Need to get back on track with this

Earnings– $45 in gift cards. I had my oldest spam email account hacked this month so I doubt that I will be able to continue this but it has been an awesome source of extra income.  Matt and I have discussed that my job in Guam is alot more profitable and I will continue to work this second job but at a much more limited amount!

No Spend Days- One is an improvement but I don’t count that as successful.  I will likely not stress over these until school starts in August. Summer is fun and spending~

July our full month of summer and fun- Here we come!

May in Review

I can describe May in two words busy and expensive. Water leaks, new HVAC ducts, stove broken all these added to the fun.  We have had 2-3 ballgames a week along with church activities and a few end of the year activities. I am sure the next three months will go by quickly but I am so looking forward to them.

Groceries– budget amount is $650.  $338.23 this did include some soda stock up. I would like to keep the summer grocery budget down to $300 a month but I am also wanting to maintain a food level so that in September I can reduce the budget again.  We will see how things go!  But so far we are under budget for all 6 months this year! HUGE success in this area.

Auto/ Gas / Insurance: . My goal is  $400 a month. $394.89. This month was a huge jump in gas prices plus an oil change. This seems to be the right amount.

Cash Envelope system- GOAL Met!   This seems to be working well so no plan change now! We are going back to a more strict use of cash in May.  I did excellent on only cash until the last week. But still working well so I am going to continue!

Goal #4- Blogging- 15 post per month.  10 post for the month.  My reason is that I worked 40 hours in Guam.  This should be the last month of so much work. My plan is to stay at one day a week (Monday) for next school year as well.

Goal # 5- Fitness– Goal is to exercise of some type at least 10 days a month.  Nope and again I blame Guam.

Goal #6 – Bible study- Goal-  Read or Listen to the entire Bible in a year. I have finished the bible podcast.  I am planning to start a reading program this summer.

Earnings- $25 in gift cards. I have a strong sense that this will need very soon.

No Spend Days- NONE! Yikes  2 months in a row means we need some belt tightening.

I knew May would be busy and I am hopefully to make June less busy and less expensive but we shall see.

April In Review

Basically the first two weeks of April were sent getting ready for and enjoying our Disney trip. The rest of the month has been spend recovering from our Disney trip. The best news is that I have 5 weeks until Summer!  Our spending was higher in most places but we currently have no credit card debit and our “baby” emergency” fund of $1000 is in place. So I am going to call it an awesome but exhausting month and move on!

Groceries– budget amount is $650.   We have actually spent $542.12.  This included a last minute pre0trip to grab some extra things for the trip.

Auto/ Gas / Insurance: . My goal is  $400 a month.  I had to pay taxes on the car and with gas for the trip I am way over!  $536.39.

Cash Envelope system- GOAL Met!   This seems to be working well so no plans to change now! We are going back to a more strict use of cash in May

Goal #4- Blogging- 15 post per month.  This is post number 6 but things get better from here.

Goal # 5- Fitness– Goal is to exercise of some type at least 10 days a month.  I should count the 7 days of Disney miles. But hope to make improvements in  the coming months.

Goal #6 – Bible study- Goal-  Read or Listen to the entire Bible in a year. Still on track with this. I should finish my first podcast this month.

Earnings- $50 in gift cards

No Spend Days- NONE! Yikes.

I knew April would be a spend month. Hopefully we are back to a more stable way of spending and saving. 

March in Review

March was overall a great month. During the last two weeks, I have been able to reduce my Guam work load by at least half!  We also completed a re-fiancé of our mortgage and were able to update and re-build a new square foot garden.   We spent a lot of time anticipating our upcoming Disney trip as well. I am very excited and please with all the results.

Groceries– budget amount is $650.   We have actually spent $91.84.  This is lowest month in a long long time.

Auto/ Gas / Insurance: . My goal is  $400 a month.  Both of our vehicles needed oil changes this month. So ending at $375.32 is a very good thing.

Cash Envelope system- GOAL Met!   This seems to be working well so no plans to change now!

Goal #4- Blogging- 15 post per month.  11 post for the month is definitely an improvement but not the goal.

