Frugal Steps and Stumbles

Frugal Steps:

  1. I went to the library and borrowed the movies The Revenant, X-Men Age of Apocolypse, and The Danish Girl. I also borrowed a couple of books for the kids. The Danish Girl was pretty good,but I had read the book first and I honestly liked the book better.
  2. I hit Jo-Ann Fabrics for post-Valentine’s clearance. I picked up packs of stickers for 44 cents and a Wilton heart-shaped cookie cutter for $1. We can use the stickers for scouts.
  3.  My quarterly Ebates check came in and I deposited $56 in my account. That will get transferred over to savings. If you want to try through my referral link, you will get a bonus $10 cash back.
  4. I downloaded the Penn Station app and got a free 6″ sub.
  5. We have ABCMouse for our two younger children. I had the opportunity to renew for another year for 50% off. When I did it, my Ebates Chrome extension button let me know I could get an additional $2 cash back. Score!

Frugal Stumbles:

  1. We ate out last night after I got back from teaching OB. We are pretty much resigned to doing this the next two Fridays because the mister does not want to cook and I am useless after teaching until 10:30 pm Thursday and driving to another city to teach all day Friday.
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40 Goals for 2017: Week 7

I’m keeping myself accountable this year by tracking my progress on my 40 Goals for 2017 every week. 

This post may contain referral/affiliate links.

Week Seven

Financial:

  1. Max Roth IRAs for the mister and I: $11000. I have $250 in my fund. The mister has $1000. I expect to add only $250 to mine this month.
  2. Cash flow 4 months of swim lessons at Aquatots for our son and older daughter: $1200. This will start in late May. I will be working more then and should be able to easily cash flow this.
  3. Save $3000 for HVAC replacement. Not yet.
  4. Save $4000 towards the mister’s car replacement fund. Not yet. Waiting to see the fallout from the ceiling repair, which will probably happen late February or early March. Right now we have it covered up. The mister will replace the toilet Monday when he is off work, and then we will call a contractor for an estimate.
  5. Save $1050 for Christmas. I transferred $88 to my savings fund in January. I plan to do the same at the end of this month.
  6. Save $1800 for outdoor playset.  We’re talking about moving to make sure we have space in case family needs to move in with us. We’re shelving this for the moment until we have a better idea of what we will do.
  7. Save $750 towards next year’s 2018 family vacation and $ 750 towards my 2018 40th birthday trip ($125/month). We have $113 from last year’s garage sale earnings that I put towards our vacation fund. This month I am knee-deep in my practicum and have cut my hours. I may not have the bandwidth to do extra saving.
  8. Spend $500/mo or less on groceries and $100/mo or less on entertainment. I spent $74.68 for groceries out of my $500/month budget this week, for a total of $322.40 so far.   I didn’t get any rebates from my rebate apps.  As far as entertainment, we spent $16 on donuts for our kindergartener’s birthday treat and $20 at Wendy’s. That’s $85 spent this month so far.
  9. Finally roll over one of my 401Ks. Not this week!
  10. Give: 5 hours of volunteer time and $50/mo. We had a Girl Scout meeting last week:  2.5 hours completed. I have donated $52 to charity this month, so that goal is met.

Personal:

