Frugal Step: Make A Menu

Monday: Taco Salad

Tuesday: The plague is visiting- Hunt and Peck

Wednesday: Soup and Crackers for the sickies

Thursday: BLTs, Clementines

Friday: Cheese Grits and Roasted Asparagus and Cauliflower

Saturday: Out with Friends or in making Lentils and Rice? There is supposed to be a massive snow storm.

Sunday: Hunt and Peck

 

 

Frugal Steps and Stumbles

Frugal Steps:

  1. I did a CVS survey for $5 in Extra Care Bucks.
  2. I had another email from CVS offering me a free item worth $3 or less and $2 in Extra Care Bucks.
  3. I downloaded this month’s free Kindle First Reads book for Prime members.
  4. I downloaded the free Every Dollar budgeting app.
  5. I linked my Fitbit account with Achievement so I can earn money when I work out. Sign up through my referral and we will both earn bonus points towards a cash reward.
  6. I worked an extra 5 hours Saturday to boost my paycheck.
  7. I pulled out the hand me down boots and snow pants I had saved from my son to give to our middle child and passed down the middle child’s old one to our youngest. We just buy plain black mittens/snow pants/boots for our son and try to make them last for all three kids.

Frugal Stumbles:

  1. Once the holidays were over I pitched a ton of junk food that I do not want in my house.

40 Goals for 2017: Week 52

This past year, I tracked my progress on my 40 Goals for 2017 every week.  

Have you ever seen this article that floats around and gets posted on Facebook occasionally?The Entrepreneur’s Dilemma: Work, Sleep, Family, Fitness, or Friends: Pick 3. The idea is that you cannot excel in all areas at once. This year my choices were work (at my day job), family, friends, fitness, school, work (on my websites), home projects, and school. Sleep? What’s that???

I successfully completed my grad school teaching practicum by March and I graduated with my master’s in nursing in August with a 3.83. I still squeezed in time with friends but my poor husband suffered for attention. One of our children was given three new diagnoses which resulted in many doctor visits, regular ongoing treatments, a fight with the school, and the need to hire an advocate and a special tutor. I increased my work hours to help pay for that and meet our financial goals. I also had very little time to work out and little inclination to do much meal prepping. I had a little time to blog but there was no way I was going to take more time from our children.

I am pleased we met our financial goals even though our medical expenses unexpectedly increased. We paid cash for my graduate program, redid our bathroom, cash flowed Christmas, and saved for future home repairs, retirement, vacation, and a replacement car.

I’m fiddling around with my goals for next year but I can already tell you the last category is going. I will still be blogging here, but I know there is no time or space to play with my business ideas, and for right now my day job is the flexible work from home job that is helping us reach our goal of being mortgage free. I am so thrilled I can totally ditch that “school” category and I have opted not to pursue a PhD right now.

Tune in tomorrow for where I think I will be heading in 2018, but in the meantime tell me: what are your Pick 3 for this coming year?

This post contains affiliate links. When you purchase an item through my affiliate link, I receive a small percentage as compensation, that we then use to help reach our financial goals. Please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting our family!

Week Fifty-Two

Financial:

  1. Max Roth IRAs for the mister and I: $11000. I have been working by behind off and we now have enough to max both of our Roths. 
  2. Cash flow 4 months of swim lessons at Aquatots for our son and older daughter: $1200. Each child went up one level in their skills, so it was a success. We cash-flowed this one. Boom!
  3. Save $3000 for HVAC replacement. This will be sitting in savings until next year, but we are also at 100% for this as well. Done!
  4. Save $4000 towards the mister’s car replacement fund. Done!
  5. Save $1050 650 for Christmas. I have completed Christmas shopping for my kids .  Goal met!

 

6. Save ? for outdoor play set.   This gets booted to 2018, if we do it at all. My husband just doesn’t want to do another project.

7. Save $750 towards next year’s 2018 family vacation and $ 750 towards my 2018 40th birthday trip ($125/month).  We have that vacation money but my 40th trip is going to be much cheaper than planned. I have enough airline miles to get a free plane ticket, we are staying somewhere for free, and I will just need spending money,which is squirreled away already.  Done!

8. Spend $600/mo or less on groceries and $100/mo or less on my fun money.  We ended up spending about $700 for December but hit around the target or lower every other month.

