Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Day 7-Living Well and Spending Way Less-Profit!

I got so excited about making money during our Spend Way Less month, that I began to think of other ways to get money.  Sell things! Craiglist, and local for sale pages are bountiful and quick ways to sell unwanted things.
We had bought these bar stools, thinking they would work, but were way too tall. Lesson learned, measure! Ha ha...but I got almost what we paid for them over a year ago.  That goes into the food budget. Which is good, because I had to get dog food for little BooBoo also. She is a finicky little thing, and her food is not cheap! But she is worth it.
The thing with selling, is to be fair on your price. Don't feel intimidated by the buyer. If you are willing to go lower, no worries, but if you really don't want the item, getting the cash is a bigger goal!
My girls and I went to Walmart today, and on the way out, I jokingly looked at the McDonalds and said, "Remember when we could eat there?" "just 8 days ago?" We were laughing and all the way home, would say, oooh, remember when we would shop there and drop $50 on things we didn't need, but it was fun? It was pure laughter.   We are on track to put over $1500 in savings if we stick to this plan.
Yesterday, I pulled up Quicken. We use it for our checking/debit account.   There is a great feature you can do to generate reports where your money goes.  I am pretty good about the categories. I pulled up the year to day report, and went thru the averages.  EEEK! We have been spending over $250 average a month on eating out. The worst is the miscellaneous! I was embarrassed at not knowing where it is going.  I spent almost $900 for groceries on average, and Tony and I talked about it, and think that is a very reasonable amount for a family of 8.  This month, I am only doing $600, and it is working, but tight. He thinks tight will cause us to throw in the towel, and eat out more.  He is soooooooooooooo right!
Our utilities are pretty good, except for electricity. It went higher than normal. I called a representative from the power company, and started the process to have an energy audit done on our house.  To see what we can do to bring that lower.
Today, I am gonna try and clear out our extra fridge and consolidate.  I think that old fridge is a major kilowatt sucker!
It is becoming more fun, to try and cut off the extra spending, especially when it builds our savings!

~never lose your joy

Monday, October 5, 2015

Walmart Savings Catcher App Pays Off! Day 5 of 31!

I opened my email from Walmart and that is the amount I get back! I am so happy! We are on day five of 31 days of trying to bring our spending (especially the extra curricular) to zero!  I never even thought of getting money back! Add that to my past return last week and I am sitting at $9.05!  
I am pretty regular on scanning the QR code from my receipts.  I don't even leave the store.  I walk right over to a checkout, and scan the code right then.  I then can throw the paper away too. It is in my phone.  It is an app for Walmart!
I so highly recommend it! You don't have to have a smart phone either, you can manually type in the receipt number and you are on your way. So you can do it on your laptop, or desktop.  You can put up to 5 receipts a week, so you could save them and input at the library if you don't have a puter also.   Here is the web site Savings Catcher dot Walmart dot com.
Once you want to get the money (which is gift card) they can send you the card to your house, or an email with the bar code to scan.  I just open my email at the checkout and she scans it, and I giggle like a mad woman! lol
Today, the twins went to their GED orientation.  It consisted of testing and paying $10 each for registration. This is a heck of a deal.  They scored very high, and can pass the real test easily, but we have opted to do this 8-week preparatory class for them.  They are buzzed about it. Sixteen other people are in the classes with them.  Monday thru Thursday, 9 to 11:30. Anna's goes until one-thirty, Tues and Thursday due to lower in math, but we expected that!  They will take the official test in January 2016, and also get to walk the graduation walk in May with the other GED grads. We are gonna party and whoop it up!
My men folk headed to El Paso for a Men's discipleship class.  This is usually, a great sermon then stop at McDonalds after for snack or meal.  Gabe and Tony took snacks with them. We are doing this.  Saving money and changing our mindset. I really want to stress, we are not doing this to get out of debt.  We are out of debt, have money in the bank, and live very comfortably.  But, we have gotten lazy in our spending habits, more willy nilly than is prudent!
I have cupcakes cooling, from a crazy purchase during the summer.  Gonna grab the Littles and get them showered, do a bit of reading, and cupcake eating, snuggles and to bed. Then curl up and crochet and listen to my book!
Saving money is fun when you get on a roll!

