July in Review

So July did bring some much better news for us financially. Matt started his new job in July!  We will not see a huge benefit with this until at least September but it is a huge first step.

Financial- July was not as good as June,  We increased our overall debit by $459. I am hoping to see a significant change in this in August. We have some outside of the box plans that I will share as they occur.

Grocery budget $475- Total spent $580.23. Yikes. This is another month over budget. I may need to increase this amount again in the coming months when things settle down.

Gas budget- $280- Spent $291. I am going to increase the budget to $300 a month starting in August.  We purchased a small car to use for my home health job so I am hopeful that this will keep our expenses close to $300 each month.

Kid/Summer expenses : No extra expenses for July. However both Baseball and LYT will be due in August

Earned $115- This is also a slight improvement over the month of July. Shopkicks has been the difference this month. Extra money is always a bonus!

Personal-
Blogging- 7 for the month. This should definitely increase with my new job!
Exercise- 5 total days for the month. Small improvements are key in this area.

I am going to be really honest and say that August appears to be another tight month until we are able to adjust to our new incomes. I will only be paid for 2 weeks in August and Matt will be short of pay for our week of vacation. 

 

Monday Menu Plan

Life happens so you have to adapt some days. We usually plan out our menus a month in advance. This way we can use what we have and then purchase what we need. I also hope that it eliminates trips to the store.  However, life happens, on Friday, Matt discovered that our small refrigerator in the building went out. We were able to salvage everything. But that meant we grilled 24 pork chops and I used the crock pot for a 5# bag of chicken legs.  You will notice, we are eating a lot of chicken and pork this week. We also leave for vacation on Sunday, so I like to empty out the refrigerators as much as possible.

Breakfast- Saturday-BLT on sour dough bread with fresh tomatoes , Sunday- Bagels Monday- smoothies for kids, eggs and grits for me.  Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday- Choice of cereal, eggs or  grits.

Lunch- Saturday-veggie day- to use our fresh garden vegetables and some we were given   , Sunday- Lunch with friends.  Matt and I will have leftovers or sandwiches and the kids will be treated to lunch by my mom at least 3 days this week. She is picking them up from VBS.

Dinner – Saturday- Grilled pork chops or BBQ chicken legs, potato salad and fried squash, Sunday-  Leftovers from fridge, Monday- Steaks with veggies again from refrigerator , Tuesday-  mashed potatoes or cowboy beans ( Lily and Zach have orthodontic appointments) , Wednesday- Chicken pie (using chicken legs), Thursday- Pork Fried rice (using grilled pork chops) and Friday-free style- including left-overs.

Survival Mode

I can definitely say that for the last week and probably at least till next Saturday (August 4) we are in survival mode. The fact that everyone is dressed and breathing is the goal. Eating should occur but otherwise count me out.

Why survival mode?
During this two week period, Matt and I both are working full time jobs. Matt’s job is extra stressful due to this being his first month. He is working hard to make improvements that are noticeable but still being respectful to his predecessor. I am completing  my final two weeks at the hospital. It is hard to say goodbye to some of my patients and the management is continuing to make it very obvious that I have made the right decision to move.

Kendall and Zach attended an Art Discovery camp this past week and plan to attend our church Vacation Bible School during this coming week. This adds stress for being on time, drop off and picking up. In addition, grouchy children are very possible.

I have been diagnosed with an infection, which is occasional painful. The bigger issue is that I think that the antibiotic is adding to my fatigue and overall poor mood.

I am still trying to obtain licensure in Guam. I have been working on this since mid-May.  I am becoming more and more frustrated. The first problem is that the department ONLY reviews licensure application on the first Friday of each month.  The second problem is that they appear to only answer email on the third Friday of each month.  Finally, this process is set up for a new graduate, not a season therapist. For example, based on their required forms, I need a professor from my college to sign a document that detailed the number of theory hours and the number of fieldwork hours. This document needs to be attached to my official college transcripts from the college. Last Friday, I received an email reply to one of my four previous attempts that simply stated these were required in order to review my application.

The blessing that are being discovered and enjoyed in this survival mode.
Matt LOVES his new job and the hours will be perfect once I am no longer working so much. I am convinced now more than ever, this job change is much needed!

My mother has been so generous to help with picking up and dropping off children and is making sure that get to eat lunch or a snack with her.

Because of the antibiotic, I need to limit my sun exposure. Saturday, we all stayed home and got a lot of housework and cooking completed. Today, Sunday, Matt and the kids are at the pool. I am using the time to catch up here and in other small ways around the house.

Because of my notice, I ended up with only two patients on my schedule last Friday which allowed me time to head to Winston Salem State University. I contact the OT department to discover not only was one of my professors still on staff but she was in the office on Friday. I spent several hours but was able to get the form completed and attached to my transcripts, which were sent out in the mail Friday afternoon. I have again provide all the required information, so hopefully my licensure will be approved.

5 days and counting………..

Job Update

Matt has started his new job and absolute LOVES it.  He is currently working from home 50% of the time, which allows us to continue with our busy lives!  We have purchased several pair of dress pants and a couple of pair of dress pants but less than $50 has update his work clothes.

