Friday Financials

IMG_20140131_173327We are teaching her how to budget while she is still young. ¬†ūüôā ¬†I handed her this calculator after dinner and she literally walked around with it for about 15 minutes. ¬†At first she held it to her ear like it was a phone, then she would stop at the chair like this and push buttons. ¬†Every once in a while she would let out a squeal. ¬†So cute!

We are officially at the end of January, and it feels great! ¬†Most of our financial decisions were based on our participation in Carla’s No/Low Spend Challenge. ¬†Here is a quick recap of how we did this month!

Goals
Put $450 into savings: ¬†We rocked this! ¬†We ended up putting in $509! ¬†It would have been almost $850 if Bandit wouldn’t have needed surgery, but that is exactly the reason we need to bulk up our savings. ¬†You never know when an emergency will arise.

10 No Spend Days:  We did awesome on this one too!  I lost count, but we had either 12 or 13 days!  I need to check my planner and see what exactly it was, but I do know that we met our goal of 10!

Track Daily Spending:¬†I would give myself a “B” on this one. ¬†I did pretty well, but probably could have done better. ¬†I found that I would usually write down our spending a day or two after it took place, instead of writing it down the day it occurred. ¬†I have done better with this than I ever have!

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February Financials

I haven’t really put my goals for February down on paper, but I have a few floating around in my brain. ¬†I need to sit down tomorrow some time and get it all hammered out exactly. ¬†I had originally thought our goal for savings would be $200, but I don’t think that is going to be possible. ¬†I forgot to budget in money for car repairs, and I know I need an oil change, so I can’t skip it this month. ¬†I think we will aim closer to $175. ¬†That is still over and above what I have actually budgeted, so I am hoping we can spend less on gas than I budgeted. ¬†We can usually save about $10-$15 a week from that.

Once I get my goals figured out, I will come back with a more detailed budget post, so you can see how we are spending our money.  I am pretty happy with how February looks.  We will have a bit more wiggle room than January, but will still be socking away some money.

* * * * *

Miscellaneous Financials

Today was payday for Hubs! ¬†Always a great day! ¬†His paycheck was about $200 more than I was expecting ¬†(which is awesome!) ¬†I think part of it was holiday pay for working on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. ¬†I also think it is just so early in the year, I am not completely sure what his pay each pay period will be. ¬†(He is paid hourly, so it fluctuates a bit each time.) ¬†I went ahead and put $150 into savings immediately. ¬†This was an unexpected amount of money, so I didn’t add it to the amount we put in in January, and I am not counting it towards my February goal. ¬†It is just an extra little present for our savings account! ¬†I love it!

If you noticed, I didn’t put the entire amount into our savings account. ¬†This is why:

20140131_173652We have a new faucet!  This was definitely a necessary purchase.

Last night we ran out of paper towels. ¬†I usually keep a couple rolls under the sink and a few in the pantry. ¬†There were none in either place, or so we thought. ¬†I looked again under the sink and found a roll! ¬†When I went to pick it up, it was wet and a bit on the brown side. ¬†It appeared as though we had a leak under the sink. ¬†I thought it was the disposal, but wasn’t sure. ¬†Of course I do what every girl in my situation does… I arranged for my dad to come and check it out.

Mom and Dad came over today while I was at work, and it was decided that we needed a new faucet and water turn off valve. ¬†Hubs and my dad went to Home Depot to find one while my mom stayed at home with Miss C. ¬†Hubs did such a good job picking one out! ¬†He decided to get the cheapest one (that wasn’t plastic). ¬†He knew that eventually, a long time from now, we will redo the kitchen. ¬†It will be at that time we will choose our perfect faucet (together) and put it in then. ¬†This one will get us through the next few years until we do a complete redo. ¬†Hopefully it will still be in good enough shape that we can donate it to Habitat ReStore. ¬†So that is where the other $50 from the extra paycheck money went.

So there ya have it!  Lots of financial updates!  I hope to be back tomorrow with some February goals and a more complete budget to share with you all!

