Frugal Steps and Stumbles

Frugal Steps: 

  1. I worked 35 hours last week! My arthritis pain has been bothering me and I am waking up at 4-5 am every morning. I can’t get back to sleep so I figure I might as well make some lemonade out of the lemons and I log on and work on our team’s backlog.
  2. We are redoing our downstairs half bath and my friend Diane donated most of a can of blue paint left over from painting her twins’ room.  She also came down while her girls were in school and helped me paint! Thank you Diane!
  3. In removing the bathroom sink, my husband noticed the water valves were poorly installed and needed to be replaced. He did all the work himself, including a little welding. He also noticed our washing machine hot water hose was nearly ready to fail and he changed those hoses himself. We are replacing our pedestal sink with a vanity that has storage, replacing the mirror, and the light fixture. He’ll be using his Mr Fixit skills to do those too.
  4. I got a free bag of M & Ms from Kroger.
  5. We learned our child will receive one of their therapies in the school setting, saving us another weekly trip in the car and a weekly copay.
  6. I formed a parent group this year for parents of children with both gifted needs and special needs and we met for free in a meeting space at the public library.
  7. My coworker is a social worker who used to work for a local fostering agency. They have a transition program for older teens aging out of the system and every year for the past 6 years we have shopped to find coats for them and their children, if they have any. We had a single generous donor this year but needed to find a good price to stay within  a budget. I was able to get them for about  49% off by combining sales, coupon codes,and cashback from Ebates.

Frugal Stumbles:

  1. My sister was over watching the kid and puled out a pack of hot dogs to feed them. They were expired! I was so bummed, because they were pricey Applegate Farms dogs.

Frugal Step: Make A Menu

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!

Monday: Hunt and Peck to clean out fridge

Tuesday: Slow Cooker Roast Beef with Peas, Potatoes, and Carrots (using McCormick’s Slow Cooker Sauce), Buttermilk Biscuits in the Food Processor

Wednesday: Leftover Beef Roast over noodles, Salad

Thursday: Slow Cooker Chili with Kidney Beans

Friday: Canned Soup, Salad

Saturday: Potato Corn Bacon Chowder, Peasant Bread

Sunday: Hunt and Peck

Drinking: Chai Tea Latte

Check out my Pinterest Boards for more great recipes!

Frugal Steps and Stumbles

Frugal Steps:

  1. I picked up three shifts and worked some hours last Sunday and today on Saturday.
  2. I did a CVS survey for $10 in Extra Care Bucks.
  3. I went to CVS yesterday to get a few things and used quite a few coupons. I earned $10 in Extra Care Bucks.
  4. Our 1st and 4th grader packed lunch 4 days this week.
  5. I got free meatballs, noodles, marinara sauce and a free beef roast at Kroger.
  6. Our son was discharged from physical therapy, meaning we will save $50 in copays every month!
  7. I watched Poldark on the PBS Roku app.

Frugal Stumbles:

  1. When I went to CVS,I forgot to bring that $10 in Extra Care Bucks I earned from the survey. D’oh! I had all three kids with me and was not going back, so I will use it with the $10 I earned next time.
  2. I bought tomatoes mid-week and they had started to rot by today.
  3. We had Wendy’s for dinner Wednesday.

40 Goals for 2017: Week 39

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

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 Thirty- Nine

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 $2500. More than half done!
  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. Not yet. We have had to find an educational advocate for one of the kids and that costs money. We are sill saving what we can but we know if things don’t go well we may eventually have to retain an attorney.
  5. Save $1050 650 for Christmas. Thanks to the $300 in Amazon Trade-in Credits from selling my grad school textbooks, I have completed Christmas shopping for my kids with the exception of a book or two for each child. We decided we would stick to 4-5 gifts per child, with one “bigger” gift each, and that has reduced our budget.  Goal met!

 

6. Save ? for outdoor play set.   It’s maybe happening this year. My husband has me looking for end of season sales.

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. My uncle gave me $100 as a graduation gift, and I added it to my vacation fund, as he stipulated that I “use it for something fun for myself”, and I have $80 I got as another gift. Let’s just say my family knows me well enough to know it would have gone towards something practical. Total: $293

8. Spend $600/mo or less on groceries and $100/mo or less on my fun money.  We were within budget for September and are on track in October thus far. So far this month we spent $9 at the PTO Book Sale.

