Saturday Cents

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Before I get into this post, I would just like to mention how expensive groceries seem to have gotten over the past year or so.  I increased our grocery budget this week and still went over by about $20.  We did have quite a few toiletries that we had to buy this week, but I still didn’t think I was going to go over the budget.  (I also spent $10.98 for items for my classroom.)  Oh well… hopefully next week we can stay under budget.

I did shop sales and used coupons, but it didn’t help enough.  Between sales and coupons I saved $41.32, which ended up being 22% of my total.  My total balance was $153.07.  I had budgeted $130 for the week.  I just hope we don’t need anything else during the week, as we don’t have any extra cash for groceries at this point, and I really want to get out of the habit of using our debit card.

Here are some of the big deals I got this week:

Multigrain Cheerios
Original Price: $5.19
Sale Price: $3.50
Coupon: -$1.00
Total Spent: $2.50
Total Saved: $2.69

Gillette Antiperspirant (x3)
Original Price: $2.49 ($7.47)
Coupons: -$0.75 (-$2.25)
Total Spent: $5.22
Total Saved: $2.25

Motts Applesauce (x3)
Original Price: $2.69 ($8.07)
Sale Price: $2.29 ($6.87)
Coupons: -$0.80 (-$2.40)
Total Spent: $1.49 ($4.47)
Total Saved: $3.60

Tyson Frozen Chicken Breasts (3 lb bag)
Original Price: $12.99
Sale Price: $8.99
Coupon: -$1.75
Total Spent: $7.24
Total Saved: $5.75

Kroger Brand Frozen Chicken Tenders (3 lb bag)
Original Price: $11.99
Sale Price: $8.99
Coupon: -$1.45
Total Spent: $7.54
Total Saved: $4.45

Yoplait Yogurt
Original Price: $0.60
Sale Price: $0.50
Coupon: -$0.50
Total Spent: $0!
Total Saved: $0.60

So there ya have it!  I also saved about $9.50 on ground beef and a roast.  The roasts are on sale this week, and I will split mine in two in order to get two meals out of it.  There were also some other good sales on items we get often (string cheese, pasta, etc.)

This summer was tough on the budget (due to a complete lack of discipline on my side), and I haven’t updated my sidebars lately at all.  I hope to get back into the swing of things and get our savings back up to where I will feel more comfortable.  Hopefully we can stick to the budget and live frugally for the rest of the year.  It will be tough, but it will be nice to get things back in order.

How did your budget fare over the summer?

Back to School

I headed back to school this week!  Our students don’t start until Monday, so they still got to enjoy their summer break this past week.  This week we had two days of meetings and two days to work in our classrooms.  Also last night we had a Meet the Teacher night, which means I got to meet most of my 2nd graders.  Meeting my students just got me even more excited about this upcoming year!

Since I moved to 2nd grade, I got to move my classroom.  I have never been in the same classroom for more than 2 years, so moving classrooms is nothing new to me.  I enjoy reorganizing as well as setting up everything each year, so it has been a fun process.

Without further ado, here are pictures!

wpid-20140814_153653.jpgThis is standing in the doorway and looking immediately to the left.  I love my classroom library area, and most of my students who came in the room love the soccer ball chair (which I got from my sister)!

wpid-20140814_153656.jpgHere is straight in from the doorway.  I am going to have some reward charts on the cupboard doors, so that is why they are empty right now.  In the far back corner is my small group table.

wpid-20140814_153702.jpgHere is the other back corner.  All the way back there is my teacher desk.  I also have a table back there with my document camera, printer, phone, and speakers.

wpid-20140814_153708.jpgHere is the front of the room!  There isn’t too much to say about it.  The bulletin board will eventually be used for some vocabulary items to go along with a new program I am piloting.

wpid-20140814_153712.jpgAnd here is back to the doorway and the soccer ball chair.

I love how clean and new the classroom feels right now.  I know that by the end of the school year it will be well-worn and tired feeling, so I will enjoy the newness for as long as it lasts.

Being back at work has been great!  I am so excited about the school year, and even Hubs has mentioned that my demeanor has changed since being back.  I know this year will be great, both because of the students, my fellow 2nd grade teachers, and all of the wonderful people at my school.

It’s All Relative

Many of us have heard the Albert Eistein quote:

“Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. THAT’S relativity.”

