Feeding 5 For $125 Per Week: 1st Week of April 2017

Green Bean Delivery: $82.86

Grandma was here when it was delivered and put everything away for me. We got 4 half-gallons of organic local milk that comes in glass bottles, 2 12-oz slabs of uncured bacon, mushrooms,cabbage, red and yellow onions, green beans, kiwi, apples, carrots, lettuce, mandarin oranges, and two pints of cherry tomatoes.

Sam’s: $96.76

We only hit Sam’s every 6-8 months, and mostly get staples. Buying flour, sugar, cocoa, spices, and dried beans in bulk and storing them in food storage bins is how we keep our grocery budget lower. Last year, Sam’s started stocking bulk pinto beans, and now they are stocking dried black beans. It’s way cheaper than buying it by the pound. I find it’s cheaper to buy spices in bulk that we use frequently, so I buy bulk Lawry’s, cinnamon, cumin, pepper, and taco seasoning. I’m responsible for Girl Scout snacks this week, so I bought chips and applesauce. We have 20 girls in our troop. The extras I will keep for our family’s summer field trips.

Kroger: $59.92

This will leave us about $260.46 for the month. Let’s just say,  we’ll be doing a lot of rice and beans and other vegetarian meals this month.

Monthly goal: $500

Weekly total: $239.54

Running total: $239.54

Frugal Steps and Stumbles

Frugal Steps:

  1. No unplanned eating out this week.
  2. We tried out a new park today, and brought a packed lunch of PB & J, sliced peaches, and water.
  3. My friend Shannon came up from Georgia and brought me a couple dozen eggs from her chickens and a few eggs from her ducks. Thanks Shannon! Did you know if you use duck eggs in baked goods, the larger size yolk helps them bake up bigger and fluffier? We tried them in pancakes and it worked!
  4. I picked up four shifts this week. It was rough and it won’t be soon that I will do that again.
  5. My aunt bought us lunch out.
  6. We’re saving half the cost of our summer swimming lessons.
  7. Our 6 year old is wearing her brother’s old shoes.

Frugal Stumbles:

  1. One of the kids will need OT and several tools were recommended for use at home. We had to purchase the game Twister and some Theraputty.
  2. I bought a few clothes for the girls at Target.

40 Goals for 2017: Week 13

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 Thirteen

Financial:

  1. Max Roth IRAs for the mister and I: $11000. I have $750 in my fund but I haven’t closed out March yet and expect to transfer more. The mister has $1000 but hasn’t transferred the extra over and won’t do so until taxes are done.
  2. Cash flow 4 months of swim lessons at Aquatots for our son and older daughter: $1200. The classes won’t start until the last week of May, but we have opted to do their summer fast track lessons. They are held in two-week sessions of 4 times a week lessons each summer. We decided to get two two-week sessions and are basically having lessons 4 times a week through the month of June. This leaves the rest of the summer open. The cost was $643 and half the amount we originally expected to spend. We cash-flowed this one.
  3. Save $3000 for HVAC replacement. Not yet.
  4. Save $4000 towards the mister’s car replacement fund. Not yet.
  5. Save $1050 for Christmas. I transferred $88 to my savings fund in January and February. I have $176. I plan to save $88/month for this. I will transfer $88 again when I do my March close-out.
  6. Save $1800 for outdoor playset.  This is back on. My FIL suggested that even if we move (and that is up in the air still) we could always break it down and bring it with us. Nothing yet. We will probably order it after taxes are done, because the Mister wants to do one big project at a time.
  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. I have picked up extra hours the last two weeks of this month, and I have a little surplus,but I’ll see where I am for sure by next week.
  8. Spend $500/mo or less on groceries and $100/mo or less on entertainment. March was a 5-week month and I budgeted $625. I spent $638 last month, which is slightly over. We just vastly increased our amount of organic produce, dairy, and meats through Green Bean delivery so I’m not sure if we need to inch up the budget more or not.  I spent about $80 on entertainment.
  9. Finally roll over one of my 401Ks. Not this week! I have two weeks off starting today and this is on my agenda.
  10. Give: 5 hours of volunteer time and $50/mo. We had two Girl Scout meetings this month. I donated $27 for the child in Gambia we sponsor from Plan. I also started donating $42/month to St. Jude’s every month for the next 12 month.  I almost didn’t get a clinical placement for my teaching practicum, and truly thought I would have to withdraw from school and try again in 10 weeks. I found one at the 11th hour and this was my pledge. Although I am a lapsed Catholic, I am way too superstitious to blow this off.

