September in Review

September was a blur and I am exhausted. The good news is that we are finally getting settled on a strong financial track.  In part because of being blessed with a portion of Matt’s inheritance this month from his father.  We have decided to use the money in several different ways.  First we paid off the car. We also have paid off all credit card debit.  October will bring some other choices and changes which I promise to share along the way.  Finally, I booked a Disney trip for April. I want to total pay for the trip between Tiny Eye and found money. I am adding a goal for this just to keep me accountable.

Groceries– budget amount is $650.   $404  Under budget with splurges on candy. I did notice a significant increase in the cost of food this month. I am planning to stay under budget for the rest of the year based on the fact that we have a completely stocked freezer and pantry right now.

Auto/ Gas / Insurance: . My goal is  $400 a month. $303.55.  Met! Gas prices continue to rise. Currently they are above $3 a galloon. The last time that gas prices jumped to above $3 a gallon was 2005 and they stayed up for several years.

Cash Envelope system-  Goal met!

Goal #4- Blogging- 15 post per month.  This is post number 8. September was crazy busy.

Goal # 5- Fitness– Goal is to exercise of some type at least 10 days a month.  Nope Naa

Goal #6 – Bible study- Goal-  Read or Listen to the entire Bible in a year. Need to find something to get started on this.

Earnings– NONE

No Spend Days– Did not keep up with this as it just was too difficulty. We covered all our expenses and that is what is important .

Disney trip-  I was able to make $1000 payment toward the trip which is mostly my Tiny Eye pay for the month.

One of the unexpected expenses this month was home owner’s insurance. This is usually paid in July but got really messed up. IT was also $500 more than last year. October holds no predictions for me!   Just keeping my boat floating.

$5 Meals

I have added a new category $5 meals.  I want to first explain my rationale for adding this so late in the game. I enjoy reading lots of blogs. It often helps me with saving money and it also gives me so great ideas.  One of the consistent themes that I have been reading for several month is that the cost of food is rising.  I have read on some sites that the expectations is that all food prices would increase by 10% plus percent by the end of the year.    I am definitely starting to see this in my area. For example, a 10 pack of water flavors has been priced at $1.00 for at least 2 years.  This is my buy price and I can always find at Walmart.  Yesterday, the price had increased to $1.23 for the box.  Fortunately, I have worked really hard to stock both the freezer and pantries with enough supplies to last at least until December if not longer.   I decided that I also wanted to start a list of these $5 meals so that in the future, I can come back and rotate through them again!

Spaghetti sauce- this is definitely a family favorite. In fact, most everyone prefers this over jarred sauce.  I did not know if we would have enough tomatoes to restock this summer but it appears we do. I did not try and make any salsa or diced tomatoes but hopefully in the future we will be able to stock both the spaghettis sauce and other items.    The tomatoes are from the garden, I purchased around 40 plants for $36 this spring so I am averaging $1 per crockpot as my cost.  $1 green pepper, $0.50 onion (from freezer), basil and oregano were from the freezer from past years.  Garlic =$0.50 and 1 tablespoon of sugar.  $3 for the sauce and $1.00 for the pasta makes a hearty meal for all  of us less than $5.

Pasta Salad for lunch-  We all are taking lunch most days. The kids really don’t like sandwiches and I try to avoid bread whenever convent so that leaves a lot of decisions and lunch making.  We have found an easy solution- dressing up pasta salad.

Suddenly Pasta Salad™ Creamy Parmesan - Front

I always purchase when I find for $1 a box.  We actually used 2 boxes to make 7 lunches.  I added Deli Ham that was purchased on clearance for $1.84, a half a block of colby jack cheese, purchased for something else, 2 boiled eggs, (ten cent each) and of course tomatoes from the garden.   Less than $5 for lunch for everyone that is filling and good!


Do you have $5 meal ideas to share?

Menu Planning Monday

We will start to get slight more busy this week and by next week, I bet we will be full on busy!  I have started a list on the side of our dinning room board to include a list of the meals I know I want to include in the rotation.  Still waiting on cooler weather before we add a soup a week. Zach and Kendall are eating half school lunch and half lunch from home most days.

Breakfast– Saturday- Steak breakfast bowls to use up some ingredients from the fridge. Sunday- Biscuit King    Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday-choice of breakfast muffins, eggs, pop-tarts, sausage, oatmeal, cereal or grits, breakfast burritos, or omelets.

Lunch-  Saturday–Left-overs Sunday- Panda Panda   I have 2 days of salads, 1 day of leftovers and 2 days of eating out this week. I did make Zach and Kendall mac and cheese one day which was a huge hit.

Dinner-  Saturday- Left-overs   Sunday-Left-overs  Monday- Sour cream and cheese chicken enchiladas casserole. Tuesday- Spaghetti and Meatballs  Wednesday-Hamburgers and french fries . Thursday- Beef and Broccli in the crockpot    Friday-Ballgame food.

5 Things Friday

  1. We don’t have any set plans or goal for the weekend!  This is very exciting for me as I have been really really tired the last couple of days!  We also will start AAU baseball in 2 weeks which means an end to Saturdays at home.
  2. We have decided to add electricity to the greenhouse, this will make it much easier to heat and cool as well as adding a watering system.
  3. Matt’ is beginning to receive some of his inheritance from his father. We are staying very quiet about this and plan to use to make some updates and upgrades that are needed.  We have spent many hours discussing what we want to do and will share some things in the upcoming weeks.
  4. Lily has decided not to participate in Youth Theater this fall. She did not feel that she was given a fair chance at auditions. She also did not want to devote the next 2 months to it.
  5. The weather remains really really hot. 2 days in the next week are predicted to be over 90.  At this point I am ready for fall and some cooler weather to stay around at least so we can open the windows soon.