Thankful Thursday

20140130_181703Of course I am thankful for this cutie each and every day! ¬†She had her 15 month appointment today and was in high spirits once I got home. ¬†She is playing with one of her favorite toys: Duplos! ¬†She loves those and books! ¬†I think we have a genius on our hands. ūüėČ

Now for a look back at those many things that made this past week just lovely:

Friday, January 24: Thankful for a lovely night out with Hubs.  We went out to dinner, and it was a very nice change of pace from all the homemade dinners this month.

Saturday, January 25: Thankful for nap time.  It was short this day due to a sick little girl, but it gave me enough time to recharge.

Sunday, January 26:¬†Thankful for my mom coming to the rescue. ¬†She came over to watch the little missy while I ran to the grocery store. ¬†I was happy I didn’t have to bundle Miss C up and take her to the store while she was sick.

Monday, January 27: Thankful for the lovely afternoon sun that helps warm the house on cold days.  The back of our house faces south, so our sliding glass door lets in all kinds of warm sunshine.  The sun warms the living room, dining room, and kitchen.  It definitely makes things nice and cozy warm.

Tuesday, January 28:¬†Thankful that the days are getting longer. ¬†It wasn’t as dark driving to work. ¬†I like being able to enjoy the sunrise on the way to work. ¬†Much nicer than driving in pitch black.

Wednesday, January 29:¬†Thankful for chocolate. ¬†It was just a day in which I needed chocolate. ūüôā

Thursday, January 30:¬†Thankful for a healthy girl. ¬†She has been sick with a cold the past week, but it is the only sickness we have had to deal with. ¬†Overall she is a very healthy girl, and I can’t be more thankful for that.

Was there anything this week that made you just stop and say thank you?

Resolution Recap

20140128_184241Our new, more-organized-than-before-but-not-quite-perfect pantry. ¬†(I didn’t take a before photo, so just imagine the pantry less organized.)

So, I ended up splurging a bit today. ¬†*Slap on the hand* ¬†I had been doing so well this month, but I just couldn’t help myself. ¬†I had to run to Target this afternoon to pick up a display board for our science fair project at school. ¬†While I was there, I got a few other things. ¬†Hubs wanted me to pick up some snacks for him, so I got those. ¬†I also got some new pencils (I am forever looking for pencils around this house). ¬†And I got some storage bins for $1 each for our pantry. ¬†I could have used a few more, but they didn’t have any more gray ones. ¬†The trip to Target ended up costing us $15.61. ¬†Not terrible for a splurge, but not great. ¬†We also spent $18.73 at the grocery store yesterday for medicine, OJ, and some tissues for Hubs. ¬†He is now sick (and Miss C is still sick), and I woke up with a sore throat today. ¬†Yuck! ¬†Hopefully we will all be better soon!

Now on to the resolution recap for the week:

Finances

Well, you just got a bit of an update. ūüôā ¬†Aside from the splurge today, we are still doing awesome! ¬†I will be able to put about $35 into savings on Friday. ¬†That brings our total up to $485 into savings. ¬†Our long(er) term goal is to get our regular savings account up to $2,000. ¬†Once that is done, I will work on getting our Christmas account up to $1,000. ¬†When we hit that, then we will work on getting our regular savings account up to $5,000. ¬†Lots of big numbers being thrown around, but we seem to be doing really well so far! ¬†I think once we get to $5,000, we will really focus on getting rid of debt!

We have also hit our goal of 10 No Spend Days!  We should have another one the next three days, so we will have exceeded our goal!  Woo-hoo!

Tracking spending has been going ok.  I have slacked off a bit this past week, so I need to pick it up again!

Marriage

We had our date night last Friday night!  It was really nice to get out with just Hubs and have a nice dinner.  It is also so nice that we have free child care (Thanks, Mom!).  It would be so much harder to have date nights if we had to pay for and arrange child care.

Family

This goal was accomplished last week as well.  We visited my sister and her boys!  A great time was had by everyone!

Health

Still no pop! ¬†Every Saturday at lunch time I really want one! ¬†We have a thing of pop in the fridge too, but I have to ignore it. ¬†I haven’t decided if I should keep up the no pop thing, or allow myself one a week. ¬†It would be better for me to just not drink it, but I do miss it!