Personal:

  1. Complete my master’s degree! I turned in my last project today. I will now have 2 weeks off before I do my last 10 weeks. The last day of my program is July 3rd!
  2. Date night with the husband once per month.  We hired a sitter and celebrated our birthdays at our favorite local foodie joint.
  3. Read 1 book per month I just finished Prairie Tale by Melissa Gilbert last week. I am on a roll thanks to my reduced homework load this week and am already 75% of the way through Julian Fellowes’ Belgravia. If you loved Downton Abbey, you may enjoy his novels, as he is the writer of the entire series. I borrowed this book from the library and it is definitely pushing all of my Downton Abbey buttons. I have already added his other novels to my digital library wish list.
  4. Monthly me-time with friends.  The Girl and I saw Beauty and the Beast this month with the half-price tickets I scored on Atom and last Friday I am went out with a couple girls from work for a nice kvetching session. This afternoon the kids and I had a family lunch with my mother, aunts, a cousin, my sisters, SIL,and niece. Next month I am seeing Matilda the Musical and am traveling an hour to another city to hang out with my bestie for our birthdays.
  5. Complete one freelance submission. Nothing this week. I will schedule it in for July.
  6. Finish the afghan languishing in the closet. It’s April 1st! I need to pull it out and have it ready tomorrow. I work 3 days this week and 1.5 days on the kids’ spring break the week after, so I should have plenty of time to crochet. I anticipate a little TV catch-up time and crocheting when the big kids are both in school in the morning and the little is playing.
  7. Learn how to set up my sewing machine and complete one simple project. It’s still in its container but I am penciling it in for this week. My big goal is to set it up on Monday and learn how to work a few of the simple settings using scrap fabric from my Aunt Judy.
  8. Conquer iced cookies and icing a cake. We made rice krispie treats for the Mister’s birthday this month. I gained back 5 pounds of the 20 I lost during my practicum so I’m calling a moratorium on this for at least a couple months. I am off Monday and Friday and plan to take the little to the YMCA so I can hit the elliptical machines or take a Zumba class.
  9. Drink 64 ounces water daily.  I have hit it 7 out of 7 days this week. I have been keeping this glass water bottle  on my desk. It holds 22 ounces, so I am drinking my normal 4 cups of tea a day and 2 of these bottles to hit my quota.
  10. Survive my practicum without eating fast food. We are calling this a 50% success.

Family/Home:

  1. Visit family in Cleveland. Sometime this summer. We are all set for summer camp right now (our older kids will do 2-3 weeks each,  computer programming and 3-day cub scout camp for the boy, art for the girl, and a combined week of outdoor park camp for both), and have an inkling about when the schedule allows.
  2. Weekly 1:1 time with each child. The Little and I always have lots of quality time when the bigs are in school. Our 6 year old and I worked on her Goldieblox. I read a chapter of a book out loud to The Boy before bed several times.
  3. Sell my son’s old clothes. These are hiding in the closet. I donated some of them to a little boy moving here from the Philippines who is being treated at the local children’s hospital. Our 6 years old needed new shoes and decided she loved her brother’s gently used Star Wars shoes and the worn-only-once black hiking boots. I might work on this during spring break.
  4. Complete kitchen counter clear-off to prepare for a fish tank. We plan on making the girls’ combined birthday present a fish tank. The fish tank is on the counter and the Mister is getting it ready for a fish still. The water needs prep for several weeks now that it is clean.
  5. Clear out our study corner hot spot. The clearing off I did is still intact and looking good. I will work on this more over these next two weeks.
  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. She is having an accident maybe once a week at most. I no longer remind her to go every hour and she has been managing fine.I was even comfortable taking her to the Olive Garden without a pull-up today, and there were no accidents. Even her night-time diapers have been dry 90% of the time. I have put off our monthly Subscribe and Save order of Huggies Pull-ups. This will save us $20-30/month!
  7. Hang pictures in front hallway. Nope. They are now neatly stacked and ready to go though. This is a project I want to work on this coming Friday.
  8. Plant front yard tree. Spring is officially here, so we need to start thinking about this. We are thinking of a small Japanese Maple. Again,another larger project the Mister won’t think about until after taxes.
  9. Paint half bath. Not yet. We will need to repaint the ceiling when the ceiling is repaired, so we are talking about just painting the living room, which has never been painted since we moved in 12 years ago, the half bath, and the master bedroom. The ceiling won’t be repaired until the Mister fixes the master bath shower, which – well, who knows when that will happen…Probably after taxes. At least it’s covered well enough that the casual eye can’t see a big hole.
  10. Visit 6 different parks.  Spring is here! I have a couple places on my list to try. We will hit one on Spring Break for sure. Let’s hope Mother Nature doesn’t send us a week’s worth of rain.