  1. Complete my master’s degree! I am basically working 7 days a week now. I did a lot of grading this week, hours of research for the course I am helping to rewrite, will teach Population Health for 4 hours tomorrow, and head out to teach students on the OB unit Friday for 5-6 hours.  I had two pieces of homework due by Saturday and I already completed them.
  2. Date night with the husband once per month  I have a Groupon for this movie/fine dining place, and we hoped to use it Saturday, but the only movie playing is Newsies the Musical- bleh! We have a sitter scheduled for the evening, so our alternative is to see a cheapie dollar movie and use our gift card to Olive Garden. We want to see Hidden Figures, so we may use our Fandango gift cards if it’s not at the cheapies yet.
  3. Read 1 book per month– I am 50% of the way through The Rule of Benedict. I have this story idea and am getting some really good information about not only how a monastery is designed, but also in understanding the motivations of the people who may be living there. The Kane Chronicles is finally available to me on the digital library app, so I am reading that next.
  4. Monthly me-time with friends. My friend Jen and I love theater, and we’re seeing Something Rotten at the end of February.
  5. Complete one freelance submission. Nothing this week.
  6. Finish the afghan languishing in the closet. This is going to be languishing until April.
  7. Learn how to set up my sewing machine and complete one simple project. It’s still in its container. My Aunt Judy gave me scrap fabric to practice with for Christmas. No time this week.
  8. Conquer iced cookies and icing a cake.  The birthday party was Saturday. I just didn’t have time to ice the cake like I planned, so we printed some pictures instead.  I’m calling it a delicious cakewreck, lol. My girls didn’t care. It was all made from scratch, including the icing. 
  9. Drink 64 ounces water daily.  I have hit it 6 out of 7 days this week.  Clinical days are the worst, as I have no time to eat or drink when I am with my students. I am basically chugging water as soon as I get to my car.
  10. Survive my practicum without eating fast food. Last week I hit Wendy’s and got a Coke. I teach until 10-1015 the night before my OB clinicals, and it is an hour drive there and back. I really need the caffeine to stay alert behind the wheel. It’s not healthy, but I am bringing a small can to fuel after clinical this week. It’s left over from the party. We usually don’t have pop in our home.

Family/Home:

  1. Visit family in Cleveland. Sometime this summer. We are figuring out summer camp right now (our older kids will do 1-2 weeks each, probably computer programming for the boy, art for the girl,and a combined week of outdoor park camp for both).
  2. Weekly 1:1 time with each child. I plan on playing a board game with the boy tonight (Battleship). The girls and I have made art projects and done reading together. The toddler gets lots of 1:1 time when the big kids are in school. Lucky girl!
  3. Sell my son’s old clothes. These are hiding in the closet.
  4. Complete kitchen counter clear-off to prepare for a fish tank. We plan on making the girls’ combined birthday present a fish tank. This is piling up again.
  5. Clear out our study corner hot spot. The clearing off I did is still intact and looking good.
  6. Get the toddler potty trained! We are using a free printable reward chart. Our youngest has been keeping dry pretty often during the day but still has daily accidents. She has been waking up dry pretty frequently though!
  7. Hang pictures in front hallway. Nope. They are now neatly stacked and ready to go though.
  8. Plant front yard tree. It’s still winter.
  9. Paint half bath. Not yet.
  10. Visit 6 different parks. Too cold!

Business:

  1. Complete Etsy Essentials and Brilliant Pins courses. Not yet. School has the priority this week again.
  2. Start posting regularly on my Best Geeky Baby Names site. It’s probably unrealistic to expect to do anything extra in February. I am committed seven days a week and am coasting on fumes and caffeine.
  3. Purchase the virtual real estate for the other four sites I want to create. Not yet. Waiting for a sale.
  4. Incorporate as an LLC. I am putting this off until after my practicum.
  5. Explore affiliates for my sites. I signed up for Share a Sale but need to look at which ones to work with.
  6. Double my daily traffic for Frugal Stepping Stones. I haven’t hit it once this week.
  7. Start a monthly newsletter. Not yet.
  8. Expand my Emergency Menu Plans by one new plan each month this year. I am barely treading water right now. I finish two of my practicum sites around March 7th, and my OB site on March 10th. I am shooting for after that point.
  9. Do one guest post. Not yet, but I have a few ideas where to reach out. This will happen after my practicum.
  10. Interview one person for the blog. I have someone who is interested in being interviewed.

How are your goals going?

 

Frugal Step: Make A Menu

Monday: Slow Cooker Spaghetti with Meat Sauce, Garlic Rolls using Grandma’s Leftover Homemade Rolls

Tuesday: Leftovers

Wednesday: Middle Child’s Birthday-She chooses Taco Salad and Donuts for her birthday feast

Thursday: Hunt and Peck-I’m teaching tonight

Friday: I’m teaching OB- English Muffin Pizzas, Corn

Saturday: Date night for us, hot dogs forkids

Sunday: Hunt and Peck

Feeding 5 For $125 Per Week: 3rd Week of February 2017

Dorothy Lane Market: $74.68

Yesterday I had 120 minutes to get the house clean, make icing and ice a cake, print out and cut some games, make three appetizers, and go to the store. I hit the nearest (and most expensive) store, bought the basics of what we needed for the party, and iced the cake. We’ll need to hit the store for soy milk, cow’s milk, and yogurt, but are otherwise eating from the pantry.