I have heard this quote and pushed it to the back of my mind.  Yes it makes sense, and I am well aware of how quickly time goes when you are doing things you enjoy.  But what about how slowly time seems to go when you are struggling or going through things that are more difficult than fun?

I am learning that the toddler years are not my favorite.  My squishy, sweet baby girl is turning into a tantruming toddler.  Most of her tantrums are based around food right now.  It doesn’t help that she does not have her language skills developed, so therefore she cannot tell me what she wants to eat.  For now I guess a lot of times at what to give her for snack, and when I guess wrong, we have a meltdown.  I try to be stern and just tell her to eat the snack I have given her, but then I realize that if she could talk and tell me what she wanted, then I wouldn’t give her the wrong thing on purpose and tell her to eat it.  She is unable to communicate effectively with me, and it causes a lot of stress and tension between us.

This summer was a completely different summer than last year.  More playing, less napping.  More giggles and fun, less snuggles.  More tantrums, less go with the flow.  I know this is just what toddlers do.  Everything I know about early childhood development runs through my head.  I know she has so many new feelings happening and no way to communicate them besides crying or smiling/laughing.  I know that I do not need to punish for the behavior of not being able to communicate with me…

But man did I want to just sit her in her crib, and give us both the chance to have a good, long cry.  Her lack of language skills has been a very tough challenge so far.  She is progressing and has made tremendous growth this summer, but the frustration for both of us is still there.

I had heard a quote a while back, (and I believe Hubs had also mentioned it to me at one point) and it could not be a more accurate description of the summer I have had…

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Every day that we struggled this summer, every day that we had a tantrum, every day that we couldn’t communicate, every day that I felt I wasn’t doing a good job… Those days crept by as slow as possible.  I counted down until Hubs came home from work, and I had some relief.  Those days had early bedtimes.  Those days had tears from us both.  Those days were ones I wanted to wash away from my mind.  Those days were long.  Sadly, those summer days are over.

When my mom came to pick up Miss C yesterday morning as I went back to work, we both mentioned how it did not feel as though two months had gone by.  It felt as though it had only be a few weeks.  The days which seemed to never end have now ended, and looking back the summer seems short. I would be lying though if I didn’t say I was excited to be among my peers yesterday at work.  I was excited to be around adult conversation.  I was excited to have time by myself, both in the car rides to and from work and also in my classroom.

But I would also be lying if I said I didn’t get teary Monday as Miss C snuggled with me while we watched Mickey and I played with her hair.  I would be lying if I didn’t say how much my heart ached as I put her to bed on Monday night knowing that I would leave her to go to work the next morning.  I would be lying if I didn’t say that I now have a lump in my throat writing about this, because I know our summer has passed.

I know that these moments are fleeting.  I know that next summer she will be talking and be a completely different toddler.  I know that she loves her time with her Meme and at home one on one with her daddy.  I know being away from me while I am at work is good for her, as she is very clingy.  I also know that I am a better mother because I get to leave and go to work.  I am refreshed now after one day at work.  I can enjoy my days with my daughter again.  They don’t feel as long and daunting anymore.  I never thought I would want to be a working mother, but I feel as though I am a better mother because of it.  This summer beat me down mentally and emotionally to a really dark and ugly place.  Luckily I had Hubs, my family, and wonderful friends who offered support.  Without the light of work at the end of the tunnel, I don’t know if I could have made it.

Going through the days of summer was a long and tough battle.  Now that we are on the other side of it, I see how truly short and wonderful it was, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Clothing Confessions

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So, I mentioned that I may have spent quite a bit of money on clothes in the past week or so.  I wasn’t kidding.  I think for the number of items I got, I didn’t actually spend that much.  I will see what you think.

The first place I went was a resale store called Ditto.  I had a full stamp card, which entitled me to $20 off. And I sold back two tops for $6.00.  They were also having a sale where you buy one tank top, get one 50% off.  (I think it went for all tops, because 2 of my non-tank top shirts ended up being 50% off as well). I ended up spending $10.31 at this store, and this is what I got:

1 tank top ($4)
1 tank top (Originally $2, but 50% off, so $1)
1 sweater ($12)
3/4 sleeve shirt ($10)
3/4 sleeve shirt (Originally $8, but 50% off, so $4)
1 long-sleeved shirt (Originally $8, but 50% off, so $4)

The total before my $20 for my stamp card and $6 for selling back clothes came to $35.00.  After tax I paid just a little over $10!  Not too bad!