Goal # 5- Fitness– Goal is to exercise of some type at least 10 days a month.   Nope not even close

Goal #6 – Bible study- Goal-  Read or Listen to the entire Bible in a year.  I have been listening to a podcast every day that I drive to work. I should be able to listen to the entire session by June.!

Earnings- $55 in gift cards

No Spend Days- 1

April begins with no credit card debit and a goal to pay off the house and car within 5 years. We finally have arrived at a stable financial place and need to just stay the course and enjoy life!

February in Review

February was an extremely busy month. I worked an additional 60 hours in Guam. This meant that everyone has stepped up and is doing lots of extra stuff around the house. February has brought lots of rain. But the good news is that I have finally decided a plan for the square foot garden which will increase my overall growing space, raise the beds and make it pretty. This will be an intense time consuming project but I am very excited by it.

Groceries– budget amount is $650.   We have actually spent $599.71. This is not as low as I had hoped but still a full $50 under budget. I am only planning to purchase needs in March and then use the rest of the money for food in Disney.

Auto/ Gas / Insurance: . My goal is  $400 a month.  The price of gas has significantly (60 cents a gallon) increased over the past 2 weeks.  We are also driving to work and school five days a week. total for the month is $280.69 so well under budget. Next month will bring oil changes to both vehicles. So I anticipate the amount to remain under budget but not by much!

Cash Envelope system- GOAL Met!   We are continuing to use this system. I was able to pay an additional $500 on our Disney trip this month but also covered the cost of the repair of the washer.  Both Matt and I got paid this past week so the envelopes are back to zero. Any money saved this month is spending money in Disney.

Goal #4- Blogging- 15 post per month.  This is post number 6 for the month. See explanation from  above

Goal # 5- Fitness– Goal is to exercise of some type at least 10 days a month.   Nope not even close

Goal #6 – Bible study- Goal-  Read or Listen to the entire Bible in a year.  I have been listening to a podcast every day that I drive to work. I should be able to listen to the entire session by June.!

Earnings- $25 in gift cards

No Spend Days- another fail

March is going to be a month of financial change for us. We are in the process of re-financing our mortgage to drop the interest rate again. We are also considering rolling some other debit in the re-financing so I will explain everything once it is settled.  March should be fast and busy but the Disney count down is on so I am excited!!!!

January in Review

 

January always feels like an extremely long month for me. This year feels the same. Matt’s father died in January so he and I made the difficult trip to Florida. We stayed a week.  The kids did manage to hold down the house but it was not pretty on either side.  The bad news is that we increased our overall debt by $1200.  The good news is that we were able to met lots of goals otherwise. I did manage to save an additional $300 but we are using this for the repair of our washer.  My goal for February is to save as much as possible and keep our spending as low as possible. We do have a trip planned to Disney in April and I would like to save food money for this.

Groceriesbudget amount is $650. I am excited that we were able to keep this amount to $230 for the month!  We are going to try and continue to eat out of the freezer and pantry. I do have a Costco trip planned for February 19th or 20th. This will likely increase the amount of the month but I am planning to stay under goal.

Auto/ Gas / Insurance:My goal is  $400 a month.  We spent $279 for the month. This amount did include gas for our trip to Florida.  The excess from this budget amount will be used to cover of our trip. I am hopeful to have it completely covered by June.

Groceries the budget amount is  $650.   We spent $230

Cash Envelope system- GOAL Met!  This was a huge help for us in preparation for the trip. We did pull out all the cash to use on our trip.

Goal #4- Blogging- 15 post per month.  This is post number 13 for the month so I am excited that I am making progress.

Goal # 5- Fitness– Goal is to exercise of some type at least 10 days a month.   We did walk over 5 miles at Disney.

Goal #6 – Bible study- Goal-  Read or Listen to the entire Bible in a year.  I have been listening to a podcast every day that I drive to work. I should be able to listen to the entire session by June. I will switch to reading for the summer.

Earnings- $50 in gift cards and $48 on the Disney card. $100 for January is a great start.

No Spend Days- I have 3 days for January. I really hope to improve on this in February.