9. Finally roll over one of my 401Ks.  Done!

10. Give: 5 hours of volunteer time and $50/mo.  November had about 16 volunteer hours and December has had 5. Nailed it!

Personal: 

  1. Complete my master’s degree! I graduated! Done!
  2. Date night with the husband once per month.  November was a fail but we did have a date night in December. We hit this about 50-75% of the year.
  3. Read 1 book per month  I started reading Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard Book 2: The Hammer of Thor in September and am still not done.  I finished reading Ross Poldark last week and started reading  The Storm Before the Storm: The Beginning of the End of the Roman Republic.  Does modern day America have parallels to the end of the Roman Empire? You’ll have to read and judge for yourself, but I love history and do find it very entertaining. This makes 20 going on 21 read out of 12Goal met! 
  4. Monthly me-time with friends.  I hit this in November and saw a show with a friend lthis month. Done!
  5. Complete one freelance submission. Nope.
  6. Finish the afghan languishing in the closet. Nope!
  7. Learn how to set up my sewing machine and complete one simple project. Nope.
  8. Conquer iced cookies and icing a cake. Nope! I opted to keep the holidays healthy and did not self sabotage by making sugar cookies.
  9. Drink 64 ounces water daily.   I hit this about 70% of the time.
  10. Survive my practicum without eating fast food. We are calling this a 50% success.

Family/Home:

  1. Visit family in Cleveland. We visited my in-laws in July and were thoroughly spoiled as usual. Done!
  2. Weekly 1:1 time with each child. This was a work in progress but mostly a success.
  3. Sell my son’s old clothes. I didn’t sell the clothes and coats. Instead I donated them to a local family of 9 kids who just lost their mother.
  4. Complete kitchen counter clear-off to prepare for a fish tank. Done! 
  5. Clear out our study corner hot spot. I hit this hard and totally redid my office using the organization suggested in Organizing Solutions For People with ADHD. Done!
  6. Get the toddler potty trained!  Success!No more kids in diapers!
  7. Hang pictures in front hallway. Nope. My powers of procrastination are amazing.
  8. Plant front yard tree. We learned that if we let the old roots decompose for another year, it will be easier to plant the new tree in the same spot next year and require a smaller hole. Bonus: it will save us money this year. We filled in the area and planted a little grass instead. Deferred! New goal: weeding and mulching flower bedsimproving the plantings in the beds, replacing all outdoor lights (several are broken)and fixing and replacing the mailbox. New mailbox is probably not happening until spring.
  9. Paint half bath.  My friend Diane donated extra paint and helped paint.  We decided to just redo everything while we were working in there. The mister replaced the pedestal sink with a roomy vanity, faucet, and light. It looks bigger and brighter and I now have storage!
    Before
  10. Visit 6 different parks.   Goal met: Six of six completed. 
    After

Business:

  1. Complete Etsy Essentials and Brilliant Pins courses. Nope
  2. Start posting regularly on my Best Geeky Baby Names site. Nope.
  3. Purchase the virtual real estate for the other four sites I want to create. I hit a 25% off sale this summer. Done!
  4. Incorporate as an LLC. Nope.
  5. Explore affiliates for my sites. Nope.
  6. Double my daily traffic for Frugal Stepping Stones. I have actually been hitting this regularly.
  7. Start a monthly newsletter. Nope.
  8. Expand my Emergency Menu Plans by one new plan each month this year Calling this a fail.
  9. Do one guest post. Fail.
  10. Interview one person for the blog. Fail.

 

Frugal Steps and Stumbles

Frugal Steps:

  1. I made my bread machine cinnamon rolls for Christmas morning breakfast.
  2. I worked several shifts.
  3. My mother became sick and couldn’t host Christmas dinner, so I made a simple vegetarian dinner of Lentil Shepherd Pie, oatmeal raisin cookies, corn, and rolls. No one complained! If you want to try the recipe, I usually add some vegetarian worcestershire sauce to the lentil mixture.

