We are now in a transitional time in life... we have three children - 21, 19 and 17.
Sometimes they are home for dinner. Sometimes not.
Depends on their work schedule and their social schedules.
However, I keep buying food like we are all there, all the time. (Well, I have gotten a little better).
We end up throwing so much away. It is hurtful. And drives my husband bananas.
Last Sunday, I made a roast and some beef stew to just have made for the week (plus we had chicken stew from Saturday night - so since Roasts don't last more than 15 minutes in my house, we basically had chicken stew and beef stew as options for dinner/lunches whatever)
As of last night, we still have too much chicken and beef stew left. I think my husband is going to toss it when he gets home. Question though - even if it has been in the fridge for a few days - can I just freeze it now or is it too late, I wonder?
I really need to just separate when I cook for fridge use and straight to freezer use. It will help cut down on food waste (which will make my husband happier than my wallet) and also allows for less "cooking" nights.
I used to meal plan real hard. As the kids starting aging up, I meal planned less and less. And it is still hard to do because I NEVER know if they are going to be home or not for dinner.
I really need to either get them to let me know when I should plan for them to be home to eat OR I should meal plan based on just my husband, my 17 year old and myself (because even if she is at work, I am still responsible for feeding her, lol)
We are now in a transitional time in life... we have three children - 21, 19 and 17.
The interest rate on my husband’s truck loan is 3%. I think that is low (not as low as mine though – 0% ) – but we are at a point now where the pay-off amount is something we could really get aggressive on and pay it off within 12 months.
We owe $10,336 on the truck. Currently his monthly payment is $608.44.
If we upped the amount paid each month to $1,000 ($391.56 more than what we currently pay), we could have this truck paid off in 10 months.
We will be keeping this vehicle for a very long time Husband has a 10 minute commute to work and everywhere we go in the truck is within a 15 mile radius – not to mention we usually take my car – he has extremely low mileage. Plus, we want the experience of not having a vehicle payment for a long time again (we kept his last truck until it was approaching 200k miles and had been paid off for 5 years).
I need a tangible goal right now. Something I can really focus on. Tangible goals have been missing in my life for a bit – it happens, right?
So – my goal is to get this truck paid off within 10 months – striving for 8 months.
This will make me actually look at my other expenses and make some cuts to make this a reality.
I already cancelled my ancestry membership. I know that’s only $240 a year – but its $240 I can put towards that truck!
My statement for charges in September 2019 has posted - I am trying to use this credit card for as much as possible for the travel rewards (Husband and I want to start traveling more - and if we are going to be spending the money anyway - might as well get some rewards back - of course we pay the balance every month).
In September, my husband and I took a trip to Hawaii. While the majority of the trip was paid for well in advance (flights, hotel, activities) - incidentals and food weren't. So September numbers are skewed higher in certain categories. (The money was already saved in the travel account so no worries about paying for them)
Here are the categories/amounts for September (which are discretionary categories):
Eating Out: $735.73
Gasoline: $122.01 (Category is lower as we were out of town)
Gifts: $724.38 (this includes my anniversary/birthday gift from my husband)
Groceries: $340.35 (Category is lower as we were out of town)
Hair: $160 (I don't age gracefully, it appears)
Misc: $276.47 (I know what these charges are for - they don't just neatly fit in another category as they are a mixture of purchases)
United Airlines: $590 (Roundtrip ticket for me to go see my parents at Thanksgiving)
Since I just got back to blogging, I am interested to see how these categories move going forward - I just can't use the month of September as a basis as we were actively on vacation for 2 weeks of the month.
I just noticed that my last few blog entries are missing? Darnit. I had just started getting back into blogging here!
Well, I guess it is time to start again, again.
Last week I was on Jury Duty... I got selected for a trial. It was an interesting and rewarding experience for me - I do believe in the constitution, after all.
After all the testimony we went to deliberate and 7 of the jurors voted not guilty and 1 juror voted guilty. After about 3 hours of discussion, it was evident that no one was going to change the 1 jurors mind and 7 other jurors were not going to change theirs - so we ended up as a hung jury.
Luckily, I get paid from work even if I am out on Jury duty, so it didn't affect my finances in that matter.
It did, however, reinforce the decision that no matter what amount of money is offered - I will NOT work downtown. The 1.5-2 hour commute EACH way was intolerable. Time is money, after all. thats a minimum of 3 hours a day I wouldn't get to do other things with - things that I enjoy.
I appreciate that kick in the head because I was toying with the idea of starting to look at other employers (due to some things at work - which aren't deal breakers - just not my cup of tea).
So. We might have been a hung jury, but the evidence presented in that commute proved to me that I would be a horrible commuter and that I don't care what they offer (we are keeping this within reason - no one is going to be offering me more than what I would accept to commute - its just the way it is) - I am not working down there.
Whew! Whirlwind of activity around here with my husband and son having been home! (They left though - boo hoo!)
We went to a baseball game and won a $50 gift certificate to a pizza place - which was awesome cause we got to be on the jumbotron holding up a huge check and then we got to go out to eat as a whole family for the cost of the tip! YaY!
Anyways, here is how we did this month:
Investments: up 5.77% to $14,491
Savings: up 1691.82% to $10,591
Checkings: down 29.91% to $1,257
Assets: down 4.61% to $62,900
Debt: down 2.19% to $47,686 (including mortgage)
Net Worth: up 24.89% to $41,554.
Hopefully next month our net worth will be more than our Debt! YaY!