The next store I went to was Plato’s Closet.  This is also a resale store, so prices are pretty low.  My stamp card wasn’t completely full, and there weren’t any really great sales, so I paid “full price” for their items, which ends up being much lower than if I would have bought them new at the mall.  I ended up paying $60.87.  Here is what I got:

1 short dress ($5.00)
1 belt ($6.00)
1 pair of black leggings ($4.00)
1 pair of charcoal grey leggings ($5.00)
1 short dress ($7.00)
1 black maxi skirt ($9.00)
1 striped tank top ($4.00)
1 striped cardigan ($8.00)
1 long sleeved top ($8.00)

Now, if you notice, I have not bought any new pants, which is really what I needed at this point.  The two stores I went into just didn’t have any selection of work trousers.  Because of that I ended up going to a 3rd store: Ross.  This store isn’t a resale store, but they have newer fashions that are marked down from department store prices.  I ended up spending quite a bit of money here, but a chunk of it went to a new pair of tennis shoes for Hubs.  If I take that out of the equation, I ended up spending $67.86 on clothing for myself.  Here is what I got there:

1 top/sweater set ($13.99)
1 dressy sleeveless shirt (Originally $14.99, on sale for $9.99)
1 black and white striped top ($7.99)
1 pair of black trousers (Originally $12.99, on sale for $8.99)
1 pair of black trousers ($12.99)
1 long sleeved blue and grey striped top (Originally $6.99, on sale for $4.99)
1 long sleeved pink top (Originally $4.99, on sale for $3.39)

One thing to note is that almost all of the tops that I bought during my trips can be paired with a number of different pants: trousers, skirts, jeans, etc.  This makes them much more versatile.  I am able to create more than just 1 look from each top.

For a grand total of $139.04 I bought 22 items!  That comes to an average of $6.32 an item.  I think I am ready for fall!  I am already well stocked for winter, so I don’t foresee me buying any new clothes for about a year.  I am hoping to add a line item in our budget for clothing.  I know Hubs is in need of some new items, and come next fall, I would rather have a large sum saved up instead of having to dip into savings.

I do feel guilty about buying myself clothes, but in all honesty most of my fall clothes are ones that I got when I first started teaching (I am starting my 8th year this year).  I have a stack of clothes that I will be donating to Goodwill in order to clean out my closet and really get rid of those items I just don’t wear.  (This is one good thing about Hubs wearing a uniform to work.  We don’t have to worry about buying him new work clothes, too.)

The next big shopping trip I have planned is in September.  I will be going to the consignment sale to get winter items for Miss C.  I don’t think I will spend as much as I have in the past, as I have quite a few 2T items already stocked up in the basement.  I have a lovely friend who has handed down many clothes to us, which makes life much easier (and less expensive).

When was the last time you bought yourself some new clothes?  Do you have to buy clothes for work or do you have a uniform that you wear?

Menu Plan Monday

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And we are back for our weekly installments of Menu Plan Monday.  I have continued making menu plans all summer long, although I have not exactly stuck to them.  We have been eating out a lot, especially these last few weeks.  Luckily for us, we now have a deterrent from eating out: a toddler.  Miss C is just getting to that stage that sitting down at a restaurant is not an option anymore.  She is difficult to keep entertained while we wait for our food, and she is a very finicky eater, with dinner being her most difficult meal.  Anything slower than McDonald’s is out for now. (Which is definitely helpful for the budget.)

I think I am going to start keeping track of how long we go without eating out as a family.  I put that “as a family” on there because Hubs and I are free to spend our MAD money how we choose.  If I want to eat out with friends using my MAD money, then it won’t count against us.  I know there will be some exceptions (like Thursday when I am working late and Hubs is at home with Miss C).  I will leave them some cash so they can go out if they choose.  They can stay in and eat too, but it will be up to him.  I figure I will just come home after work and grab a bowl of cereal or something.  I am not picky.

If I start counting our days from the last time we ate out (and that could include ordering in, drive thru and eat at home, delivery, restaurant, etc.), it has been approximately 3 days.  The last time we had a meal that was not made at home was Thursday, August 7.  Let’s see how long we can go!