Frugal Stumbles:

  1. How can I count the ways? I impulsively picked up a metal tea set for our youngest at the grocery store as a Christmas gift. She did love it.
  2. My kids are on break and eating me out of house and home, and my vegetarian sister was visiting from out of town. I went to the store THREE times and had a Green Bean delivery. My youngest must be hitting a growth spurt and has been eating a pint of raspberries and a pint of cherry tomatoes every single day. Needless to say, this month’s budget is busted.
  3. When my sister came in town, I had worked all day and we decided to try out Panera’s new delivery service. This could be dangerous.

Frugal Steps and Stumbles

Frugal Steps:

  1. I worked 28 hours last week and picked up 16-20 for this week.
  2. I am not into meat very much, neither is our 4 year old, and my sister is a vegetarian, so I am planning on bringing Lentil Shepherd’s Pie and Veggie Ranch Pizza for Christmas dinner(if my SIL doesn’t come and bring the ranch pizza herself).
  3. The school PTO is reimbursing me for most of a teacher gift I bought as part of a Secret Santa project.
  4. I have been reading my digital library book, the first in the Poldark series.
  5. I totally forgot I had a Fitbit Charge stowed away from last year, so I finally pulled it out and got it set up.
  6. My kids are still being entertained almost every night by our Xbox Kinect and the Just Dance 2016 game. I have been getting a lot of exercise playing it with them.
  7. My aunt gifted us with gift cards from Cracker Barrel and a gas card plus some notebooks, fancy pens, and books to the kids.  Another aunt gave books to the kids, and a third gave me some fancy Bath and Body Works hand soap. Thank you!

Frugal Stumbles:

  1. Some organic chicken I bought went bad and I was so ticked!

How are you doing this week?

40 Goals for 2017: Week 50

I’m keeping myself accountable this year by tracking my progress on my 40 Goals for 2017 every week.  Wow, it’s been a month since last time! 

This post contains affiliate links. When you purchase an item through my affiliate link, I receive a small percentage as compensation, that we then use to help reach our financial goals. Please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting our family!

Week Fifty

Financial:

  1. Max Roth IRAs for the mister and I: $11000. The Mister has all he needs for this year’s Roth savings and I have $4500. So close!
  2. Cash flow 4 months of swim lessons at Aquatots for our son and older daughter: $1200. Each child went up one level in their skills, so it was a success. We cash-flowed this one. Boom!
  3. Save $3000 for HVAC replacement. This will be sitting in savings until next year, but we are also at 100% for this as well. Done!
  4. Save $4000 towards the mister’s car replacement fund. Done!
  5. Save $1050 650 for Christmas. I have completed Christmas shopping for my kids .  Goal met!

 

6. Save ? for outdoor play set.   This gets booted to 2018, if we do it at all. My husband just doesn’t want to do another project.

7. Save $750 towards next year’s 2018 family vacation and $ 750 towards my 2018 40th birthday trip ($125/month).  We have that vacation money but my 40th trip is going to be much cheaper than planned. I have enough airline miles to get a free plane ticket,we are staying somewhere for free, and I will just need spending money,which is squirreled away already.  Done!

8. Spend $600/mo or less on groceries and $100/mo or less on my fun money We were on target for November and are doing fine in December.

9. Finally roll over one of my 401Ks.  Done!

10. Give: 5 hours of volunteer time and $50/mo.  November had about 16 volunteer hours and December has had 5. Nailed it!

Personal: 

  1. Complete my master’s degree! I graduated! Done!
  2. Date night with the husband once per month.  November was a fail but we did have a date night last night. We hit this about 50-75% of the year.
  3. Read 1 book per month  I started reading Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard Book 2: The Hammer of Thor in September and am still not done.  I completed A Parent’s Guide to High Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder  This makes 19 going on 20 read out of 12Goal met! 
  4. Monthly me-time with friends.  I hit this in November and saw a show with a friend last weekend. Done!
  5. Complete one freelance submission. Nothing this month.
  6. Finish the afghan languishing in the closet. Yikes, still languishing!
  7. Learn how to set up my sewing machine and complete one simple project. One of these days….
  8. Conquer iced cookies and icing a cake. Down to the wire- going to try cookies this week.
  9. Drink 64 ounces water daily.   I hit this about 70% of the time.
  10. Survive my practicum without eating fast food. We are calling this a 50% success.