I didn’t have 10 minutes to spare to take a picture, but I bought tomatoes, fresh veggies, some heart shaped cookies, sour cream, cheese, guac, bacon, crescent rolls, pop, whipping cream, spaghetti sauce, and refried beans.

So much for icing the cake. I had to settle for slapping the icing on as fast as I could and printing out a couple pictures. The girls didn’t care. I did make the icing myself. Canned icing is vile.

Monthly goal: $500

Weekly total: $74.68

Running total: $322.40

Frugal Steps and Stumbles

Frugal Steps:

  1. I used my Kroger fuel points to get 80 cents off per gallon. I paid $18 to fill my minivan’s tank.
  2. I I got free issues of O magazine and Country Living in the mail.
  3. My mother made two huge fruit trays and dip for the birthday party today.
  4. I watched Victoria on the PBS Roku app, Big Bang Theory on CBS.com, and the Gilmore Girls on Netflix.
  5. I borrowed a book from the library to use at our Girl Scout meeting.

Frugal Stumbles:

  1. My son got McDonald’s twice this week. I stopped and got a ginormous Coke at Wendy’s after having to supervise students on the OB unit the morning after teaching until 10:15 PM. I am old and I can’t burn the candle at both ends like I used to.

40 Goals for 2017: Week 6

I’m keeping myself accountable this year by tracking my progress on my 40 Goals for 2017 every week. 

This post may contain referral/affiliate links.

Week Five

Financial:

  1. Max Roth IRAs for the mister and I: $11000. I have $250 in my fund. The mister has $1000.
  2. Cash flow 4 months of swim lessons at Aquatots for our son and older daughter: $1200. This will start in late May. I will be working more then and should be able to easily cash flow this.
  3. Save $3000 for HVAC replacement. Not yet.
  4. Save $4000 towards the mister’s car replacement fund. Not yet. Waiting to see the fallout from the ceiling repair, which will probably happen late February or early March. Right now we have it covered..
  5. Save $1050 for Christmas. I transferred $88 to my savings fund in January.
  6. Save $1800 for outdoor playset.  We’re talking about moving to make sure we have space in case family needs to move in with us. We’re shelving this completely.
  7. Save $750 towards next year’s 2018 family vacation and $ 750 towards my 2018 40th birthday trip ($125/month). We have $113 from last year’s garage sale earnings that I put towards our vacation fund. This month I am knee-deep in my practicum and have cut my hours. I may not have the bandwidth to do extra saving.
  8. Spend $500/mo or less on groceries and $100/mo or less on entertainment. I spent $124.46 for groceries out of my $500/month budget this week.   I will get $4 in rebates from Checkout 51, Saving Star, and Ibotta that will get tucked away and eventually added to my Roth IRA fund.  As far as entertainment, I got McDonald’s twice this week for our son. The poorkid had a rough week. He had testing in another city for 6 hours on Monday, and it went way past schedule. We got out at 2:30 and had not eaten since 7:30 and were starving. Wednesday night he got sent to urgent care and we were there for 4 hours until almost 11 pm. We don’t feed the kids fast food very often, so it was a special treat. Luckily the kid is on a high-calorie diet, so the extra calories were a plus for him. That’s $49 for February entertainment so far.
  9. Finally roll over one of my 401Ks. Not this week!
  10. Give: 5 hours of volunteer time and $50/mo. We had a Girl Scout meeting this week and I prepped the craft for our Clover patch. We made bird feeders from empty water bottles, made Valentine’s cards, and read a book about recycling. The meeting went over a little bit, but the girls had a great time. Between prep time and meeting time, it was about 2.5 hours. I have donated my usual $27 to Plan USA and I donated $15 to my friend Kym’s Donors Choose account. Kym is an awesome teacher and is always coming up with new ways to engage her students in her classroom. I also donated $10 to my best friend’s Pelatonia ride. Over the past 7 years, she has raised almost $45K for cancer research this way.