February is a short month so…….

Recap of 2020/ Goals for 2021

I usually get this post completed in December and I usually look forward to reviewing and writing it.  Well like everything else in 2020, that did not happen. But I am going to take the time to recap the year and my goals and also include what we will be working toward for the next year.

Groceries– 2020 goal was $550 a month. I was able to achieve this goal four times this year, January, August, September and October. We have spent a total of $7578.12 on groceries or an average of $631.51 a month. After review and consideration I am going to increase the budget amount to $650. I will review that all household cleaning products and paper products are included in this amount. For January to kick start the year, I am going to complete a pantry challenge and plan to spend $100 or less for the month.

Auto/ Gas / Insurance: We did separate out our insurance and AAA membership from this budget. I transfer $99 a month to cover our car insurance and AAA membership. AAA is paid on a yearly basis and car insurance is every 6 months.  I am proud of myself for being more careful with keeping up with car expenses 2020.  We have had several unexpected expenses such as 2 replacement windshields in addition to a $500 deductible for repair of the passenger side of the van.  We are using our part of our stimulus money to cover the van deductible but both windshield replacements were included my records.  For 2020 we spent an average of $318 a month in auto expenses. My goal for 2021 will be $400 a month with any excess to be applied to debit.

Cash Envelope system- GOAL Met!   I do plan to keep using this system as I can see the benefit of it.  For the months of January-March an “extra” money will go toward our Disney trip in April to cover the food expenses.

Goal #4- Blogging- 15 post per month. This is more of an accountability goal for me. I met it this year 5 of 12 months. I am not going to change this goal as I can do it when I have time and focus.

Goal # 5- FitnessGoal is to walk 3 times a week.  I struggle with this goal. But I know the accountability is important so  I am going to change the goal to Exercise of some type at least 10 days a month.  This should allow some flexibility and also encourage me just to move.

Goal #6 – Bible study- Goal- 3x a week –Again this is truly an area that I struggle with.  I am going to try and listen to a podcast on my way to work each day. So I am going to change this goal to Read or Listen to the entire Bible in a year. 

Goal #7-Attempt at least 52 new recipes this year.-  Currently on #59 GOAL MET!

Earnings- This has decreased significantly over the past several years. In 2014 I could earn $200 a month on a regular basis. In 2020 we struggled to earn $50 a month. I leave this at the bottom just to help me remember every bit helps.

No Spend Days- I am going to add this section each month in order to see if I can get a good rhythm going to saving money by not entering the store!

December in Review

I spent a good chuck of time yesterday, paying bills, looking at the budget and see where we are and how we move forward. I want to share this December in Review post separately so that it makes it easier for me to comply the information. December was a busy month with a 5 day trip to Disney.  I have been using the last week to catch up and stock up for the months ahead.

Gardening-   We killed the last basil plant. I do have big plants for the garden in the spring including redoing all of the beds.

Goal #1 Grocery Budget of $550- The total for the month is $683.  This does include my stock up trip for soda. Definitely some changes coming next year.

Goal #2 – Record and keep up with gas/ auto purchase- $176.50 .  I ended up filing two insurance claims for damage on the van. The deer caused the door to need immediate repair but the insurance only wanted to cover half because of the damage when I hit the pole. I filed a separate claim for the pole damage in 2018 and now all repairs will be covered for $500 deductible.

Goal #3-Use a cash envelope system for everything possible!. This is finally starting to work and make sense to me.

Goal #4- Blogging- 15 post per month. This is post number 10 for the month!  Working both jobs and life make mean I need to reduce this goal for next year.

Goal # 5- Fitness- Goal is to walk 3 times a week.  We walked at least 5 miles a day at Disney does that count?

Goal #6 – Bible study- Goal- 3x a week –Yikes! Actually downloaded a pod cast to start listening to on my way to work.

Goal #7-Attempt at least 52 new recipes this year.-  Currently on #59

Earnings_ $30.   Extra money is extra money!