Now for the menu this week:

*For those of you who are new, my menus start at the previous Saturday, as I always make my menu on Friday night and shop on Saturday.  I just don’t post them until Monday.

Saturday, August 9: Roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans
Sunday, August 10: Spaghetti, corn
Monday, August 11: Beef tips and egg noodles, green beans
Tuesday, August 12: Pasta Toss, mixed veggies
Wednesday, August 13: Salsa chicken tacos, corn
Thursday, August 14: Late night at work for me, Hubs and Miss C eat out
Friday, August 15: Beef tacos

It’s a pretty simple menu this week, as I will be getting back in the swing of things at work.  I have a feeling that next week will involve a lot of crock pot meals, as I suspect I will be too exhausted to try and put a full meal together.  (Our students don’t start until Monday, August 18.)

What do you have on your menu for this week?

Sayonara Summer

Apparently I took an impromptu break from blogging this entire summer.  This was not planned at all, but I do think it was needed.  I have an entire summer’s worth of blog ideas and activities that are floating around in my head right now, but I figure I will get back on a schedule starting with my typical Sunday posts: Sunday Night Chit-Chat.

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These are my beautiful gladioluses that are finally blooming.  They actually were planted later than they should have been, but I think the mild summer helped them bloom late.  We have gotten a  bit of rain this past week or so, so that has helped too.  I am just happy to still have some pretty flowers to enjoy during these last few days of summer.  (I know technically the season doesn’t end for about another month, but going back to school makes it feel like fall nonetheless.)

Carla has chosen to try some new questions this week, so we will see how it goes!

What are you…

Making?  Well, last night I made a curtain for a bookshelf in my classroom.  I had many snafus during the process (bobbin ran out with about 6 inches left, machine would only sew backwards… this has happened before, melted the tops of some plastic coated straight pins).  After it all, I got it finished.  Once I go back to school on Tuesday, I will take some photos of my classroom.

Cooking? Tonight I made the old standby: spaghetti.  We have gone a little crazy with eating out these past couple weeks, so it is time to reign it in.  I have one night planned for Hubs to take the little missy out because I have a late night at school.  (And it happens to be the same day as his birthday, so he doesn’t have to worry about making dinner.)

Drinking? Too many sugary, caffeinated beverages.  I hope to go on a pop fast once school starts.  I also am going to cut WAY back on the number of coffees I buy before school.  I have a gift certificate from a very dear friend, which I will probably use on my first day of school.  Besides that, I need to really cut back.

Reading? I have been working on a book called Soul Kiss by Shay Youngblood.  It is decent, but I don’t like where it is going, so I think I may abandon it.  I have actually read quite a few books this past summer, and I hope to keep it up!

Wanting? I don’t have anything really tangible that I want (well, besides this pasta pot… I think I have been watching too much Food Network.)  I have spent quite a bit of money these past couple weeks on some new clothes for school.  As far as non-tangibles that I want, there are plenty of those, but I don’t think I have time to list them all. :)

Looking at? Besides the computer while I type, here is what is looking at me:

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I am also watching Food Network with Hubs.

Playing? Nothing really.  I haven’t been listening to any music very much, and I don’t actually play any instruments.  I did play with a lot of MegaBlocks today.

Wishing? School wasn’t starting this week.  As difficult has this summer has been (as my first summer with a toddler, along with some other personal issues), I am going to miss the giggles, smiles, occasional snuggles, and fun with my girlie.

Enjoying? My last days of summer break.  Tomorrow is officially my last day!

Waiting For? The laundry to learn how to fold itself.  I do not mind washing, drying, or putting away clothes.  I absolutely HATE folding clothes.  If you learn how to get your clothes to fold themselves, please let me know because I have a load in the dryer waiting for me!

Wondering? How Miss C will handle me going back to work.  I think she will be fine, as she will either be at home with my parents or at home with Hubs.  I just don’t want her to think I disappeared after all this time home with her.

Needing? A piece of chocolate.  I plan to go get one once I am done with this post.

Thinking?  I wish I were a better cook.  I love watching cooking shows, but I just do not enjoy the process of cooking.

Bookmarking? I haven’t bookmarked much.  The last thing I bookmarked/pinned was this post about back-to-school reading ideas.