Last Friday I walked back to school with one of my co-workers to get our cars. (Long story.)  My co-worker is so in shape compared to me!  She is amazing!  I was sucking air by the time we got back to the cars.  We walked so fast!  Even though it was not a long walk or very far, it was against the frigid wind and it was super fast paced!  I am counting it as a work out.  That puts me at 3 days out of 5.  I am running out of days to work out this month!

Career

Planning ahead at school is going pretty well!  I have already started looking ahead at the next couple weeks and what I would like to do!  My planning is going to be very minimal soon, due to my student teacher.  This should make it super easy to keep up with what I do have to plan.

Photography website is still the same.  I really need to update it!  It may not get done this month, but will NEED to get done next month.  Maybe I can update it tomorrow night.

Home

I have been slacking off a bit on this one. ¬†I will usually pick up the living room, but seriously the kitchen is the bane of my existence. ¬†The kitchen got really bad this weekend while I was home with the sick baby, but I did get it picked up and cleaned up on Sunday. ¬†It isn’t terrible, but it definitely needs cleaned tonight before bed. ¬†But that’s the problem… bed just sounds so much more lovely than cleaning the kitchen.

So there ya have it!  I feel like this month I have been kicking butt!  I have never made it this far into a year and been doing so well with my resolutions.  I need to take a look at February and see what I want to change or update.  Some may be the same, but others will be tweaked.

Do you have any goals for February?

February Financials

20140127_185329_Bob_Pinstripe

I sat down tonight and prepped our budget for February.  I am happy to have it done!  I am also happy that it looks really good!

This past month we were on a very tight budget.  No extra money aside from necessities.  February we will back to our regular budget.  With the regular budget my goal is to put $200 into regular savings and $75 into Christmas savings.  I also have a few photo shoots in February, so I should be able to put at least an additional $150 into savings (beyond the other $200).  That would be awesome!  I will also be able to make an additional payment to our lowest student loan.  I feel like we are on the right track!

I was also able to up my grocery budget to between $115 and $120 each week. ¬†I have tried my hardest to keep it under $100 each week, but I haven’t been able to make it. ¬†The extra $15-$20 should help tremendously!

I feel good about having a successful month done and look forward to another successful month. ¬†I also feel good going into the next month with a decent amount in our savings. ¬†We were able to get through Bandit’s surgery without going into more debt and still meet our goal of putting $450 into savings. ¬†I am pretty happy about that! ¬†I hope that February won’t bring any big and unexpected expenses, but we are ready if it happens!

I plan to come back on Friday to go a little more in depth about our finances for February.

Have you looked ahead at your finances for February?  How do they look?

Menu Plan Monday

menu-plan-mondayAnother look at the weekly menu at the Confessions household.

Saturday, January 25- Chicken quesadillas (I was home with a sick baby all day and couldn’t make it to the grocery store. ¬†I threw 3 chicken breasts, a jar of picante sauce, some taco seasoning, and a bag of frozen corn into the crock pot. ¬†Cooked for about 5-6 hours on low. ¬†I shredded the chicken and put on tortillas with some cheese. ¬†Browned them up on the stove. It wasn’t too bad, but it wasn’t too filling.)

Sunday, January 26- Pizza Spaghetti.  I had planned on pizza, but Hubs had it at work during the day, so we switched to spaghetti.

Monday, January 27- Baked Ziti

Tuesday, January 28- Cheesy Garlic Baked Chicken

Wednesday, January 29- Out to my mom and dad’s for dinner

Thursday, January 30- Crock pot Beef Tips

Friday, January 31- Pizza

Saturday, February 1- Chicken Stir Fry

What is on your menu this week?

Sunday Night Chit-Chat

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This was my fortune from date night on Friday night.  I think it is perfect!  Just one week left of January, and I am still doing well with my resolutions!

Now on to the chit-chat (hosted by the lovely Carla):

What are you…

Reading?  Still working on One Thousand Gifts.  One of these days I will get finished with it.  Maybe my February goal should be to get through it!