~never lose your joy

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Menu planning - 31 days spend Waaaaaaaaaaaay less

Above is our first attempt back to severe meal planning. I got the monthly menu planner free at Organized Home.   Long ago, before we became a family of NINE, I used to do menu planning, but something exploded in my brain, and for some reason, meal planning went to the wayside.  
First thing, I do is put the date and any extra curricular things on the calendar. Football games, parades, half days of school, revivals at church, paydays (see the $) and any appointments.  Looking at the September planner, the highlighted menus are ones, I didn't make, but pushed to another day. This helps me so much! I get up early in the morning, make coffee, grab my phone (for my bible app) and glasses, look at menu and get meat out of freezer along with any fixin's I might need for the meal. 

September worked pretty good.  Like I mentioned yesterday, we had a few kinks, really really bad days, that brought us to eat out. Van problems and ice machine broke down, so although we still didn't spend as much as we had in the past months.  We patted our backs and knuckled down for October.  I wrote out the month menu, and then broke it down, for a 2 week (payday grocery shop) menu and on the back...

The actual shopping list.  I am trying to use both my freezer/pantry stock while taking advantage of sales.  You can see how I break down the groceries.  I also had each section with a budgeted amount.  I was bummed to see that the burger box we get was almost $25 now.  I also swapped the carnitas with parmesean chicken, after I noticed I was on all Mexican food, then all Italian kick.  I wanted to mix it up a bit more. 
But I realized, I didn't need the laundry detergent quite yet, I also got minestrone soup mix instead of canned. Next time, I am gonna go completely from scratch soup.  I wanted something quick and easy, so the nifty Bear Creek mix (which we love) works for this day.
I have a buy later area, and $10 cash for that.  I got some artisan bread, three bags for 45 cents each!! So instead of fajitas we are having steak sandwiches.  I didn't get corn torts, but did get little flour ones and they were a hit with tacos.

 $116.55! WooHoo, I know I need to go to the Lowes and pick up the 99cent a pound huge pork roast for a few meals, and you can see I got one for $18.83! I am going to go back and buy one more for next week, due to the sale being HUGE. That is a $26.63 savings off regular price!  This will come off the next payday (15th) grocery shopping budget. Right now, I am sitting at $110 for the next menu.  I will post that later... the original and what transpires over the next 12 days.

To be fair, I did make a trip on the 1st of October to Sam's.  I spent $191.64, which included $25 for a baby shower (wipes) present. Big bag of cheese, 3 big packs of hot dogs, sausages, peanuts for hubby, Atkin bars (in bulk), apples, cliff bars (kids) and 2 bulk bags of meatballs, 2 boxes of danishes for fun. My budget for the month is $600, and I am including that Sam's run. So right now I am sitting at: $427.02.  plus the $5 hubby has for seeds; $432.02. I am going to get another $20 roast, and shop again on the 16th, with $110 budgeted. 
$562.02 my thoughts for right now. Whew...cutting it close. 

Saturday, October 3, 2015

31 Days of LIving Well and Spending WAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaay less!

I read Ruth Soukup's blog Living Well Spending Less blog, and she did a 31 day challenge of spending ZERO! eek! I signed up and I read and reread her experience and then looked at our finances over the past year and knew we needed something radical and soon.
Next conversation, was with my beloved husband.  He totally agreed and we spent September on a trial run of less spending. It was pretty cool.  But still not the best.
One fun tip we really pursued, is a list to the grocery store. We have a white board that hangs on our laundry room door, by the kitchen.  I used to carry a 3x5 card, but found myself forgetting the card.  I now take a photo of the list to bring to the store.  This is a good beginning, but it is very fallible to run to the store for 6-10 items, because you come home with twenty!