This past Saturday, the hubs and I took the three kids down to a copper mining town where they got to go 1500 feet into the Earth and learn all about mining, explored the old town, and then headed on to Tombstone - where they got to see and learn all sorts of interesting things.
Spent the night in Tombstone and then headed back up home - but on the way, we stopped at the San Xavier Mission.
When I was 16, my grandparents took me out to Arizona on vacation and we stopped at this mission - so since it was right on the way (well, a few miles out of the way - but my husband was NOT going to argue with me about this!) we stopped so I could share the experience with the kids. I cried a bit (both of my grandparents are long gone) but it was awesome to share the experience of the mission AND the stories of my grandparents at the same time....
This trip was saved for - every Spring Break we take the kids on some type of historic/learning vacation. Last year was the Grand Canyon - its so much fun to see them take the so called knowledge from their school text books and correlate it with what is standing right in front of them....
But, although the trip was saved for - as with all trips, we might have gone a little over in the category of eating. We didn't realize HOW expensive it would be - so time to go back to the budget and rework it to cover the difference!
Yesterday, I stumbled upon some old gift cards... ones that I know I used at some point, but I was curious as to what, if any, balances were left on them. (You know how it is - $25 gift card, you only spend $21.89 - balance just sits around)
To my surprise, both cards still had balances. One had a balance of $4.06 and the other has a balance of $16.45.
The $4.06 GC is a VISA card, which I can use anywhere. We needed milk in the house, so I used it last night to get two gallons of milk from the grocery store - spending $3.88, leaving me .18 on the GC. I am sure I will find somewhere to use it - every penny counts!
The other GC, in the amount of $16.45, is a Walmart GC, so I can only use it at Walmart. Which is totally fine, because I have some coupons to use there for some sale products - and the GC amount should more than cover what I am going to be getting for my stockpile.
So, if you have some old gift cards laying around, take a minute to call the number on the back to see if there is a balance - you may be pleasantly surprised!
During this past weekend of looking through some monthly bills, I decided to log onto my electric company's website, where I found a wonderful tool that breaks down how much energy I am using per day - before the bill arrives!
This is going to be a wonderful thing for me to track daily (or weekly) to ensure that my energy consumption is in line with my budget!
YaY for looking at the website!
Late last December, I was standing in my closet, wondering how in the heck I had accumulated all of those clothes. I swear, they must have gotten married to each other and had babies - because there was just TOO MUCH.
After going through everything and donating what I knew I would never wear again (or ever - as some articles still had tags on them) - I decided to challenge myself to wear a different top EVERY day until I no longer had a different top to wear.
I did this by turning all the hangers backwards. Once something is washed and hung up - it goes back in right sided. That's how I can keep track of what I have and have not worn.
I started this process on January 1st, 2013. Here it is, March 8th, 2013 - and I still have "new" tops left to wear - not to mention skirts and dresses that I haven't yet touched because it wasn't warm enough.
Interestingly enough, I haven't bought ONE piece of clothing in the same time frame!
Sometimes, looking at what you really have and challenging yourself to actually use it is a great way to keep yourself from spending money! This journey is so awesome!
And no, I didn't switch to Geico!
Reviewing some of my expenses, I realized that I was paying for 24/7 tech support through my internet company. How many times have I used the tech support service? ZERO. How much have I paid for the service? More than I want to think about. However, by cancelling the service, I have added $197.88 back into my budget yearly. YaY!
The second service I cancelled was my Experian Credit Report service. I don't even remember why I signed up for it - but I have been a memeber for YEARS. When I called to cancel, the man on the other end of the phone was trying so hard to keep me as a customer - 50% off the service price for 24 months. But I stayed strong and said - NOPE! (Credit Karma gives me all the information I want for free - so why pay for the service?) By cancelling this service, I added another $215.40 a year back into my budget.
Now, monthly this numbers aren't going to inflate my extra cash by thousands - but it is the pennies that add up! I can take this money and use it to further snowball my debts and it gives me a bit more breathing room.
Now I am off to Directv to see about getting rid of this movie channel package which is costing me $47 a month! (To be honest, I love Game of Thrones and Homeland - and I haven't found a legal way to watch the shows on the internet - so if they give me a discount, I will probably just take it - still saving money - but I really love those shows and channels. *Sigh*)
Well - today I took the "plunge" and planted some veggies in a garden!
I planted onions, green beans, okra,green onions and bell peppers. I thought that was a good start - I would like to plant more - but I want to make sure my thumb is green enough before investing more into the endeavor.
I am excited to see when they start blooming so I can just pick some fresh veggies and use them in my kitchen! And, I guess I will be going "organic" - lol! Amazing!
Well, I made potato soup for the first time in my life tonight. And it was delicious. Why have I waited so long to try this?!
Well, I can't tell you why I have waited so long to try it - but I can tell you why I tried it today: the budget.
Paying closer attention to my budget has me trying to think outside of my normal box and getting me to try new things - all in the name of enjoying life while saving money.
The only snag I had while making the soup was the shredded cheese. I could have sworn I had shredded cheese in the fridge (from a previous purchase) but when I went to look for it - it wasn't there! Luckily, my mother in law had sent us blocks of cheese from Wisconsin not too long ago - so I had cheese on-hand to shred for the soup.
I am enjoying my more in depth journey into finding my financial freedom... it is starting to open up a whole new world of possibilities for me... which is awesome!
Soooo, I finally joined SwagBucks. I figured, why not? Whatever I get can certainly help during the holidays, and being creative (although, is doing what a lot of other people are doing really creative? ) will help me stretch my budget a bit further....
I see a few bloggers here use swag bucks... do you think it is worth your time?