Listening To? The television and the crazy wind outside.  I just went to fill up my car tonight (it will be bitter cold in the morning) and the wind was whipping to hard the street signs were flipping back and forth.  It was insane!

Watching? 60 Minutes on CBS.  They are interviewing Jay Leno.  I have been typing this post long enough that the show has changed.  Now it is the Grammys.

Cooking/Baking?¬†Well, I wasn’t planning on cooking anything tonight. ¬†I had planned on just throwing a frozen pizza in the oven, but Hubs had pizza for lunch today, so I had to change plans. ¬†I went ahead and made spaghetti for dinner, which is what we were going to have later this week. ¬†I am happy that I have things that are available to make a meal, and I don’t use that as an excuse to not cook dinner at night.

Happy You Accomplished This Week?¬† I survived. ¬†This week at work was very interesting, to say the least. ¬†Even though we only had 4 work days, it was crazy. ¬†Tuesday started with the boilers not working. ¬†It was cold in the classroom. ¬†They eventually did start working, so it did warm up a bit. ¬†On Wednesday we had a lock down drill. ¬†Thursday was actually normal. ¬†Friday was a mess! ¬†Our boilers weren’t working again. ¬†They were turned back on, but something was wrong for them, so they had to shut them off. ¬†At that point they decided that since it would get cold in the building everyone had to be bussed to our intermediate school. ¬†So on the buses we went! ¬†We did absolutely no learning on Friday. ¬†We had three classes (about 60 children) in one classroom. ¬†We watched movies and buddy read. ¬†I think everyone was fried by the end of the day.

Then the crazy didn’t end there. ¬†This weekend has been a tough one with the sick baby. ¬†She is just not herself and is super clingy. ¬†I couldn’t be in the same room with her today unless I was sitting next to her or picking her up and carrying her. ¬†It has been quite exhausting, but I have survived!

Looking Forward to Next Week? The beginning of a new month!  That means new goals!  I am also looking forward to having coffee/breakfast with some very dear friends!  We have been needing to get together for quite a while now, so I am happy we have a date scheduled.

Thankful for Today?¬†No thought about this one… my mom. ¬†She drove over to our house to stay with Miss C while I ran to the grocery store. ¬†It was a HUGE help! ¬†If she wouldn’t have been here, then I would have had to either take the sick little missy to the grocery store or try to go this evening (which I probably would have gotten blown away). ¬†As a thank you, I bought her a Starbucks coffee. ¬†Her time is definitely worth more than just a coffee, but it was a small token of appreciation for her.

Bonus Question: *Do you have any phobias?* ¬†I don’t think I have any phobias that absolutely paralyze me. ¬†There are things I don’t like and scare me, such as driving over bridges, going under water, and fire. ¬†But I do not believe they are so terrifying that I can not go on with my life as normal.

Now it’s your turn! ¬†Answer in the comments or on your blog and link up at Carla’s!

Friday Financials (On Sunday Again)

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Well, my plans for yesterday went down the drain when Miss C woke up sick. ¬†She is still sick today, but my mother graciously came over to watch her so I could go to the grocery store. ¬†After talking to my mom and sister, we think it is just a bad cold. ¬†She doesn’t have a fever, everything draining out is clear, and her coughs are productive. ¬†I think she is just very uncomfortable. ¬†She is not a snuggly baby at all, but this is how she was this morning:

IMG_20140126_084248

She seriously NEVER snuggles or wants to rock, but that is all she wanted to do this morning.  She fell asleep a couple times while I was rocking her, and then got very upset when I put her in her crib.  Luckily while my mom was here, she got her to go down in her crib, and she has been napping for about an hour so far.  Poor baby!

Now on to the financials:

I have balanced my checkbook and it balanced perfectly! ¬†I love when that happens! ¬†All bills for January have been paid, and we don’t have another bill due until February 10. ¬†I love that we are able to pay our bills on time and don’t have to worry about late fees.

Looking ahead, it appears as though we are going to be able to put in at least another $50 into our savings account before the end of the month.  Hubs gets paid on the 31st, but we will treat it as though it is his first paycheck of February and create a budget that way.  I always empty our checking account into savings before the first paycheck of each month.  That way we start with $0, and I am not tempted to spend those last few dollars.