Feeling? Lazy today.  I did next to nothing today.  I did manage to make dinner, bathe the babe, and clean up the kitchen after dinner.  But beyond that, I really didn’t do much but hang out with the darling.  I have a semi-short list of things I need to do tomorrow, so hopefully I won’t be so lazy tomorrow.

There ya have it!

I am happy to be back, and I hope I get back to a blogging schedule.  I do miss blogging each day, and I hope that by having more of a routine with work, I can stay on top of the blog.

Saturday Cents

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I went to the grocery store today, as Miss C and I are heading out of town starting tomorrow.  Hubs will be all alone at home with the two dogs.  I am sure they will have a great time!

I needed to make sure that I had enough at home for Hubs to eat without forcing him to out each day and night.  He had a couple requests (pizza, mac and cheese, etc.)  Luckily I was able to score some good deals! I also spent a bit of my birthday money on a book.  It was $10.50, and I figure I will get some good reading time in these upcoming days.

I plan to go back to the store on Wednesday to get more actual food for meals.  I will start back up with cooking when I return.

Here is a breakdown of my shopping trip.  I went ahead and subtracted the amount I spent on my book, since it was not from our grocery budget.

Total budgeted: $120 (what is leftover is what I will use on Wednesday)
Total spent: $58.70
Paper coupon savings: $6.49
eCoupon savings: $4.50
Mega Event Savings (buy 5 save $5): $5.00
Sales savings: $6.12

Here are some of my best deals:

DiGiorno Frozen Pizza (x5) 
Regular price: $5.99 ($29.95)
Sale price: $4.99 ($24.95)
Mega Event: -$5.00
Total spent: $19.95
Total saved: $10.00

Plum Organic Tot Food Pouches (x2)* 
Price: $1.59 ($3.18)
eCoupon: -$1.50
Total spent: $1.68

Gerber Graduate Tot Food Pouches (x3)* 
Price: $1.53 ($4.59)
eCoupon: -$1.00
Total Spent: $3.59

Dole Squish ‘Ems 
Price: $2.79
Coupon: -$1.00
Total Spent: $1.79

Gillette Deodorant (x2) 
Regular Price: $4.45 ($8.90)
Sale Price: $3.99 ($7.98)
eCoupon: -$2.00
Total Spent: $5.98
Total Saved: $2.92

Dillon’s Brand Laundry Detergent
Regular Price: $5.99
Sale Price: $3.99
Coupon: Free Detergent -$3.99
Total Spent: $0
Total Saved: $5.99

*I typically do not buy these foods, but I had coupons, and they travel well.  We will take them in the car with us on our trip.  

Have you found any great deals this weekend?

Feeling Accomplished

Here are the to-do lists I showed you yesterday:

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I had nothing crossed off yesterday, and today there is so much crossed off (actually I highlight the things I get done because I think it looks prettier.)

Here are also a few things that I got done that weren’t on the to-do list:

Took Miss C to story time
Met up with my parents to run errands and have lunch
Went for a walk with Miss C
Folded/put away all previous clean laundry
Took out trash (as in took trash can to curb)
Destroyed 2 ant colonies (one in our mailbox and one in between stones in our back patio)
Sprayed Round-up on numerous weeds
Remembered to put flea/tick medication on the dogs
Actually did 2 loads of laundry, not just 1
Did a little bit of training with the dogs
Showered and made myself presentable enough to leave the house
Hung curtains
Loaded, unloaded, and loaded again dishwasher

So, even though I still have a number of things on my list that did not get accomplished today, I sure do feel good about how much did get done!  Tomorrow I have no plans to go anywhere.  It will be the first day this summer that we stay at home the entire day!  I hope that the weather cooperates, as I would love to get all the bedding in the house washed.  I would also like to go on a walk in the morning if it is nice out.

I will probably try to get the fridge cleaned, junk basket organized, and bathrooms cleaned during nap time, but I may just curl up and take a nap myself.  That is really what I wanted to do today, but I am happy that I resisted and got so much done.

Did you get a lot done today?

To-Do Lists

You know what I am really good at?  Making to-do lists.

You know what I am really bad at?  Getting things done on the to-do lists.

