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)
Viewing the 'Saving Money' Category
We are now in a transitional time in life... we have three children - 21, 19 and 17.
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!
I get paid every two weeks - so it doesn't always fall on the 1st or 15th - or every 2nd Friday or anything like that - which I am sure many of you contend with as well.
Being as such, prioritizing when to pay bills is giving me a headache. Money comes in at so many different times that I am trying to ensure that I pay everything as soon as I have the money, before it is due. I am pretty sure that I have all my categories spread out during the month, but I am longing for the days when I just paid everything on the first and didn't have to pay monthly obligations each and every week.
So, with that in mind, I think I will aim to get back into the YNAB format of bill paying. It may take a few months to get there - but it really does make life so much easier! (For me, anyway!)
The penny kills me every time I see it. Only because it shows how pennies add up!
I wish the Kroger card savings tracker showed what was really saved, though. This is going off of their sale prices with coupons, not original prices, so I would assume my savings are actually closer to the $300 range.
In anycase, it is nice to have Kroger track the savings for me throughout the year so I don't have to. Hehe!
Here's to more savings in the future! Cheers!
Spent $38.56; Saved $56.26 at the Wally World today!
Purchased a lot of HBA items and household cleaning items.... good news is, I won't have to purchase soap for my husband for probably about 6 months... I also scored FREE nail polishes for the girls that I can give them for Valentines Day (actually, with the coupon, they made me .03 each!)
When I gave the cashier my coupons, he asked how long it took me to find the coupons and the deals, (after commenting to me "do you know how long it is going to take me to write my name on all of these?"). I told him the honest truth, that it really doesn't take that long - and besides, I want to "live better"!
The best part though, was when my 14 year old daughter told the cashier - "You are lucky she didn't bring her binder inside - it could have been a lot worse" in response to his writing his name on the coupons comment. I love that kid!
A woman that I work with invited me to join her at her mom's group Coupon Club - and I had a blast!
Not only was I able to trade coupons that I will never use (my family is way out of the diaper stage!) and score bunches of coupons that we will be able to use, I also had the pleasure of meeting new people who share a similar interest!
Which is really nice, considering the only people I know in my town are ones that I work with. (Kinda new to the area... well, been here about a year and half - meeting people has gotten harder as I have gotten older!)
Now, off to cook up some stir-fry for dinner and get ready for the next episode of The Walking Dead!
I will disclose that I use coupons. I would not be what some would deem "extreme" - but I average about 50% savings. By using coupons in conjunctions with sales, I get to stretch my grocery dollars further, and from time to time, get to purchase some "treats" that we otherwise wouldn't get. Even when I was blowing off monitoring my funds, I still used my coupons.
This weeks grocery trip, I spent $37.21 and saved $26.07 - or 41%.
I wish I could have hit that 50% mark, but I gave a dollar to the food drive and had to purchase some other things that I did not have coupons for - such as bread, milk and eggs.
My weekly grocery budget is $63. So I am $25.79 under budget for the week! YaY!