9. Finally roll over one of my 401Ks. I completed this last week. Done!

10. Give: 5 hours of volunteer time and $50/mo. We had our first Girl Scout meeting last night and the next one planned for mid-month.  I donated $27 for the child in Gambia we sponsor from Plan and $42/ to St. Jude’s .

Personal: 

  1. Complete my master’s degree! I graduated! Done!
  2. Date night with the husband once per month.  We are trying to find a sitter for later this month.
  3. Read 1 book per month  I started reading Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard Book 2: The Hammer of Thor last month and am not any closer to being done. Yep, I like to read my 9-year old son’s books sometimes, especially the Rick Riordan ones. This makes 18 going on 19 read out of 12Goal met! 
  4. Monthly me-time with friends.  I have nothing planned yet but am trying to pull together a girl’s night out with a couple work buddies.
  5. Complete one freelance submission. Nothing this week.
  6. Finish the afghan languishing in the closet. Still working on it!.
  7. Learn how to set up my sewing machine and complete one simple project. OK, didn’t happen yet. My daughter does have patches on her vest however! 
  8. Conquer iced cookies and icing a cake. I am going to make something Halloweenish for our Girl Scout snack  in a couple of weeks. I am still cruising Pinterest for ideas.
  9. Drink 64 ounces water daily  I hit this 7 days this week.
  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 this month and were thoroughly spoiled as usual. Done!
  2. Weekly 1:1 time with each child. The big kids are in school again, so the Little and I did art projects, kicked the soccer ball, and played outside. The 1st-grader and I read some books, as she has to practice nightly, and my son and I read together too. Even though he reads several grades above grade level, he still likes to be read to by one of us at night. Check!
  3. Sell my son’s old clothes. I have coats and boy clothes that need to be posted online.
  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! The Toddler, or should I say the soon-to-be-Preschooler, has officially crossed over and is completely in underwear during the day and during naps. This is saving us $20-30/month. We donated the extra cases of pull-ups to hurricane relief efforts. Success!
  7. Hang pictures in front hallway. Nope. It’s October and still not done!
  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. My husband fixed the mailbox but we now know it will only be temporary, as several parts were severely damaged. We are looking to buy a new one.
  9. Paint half bath. Last week I about killed myself putting multiple coats of primer over the that hateful dark, dark green paint. My friend Diane comes next week with her mostly full bucket of leftover light blue paint, and we are finishing the job. We’re going to put in a new vanity, light,  and mirror too.  Halfway there!  

    Before
  10. Visit 6 different parks.  We tried an amazing new park this month that will probably become a regular one for us.   This month we visited Winton Woods and Highfield Discovery Garden .  Goal met: Six of six completed. 

    After

Business:

  1. Complete Etsy Essentials and Brilliant Pins coursesNope
  2. Start posting regularly on my Best Geeky Baby Names site. Procrastinating! Hard to find time when I am picking up extra hours.
  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 hit it every day this week! Hello to everyone stopping by!
  7. Start a monthly newsletter. Coming soon?
  8. Expand my Emergency Menu Plans by one new plan each month this year.  I did brainstorm part of my next post .
  9. Do one guest post. Not yet, but I have a few ideas where to reach out.
  10. Interview one person for the blog. I have someone who is interested in being interviewed. It will be later this year.

How are your goals going?

Frugal Step: Make A Menu

Breakfasts:

Platejoy recipe Strawberry and Peanut Butter Oatmeal (my #1 favorite right now), Platejoy recipe for Chai Oat and Banana Smoothie (my #2 favorite breakfast), Toast (you can try Platejoy and get $20 off using my referral code- I get nothing in return. I love to use it to more easily plan lower-carb lower-calorie meals to help meet my weight-loss goals).