Business:

  1. Complete Etsy Essentials and Brilliant Pins courses. Not yet. I am plotting my schedule for week two of spring break and may add one of these.
  2. Start posting regularly on my Best Geeky Baby Names site. This is on the agenda for this week!
  3. Purchase the virtual real estate for the other four sites I want to create. Not yet. Waiting for a sale. I may do this during this coming week.
  4. Incorporate as an LLC. I am putting this off until after my master’s is complete.
  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, but I also haven’t been very active on other blogs that bring traffic, thanks to practicum hell.
  7. Start a monthly newsletter. Not yet. Also on the agenda for the next two weeks.
  8. Expand my Emergency Menu Plans by one new plan each month this year. I am planning this for next week.
  9. Do one guest post. Not yet, but I have a few ideas where to reach out. This will happen after my master’sis complete.
  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?

 

Cash For Grad School: Final Goal Update

Two years ago this month I was applying for grad school at the same time it was becoming evident I would have to leave my full-time job. We went into super frugal mode and managed to pay off the remainder of my student loans and our van in the 8 weeks before I dropped to part-time.

I did not ever want to take out another student loan, yet in dropping to part-time I was also losing my tuition reimbursement benefit.

My husband was dubious that we could pay my tuition when I was only working 4-8 days a month. After watching me stockpile 8 years worth of razors for him and spending only $9 out of pocket, he was willing to give it a go. I love a challenge.

In the past two years we have:

  • eaten a lot of lentils
  • had many at-home dates
  • put off expensive vacations
  • packed many lunches
  • borrowed books and movies from the library
  • applied for (and won!) scholarships using free resources
  • picked up shifts early in the morning (think 4 am to 8 am) or on the weekend to avoid childcare costs
  • held a garage sale
  • sold things on craigslist
  • gone without a YMCA membership
  • switched to a cheaper phone plan through Google Fi

Two weeks ago, we made the LAST tuition payment.

BOOM! DONE!

And now we do the Dance of Joy.

 

Can I get a Whoo Hoo?

Frugal Step: Make A Menu

Monday: BLTs, Salad, Oranges

Tuesday: Cheese Grits with Roasted Mushroom, Tomato, and Brussels Sprouts

Wednesday: Slow Cooker Meat Sauce and Spaghetti, Sally Lunn Bread made with Duck Eggs and served with honey butter, Garlic Bread

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Peas, Pearl Onions, and Bacon

Saturday: Lunch at Olive Garden with family, leftover for dinner

Sunday: Roasted Root Vegetable Salad

Baking: Fake Betty Crocker Brownies

40 Goals for 2017: Weeks 11 & 12

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.

Weeks Eleven and Twelve

Financial:

