Yes, that is me with my head bobbing above the water. October has definitely been a huge month of change for us. Matt started a new job which added an additional 20 hours to his work schedule in addition to a significant pay increase. I also have finally after 18 months added a second job. The hours will vary greatly for me but at this point I am guess an additional 5 -10 hours a month. This may increase in January but I am very grateful for the slow start as crazy needs to slow to a slightly less than crazy before any more significant changes. This week, we made a personal decision to add a car payment to our budget. This may or may not be a long term budget item but we are able to cover the payment amount in addition to slowly reduce our debit and get a good control over our finances. We have seen in many different ways that God’s hand and timing are perfect. We know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is God’s will so we are going to praise him even when we are not sure the how or whys.
One thing that has not changed this month is that we are continuing to find ways to save money! I want to include a detailed list so that next year and 3 years and 10 years when I look back, I am able to see that all the little saving did add up.
- Running the dishwasher and dryer at night. We are making a conscience effort to reduce our electricity use. By running this at night we add a little bit of heat to the house on the cool evenings and prevent heat from staying in the house on the not so cool evenings.
- Not turning on the air conditioner. This sounds simple, especially in October, but the temperature today inside was 81*, We did turn off the heat on Wednesday of this week but I refused to flip the switch and turn back on the air. Instead we opened the windows and turned on a couple of ceiling fans. The weather is actually suppose to start to get cooler with a high on this Friday only in the 50’s.
- Hanging sheets out to dry. Yes, it was not convenient and the weather said it was suppose to rain but I got up and got them on the line.
- Shopping for items we need and on clearance. So far this month, I have spent $203 in groceries. Which including stocking up on soda and items for Braxton’s birthday party. I always check on clearance items and have been able to grab both hugs/kool aid drinks and Gatorades on sale for $0.25 each.
- Combining sales and coupons. I scan my card each time I go in Food Lion. In the past, I have been able to grab pasta at fifty cent a box. Today, I got 24 waters for $0.99 and 3 packs of brown gravy mix for a total of $0.77 which is less than the price of two. Neither one of these items were needed but I will definitely use them both.
- Meal prep. It is so much easier to prepare lunches ahead of time. Four out of the five of us need to pack a lunch each day before leaving the house by 7:20am. We save a minimum of $10 a day by packing lunches instead of buying. We are also able to stay on track by planning dinner meals a week ahead of time. This week, I even used the instapot to brown the ground beef ahead of time so that I can get dinner on the table even after attending a workshop all day.
- Call and asking for help. We are continuing to struggle with stopping a leak in our master bath room. Matt has replaced the entire floor and subfloor and is trying to replace the shower faucet. Yesterday, he was able to contact a manufacturer and receive a replacement part he needed for free. He has been asking for advice and suggestion through out this process and we are saving money just by completing it ourselves.
- Using items on hand instead of immediately purchasing a replacement. Braxton does not like and will not eat meat baby food but Rugar, our dog will. Instead of buying dog food we are using the baby food that would otherwise go in the trash.
We are starting to see an end to our busy fall season, ok so not an end but a slowing down of after school activities. In three weekends, Lily will perform in the show Elf. Zach’s last scheduled baseball game is next Tuesday night. I do anticipate one or two night of a tournament the first few weeks of November. Kendall has her homecoming and last football game, she will cheer at this Saturday. I think that basketball season starts the first of December.
We dug up over 20 pounds of sweet potatoes on Saturday from our square foot garden. We also pulled several pimentos, jalapenos and green peppers. This is a sad time of year because I do not like the cold weather.
On a bright note with the cooler weather, our electric bill for the month was down by $60!
Grocery shopping this month has consisted of two categories, items we are out of and need for a specific reason and items of clearance. Our total spending for the month is $176. This amount includes 10 cases of drinks! I don’t anticipate a lot more spending during the next week and half. I do have a stock up trip planned for Costco the first week of November.
I have begun anticipating and counting the days until my first day off of work in three months!! However, this may occur sooner because today, Kendall stayed home from school. If she is unable to return to school tomorrow then I will be staying at home as well to take her to the doctor.
Everyone in the house is anticipating this Friday. Matt should receive his first paycheck from his new job and a paycheck from the Humane Society. I have spent several hours working out details but we should be set on a good course starting this Friday! I do anticipate a budget redo starting in January. I wanted to give us a couple of months to adjust and make plans before making any major changes. I am planning to going back to a more cash based system with use of envelopes and our Capital one account in order to keep a better track of our spending
I am so excited that I get to spent 3 complete evenings at home this week! We have no football game(cheerleading) or cheer practice this week and only one baseball game. I am planning to get some extra cleaning done around the house as the things has gotten dirty and overlooked during the past couple of weeks.
