Lazy, Lazy Weekend

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I have been so lazy this weekend, and honestly it has been lovely.  I do not typically describe myself as a lazy person, so my utter lack of motivation to do nothing and not even worry about it is completely unlike me.

The laziness started after a completely horrible day at work on Friday.  As much as I appreciate my principal, I spent way too much time with her on Friday trying to do some problem-solving.  (I was not in trouble, nor is anything with my job in jeopardy… I just was unable to handle some situations on my own and needed her help, support, and advice.)  Once the day was done, I got in my car to leave and promptly burst into tears because of the stress of it all.  I do see myself as a very emotional person, but not at work and not in public situations.  This was not my first time driving home from work in tears, but it has been a long time since it last happened.

Once I got home, I was fried!  I did get some amazing Miss C snuggles and Hubs was super supportive (not to mention he wins the Husband of the Year award.  I came home to a vacuumed house, clean kitchen, and laundry going.  After the day I had, I couldn’t have asked for more.)  We took it easy Friday night and just spent time together as a family.  We had leftovers for dinner, so no cooking for me.  After a rough day, being at home was exactly what I needed to soothe my soul.

Yesterday I got a lot of errands done, but I don’t feel like I did anything really worthwhile around the house. We got groceries early in the morning, then ran a couple of errands before lunch time.  I managed to go to Target without buying anything! (Besides a coffee for me and a snack for munchkin… which was the real reason we went.)  And don’t worry… the coffee and snack came out of my MAD money.  After Target we went to Kohl’s, then stopped at a pet store so Miss C could enjoy some animals.  She even got to pet a ferret! I think it was the highlight of her day!

Once we got home, it was a quick lunch and then down for a nap.  During nap time, I bought a computer (!), balanced our checkbook, and had a little party because we were under budget for the week.  I was able to put some extra money in our savings (which is reflected in the updated sidebar).  By the time I was done with the budget, choosing a computer, and not hyperventilating over spending a large chunk of money all at one time, Miss C was done napping.

We got up, got her changed, then ran to a friend’s house to take care of their dog while they were away for the day.  We finished our busy day with a wonderful, and much needed ice cream date with a very dear friend.  It was another moment that was good for the soul this weekend.  By the time we finished up, picked up some files from a teacher friend, and got home, it was time to start dinner!

Basically, nothing really substantial got done yesterday!  Last weekend I was so busy trying to make sure everything got cleaned and done, and this weekend has been the complete opposite of that!

Today has been a repeat of laziness.  Miss C and I haven’t left the house at all today, and we have just been playing, watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and singing Disney songs.  It has been great!  We do have a birthday party for my nephew this afternoon, and then the fam is eating dinner together.  That will at least get us out and about for a bit.  My laziness is going to come back and bite me around 7:00 though.  Once the munchkin is in bed, I will be doing lesson planning until bed time.  It will be a long evening, but the rest has been much appreciated.

When was the last time you just sat back, relaxed, and enjoyed a day off?

Saturday Cents

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Hubs and I have found ourselves with some extra money this past week, and we are trying really hard to be fiscally responsible.  The first bit of money is from a wedding I am shooting.  Part of the money is already allocated to gear I need to rent for the wedding, and the other part of the money is going to has been spent on a new computer for me (I have had the same computer for about 10 years now.  It is as slow as molasses, which makes editing photos take FOREVER).  I think we should be able to spend the money for those two things and still have a little chunk left over.  We have a little bit of extra money left over from those two purchases.  We are going to be responsible and put it into savings, as our savings is lacking quite a bit.

The other chunk of money is in the form of a reloadable gift card.  I am teaching a language arts program that is still in the research stage.  Because of this, I am getting paid $500 to teach it.  The payments are broken up into 3 separate payments spread out over the school year.  I just got the gift card with the first chunk ($100).  I can’t really put this money into savings, as it is on a gift card.  They will continue to reload it with every payment, so if I don’t spend any, the card will eventually have $500 on it.