We had a birthday and a few melt down days that we ate out, but it was a whole lot better than the summer months prior. The ice maker on the fridge has been a pain in our finances! Last month, my hubby replaced this arm thingee, then a potentiometer. Fancy word for knob. that tells the icemaker to produce cubed ice not crushed went bad. I know first world problem. But my hubby is awesome and ordered the part and fixed it.  Our Creeper Van, also had to have a full tune up! Luckily, we have a freind who is a come to your house mechanic and charges very great prices.  
It is October 3rd, and we are three days into our challenge, which we tweaked a bit.  We decided that grocery shopping would have to happen.  That meant major meal planning, and sticking to it. Pop in tomorrow to see the Menu planning and shopping that worked! 

~never lose your joy

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Golden Years?

As I wait for the pills that numb my urinary tract to take place, wincing in pain. My hubby reminds me that my dad says, "And these are supposed to be the Golden Years?" I laugh as tears roll down my cheeks. Tony does a quick run to Walmart for the cranberry pomegranate juice that helps.
Self inflicted UTI.  I got lazy, Stopped drinking water, drank lots more coffee, iced tea, and Rock Stars.  Also over indulged with high carbs and sugar. Now I pay! ugh
Pushed thru and went to church! Was so incredible!  I sat in the back due to having to go to the restroom so many times! But what a powerful morning! I plan on sleeping today, and going back tonight!
The Littles are doing so good in church...well, until we got honme and J "found" a car from another little boy. Always keeping us on our toes!

The pills have kicked in and I'm tired!

Friday, September 11, 2015

The Red Pots that bring such JOY!

I love red, really red! I have too be careful not to go to crazy, and make sure I have some accents walls or colors to neutralize the red! But when I can get little extra bits of red, I jump at it! Wednesday, I spent some time with some friends that have moved here to Alamogordo. They are from Boston and their son and DIL (one of my besties) live here. They escaped the weather! lol
They are both pure fun to converse with all the time. They bought a trailer that was filled, I mean filled to the brim with stuff. Carpets on top of carpets.  The people before were very neat and organized hoarders!
Before I left, I had to take a package of toilet paper! It is tradition! They have so so so much! They have really whittled the piles down, selling and giving so much away. They had these pots...oh beautiful pots. RED! They gave me 5! all big, 2 very big...I didn't want to put holes in them, but just popped the plants old pots and all right in them today after a good scrubbing. Here they are:
 I adore this tree. Having it inside, makes me ready for fires and thick stews simmering! We got this tree a few years ago. My girls and I had to move it from the man's house, and into the truck then into the house. It was big then, but it is HUGE now!
 I think this is a corn silk plant? I had another one, but it got infested with tiny bugs. I tossed it out! YUCK!  See my water pot? Another great find on our local on line
Happy plants, happy me!

 Yeah, red walls, but I love them! Decluttering and painting makes the house so clean and fresh!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Thursday Goings ON

I have a few forums I am enjoying, both are Christian based with focus on being a homemaker. I seriously love being a wife, mom and homemaker! Pure dream job for me.  I have been totally decluttered my home. Three truck loads to thrift store and so much more to the garbage. I am almost embarrassed how much stuff we had.
Fall is coming, and that means I bring the plants out of the patio.  Tony put five hooks in the ceiling in front of our row of windows. It is amazing! I watered them easily this morning, able to take the dead leaves off so quickly. 
Part of my big Tidy UP is to keep things that bring JOY.  I love my baskets, they were strewn all over the house. I used them as catch alls. That had to stop, but I could NOT put them in the go pile.  I took some nails and popped them on the wall in our foyer.  They make me happy there and I don't have to worry about filling them with clutter!

The office has finally evolved into a usable room.  Chinese checkers is played on a daily basis. A friend gave me some carpets and I have popped them all over the house. I am loving the feel it brings. So homey.
The same friend also gave me some beautiful red pots for plants. They are big ones. I was able to put my plants inside them this morning and love them. I will post on them later!
~never lose your joy