We are hopefully that we have finally fixed the leaky shower problem. Matt re-caulked the shower pan on Saturday and I am planning to start using it again today. We have already purchased the tile to finish this project but need to find several hours in which we can spending working on it. We may be able to spend some time on the project on Saturday but that depends heavily on the weather as well.
North Carolina is finally experiencing some cooler temperatures. I finally turned off the air on October 3rd. This is very late for us as we usually can get a good week or so with no air in September. I am hopefully that we can at least keep the air and heat off for most of the month of October but we it can depend heavily on when the first freeze of the year is.
Matt loves his new job. The first week was a challenge especially with our crazy busy schedule. I am hopefully that we will be able to get into a good routine that will allow him to work his second job at least 3 evening a week so that we can have some time to work on projects around here on the weekends.
I have spent a total of $47 on groceries so far this month! I am super excited about this and hope to continue this streak for most of the month. I am making a Costco list and am holding out hope that the quarter back sale will appear at Food Lion soon!
We survived! But we did not stick to the meal plan. On Thursday, I got stuck in traffic for an additional hour so we ordered pizza ($13.89) for 2 large pizzas and Matt used for lunch the next day. Friday- I was tired and decided Chinese was needed. The good news is that we ended up finishing up the Chinese on Saturday for lunch. I am also celebrating a win with cleaning out left-overs this week. For Sunday dinner, I took the crockpot lasagna, placed in a pie pan, topped with mozzarella and we had lasagna pie! It used another left-over so I am very happy!
Breakfast- Saturday,-Zach ate bagel and the girls and I had the rest of the hash brown casserole. Sunday,-Banana muffins that used up 3 bananas and some vanilla Greek yogurt in the refrigerator . Monday,Tuesday,Wednesday, Thursday, Friday– Choice of breakfast burrito, omelet oatmeal, grits, pop tarts cereal, French toast or toast. This is the easiest meal of the day!
Lunch–Saturday-Left-over Chinese , Sunday-Out to eat for Amanda’s birthday. Zach is taking a salad, chicken nuggets, a sandwich and an uncrustable. Kendall is having a version of a sandwich every day. My plan is to take 2 days of salad one day of leftovers as I will eat out Monday and Friday this week. . Matt is starting to need lunches as well so he has a salad, pasta salad and pimento cheese sandwich and homemade chill.
Dinner – Saturday- Sloppy Joes that were on the plan last Friday. With the remaining French fries and tator tots in the freezer. Sunday–Lasagna pie Monday-Chicken Ranch Spaghetti( in the crock pot). Tuesday– Taco Pasta This is a heat and eat meal. Wednesday–Pulled pork and creamed corn (in crockpots) Thursday– Taco Soup (heat and eat from freezer) Friday- Shephard pie from last week (heat and eat).
This week appears to be one of the busiest on record. Matt starts his new job which will add an additional 20 hours of scheduled work each week. Each of the kids has multiple evening activities with all 5 evening having at least 2 separate activities and some with three and more. We are continuing to plan on Sunday afternoons which also includes a trip to the building to grab the needed supplies.
Breakfast- Saturday,-breakfast burritos. Sunday,-Left-overs for the girls. Boys had men’s breakfast.. Monday,Tuesday,Wednesday, Thursday, Friday– Choice of breakfast burrito, omelet oatmeal, grits, pop tarts cereal, French toast or toast. This is the easiest meal of the day!
Lunch–Saturday-Food at Community day , Sunday-left-overs Zach is taking lunchables for 2 days, a sandwich and pasta salad. Kendall is doing a mix of dipping days, sushi, uncrustable and a sandwich. My plan is to take pasta salad, 2 days of salad one day of leftovers. Matt is starting to need lunches as well so he has a salad, pasta salad and wraps.
Dinner – Saturday- Breakfast for dinner including bacon and hashbrown casserole. Sunday–Left-overs or sandwhich We have finally made a dent in the left-overs! Monday-Potato soup from freezer (kids had an orthodontist appointment). Tuesday– Cheeseburger pizza. This is a heat and eat meal. Wednesday–Chicken sandwiches and French fries. Thursday– Shepherd’s pie (another heat and eat) Friday- Sloppy joes and tator tots.