Family/Home:

  1. Visit family in Cleveland. We visited my in-laws in July and were thoroughly spoiled as usual. Done!
  2. Weekly 1:1 time with each child. Lots of reading at bedtime.
  3. Sell my son’s old clothes. I didn’t sell the clothes and coats. Instead I donated them to a local family of 9 kids who just lost their mother.
  4. Complete kitchen counter clear-off to prepare for a fish tank. Done! 
  5. Clear out our study corner hot spot. I hit this hard and totally redid my office using the organization suggested in Organizing Solutions For People with ADHD. The corner is cleared out and the bookshelf is more usable, especially since I sold most of my nursing texts to Amazon. I went through and tossed, shredded, or filed most papers, used colored files for easy visual recognition, pared those files down to only about 10, and cleared out my desk. Done!
  6. Get the toddler potty trained!  Success!
  7. Hang pictures in front hallway. Nope. We were sick for several weeks but I hope to work on this over break.
  8. Plant front yard tree. We learned that if we let the old roots decompose for another year, it will be easier to plant the new tree in the same spot next year and require a smaller hole. Bonus: it will save us money this year. We filled in the area and planted a little grass instead. Deferred! New goal: weeding and mulching flower bedsimproving the plantings in the beds, replacing all outdoor lights (several are broken)and fixing and replacing the mailbox. New mailbox is probably not happening until spring.
  9. Paint half bath.  My friend Diane donated extra paint and helped paint. The mister replaced the pedestal sink with a roomy vanity, faucet, and light,. It looks bigger and brighter and I now have storage!
    Before
  10. Visit 6 different parks.   Goal met: Six of six completed. 
    After

Business:

  1. Complete Etsy Essentials and Brilliant Pins courses. Nope
  2. Start posting regularly on my Best Geeky Baby Names site. Nope. Trying to decide if I still want to do this.
  3. Purchase the virtual real estate for the other four sites I want to create. I hit a 25% off sale this summer. Done!
  4. Incorporate as an LLC. This month? Good news- I decided on a name and it’s available.
  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 have actually been hitting this regularly.
  7. Start a monthly newsletter. Coming soon?
  8. Expand my Emergency Menu Plans by one new plan each month this year.  Calling this a fail.
  9. Do one guest post. Fail.
  10. Interview one person for the blog. Fail.

How are your goals going?

Feeding 5 for $150 Per Week: 2nd Week of December 2015

This post contains affiliate and/or referral links. When you purchase an item through my affiliate link, I receive a small percentage as compensation, that we then use to help reach our financial goals. Please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting our family!

Kroger: $121.63

We got free toilet paper and paper towels from using Clicklist.

Green Bean Delivery: $ 49.20

More of my beloved vegan burgers from Five Star Foodies. If you want to see if Green Bean is in your area, you can check through my referral link.

 

Monthly Goal: $600.00 

Weekly Total: $170.83

End of Month Total: $317.17

Frugal Steps and Stumbles

This post contains affiliate links. When you purchase an item through my affiliate link, I receive a small percentage as compensation, that we then use to help reach our financial goals. Please see my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting our family!

Frugal Steps:

  1. I am not enjoying it, but I picked up quite a few shifts this week and last. I am doing three shifts a week through the end of the month.
  2. Thanks to my extra shifts, I am putting about $500 per paycheck into my Roth fund. So close to my goal!
  3. I saw a holiday show on Saturday with a friend thanks to free tickets.
  4. I earned enough Swagbucks to get a $25 Hulu gift card which will pay for our Hulu through March. You can check out this post for how I earn $25 or more every month with Swagbucks.
  5. My neighbor gave me a Starbucks gift card-so kind! This will let me stop and get a treat after driving my son to his tutor once a week.
  6. I used Dollar General digital coupons to get stocking stuffers for the kids. We don’t go crazy with stocking, just a few treats like chocolate, popcorn, juice boxes, or individual bags of chips that my kids don’t get other than for special occasions.
  7. My niece wanted to dress as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz and we are gifting her my daughter’s old costume (which came to us as a mint condition hand me down) along with some sparkly red shoes I found for a song.
  8. I started reading the first book in the Poldark series on the Ohio Digital Library. My son forgot his book (Because of Winn Dixie) for homework last night and we were ecstatic to find a copy available on the digital library as well.

Frugal Stumbles:

  1. Another week, another round of fruit and veg that is sacrificed to the Compost Goddess.