Last weekend when doing our budget, I looked at the upcoming year and things that we will be spending money on and things we need to save for.  There are not any overly expensive items that are necessary right now, but I think we may just save the gift card and eventually buy a microwave and use the rest towards a new lawn mower in the spring.  Now, these things are definitely not what I really *want* to spend the money on.  If it were up to me, I would buy myself some new clothes, a new couch, a new lens, or something that we don’t NEED.  If it were up to Hubs, we would get another tv.

…But we are trying to be fiscally responsible these days.  And boy is it HARD!

Here are some other minor changes we have made to help us become more fiscally responsible:

*No stopping at the coffee shop on the way to work.  I have only stopped twice this school year, and considering I was stopping almost twice a week by the end of last school year, that is a big change!
*Not eating school lunches.  They cost me less than $4 each, but there is no reason I need to spend that $4 on a meal that I can easily pack.
*TRYING not to eat out as much.  I really do try to make sure I have things thawed or prepped for dinner, so we aren’t tempted to eat out.  We did eat out twice last week, and I don’t like how much money we spent.
*Using coupons and shopping sales.  This week at the grocery store I saved 23%, and I managed to stay $10 under budget!
*Using found money smartly.  Whenever Hubs’ paycheck is more than I budgeted, I try to put the difference into savings immediately.
*Living at the same level as always.  I got a small raise this past year (not much extra at all), but instead of making our budget using my new income, I kept it the same as it has always been.  That way, when my check is more than I budgeted, the difference will go into savings.
*Starting next month, we will pay double on our lowest student loan.  We should get it wiped out pretty quickly.

The changes we are making are minor.  They are not huge lifestyle changes.  Hopefully this will help us make a bigger dent in our debt and become debt free sooner! (That is our main goal right now!)

Now for a super quick recap of my big deals at the store today:

Budgeted: $130
Spent: $119.86

Marie Callender’s Frozen Chicken Pot Pie (Single Serve)
Original Price: $1.67
E-coupon: -$1.67
Final Total: FREE!

3 Musketeer Bites
Original Price: $3.19
E-coupon: -$3.19
Final Total: FREE!

Top Sirloin Steaks (2)
Original Price: $22.90 ($10.55 and $12.35)
Price with Loyalty Card: $9.53 ($4.39 and $5.14)
Total Spent: $9.53
Total Saved: $13.37

Kraft Macaroni and Cheese (x3)
Original Price: $1.00 ($3.00)
Coupon: -$1.00
Total Spent: $2.00
Total Saved: $1.00

Those were my big savings at the grocery store.  We did also go to Kohl’s today, and I got a huge deal!  Two weeks in a row I have gotten $10 coupons for Kohl’s.  This is just $10 off any pre-tax purchase of $10 or more.  I don’t have to spend $50 or something crazy like that.  I can buy a $10 item and get $10 off.  It’s awesome!

So today, I went with Miss C, and we found her a super cute (non-pink… for Hubs) fall outfit.

Original Price: $24.00
On Sale: $12.99
Coupon: -$10.00
Total Spent: $3.25
Total Saved: $21.01

Woo-hoo!  I love HUGE deals like that!  I honestly have no idea how I get those $10 coupons.  I do not have a Kohl’s charge card, and really do not shop there much.  I am not signed up for anything with them either. They just show up every once in a while.  They have a short lifespan, though.  I just got the coupon on Thursday, and it had to be used by next Saturday.

I know Carla had mentioned possibly doing a no/low spend challenge for October.  I am very interested in doing one as well, although our rules would be loosey-goosey, as we have Miss C’s birthday in October.  We already have everything budgeted for it, but we would just have to make sure to stick to it!

(I am still just in shock that we are in the last week of September.  This month has flown by!)

What are some things you are doing to be more fiscally responsible?

Exhausted

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It is finally fall!  I can’t tell you how happy I am about this fact!  I do love summer, I can’t deny that.  But there is something about the crisp air and the beautiful, warm colors of the changing leaves that just makes my heart happy.