I am currently working out my notice at the hospital. I officially have 8 days left but who is counting. I had a previously scheduled vacation for the second week of August, which they chose to honor.  My last official day will be August 10th. My job with the home health company will not begin until August 27th.  I am a little anxious but mostly looking forward to the two week break between returning from the beach and officially beginning the new position.  I realize that I will need to purchase some new long sleeves/pants outfits to wear. I have been wearing scrubs for most of the last 10 years with a coat in the winter time or long sleeves under shirts to this is a huge need.  I have enough OT t-shirts that until it turns cold I should be ok.  I am actively working with the company to get started in Guam. I am anticipating this to start in mid August as well. I have no concrete details but hope things start to take shape in the near future.

We have purchased a new to us/used car to reduce the number of miles and improve gas mileage.  We currently have spent several hours cleaning it up but are very hopeful that we have not discovered any major issues. Matt will be driving for the next month until I start my home health job.

I am hopeful to increase my post as I look forward to having additional time at home starting in August.

Season of Change

I have hinted several times that big changes were in the works for our family.  I am so excited and scared to death to share and start these changes. First  let me explain the reasons for the changes.  We have been struggling for over a year with two things, first finances and second- how busy we are. The answer to our financial problems seems easy- increase your income. The answer to our crazy busy lives seems much harder.  I could have never imagined that both of these problems could be answered at the same time.

Both Matt and I have been actively seeking different employment during the last several months. I am excited to share that we both have been successful and will be changing jobs in the next month. Matt is the marketing manger for the Davie County Humane Society. He actually started with training this past week  and will officially start this Monday.  I have given my resignation and will be completing my employment in mid August. I have accepted two different contract positions. One is for local pediatric home health and the second is school system contracting in Guam and several other states.  Matt position is for 30 hours per week, so he is increasing both his pay and hours.  The positions I have accepted are going to start at around 20-25 hours per week but may/ hopefully increase to around 30 hours in the next year. My hours will be school hours (8-2) and 7pm to 10 pm Sunday and Wednesday nights.  These are flexible and will allow me to be at home and spend much more quality time with the kids. I am so excited. Kendall expressed why this is so important to us with this statement “Mom, you will be home for dinner EVERY night?  That is the best news EVER!” My salary should remain about the same as now depending on the number of patients, I am given to start with. The biggest change will be with insurances and taxes.

Change is scary! Change in jobs is really scary!  I will not be able to establish a good budget or really much of any budget until at least September. My best estimate is that we will work paycheck to paycheck until November with the goal of establishing and maintaining a budget by January.  There are several reasons that establishing the budget will be so difficult. First, I will have a two-three week period where I am not working at all or very minimal at best. Second, I am still unsure of how many hours I will be working at each position. Third, my hours will continue to be unsteady until at least October. We must also decided and obtain health insurance and figure out our tax liability.

In anticipation of these changes, we have tighten the budget and are really working to save every penny possible during the month of July.  I will try and share more about these major changes as I process through them.  We have decided not to change our scheduled Beach vacation so that will give us some time to re-charge and actually communicate!

Inexpensive/no Cost Staycation

We like to travel and it the past we have travelled ALOT!  Some of our travel was based on competition cheerleading and some on Matt’s family being in Michigan. In 2017, we spent 10 days in Michigan, 8 days at Myrtle Beach and 10 days in Disney World. We also travelled to Raleigh for a competition as well. This year has been a much slower year. I am actually enjoying a 5 day staycation this week. The rehab department at the hospital is closed for the Fourth of July, I don’t normally work on Thursday. In addition,  I was lucky enough to find someone to cover Friday of this week to make it a nice long break.

Yesterday, Wednesday, was the Fourth of July.  I started the day by washing and hanging Kendall and Zach’s bedding on the clothes line. We LOVE the smell of sunshine and sheets and energy-wise we saved about four hours of time in the dryer.  I  received some cucumbers and tomatoes at work on Tuesday. Matt started bread before heading to work. For lunch, we enjoyed BLT sandwich’s instead of eating out. Matt worked until 1:30 but as soon as he made it home we loaded up and headed to the pool.  We always take a cooler and the kids have their own spending money earned thru chores if they chose to purchase ice cream at the pool. To celebrate we had a cook out with friends. We provided the hamburger meat, slaw and chill. Everything came out of the refrigerator. To end the day, we headed out to enjoy our town’s free fireworks display.  Total spent $0

Today, both Matt and I have appointments.  I washed and hung out to dry a total of 5 loads of bedding before lunch. This saved us at least 5 additional hours of dryer use. I have spent some time getting together a grocery list with coupons for Harris Teeter.  After much consideration, I decided to make egg rolls and fried rice for lunch , again vs a trip out. Matt will be making Sloppy Joes for dinner so we should be save with the no eating out again today.  We are currently out of spray sunscreen as the last bottle purchased did not work. I am waiting on gift cards from Swagbucks before heading out to return and purchase more.  We are planning to head to swim team practice tonight so no additional spending there.  Total spending today should be only out of the grocery budget.

Friday, the plan is to head to Wet and Wild to spend the day. Zach is bringing a friend. We have season passes and our pasta salad for lunch is already made. We have already used our passes enough to cover the cost. Matt and Lily will be heading back  on Sunday with the youth group so again a no spend day.

My goal is to not eat out the entire staycation which will also save a ton on expenses!   I am actually excited to be able to enjoy some extra time with the kids without spending money.

What is your favorite thing to do on a “staycation”?