Meal for under $5

I wanted to share a meal that cost us a total of $4.75 plus tax and made 7 meals. All five of us ate dinner. Kendall does not like meat so we placed her brat and some left-over corn in a lunch container. I added some pepperoni from the fridge and a tomato to the remaining pasta salad for my lunch tomorrow.

Brats, these were found on sale for $2.75 for a pack of 5. Each time I stop at the grocery store to grab milk or veggies, I always walk down the meat section just to see if I can find anything reduced.  I think these were purchased last April or May. They were in the freezer until yesterday.

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Suddenly Salad- I usually stock up on these when I find them priced at $1 each.  We often make 2 boxes for a meal or use for our lunches.  I still have around 8 boxes in my pantry for future use. Kendall  made this while I went to the store for produce.


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Corn on the cob!  I have been watching prices this summer in hopes of stocking up on these but since this is the cheapest I have found all year and the freezer is full. Guess we can enjoy now! We placed these in the shucks on the grill and man did everyone enjoy!

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Monday Menu Planning

Things feel as back to normal as I can ever remember. We are still wearing mask to school but most activities have resumed. Mask are not required for shopping in Lexington yet. So I am very thankful to stick close to home these days. Our pantry and freezers are full so the goal is to work through these meals for the next 9 months.  I plan to keep shopping to a minimum at least until December. Grocery goal is going to become $300 for September to December.  We are back to eating at home for all meals this week. I do know that once baseball games start we will eat out at least one night a week if not 2 depending on the timing of games.

Breakfast– Saturday-Sausage biscuit made by Zach. Sunday- Fried bologna and eggs or bagels.    Monday- BLTs9 using tomatoes from the garden).   Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday-choice of breakfast muffins, eggs, pop-tarts, sausage, oatmeal, cereal or grits, breakfast burritos, or omelets.

Lunch-  Saturday–Left-overs Sunday- Time Square Pizza.  Matt has chill from last week. I am going to make 2 salads and take pasta salad for lunch. The kids are taking what they consider half a lunch most days.

Dinner-  Saturday-Local steakhouse (treat for a long hard day of work).    Sunday-Left-overs  Monday- Brats, pasta salad and corn on the cob.   Tuesday- Hamburger helper (2 boxes plus one pound of ground beef) .  Wednesday-Broiled Fish with veggies and pineapple cole slaw. Thursday-Chicken and dumplings in the crockpot    Friday-Sloppy joes and fries

Saving on Saturday- Upcycling a Playhouse

The project for this weekend is to upcycle the old playhouse into a greenhouse.  The playhouse is at least 30 years old if not older. The kids are all to big for it.  It is very small inside so I wanted to make the most use of space available.

Before pictures….

The inside..

First thing was to remove the roof….

Stage One complete…

Next we added planters and shelves to the inside…

A shelf for new plants and for storage was also needed…

Finally we added plastic to cover the top..

We have spent $0 at this point on the green house. The plastic and wood to secure the plastic were purchased with swagbucks gift cards that we earned. Matt and I decided that we we go ahead and purchase a watering system to use. We already have the rain barrel and by using rain water only we will basically save the cost of the system within a couple of year!

Can you tell how excited I am?

5 Things Friday

  1. Everyone except for Lily has a 3 day weekend. Lily is working all three days. The next scheduled holiday or break from school is Thanksgiving.
  2. Our project for the weekend is to convert the old playhouse to a green house. We will be removing the roof and replacing it with plastic. Adding shelves and a watering system. We are hoping to reuse most of the materials. The plastic has already been purchased with a gift card!  I will plan to share pictures this week.
  3. Zach has officially started baseball practice. We have agreed to let him play both rec ball and AAU team. The AAU team is only going to travel in state and hopefully less than 2 hours away.
  4. The weather has finally decided to start to cool down a bit. We have been at or above 90 degrees for most of the month of August.  Fortunately we have no more 90 degree days in the forecast but I expect it to be close to the end of September before we are able to turn off the air conditioning.
  5. This week we are having a drive way addition installed. It will also include cement around the garden boxes that we bulit in the spring. I can’t wait to have a finished product!

August in Review

July was  the official shortest month of the year and August is officially the longest month of the year! August brings the start of the school year which is met with a mixture of excitement and dread by all of us.  Another reason I think it is the longest month is that I am ready to be done with summer because I can’t use the pool on a regular basis.  Anyway here is how we did…..

Groceries– budget amount is $650.   $271.76  way under goal and I hope to keep it that way for the next couple of months.

Auto/ Gas / Insurance: . My goal is  $400 a month. $536.45. Not Met! But gas prices are rising and this month included oil changes for both cars and some other small maintenance.

Cash Envelope system-  Goal met!  This is going to become much harder in the next several month as we are planning some major expenses and also increasing our spending budget.

Goal #4- Blogging- 15 post per month.  This is post number 14. Improvement but not quite goal.

Goal # 5- Fitness– Goal is to exercise of some type at least 10 days a month.   I managed 6 days of 30 minutes of exercise this month, same as last month. So it is small steps.

Goal #6 – Bible study- Goal-  Read or Listen to the entire Bible in a year. Need to find something to get started on this.

Earnings– $50 in gift cards

No Spend Days– 3. Not sure if I want to continue this or if I want to only count unplanned spending???? Definitely something to consider.

September is usually a month of change for us and it appears that this September will be no different.