I have exceeded our goal of 10 no spends this month! ¬†Thursday and Saturday were both no spend days. ¬†Usually Saturday is when I grocery shop, but due to the sick baby, I didn’t get to until today. ¬†Those two days put us up to 11 no spends. ¬†I think Hubs had to fill up his car today, and I need to fill mine up either this evening or tomorrow morning. ¬†Looking at the upcoming week, we should be able to get another 3 to 4 no spends! ¬†Awesome!

Looking at our grocery spending for this past month, I think I am going to need to adjust it some for February. ¬†I try to keep it at $100 a month, but that just does not seem feasible. ¬†I may try to create a budget where our grocery spending is $120 a month. ¬†I don’t know if it will be possible, but we will give it a try. ¬†Today while I was shopping, I spent some of the cash from our coin cash-in to stock up on a few items. ¬†The big bags of frozen chicken breasts were only $5.37. ¬†They are typically $9.99, so I bought 3 bags of them. ¬†We go through the bags of chicken in no time! ¬†That deal is running until next Sunday, so if there are still some bags next week, I may try to get another two. ¬†We have a deep freezer down in the basement, so we have space to store them.

The grocery store is also having a “Mega Savings Event” in which you buy 6 of their special items (you can mix and match items) and save $3.00. ¬†I ended up buying 6 items that qualified (I didn’t do it on purpose, so it was an added bonus) and saved an additional $3.00 on my total. ¬†I also had a couple coupons for another $2.25 off. ¬†After all of the sale items and coupons I ended up saving $34.64. ¬†Not too shabby!

I still plan on working on our February budget this weekend, although I may not get it completed tonight.  I want to have an idea of what our month will look like, and if I will be able to up the amount that we budget for groceries each week.  Wish me luck!

How are your finances looking?  Did January turn out to be a more expensive or less expensive month that you were planning?

Sickly Saturday

I am at home this Saturday with a sickly little girl. ¬†She is super congested, has a runny nose, and is coughing quite a bit. ¬†Poor thing! ¬†She is just not her normal, fun self today. ¬†Very sluggish and tired. ¬†I just put her down for a morning nap, but she is fighting it. ¬†Her little body needs the rest, but I don’t know if she will give into it.

This really throws a wrench into my normal weekend plans. ¬†I typically go grocery shopping on Saturday mornings before the crowds get there. ¬†I don’t think I will make it to the store until Hubs comes home this evening. ¬†It will be a late trip, which I am not a fan of at all. ¬†But I don’t want to drag the little one out in the chilly weather while she is already not feeling well. ¬†I also don’t want to expose everyone at the grocery store to what she has.

Because I normally go grocery shopping on Saturday mornings, I don’t have anything planned for dinner tonight. ¬†I have a few chicken breasts and am going to attempt to make chicken tacos in the crock pot. ¬†I am going to throw in some mild picante sauce, taco seasoning, a bit of water, frozen corn and let it cook for about 4-6 hours on low. ¬†Hopefully it will be decent enough to get us through dinner tonight. ¬†It will also help with the grocery budget if I have to buy groceries for one less day this week.

In the meantime, I plan to get my Friday Financials post up (it was date night last night, so no blogging for me), and get my checkbook balanced. ¬†I have laundry going and need to get some things picked up around here. ¬†I have a feeling it is going to be a long day with the sick little missy. ūüė¶

What is on your agenda for today?

Thankful Thursday

The idea of doing this daily thankful exercise was brought on by this book:

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I have not read very much of it yet, but I really like the idea of becoming thankful for all things in our lives.  I also like that this has me starting a habit of writing down in my planner one thing each day that I am thankful for.  It will be fun to look back through my planner and see all the wonderful things I have in my life.  I really think it has helped my state of mind and my SAD.  It forces me to see good in each day, no matter how bad the day seems.

