5 Things Friday- Financial

Fair warning this is not a happy post, I had even considered naming it 5 Financial Woes but decided that was a bit dramatic.

  1. My snow days last week, which I did enjoy ended up being unpaid.
  2. On Saturday of last week, the windshield of my van started to crack for no apparent reason. The crack has now spread to cover 3/4 of the windshield. It is not actually in the line of site but the entire windshield will need to be replaced in the near future.
  3. Our water bill increased this month by $18.
  4. Our electric bill increased by $160 from last month and $80 from our average bill.
  5. Our earning apps, extra money has slowed to a crawl.  This is expected for the first several month of the year but still a cut in pay.

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!

Monday Menu Planning 1/22/2018

I have to admit that last week’s snow threw a wrench in my meal plan for the week. The good news is that I decided to cook and use items we already had on hand!  This week our crazy normal schedule returns with at least 3 days of evening activities.

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

Lunch- Saturday- pizza snacks , Sunday- meal at friends house , Monday- left over pizza 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- Pizza , Sunday- Chicken parmesan with spaghetti noodles  Monday- Bacon Ranch Chicken casserole , Tuesday- Taco Tuesday, Wednesday-Left over night , Thursday- Pulled pork or pork chops , Friday- Hamburger and French Fries.

Saving on Saturday- 1/22/2018

This week we , Matt, kids, my mom and myself, decided to search out some clearance deals.  I will go ahead and say that Matt was able to get the best overall deal.  Matt works at Dollar General.  Until Tuesday of this coming week, the majority of Christmas items are twenty-five cent each.  After hearing of his awesome deal, we decided to browse the other Dollar Generals in town.

On Friday night, Matt found a candle that was placed in the wrong area with a twenty-five cent coupon on top of it. He purchased the candle for me and a box of candy canes for a total of twenty-six cent. He also submitted his receipt to Ibbotta and receive a twenty five cent rebate so a candle and box of candy canes for one penny after rebate.

One store had lots of canned pumpkin (I purchased 12 cans) a container of green sprinkles and a container of cloves all priced at twenty-five cents. We also found a Cars stocking also priced at twenty five cent.  I also purchased tissue paper, gift boxes and bows of varies sizes.   Plastic round ornament boxes were priced at $3 each, I purchased at total of three at two separate stores. I also found some paper plates for a Ladies banquet that I am responsible for a table at. These were not on clearance but a great deal.  I ended up spending a total of $50 !  I will say I am very impressed with my self.

Our final stop was the local Big Lots, we found all Christmas items between 50% and 75% off. We also discovered at the register that this weekend, we received an additional 20% off. I am excited to say that we found wrapping paper that will work for several occasions for less than seventy five cents a roll! This was a huge score and completes re stocking our wrapping paper.

Today, we claimed and sorted the recycle paper bin at our church. I started with many years ago.  After less than an hours work for the sorting we have a case or more of paper that will be used for printing coupons, art work and recipes for the next six months or so.

 

 

 

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.

Saving on Saturday

The weather has improved slightly here (50s) so Matt and I spent a considerable amount of time outside working on improvements.  We have a tower that we have replaced the tarp cover on at least once a year. We had initially thought about covering with tin or wood but after much thought and debate, decided that easiest and most cost effective solution was to remove the top and leave it open. Next, we tackled an upgrade to our composite bins. These were built several years ago with all scrap material. The tops are deteriorating quickly so we used some salvaged tin to cover. This did not cost us anything and hopefully will speed up the process due to extra heat and keep unwanted animals from eating out of it.  The final improvement outside was to reinforce the structure of our rain barrels.  We added several pieces of scrap wood and the difference is amazing.  We will be reconnecting the rain collection system in March to prepare for the summer.

A different way that I am trying to save money is finding ways to reduce our water and energy consumption. I am enjoying my huge bathtub on these cold days! To try and save even a little bit, I have been dipping out a small bucket of water from the tub each night and using it to water the house plants.  The only issue is me remember to water the plants.

The final way I am “saving money” requires a little bit of flexibility. Both Matt and I actively complete Swagbucks to earn extra money. In December, we discovered that they were discounting gift cards to Burger King. We decided to purchase these instead of placing the money in our “extra account”  This month, they are discounting Domino’s pizza cards. At 20% off this is huge. So far we have “earned” $65 in gift cards with my personal goal to earn $100 by the end of the month.  Especially this summer, this will save us time and money!

5 Things Friday 1/12/2018

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  1. I took a sick day today.  This is the first time I have totally called in sick since working at the hospital. The last and only other time I have used a sick day was two years ago when Shingles put me out of work for a week.  I am really tired tonight but at least feeling some better.
  2. I received my first paycheck of the year today. I am very excited that we were able to meet our the required obligations as budgeted. We also are starting a second checking account to use for monies that don’t have a designated name. This way, if the account has money we can spend without touching our budget. I want my budget to be as close to zero as possible but also a way to have some extra money.
  3. We decided to order pizza for dinner today, first because of how I feel and second as a little reward for working so hard at the budget.  Total for dinner was $10.76!
  4. My goal for this long weekend (total of 4 day including today) is getting the snow village packed and put away.
  5. The weather here is crazy, school was delay one week ago because of the extreme cold, today it was 70* outside. The predicted temperature for Sunday is a high 35.

Savings this week- 1/11/2018

As I have mentioned before, we are on a tight budget this month in hopes to get us on a good financial track for the year.  I have been able to find some really good deals while staying on track this week.

CVS has the best sale that I have seen in a while. Add to the fact that Matt is completely out of deodorant and it was a definite stop. I was able to grab a tube of free toothpaste. Which BTW, I have not paid for toothpaste in at least two years. Matt ended up with one stick of deodorant, two were purchased for me and 2 bottles of shampoo. Total out of pocket was $6.38.

Lily had most of her Christmas money left so I took her to the stores of her choice today.  I was able to grab Oreos on clearance along with a couple of items for Easter baskets at Target for $3.17.  The overall best deal of the day was at “Five Below”, their Christmas items were discounted by 75%. I grabbed 7 rolls of Disney wrapping paper for $3.50, I also added a couple of items for Easter as well. So for a total of $8 between the two stores I am very pleased.

The final deal of the day, cost me the least. We continue to earn extra money through Swagbucks every month. This month, I was able to grab a $25 Bath and Body Works card.  Bath and Body Works also has their semi annual clearance sale in January and July. I was able to use a coupon code in addition to the sale for 20% off. I ended up with 5 bottles of shower gel shipped for twenty four (yes $0.24) out of pocket.