I have been really wanting this summer to be productive.  It seems as though by the time school rolls around in August, I look back over my summer and realize that I got next to nothing accomplished.  I wanted to make this year different.  It started off well.  I had gotten quite a few things done, but I have plateaued.  My motivation is lacking, and I haven’t been able to get back with it.  I know that realistically I will not get everything done that I want, but I also know that I will be hard on myself if I don’t get much done.  (It is just how I am.  I don’t know how to let it go.)

Here are my to-do lists for today and tomorrow:

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As you can see nothing has been checked off.  That is partly because I haven’t taken the time to check anything off.  The only things I can check off are “Dogs to the vet: 9:00 am” and “Lunch: Out w/ladies.”  That is it.

I had the check in my wallet to pay our utility bill, but I forgot to stop by today.  It isn’t due until the 10th, so it won’t be late or anything, but I had planned to get it done today.  I also had my check to deposit and post-it note with what I needed to get out in cash.  I did not make it to the bank.

Everything else was my laziness.  I procrastinate and procrastinate, and then at the end of the day I feel super lazy.  I don’t have a lot of time to get things done during the day, usually just during nap time, and by then I am exhausted so I just want to rest.

I will probably adjust my lists so that I do in fact get things done tomorrow.  Miss C and I will head to story time at 9:30, and then hopefully actually go to the bank.  I also plan to pay our bill tomorrow as well.  And I have to make my client disc, as I plan on seeing my client tomorrow and giving it to her.  The weather is a little uncertain, so I don’t know if I will do laundry, as I hang everything out to dry.  If the forecast looks ok, then I should get at least 1 load done.  I probably need to focus on getting all the current clean clothes folded and put away before I start washing more.

Who knows when everything else will get done.  Isn’t summer supposed to be a time to relax?  I am not feeling that way at all! I suppose I do it to myself. :)

What do your to-do lists look like?

Menu Plan Monday

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Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about my menu plan.  In fact menu planning has gotten twice as hard since I now have to plan lunches as well as dinners.  When it was just me, I would end up just eating a bowl of cereal or snacking through lunch.  Now that I am in charge of a little munchkin, it is important that we have well-rounded meals, including lunch.  I have been trying to incorporate more fruits and veggies into our meals lately, and I have found out that Miss C is a fruit monster.  She loves it!

It has been a while since I have done a menu plan, so let me review how it goes.  Since I go to the farmer’s market on Saturdays and grocery store on Sundays, I usually plan my meals on Friday nights.  That way I can know what fruits and veggies I need from the farmer’s market.  Then whatever I don’t find at the farmer’s market, I can still put on my grocery store list.  My meal plan starts on Sunday at lunch and ends Saturday at dinner.  Since Hubs works late on Saturdays (noon until 10:00 pm), Miss C and I plan to meet him for dinner out those nights.  It is much easier than trying to cook a meal with a toddler during witching hour.  I have budgeted $20 a week for those meals out.  It is a lot, but considering Hubs doesn’t get to see the little one much on Saturdays, it is a nice break for him and a chance for us to be together as a family.

Now on to the menu:

Sunday, June 1:
Lunch: Homemade mac and cheese (with broccoli), cut up hot dogs, fruit salad
Dinner: Spaghetti, corn on the cob, bread

Monday, June 2: 
Lunch: Out for my birthday
Dinner: BBQ chicken tenders, corn on the cob, fruit salad, bread

Tuesday, June 3:
Lunch: Out with friends
Dinner: Homemade margherita pizza, salad

Wednesday, June 4:
Lunch: Chicken salad sandwich, fruit salad
Dinner: Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken, green beans

Thursday, June 5: 
Lunch: Turkey sandwiches, leftover green beans, strawberries
Dinner: Smothered beef burritos, mixed veggies

Friday, June 6:
Lunch: Out with a friend
Dinner: Breakfast for dinner: pancakes, hash browns, fruit salad, sausage links, eggs

Saturday, June 7:
Lunch: Deli sandwiches, raw veggies, fruit salad
Dinner: Out with Hubs

The times you see that I am going out with friends, that money will come from my MAD money/birthday money.  It will not come from our budget, as it is just something I am doing and not something the whole family is doing.  I have gone out to eat with friends last week and this week, and I think I may have to pause on lunches out for a couple weeks.  It is starting to drain my MAD money, which I don’t want to use up completely.

What is on your menu for the week?