  1. Max Roth IRAs for the mister and I: $11000. I have $500 in my fund. The mister has $1000. The goal is for him to add $1000 every month until the 2017 fund is full, and then use that towards the HVAC, car replacement, play set, and extra savings. I am working 4 days this week and next, so we shall see if I can squeeze $460 out of that.
  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.
  5. Save $1050 for Christmas. I transferred $88 to my savings fund in January and February. I have $176. I plan to save $88/month for this.
  6. Save $1800 for outdoor playset.  This is back on. My FIL suggested that even if we move (and that is up in the air still) we could always break it down and bring it with us. Nothing yet. We will probably order it soon.
  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. I have picked up extra hours the last two weeks of this month, so we’ll see where we are in 10 days.
  8. Spend $500/mo or less on groceries and $100/mo or less on entertainment. I spent $489 so far this month and have $135 left to spend this weekend, since it’s a 5 week month.
  9. Finally roll over one of my 401Ks. Not this week!
  10. Give: 5 hours of volunteer time and $50/mo. We had two Girl Scout meetings this month. I donated $27 for the child in Gambia we sponsor from Plan. I also started donating $42/month to St. Jude’s every month for the next 12 month.  I almost didn’t get a clinical placement for my teaching practicum, and truly thought I would have to withdraw from school and try again in 10 weeks. I found one at the 11th hour and this was my pledge. Although I am a lapsed Catholic, I am way too superstitious to blow this off.

Personal:

  1. Complete my master’s degree! I have completed my project and my three teaching practicum experiences. In 10 days, I will have to turn in a 20 slide Powerpoint presentation about my project, including an audio narrative, but it shouldn’t be too bad. I will then have 2 weeks off before I do my last 10 weeks.
  2. Date night with the husband once per month.  We have a sitter scheduled for Saturday night to go celebrate our birthdays at our favorite local foodie joint.
  3. Read 1 book per month I just finished Prairie Tale by Melissa Gilbert today. I was a HUGE Little House fan when I was younger, both the books and the show, and even tried to make my own hoop skirts (fail). This book started off slow and I wasn’t sure I would finish it, but then it became very interesting. I had no idea she hung out with the Brat Pack in the 80s and dated Rob Lowe- but of course in 1985 I was only 7 and I was way more interested in Scooby Doo than Judd Nelson and Emilio Estevez. There are more tales of naughty sex, drunken brawls, and cocaine use than I was expecting. Total books read this year: 3.
  4. Monthly me-time with friends.  The Girl and I saw Beauty and the Beast last Friday with the half-price tickets I scored on Atom. It was awesome! Tomorrow night I am going out with a couple girls from work tomorrow night for a nice kvetching session.
  5. Complete one freelance submission. Nothing this week. This will probably happen when I am done with my master’s.
  6. Finish the afghan languishing in the closet. This is going to be languishing until April 1st. I need to pull it out and have it ready though. I’m hoping I put the afghan book with the pattern in the bag with the half-finished afghan. It’s been so long I don’t remember!
  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. I have Girl Scout patches that need to be sewn on, but those will have to wait. Maybe early April?
  8. Conquer iced cookies and icing a cake. We made rice krispie treats for the Mister’s birthday. I gained back 5 pounds of the 20 I lost during my practicum so I’m calling a moratorium on this for at least a couple months.
  9. Drink 64 ounces water daily.  I have hit it 7 out of 7 days this week. It helps that I am no longer teaching OB clinicals.  I got this glass water bottle to sit on my desk and it has upped my game. It holds 22 ounces, so I am drinking my normal 4 cups of tea a day and 2 of these bottles to hit my quota. It has a ceramic cap that is held on my silicone. We are phasing plastic out of our lives and as much as possible and I am known to be a total klutz, having spilled things on my work desk and laptop numerous times, so a cap is a must.
  10. Survive my practicum without eating fast food. We are calling this a 50% success.

Family/Home:

