Sunday, March 30, 2014

Sunday Goals and a Menu Plan

OMG - isn't all of that vintage pyrex dreamy?  I love it so much, but I will NOT start a collection because I have spent the last several years trying to downsize our junk belongings.  I do not own this pyrex, I simply found the image on the Internet.  My collection consists of 4 pieces.  I have a tart dish with napkins in it on my countertop from a yard sale 2 years ago.  I paid either one or two dollars for it.  I also have a set of three mixing bowls that I picked up a a yard sale last summer for 5 bucks.  When I brought them home I put 3 old mixing bowls into my goodwill pile, following the 1 in, 1 out rule.  I actually use the pyrex bowl set and that makes me happier than sitting them on a shelf for worship.

Onto the rest of the post!

Menu for the week:
Sunday - homemade vegetable beef soup for lunch, homemade wontons for a snack later in the day
Monday - tuna noodle casserole - one dish meal full of veggies - son #2 will fend for himself as he is a tuna hater!
Tuesday - chicken parmesan
Wednesday - canned soup and grilled cheese - we have tons of soup that I got for almost nothing with coupons and we need to use it up!
Thursday - pancakes, fruit, bacon
Friday - order out - my husband is gone Thursday and Friday for work
Saturday - ?  I am not sure if we will be home or not!

Goals for today:
*Lesson Plans for the week - it took 2 hours!
*8 juice pouch pencil cases for Earth Day next month - this is all I can make until the rest of the pouches are dry!
*sew at least one thing beyond the pencil cases
*local taxes
*cook soup and wontons the boys loved the wontons!
*visit my mom - not home

I just don't think the rest is going to get done today.  I am just not in the mood.  LIsts help me, but sometimes I just have to let it go...

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

March STINKS!!!!

The poor little piggy bank is really hurting this month.  It is time to kick in a new plan!

The big bills for March were -
Semi Annual car insurance $742
Country Club - $900ish
Semi Annual  Property Taxes - $1000ish
New roof - $9500ish

Some explanation - we have one teenage driver (in May we will have 2).  We used to pay about $900 a year before son #1 started driving.  My husband needs to stop at the country club and pay in person.  We aren't sure what we owe because the kids are getting older and might need junior memberships which could add a couple hundred dollars.  We live in a small town.  I know this is probably very low for golf compared to what other readers might have to pay.  I am mailing out the property taxes on Friday.  The bill is on the desk but I am not going over there right now to see the exact amount.  The roof is not done yet.  The initial estimate was $8350.  Things keep creeping up.  We are at about $9300 right now.  I am hoping not to go over $9500, but I will not know until the job is done.  I have already paid $8000 of it and have enough in the checking account to cover the rest.  This is actually a good price in my opinion.
In the last year we have also replaced our washer, the dryer and the dishwasher.  Both vehicles are aging at the speed of light.  My husband's car has over 140k miles.  Mine is older with less than 100k, but they are starting to show their age.  We took 5k from our car replacement fund for the roof.
It is hard trying to do all of these things without going into debt.  I am not sure we can stay the debt free course but we certainly are going to try.  Several years ago we started sending $100 a pay (every other week) to a credit union savings account for annual bills which worked great for us.  We kept upping the amount and now direct $400 a pay ($200 a week) and have tagged  it as a car replacement fund.  We stopped paying annual bills from it and try to let it grow.  It became easier to just pay those annual bills as we received them and not touch the account, but this month has sucked the life out of me and the money out of our bank account!  Hopefully we can save the money to pay for a car outright, but there is never a guarantee about how long an older car will last.  Time will tell.  If we need to take out a loan it won't be the end of the world, but we will try our best to avoid it.  I keep telling myself that a few years ago I wouldn't have been able to do the roof without a loan, so we are moving in the right direction.
The new plan is to keep saving the $400 biweekly for replacement cars and to start a new account for annual bills.  Property taxes, car insurance, golf membership and homeowner's insurance total roughly 6k per year.  Starting this Friday I am going to send $120 per week to a separate account for annual bills.  I have a spreadsheet of bills for the entire year and need to go in and make the adjustments.  It will take $120 each week from the income but it will make March, June, August and September easier months.  Previously we saved little or nothing in those months and a great deal in the other months.  Not only will the pain of big bills be spread out better now, so will the joy of saving.  I will let you know how it goes!

Monday, March 3, 2014


I would just love to give a shout out to all the great bloggers out there!  I think we are always learning and moving forward, but I want you to know how much you inspire me.
I am usually terrible about updating my blog with how my challenges turned out, but I do 90% of what I set out to do because of all of you!  When I think back over some of what I have completed because of the kick in the pants and inspiration many of you have given me, I am amazed.  I would have gotten around to some of this eventually, but I am much more organized and with it because of all of you!

Some things that I can think of right off the top of my head....
1.  We finally created a will and assigned legal guardians in case of our untimely demise about 3 years ago.  My kids were both already in middle school at that time.  Who knows if I would have ever completed it otherwise.
2.  We purchased term life insurance to supplement work policies and policies that we had from childhood.
3.  I menu plan.
4.  I finally opened a Roth Ira last year.  We have been saving for retirement since our 20's but neither of us did it through a Roth.
5.  I got my couponing groove back.
6.  I bought a sewing machine about 4 years ago and taught myself to sew using youtube videos.  I just wanted to be able to make the cool stuff that I was seeing all over the Internet.
7.  I continue to sew mostly because of following Carla.  Her creations are GORGEOUS and really inspire me to continue creating.
8.  I save $$$$$ for the future because of MANY of you.  I was always a saver, I am just much better now.
9.  I am much more creative in my cooking because of CT Mom.  Wow can that woman stretch a food dollar while making a wide variety of yummy food for her family!
10.  I decluttered my house majorly about 3 years ago.  I had so much junk at the curb that people inquired about whether or not our house was for sale!  My house didn't even really look bad.  We have several walk in closets and we simply had useless stuff in every nook and cranny!  Some junk has crept back in, so this can be an ongoing process.
11.  I have redone my porch.
12.  I saved my mismatched kitchen table instead of buying a new one.
13.  We became COMPLETELY DEBT FREE including our mortgage.  Hopefully we can stay that way.
14.  I have donated money and things to a greater extent than I would have without being inspired by all of you.  I have always given, but I have stepped it up.

Some of my absolute favorite blogs/bloggers:
My Half Dozen Daily
CT Mom
Hawaii Plan
The Simple Dollar
Midlife Mom Musings
Frugal Queen
Frugal and Thankful
Nova Frugal Family - fairly new to me
The Ripples Affect - a really new blog