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…….

What’s happening?

I would really like to write a how we are saving on Saturday post. So far our out of pocket has been minimal but I don’t know if it is going to last.

First problem, internet. Now to be honest, internet problems for a long time.  We actually received a $49 credit this past month because of recent troubles. While working at home on this week, I noticed that the internet would go out for around a minute at a time. Matt called and they sent out a tech on Friday.  He ended up replacing both the modem and wireless router.  The cost to us was only the time spent waiting on the tech and the lost of internet for around an hour.  I am really hopeful that this will fix the problem.

Second problem… much worse  of course.   Matt woke up around midnight last night and then again around 2am. The temperature inside the house seemed to be dropping. We plugged in our space heater and at 6am the temperature inside the house was 59. We called the person who installed our system 14 years ago. He provided awesome service, returning the call around 8 and was here around 11.  It was the thermostat.  Luck for us a quick and cheap repair.

As we are trying to stay warm, we notice another problem, the washer is not spinning properly and the clothes are really wet.  This is an ongoing problem, we have contacted a friend who is a repairman hoping for some advice to see if we should have repaired or replace. The washer is 12 years old and get used on a daily basis if not more than daily.

One positive that occurred today, I turned the stove on a self-cleaning cycle to add heat to the house.  While it was running, Matt and I ended up giving it the best cleaning it has had in several year. I jokingly said now watch it will be so clean that it will not work properly. So far so good it works great!

2021 Recipe #2

Amanda gave me an Instapot several years ago for my birthday.  I tired to use it and like it but I have only found 2 items that I really really like it for. The first was boiled eggs and the second instapot potato soup.   I used it for other things but just have never found something I said “Wow” that was worth it.   In December, it finally died and I had not plans to replace it.   But Amanda brought over hers as they are going to use an Air Fryer instead.  I should also clarify that mine was not the official brand but this one is.   I saw this recipe on line and decided to give the instapot another try!  I must say that I really impressed…. impressed enough to try other things as will

Instant Pot Beef and Broccoli 

Instant Pot beef and broccoli easy pressure cooker dinners

Mine even looked very similar. It took less than an hour total time to prepare and likely was around the promised 25 minutes.  Everyone said how good it was!

2 definite repeats for the year!

Menu Planning Monday

I just want a normal week is it possible?  I received a phone call on Sunday afternoon that one of Zach’s classmates has tested positive for Covid-19. He is on quarantine and can’t return to school until February 4th.  I am going to work remotely Wednesday, Thursday and Friday this week….. In other news it is cold and rainy, so I am changing up plans to include lots of soup. I am also continuing to work 5 nights a week in Guam which means less fuss for meal time.

Breakfast– Saturday-homemade biscuits and gravy  Sunday- Breakfast bowls  Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday-choice of breakfast muffins, eggs, sausage, oatmeal, cereal or grits, breakfast burritos, bagels or omelets.

Lunch-  Saturday–Left-overs  Sunday- Gregg’s   Everyone is enjoying left-overs or wraps this week.

Dinner-  Saturday-  Stuffed Green Pepper Soup   Sunday-left-overs. Monday-Kielbasa and rice. Tuesday-I made oyster stew and others can eat from fridge . Wednesday- Instapot Beef and Broccoli (new recipe)   Thursday- Chicken Spaghetti   Friday- Salisbury Steak and scallop potatoes, green beans and corn bread.

5 Things Friday

  1. Lily got her permit today! 
  2. Amanda was able to get a new to her car without any assistance or co-signer. She returned the van she has been using since she no longer needs it. We sold the van for $1000!
  3. I am exhausted, this week has been extremely busy with both my regular job and Guam. I am scheduled to work Sunday through Thursday every night for the next month.
  4. Lily and Zachary are grounded.  The reason is politics.
  5. The kids have decided to attempt to start a small business of there own, making Christmas ornaments and pot holders out of wood.  Matt and I will be assisting in the sell but first they need an inventory.

Monday Menu Planning

Hopefully things are as back to normal as they can be in 2021! Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday so the kids and I are out of school. I am working 5 nights in Guam so we had to keep it nice and simple. My goal is to make it February become heading to Costco.

Breakfast– Saturday-Matt and I had Cracker Barrel, Haley bought the kids Biscuit King.  Sunday- Bagels  Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday-choice of breakfast muffins, eggs, sausage, oatmeal, cereal or grits, breakfast burritos, bagels or omelets.

Lunch-  Saturday–Moe’s for Matt and I. Leftovers for everyone else Sunday-Taco Soup.  Monday- Chinese (my treat) Tuesday- Friday Left-overs and wraps.

Dinner-  Saturday-  Frozen Pizza  Sunday-left-overs or Taco Soup Monday-Pork Fried Rice (left-overs from the fridge or find something else you want as left-overs.)  Tuesday-Chick Fil A (free from December) . Wednesday- Tomato Soup and Grilled cheese   Thursday-  Corn Dogs or another frozen sandwich from the freezer .   Friday- Grilled Chicken and baked sweet potatos.

Life Happens- Unexpected Trip

Things change very quickly, as has been proven yet again. Matt’s father passed away on Sunday January 10th. We made the very difficult decision to leave all the kids here and head to Florida to help make arrangements and for the memorial service.  This trip was total unplanned but fortunately we were able to cover the cost without causing significant hardship.  The emotional toil was significantly higher than any money spent.  Amanda was able to spend Monday- Thursday night at our house. Haley stayed Friday and Saturday night.  My mother was the bus driver and made sure that Kendall and Zach got to school every day and to piano.  A friend stepped in to make sure the kids got to church on Wednesday night. I had already written our meal plan so no additional food or groceries were needed at home, although the kids ate out several times as a sister treat.

One thing we learned very quickly was that the small town in Florida that we were heading to was hosting a dog show.  The price of a room jumped from $72 a night to $114 after our first two nights.  Total cost for hotel was $546.71

We chose to drive with both of us going. We did consider flying but would have needed to rent a car for the week so we could not justify this expense. Total spent in gas was $112.25

We did go to Disney Springs on Wednesday night for dinner. On Thursday, we used a remaining day ticket from our December trip to spend the day at Magic Kingdom. I was able to redeem point to cover the parking and several snacks. Although this increased our trip cost by $150, this was a much needed break from the stress of the week and I would not change a thing. Our photo pass from December also was active so I will share some pictures on Wednesday.

Our total cost of the trip was $1471.  We placed most of the expenses on our gas credit card that we planned to pay off this month. During our trip Amanda who has been driving our older van decided to obtain a car loan and get a new to her car.  She returned the older van which we will sell to recovery $1000. This is very unexpected but will enable us to cover the trip with little to no financial strain!

5 Things Friday

  1. I have not used this format since September ??? Really maybe that is the reason I have not been hitting my blogging goal?
  2. Today both the kids and I had a remote learning day due to the weather forecast of 2- 4 inches of snow. Instead, we have had a cold rain most of the day with a change over to snow around 4pm. It has been yucky!
  3. I have made a “extra” money goal. I would like to save $500 a month in January, February and March to use as our food money in April. So far for the first week of January I have “found” or saved $203. If I can get to $475 I can purchase gift cards at Target to save an additional $25.
  4.  We are working hard at staying on track with our budget in January. So far was have spent $55 in gas and $91 in groceries.  I did place a Norwex order for more of Lily detergent so that will be an additional $70.
  5. My van is still in the shop after I hit the deer. Because they are going to repair damage from when I backed in the pole at Baptist hospital while Amanda was in the hospital. They estimate it will be fixed next week. I paid $500 from our stimulus and the insurance covered the rest of the repair.