Here we go…

Friday, January 17:¬†I am thankful for paydays! ¬†We had two paydays this past week (the 15th and the 17th). ¬†I know that we are beyond lucky to both have steady jobs that bring in enough money for us to live on. ¬†We are not rich (in the money sense) by any stretch of the imagination, but we are comfortable. ¬†It is nice to see that money deposited into our account, even if just for a moment before all the bill-paying begins. ūüôā

Saturday, January 18: I am thankful for my crock pot. ¬†I have never been a big crock pot user until the past couple months, and I am hooked. ¬†I love being able to get a meal prepped in the morning and have it ready in the evening. ¬†It makes it so much easier when I get home from work. ¬†I don’t have to do a lot of work for dinner and can spend time with my family instead.

Sunday, January 19: I am thankful for the beautiful weather.  We got up into the 60s on Sunday, and it was lovely!  I took Miss C out for a walk.  She was a bit grumpy and the walk and nice weather seemed to cure her.

Monday, January 20: I am thankful for my sister and her family. ¬†Little missy and I spent some time with them on Monday, and it is truly a blessing to have them close. ¬†My sister and I were not close growing up, (I am 7 years younger, and when you are in high school, trying to impress boys, a much younger sister is not much fun.) but are much closer now. ¬†She is one of my best friends, and I wouldn’t change that for the world.

Tuesday, January 21: I am thankful for coin counting machines. ¬†I was able to cash in our coins for over $120! ¬†The machine did charge a fee, but in all honesty it was worth it. ¬†If anybody would have come up to me and said, “If you pay me $10, I will sort, count, and wrap your coins for you,” I would have paid them. ¬†I could have gone to a branch of my bank and had it done for free, but the branch was a ways out of the way, and I was trying to get a few other errands done. ¬†My time and energy was worth paying the $10 fee.

Wednesday, January 22: I am thankful for the beautiful sunrise. ¬†I even stopped my car before I turned into the parking lot at school and snapped this picture. ¬†The picture doesn’t do it justice, but it really was an amazing sunset.

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Thursday, January 23:  I am thankful for my AWESOME co-workers!  One of my co-workers gave me a gift certificate for our local coffee shop!  She had read my blog post about using the rest of my gift certificates and not having anymore, and she decided to give me her gift certificate.  She has had it for almost a year and never used it.  It was such a lovely and unexpected surprise.  It makes me so happy to work with such wonderful people!

So those were just a few things I was thankful for this week!

What were you thankful for this week?

Good Day Wednesday

Today started off rough… I did not want to get out of bed. ¬†I think I hit the snooze about 3 times. ¬†I was also snuggled between two dogs who did not want to get out of bed either. ¬†It was so warm and snuggly, but I finally pulled myself out of bed and got ready for work.

I did get some coffee this morning on my way to work, so that made the day a bit better. ¬†I used the last of my gift certificates from Christmas, so now if I want coffee it comes from my MAD money. ¬†I know I don’t need coffee each day or even once a week, but it has been so darn cold lately, that it is just what I need to warm up! ¬†(And it is so yummy!)

School started off normal, but we did have a lockdown drill today.  It is so sad that we have to practice these nowadays, but I would rather be prepared than not.  It went well!  So well, in fact, that this afternoon a parent who happened to be with us for it sent my principal an email about how well my class and I did!  Encouraging and nice emails from parents are not a regular occurrence, so it is always great to get one!  I also am happy that she felt comfortable enough to share the kind words with my principal.  Always makes me feel good!

After our drill, our superintendent made the rounds to chat with the teachers. ¬†He is also working on some evaluations, so every once in a while the teachers get some “pop quizzes.” ¬†I was asked to tell him what the mission statement of our school was, and I nailed it! ¬†I know it seems like such a silly little thing to be proud of, but it did make me happy (I may be a little competitive, too).

Besides that, my day was pretty typical.  Here is someone else who had a great day:

IMG_1778Notice anything different about him?  NO CONE!  He had his sutures removed and now gets some cone-free time!  Yay for the pup!

IMG_1780I like to think he is screaming “Woo-hoo! ¬†I’m free!” ¬†In actuality, he was just yawning.

So happy this guy is tumor-free and is going to be around for a while longer!

How was your Wednesday?