Personal:

  1. Complete my master’s degree! I am basically working 7 days a week now. I did a lot of grading this week, came up with some quiz questions for the course I am helping to rewrite, taught Population Health for 4 hours last night, and head out to teach students on the OB unit today.  I spend a lot of time preparing, but those hours don’t count towards my practicum hours. Thank God there is no homework due this week!
  2. Date night with the husband once per month  I have a Groupon for this movie/fine dining place, and we hope to use it this month. We have a sitter scheduled for the 18th. So far the movie place only lists Newsies as playing that day, and we both have zero desire to see that, so our alternative is to see a cheapie dollar movie and use our gift card to Olive Garden.
  3. Read 1 book per month– During my son’s appointment on Monday, I got some schoolwork done, but I also read 3 (free) magazines and got 25% of the way through The Rule of Benedict. I have this story idea and am getting some really good information about not only how a monastery is designed, but also in understanding the motivations of the people who may be living there.
  4. Monthly me-time with friends. My friend Jen and I love theater, and we’re seeing Something Rotten at the end of February. We are already excited about the shows that are coming next season, and HAMILTON in 2018. Squee! We will be buying the el cheapo matinee subscription again.
  5. Complete one freelance submission. Nothing this week.
  6. Finish the afghan languishing in the closet. This is going to be languishing until April.
  7. Learn how to set up my sewing machine and complete one simple project. It’s still in its container. My Aunt Judy gave me scrap fabric to practice with for Christmas. No time this week.
  8. Conquer iced cookies and icing a cake.  The birthday party is tomorrow! I am going to stretch my icing skills by making an Octonauts cake. Cross your fingers that it doesn’t look like a Cakewreck.
  9. Drink 64 ounces water daily.  I have hit it 5 out of 7 days this week. I I brought two bottles to class last night and was able to drink as I taught. Clinical days are rough because I am on the unit from 1130-5 and we don’t have a break. I can’t carry a bottle around with me, so all I can do is duck in and chug a cup once during the day. The life of a nurse!
  10. Survive my practicum without eating fast food. I made it through last week without eating trash, but my son and I had McDonald’s twice after long medical appointments. Today I am bringing water, nuts, and string cheese to snack on after my clinical day.

Family/Home:

  1. Visit family in Cleveland. Sometime this summer.
  2. Weekly 1:1 time with each child. My son and I had a late lunch at Mickey D’s after his appointment. The toddler has gotten a lot of 1:1 time when her siblings are at school and I am not working. The 6 year old and I did an art project yesterday and we have been doing reading/alphabet time daily.
  3. Sell my son’s old clothes. These are hiding in the closet.
  4. Complete kitchen counter clear-off to prepare for a fish tank. We plan on making the girls’ combined birthday present a fish tank. We will be doing an express clean tonight.
  5. Clear out our study corner hot spot. The clearing off I did is still intact and looking good.
  6. Get the toddler potty trained! We are using a free printable reward chart. Our youngest has been keeping dry pretty often during the day but still has daily accidents. She has been waking up dry pretty frequently though!
  7. Hang pictures in front hallway. Nope. They are now neatly stacked and ready to go though.
  8. Plant front yard tree. It’s still winter.
  9. Paint half bath. Not yet.
  10. Visit 6 different parks. Too cold!

Business:

  1. Complete Etsy Essentials and Brilliant Pins courses. Not yet. School has the priority this week again.
  2. Start posting regularly on my Best Geeky Baby Names site. It’s probably unrealistic to expect to do anything extra in February. I am committed seven days a week and am coasting on fumes and caffeine.
  3. Purchase the virtual real estate for the other four sites I want to create. Not yet. Waiting for a sale.
  4. Incorporate as an LLC. I am putting this off until after my practicum.
  5. Explore affiliates for my sites. I signed up for Share a Sale but need to look at which ones to work with.
  6. Double my daily traffic for Frugal Stepping Stones. I’ve hit it maybe one day this week.
  7. Start a monthly newsletter. Not yet.
  8. Expand my Emergency Menu Plans by one new plan each month this year. I am barely treading water right now. I finish two of my practicum sites around March 7th, and my OB site on March 10th. I am shooting for after that point.
  9. Do one guest post. Not yet, but I have a few ideas where to reach out. This will happen after my practicum.
  10. Interview one person for the blog. I have someone who is interested in being interviewed.

