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!

5 Things Friday- 6/29/2018

Matt and I enjoyed two days off together this week! Wednesday and Thursday!

We spent Wednesday at Wet and Wild with the kids. I can honestly say it was one of the best days ever!

Amanda is having my second grandson in November. I think I am the least excited because everyone else is OVER the moon! I am really just as excited don’t tell them!

I get to enjoy a 5 day break starting next Wednesday! I can’t wait!

Kendall is celebrating her 10th birthday this Sunday. July 1st, how can this be?

Thursday Shopping 6/21/2018

Today is the first official day of summer! The little kids are all at camp, so I spent most of the day spending and saving money.

Matt and I started last night at Walmart. This was a quick trip to buy sunscreen and tea bags. We used almost half of his $25 gift card from Swagbucks and another $2 he had earned from Shopkicks.  Total spent $0

I picked up Mom not so early this morning and we headed to Winston-Salem.

Our first stop was Ulta. Lily has extremely sensitive skin. Two years ago, we discovered a sunscreen that did not burn, sting or break her out, the only down side is that each tube cost $40 before tax and shipping. One of the other moms at the pool shared “Australian Gold Sunscreen” with us last weekend. Lily loved it. I found a sale at ULTA that was Buy One Get One Half Off. I purchased 2 containers of sunscreen for $21 or half the price I have been spending.

Next stop was Babies R Us. The  prices are currently 60% to 80% off.  I was totally shocked at the deals we found. I purchased 2 bibs, a cute outfit, a set of shoe socks,  a gift for a baby shower next week,5 birthday presents and a Christmas present. I also grabbed 4 sets of invitations.  total spent was $107.39 Total saved was $171.18

I had my rebate check from Costco so we headed over to grab my normal grocery list. After using the rebate check, I spent $44. The best deal of the day was a pair of water sandals for me for $4.97.

Our final stop was Harris Teeter. Matt won out with this trip. 12 pack of Mountain Dew cans were $2.74 each. He ended up with a total of 10 packs. I also grabbed Kraft Mac and cheese for $0.39 a box!

I am so excited to find all the summer deals today!

Almost Wordless Wednesday

Some pictures of the book box that Matt’s has made for Amanda’s Gender Reveal party on Sunday. The box was rescued from my parents house several years ago. We “think” it may have been my father’s tool box at work. Matt use all paint that we already had so total cost $0 but priceless after the paint job!

Monday Menu Plan 6/18/2018

This is a very different menu plan. The little kids are all away at camp this week. My initial plan was to throw my hands in the air and say “let’s go out to eat or make something for yourself.”  Fortunately, my frugal ways took over and I had to come up with a partial plan.

Breakfast- Saturday-frozen French toast , Sunday- Bacon, eggs and toast, Monday- toast with Nutella or peanut butter Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday- Choice of cereal, eggs or  grits. I am encouraging eggs as we were given 3 dozen by the neighbor.

Lunch- Saturday-chicken salad wrap at the pool  , Sunday- Baked ziti with friends. I have left over pizza and tuna helper or a salad for my lunch this week.

Dinner – Saturday- Cheeseburger pizza with homemade crust.   , Sunday-  Nachos Monday- Tuna Helper , Tuesday-  Steaks and twice baked potato, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday-free style- including left-overs.  We may eat out one night but I am debating that option.

Summer on a Budget

We are still working diligently to maintain our spending and increase our income.  However, it is summer time and we really enjoy the summer and all the fun activities that come with it. Here are the two secrets to creating a summer full of memories on a budget shoestring.
1. Plan AHEAD
2. Watch for specials.

Today was a great example of how we are enjoying our summer.  Each year the water park, Wet and Wild, that is about a 30 minute drive away, offers some awesome deals. The only problem is the best deals run from Black Friday till February.  We used the kids Christmas gift from Matt’s dad to purchase our season pass. We were able to purchase four everyday pass for the same price as one day of admission. In order to receive free parking, we upgraded Matt’s pass to priority which included parking and tickets to “bring a friend”. We also purchased refillable cups that can be used all season. We took our first trip to the water park today. I had planned ahead and packed lunchables in our cooler which waited in the car. We activated our season passes and got our refillable drink cups. I was pleasantly surprised to receive coupons with each of our season passes that included two additional refills on our cups. By planning ahead, we spent four hours enjoying the water park with no additional cost.