Lunches:

Soup and Salad, PB & J and Carrots, Yogurt and Veggies, or Cheese and Veggie Sandwich

Dinners:

Sunday: Hunt and Peck

Monday: Platejoy recipe Paleo Sausage and Mushroom Pizza Bowls

Tuesday: PB & J and Fruit due to Girl Scout meeting

Wednesday: Shirred Eggs with Herbs and Garlic, Toast, Oranges

Thursday: Spaghetti Sauce with Beef and Bell Peppers in Slow Cooker eaten over Zoodles and Spaghetti Squash

Friday: Lentil Taco Salad topped with Sour Cream, Cheese, Tomato, and Cilantro

Saturday: Bacon, Buttermilk Biscuits, Sauteed Zucchini, Strawberries and Cream Sponge Cake

Snacks:

All Platejoy recipes: Celery with Almond Butter and Dried Cranberries, Rice Cake with Almond Butter and Banana, Frozen Grapes, Apples with Almond Butter and Mini Chocolate Chips,  Peach Sorbet

 

 

Feeding 5 For $150 Per Week: 1st Week of October 2017

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!

You may have noticed I didn’t post this much the past month. We were within our budget for September-and even a bit below it- but I didn’t get around to posting.  We started the month with bad news, two stomach viruses,  a cold that circulated through all 5 of us, a rough start to the school year for one kiddo, and I was working as many hours as I could.

The good thing is, I always use cash when I go shopping, so even when we are just surviving, I am still sticking to my grocery budget.

It’s a new month and here we are, ready to start off on the right foot!

Dorothy Lane Market: $98.40

Yep, lots of comfort food.

Kroger: $45.89

Since the transition from summer to school is over,we are back to drinking juice in our Rubbermaid Reusable Juice Boxes. I bought a 6-pack when my son started 1st grade. Here we are at the start of 4th grade and they are still working great with no leaks!

Our son likes water in his juice box, but our daughter likes half water and half apple juice. I buy a ton of apple juice when I can get it for $1/each. That makes each juice box drink mere pennies each day.

Monthly Goal: $600.00

Weekly Total: $144.29

Running Total: $144.29

Frugal Steps and Stumbles

Frugal Steps:

  1. I have arthritis and fibromyalgia and I often don’t have a lot of energy to do major physical tasks around the house. I decided I would try and paint our half bath however, a task I have never done myself. My husband removed the sink and the toilet and I was ready to get down to it with the help of my friend Diane. She ended up getting  a nasty bug, but I still went through with it. I was able o prime it by myself, and she is going to come in a week or so to help with the rest of the painting. I didn’t get it all done in a day, and I spent a few days on the couch afterwards, but I did it!
  2. I planted bulbs (again- by myself!).
  3. One of our kids has some special needs, and I spent a lot of time this week meeting with a school advocate and doing prep work for our IEP meeting. My mother babysat for us while I was doing this.
  4. I worked 6 hours today while my husband was home so we could avoid child care costs. The joys of telecommuting!
  5. My kids were invited to a birthday party yesterday, which was held at a local karate studio. They had a blast going through a ninja obstacle course and going through a basic karate lesson. That activity lasted about 90 minutes, and let’s just say they were so worn out they were incredibly well behaved for the rest of the day!
  6. I got a free chai tea latte and free Trident gum at Kroger. Today I also downloaded a coupon for free spaghetti, meatballs, and sauce if I use Clicklist.
  7. I read Better Homes and Gardens and Country Living, which I have through a free subscription.
  8. I downloaded my free Kindle First book for September yesterday and the October book today. If you have Amazon Prime, a benefit of Prime is a free Kindle book every month, from a selection of 4-6 in various genres.

Frugal Stumbles:

  1. We got pizza for dinner one night.

Frugal Steps and Stumbles

Frugal Steps:

  1. I worked two and a half shifts by cobbling together hours on the weekend. I signed up for a couple more shifts but had to cancel when our second dose of the plague in one month ran through the house.
  2. It’s hard to be spendy when you are on the couch watching Netflix all day!
  3. We watched a movie on Vudu using credits I got through work. (“Baby Boss”, the kids liked it, the adults found it tolerable).

Frugal Stumbles:

  1. I forgot to update my Amazon Subscribe and Save before shipment, so we’re getting some extras of things we don’t really need for a couple of months. Oh well!