  1. Visit family in Cleveland. Sometime this summer. We are all set for summer camp right now (our older kids will do 2-3 weeks each,  computer programming and 3-day cub scout camp 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. The Little and I have had lots of quality time this week.We shopped at Target yesterday and came home and I was her patient while she played doctor. Our 6 year old and I went to Girl Scouts together and had a date night seeing Beauty and the Beast. This was the first time she made it through an entire movie. I read a chapter of a book out loud to The Boy last night before bed.
  3. Sell my son’s old clothes. These are hiding in the closet. I will see how my last classes are as far as work, and may work on this in April/May.
  4. Complete kitchen counter clear-off to prepare for a fish tank. We plan on making the girls’ combined birthday present a fish tank. The fish tank is on the counter and the Mister is getting it ready for a fish still. It really needed a deep cleaning.
  5. Clear out our study corner hot spot. The clearing off I did is still intact and looking good. I have a little more to do, but this will wait until my 2 week break starts.
  6. Get the toddler potty trained! The Toddler has made huge strides the past two weeks. She as been wearing underwear every day and is starting to independently go to the potty without reminders, at least at home. The sitter still prompts her, but she has been staying dry and earned the right to pick out new undies at Target yesterday. Our Huggies shipment came in from Amazon this week and we noticed we still have one and a half boxes of pull-ups left in the basement still. We had no idea how many we were using before this. Now she wears one for naps, night time,and trips longer than an hour,though she stayed dry the entire time we were at the kindergarten book fair and Target trip yesterday, a total of 3 hours. I am hopeful she will be ready for preschool in the fall.
  7. Hang pictures in front hallway. Nope. They are now neatly stacked and ready to go though. This is another project I want to work on during Spring Break.
  8. Plant front yard tree. Spring is officially here, so we need to start thinking about this. We are thinking of a small Japanese Maple.
  9. Paint half bath. Not yet. We will need to repaint the ceiling when the ceiling is repaired, so we are talking about just painting the living room, which has never been painted since we moved in 12 years ago, the half bath, and the master bedroom. The ceiling won’t be repaired until the Mister fixes the mater bath shower, which may happen this weekend.
  10. Visit 6 different parks.  It’s going to warm up soon, so I am starting to make plans. I have a couple places on my list. We will hit one on Spring Break for sure.

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 until my practicum is fully done. That means 10 days more, however!
  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 planning this for early April.
  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! Spring is coming, and that means the season for green leafies, leeks, and asparagus. I am perusing my Use Up Garden Produce board for lots of green veggie ideas in March, especially now that I’ve signed up fora CSA share again.

Monday: Spring Pasta with Asparagus and Tomato

Tuesday: Apple Pecan Feta Spinach Salad, Sliced Cheese, Oranges

Wednesday: Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes with Feta and SumacShirred Eggs with Herbs and Garlic

Thursday: Fingerling Potatoes with Tomato Cream Sauce, Copycat White Castle Sliders, Pan-Fried Brussels Sprouts

Friday: Hunt and Peck

Saturday: Date Night- the kids get hot dogs or nuggets

Sunday: Hunt and Peck

Feeding 5 For $125 Per Week: 4th Week of March 2017

Kroger: $64.01

This is a 5 week month, so we have one more to go. This week I will start our weekly Green Bean Delivery, so I will have about $135 to spend. I anticipate my produce/meat/dairy delivery from Green Bean will be $60 after my $20 off discount for my first order, and the rest will be from Aldi and/or Kroger.

Health Food Unlimited: $37.51

Granola, tea tree oil, bulk pecans, and taco flavored fermented kraut.

Monthly goal: $625

Weekly total: $101.52

Running total: $489.02

Frugal Steps and Stumbles

Frugal Steps:

  1. I did another CVS survey for $5 in Extra Care Bucks.
  2. I borrowed Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and the new Absolutely Fabulous movie from the library. They were both so horrible I was glad I didn’t pay a cent to see them.
  3. I earned enough Swagbucks to get another $25 gift card. I’m not sure what I’m going to get yet, so I haven’t redeemed it.
  4. The 3 year old has been in underwear all week! There have been a few accidents, but several days have gone by with her being totally dry. Our pull-up use has gone way down.
  5. I signed up for Green Bean Delivery using a $20 off my first order coupon code. I’ve been wanting to join a CSA. They will deliver produce, local meat, cheese, and milk to my door once a week. I will only have to hit the store for a few things every week now. They emailed me a $20 off coupon referral link that’s good until Tuesday, so if you want in on the action, email me at Jennifer@frugalsteppingsones.com.
  6. I scored a backpack for the soon-to-be preschooler on Land’s End for $10 and sprang for $6 to embroider it. She really wants to go to school, and that backpack is her incentive to stay dry during the day.
  7. We ate leftovers twice.
  8. The 6 year old and I saw Beauty and the Beast last night using the half price tickets I scored on Atom. We loved it!
  9. I picked up 3 shifts this week and will do an extra few hours tomorrow on Sunday.

Frugal Stumbles:

  1. Too busy and tired to get into trouble.
This post contains referral links.