This morning, I received a text from Sonic with ice cream cones for fifty cent. After piano we stopped for a treat. $2.14 for four ice cream cones!

The kids are exhausted and very happy with our “awesomely fun day”

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!

Wordless Wednesday (Almost)

We were out pulling weeds and watering this afternoon. Zach’s quote “This is a lot of work for food.”

Menu Plan Monday-6/4/2018

As I was searching for the last menu plan, I realized I have not posted once since March. I am seriously hoping to get back on track in June with blogging in addition to everything else. 

This is another busy/usual week for us. This past weekend, the kids went camping with Amanda so our eating has been way off.  Lily finishes school on Wednesday, Kendall and Zach finish on Friday. Zach’s baseball team starts a tournament tonight and will play each night until they lose.   We have quick and easy meals most of the week.  I also purchased lunchables for less than $1 each several weeks ago. These make school lunches so much easier and quicker in the mornings.

Breakfast- Saturday-grits , Sunday- Bacon, eggs and hashbrowns , Monday Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday- Choice of cereal, eggs, pancakes, grits or pop-tarts  Thursday- Baked oatmeal

Lunch- Saturday-chicken nuggets  , Sunday- Costco. Lunchables for the kids and I plan to eat at work several days. My favorite sandwich is on the menu and I am treating myself.

Dinner – Saturday- Arby’s  , Sunday- Shrimp scampi Monday- Chicken Nuggets with French Fries , Tuesday- Soft tacos/burritos Wednesday-Spaghetti with meatballs , Thursday- Mongolian beef? or left overs , Friday- hamburger helper.

 

Saving on Saturday-6/2

I am so excited to share this.  Amanda and three little kids are camping and rafting down the Dan River this weekend. I am getting some pictures and it looks like a lot of fun.  I have been putting off some much needed spring cleaning tasks for several months and this house is starting to look like a hoarder lives here.  I am going to go ahead and admit that the plastic totes from our yard sale were still sitting empty in the living room.  That makes this weekend a perfect time to get some cleaning and organizing done. I decide to tackle the closet in the living room on Thursday. I was pleasantly surprise at how good it looked afterwards.  Did you ever read the book “If you give a Mouse a Cookie?”   This is exactly how my life works.  If you clean out the Living room closet and takes something to the Linen closet, you realize how bad it is and you must clean it.   I was actually able to make a huge difference in the Linen closet using storage bags and rearranging plastic containers. I ended up moving a plastic drawer set from my shower room closet. Did you guess?  Next up was the closet in the shower room.  This is actually a closet that I see daily, so it was one of the cleanest and neatest but I did a little bit of straightening. I decided to move the vacuum into this closet to make it easier to get to out for the kids this summer. I opened the “extra closet” in the dining room to get the vacuum and here is where the real work and savings began.

I, first, should explain that this closet is the access to the garden tub in our master bedroom, and it is also the original front door to the house.  I have always “envisioned” this as an extra storage space. After Matt finished working, I shared my idea with him. The biggest challenge was that we really did not have any money to put toward this project. I am happy to say, we salvaged some wood and nails from my parents house/building last year and it worked awesome for this project.

Empty

full

Next we removed an organizer from the laundry room, to allow for more space. Relocated a shelving unit to the corner and add more storage for our food supply.  Matt and I both spent several hours and ideas but finally were able to re-use the wood from the laundry organizer and some screws that we claimed from my dad’s building.

I am super excited that we actually finished all this! No food is left sitting in the floor and we also moved the plastic totes.   Total time spent was around 12 hours on Saturday.  Total out of pocket $0 (ZERO)!