November in Review

November it was very different and I could have NEVER predicted the outcome either.  Big changes did occur this month, we traded for a newer better suited to us car and then then COVID-19 happened. But as today is the last day of the month, I can say it was not all bad and I am really ready to enjoy the holiday season.

Gardening-   We still have our small basil plant that is living on the kitchen sink.  I am debating how much work I want to put in the Garden for the next year.  Not exactly sure where this will land.

Goal #1 Grocery Budget of $550- The total for the month is $676.  This included the Honey baked ham I purchased for Thanksgiving and a trip to Costco. Looking back over the year, based on averages this is an area that will need to be re-budgeted next year. The kids are all growing and so this is an area that will need to be adjusted annually for the future.

Goal #2 – Record and keep up with gas/ auto purchase- $184.44 . This is actually less than I had anticipate, which is likely due to being at home two additional weeks this month. However the goal and plan is to pay off the Sheetz credit card in December and then will will begin paying any excess from this category into other credit cards.

Goal #3-Use a cash envelope system for everything possible!. I was able to find the money for the memory maker. We also have purchased a portable garage and a new Christmas tree this month. I would like to spend as little as possible for the first three weeks of December and use any excess for Disney.

Goal #4- Blogging- 15 post per month. This is post number 11 for the month! I am impressed with this accomplishment!

Goal # 5- Fitness- Goal is to walk 3 times a week. Covid

Goal #6 – Bible study- Goal- 3x a week –Yikes!

Goal #7-Attempt at least 52 new recipes this year.-  Currently on #58

Earnings_ $90. This is actually a huge improvement over most months of the year. I did cash out Ibotta which only occurs once a year. We will continue to monitor and determine if this time is well spent in the future.

We are on a solid foot financially. I am breathing a sigh of relief that has been years in the making. I want to spend some time in December taking a hard look at numbers and already have a huge goal in mind just not sure if I want to put it on paper yet.

 

October in Review

October has turned out to be a very busy month.  I ended up taking on more students in Guam.  The upside is that I have met my goal of purchasing our tickets to Disney.  I am also planning to pay our entire December trip from Guam money as well!   Another change in October is that we started our “smart home” with the purchase of an electronic door lock and several “alexa” devices. So far, I am enjoying the convivence.  Another HUGE milestone is that we managed to reduce our overall debit by $500. It may sound like a small step but it is a step in the right direction.

Gardening-  We are expecting our first frost today (October 31st). So we decided to go ahead and pull out the rest of the summer garden. I managed to freeze two cups of green peepers and roasted over a dozen pimentos.  We also hung up basil to dry, started a small basil plant inside and found a few tomatoes.

Goal #1 Grocery Budget of $550- The total for the month is $552.  This did include the huge ($450) Costco trip that I made the end of September. I am very impressed with this budget and plan to stay around $200 for the month of November.

Goal #2 – Record and keep up with gas/ auto purchase- $248.66 . This is actually less than I had anticipate. Currently any extra in the budget is going to reduce debit. I am very hopeful to totally pay off our gas credit card by the end of the year.

Goal #3-Use a cash envelope system for everything possible!. Becoming easier!  I am currently trying to save the additional money needed for the Memory Maker for our Disney Trip. I think that this will become easier once we finish baseball games.

Goal #4- Blogging- 15 post per month. This is post number 10 for the month! Between working and baseball I am still struggling to make time for everything.

Goal # 5- Fitness- Goal is to walk 3 times a week. ummm no comment

Goal #6 – Bible study- Goal- 3x a week –Yikes!

Goal #7-Attempt at least 52 new recipes this year.-  We have met this goal in September. I did manage to try 3 new recipes this month so I am very happy.

Earnings_ $30. Swagbucks are really really limiting our earning so I don’t anticipate this to improve significantly before the end of the year. Because of some internet issues this is becoming more of a time waster than anything else. I am going to stick with it to the end of the year but this is something that I may have to re-evaluate and stop until summer.

November appears to be another very different from the ordinary month. I do know that for the first time in a long time, we will be having Thanksgiving at my house and will not be joining my brother.  Change is hard and the unknown is very hard for me, I am hoping by the end of November the world will have returned to a more normal place.