How are your goals going?

 

Frugal Step: Make A Menu

Most of the recipes I link to can be found in my Pinterest boards. Check them out- lots of frugal dishes! If you’re planning something special for Valentine’s, try my cake board.

Monday: Chorizo Sausage, Sweet Potato, Pepper and Onion , and Homemade Guac  with Belgian Endive Scoops

Tuesday: Cheese Grits with Roasted Mushrooms and Brussels Sprouts

Wednesday: Broccoli Mac n Cheese

Thursday: Tuna Tetrazzini with Peas

Friday: I get home from the hospital at 6 and family is in town. Ordering from Domino’s using a gift card.

Saturday Lunch: Birthday party at lunch time, making homemade Captain Barnacles Cake, veggie tray, fruit tray, Taco Dip, Skyline Chili Dip (it’s a local thing), Maple Caramel Bacon Crack, Triple Decker Mini PB & Js for the kids, bottled water, juice boxes, chips

Saturday Dinner: Spaghetti with Epic Garlic Bread

Sunday: Hunt and Peck

Feeding 5 For $125 Per Week: 2nd Week of February 2017

Meijer: $24.55

The mister stopped and bought two cases of water because the reverse osmosis is still on the fritz, some beer, and a few frozen cheese pizzas on sale.

Kroger: $99.91

Rebates: $4 from Ibotta, $1 from Checkout 51, and $0.25 from Saving Star. If you want to try Ibotta, you’ll get $10 cash back when you submit your first rebate. I am getting close to getting $6 in February bonuses for Ibotta too.

One daughter was born in January and one was born in February. We usually have the combined party in February and it tends to hit around the Superbowl. That means party foods are at their lowest. As a bonus, many of these same party foods will earn cash back through grocery apps. A lot of what you see is for next Saturday’s party, and we are eating from the pantry.

Monthly goal: $500

Weekly total: $124.46

Running total: $247.72

Frugal Steps and Stumbles

Frugal Steps:

  1. I watched Rebecca and Victoria on the PBS Roku app.
  2. We have family coming in for our girls’ birthday party next Saturday and I went through Swagbucks’ MyGiftCardsPlus.com to get 6% back when I bought a Domino’s Pizza gift card. I checked Raise.com first, and that pricing was the same.
  3. I used Groupon to buy a 90% off consultation and 60 minute massage for a local chiropractor. My PCP thought it could help my back. I went through Ebates to get 9% cash back and a code to get $5 more off a local deal. I also went through out local Cincysavers to get 50% off admission to a local arcade in anticipation of our son’s birthday in May,  and $20 on a $40 lunch for two at a local vegetarian restaurant.
  4. February is a good time to buy winter coats. Land’s End has coats for up to 60% off. I bought the next size up for our son and older daughter at 60% off, plus got 2% cash back through Ebates. I also bought a rain coat for me at a steep discount.
  5. We had frozen pizza Friday night as planned.
  6. I started assisting to teach nursing students on the OB unit on Friday. I had sold most of my scrubs and my super expensive Z-coil shoes I wore when I worked ICU. One thing I didn’t get rid of were my trusty Dansko clogs. I bought them back in 2006 and they are still going strong. I was on my feet for over 5 hours Friday and they served me well. I am not a fan of nursing shoes with holes in them, like Crocs. These suckers are easily hosed off and protective from sharps and errant body fluids. Ask me about the time a family member wandered in just as I emptied a liter of urine into a container and accidentally kicked it over on my feet….
  7. We are setting up a fish tank for the kids. We are using the mister’s old fish tank that hasn’t been used in 8 years. We are starting out with a single fish and some plants, so it’s not too pricey.

Frugal Stumbles:

  1. I am essentially working 7 days a week until the end of the first week of March. I am too tired to get into much trouble this week!

This post contains referral and affiliate links.