I have tried to write more to this post 3 different times, but I just can’t come up with anything that I am happy with.  My brain is fried.  I am emotionally, physically, and mentally exhausted.  I think I may just turn in for the night and call it good.

Good night and sleep well, my readers!

Sunday Cents

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Well, I have our budget ready to go through the end of the year!  I was just planning on doing October’s budget, but I went ahead and finished out the year.  Don’t worry, though.  Everything is in pencil, so it can be erased and changed, if need be.

Right now our savings is no where near where it should be (thanks to some medical bills and vet bills).  I haven’t updated our sidebars, but we are not going to be even close to our goal by the end of the year.  I just edited the sidebars and put in a new goal for the end of this year.  You can see we are still a ways away from our goal, with just over 3 months to go.  That is the bad news.

We have a lot of good news though:

*We will end the year with less debt than we started the year with!
*We will get one loan completely paid off this year! (The car loan)
*We will have $740 saved for Christmas this year with an additional $250 for unexpected traveling expenses! (I honestly don’t expect us to spend even close to that much money.  The extra will get us started for next Christmas.)
*We will have paid off all incurred medical bills from this year (which there were quite a few).
*We will already have $250 saved up for car tag renewals by the end of the year. (They aren’t due to be renewed until July 2015).
*We will pay for Hubs’ new car tires with cash in November! (Thanks to no car loan!)
*In just November and December, we should be able to put $600 into our regular savings account.
*In December, we will start paying double on our lowest student loan (from $50 a month to $100 a month).  I hope to get it completely paid off by June of next year.
*We will have $450 for a new car down payment by the end of this year.  We will continue to save between $400 and $450 a month until my car dies.  (I am hoping I still have another year or so, which would get us over $5,000 for a down payment.)

Now a few of these items are dependent on no unexpected expenses or surprises showing up.  I know that is highly unlikely, so I don’t completely believe this will happen exactly how I have it drawn up.

One thing that will be a real test for us is continuing to live at the level we are living at now.  By paying off the car loan, it frees up over $500 a month.  I know that $50 will go to upping the student loan repayment, and the other $450 will go into a down payment savings account.  I need to make sure I get those paid immediately, so we don’t have an extra, large chunk of money hanging out in our account.  Just because we have the money “freed up” does not mean that we need to go shopping more often or go out to eat more often.  I know this will be very difficult, but we need to keep our eyes on the prize: being debt free!

I think my ultimate goal is to be debt free (besides mortgage) by the time Miss C goes into kindergarten.  She is almost 2, so we have about 3 years.  It will be very hard to do, but I really think we can do it, if we keep focused on the goal!

What financial goals will you meet by the end of the year?

Saturday Cents

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I love doing financial posts.  I am not sure how many people really enjoy reading about our finances or how much money I saved at the grocery store, but I like writing about it.  I plan to put together our October budget tomorrow, so I can share that when I am finished.  I love writing out our budget!  I love seeing our debt go down.  I love seeing how much we can save and where everything goes.  I honestly don’t know how people don’t budget or don’t keep up with their finances.  That would make me crazy!

On to our grocery savings for today.  I did go over budget, and I am a little frustrated about it.  I had 2 e-coupons that did not come off during my transaction.  Between having a toddler with me, unloading the cart, and trying to get the car loaded, I don’t usually look at my receipt until I get home.  One e-coupon had expired (which I am not sure why it was still on my app), and the other one just wasn’t taken off.  Grrr!

Amount budgeted: $130.00
Total Spent: $146.16
Amount Saved (with sales and coupons): $49.27 (26%)

Here are a few of my best deals:

Private Selection Pasta (x3)
Original Price: $2.29 ea. ($6.87)
On Sale: $1.79 ea. ($5.37)
Mega Savings Event: -$3.00
Total Spent: $0.79 ea. ($2.37)
Total Saved: $1.50 ea. ($4.50)

Private Selection Hamburger Buns
Original Price: $3.49
On Sale: $1.99
Mega Savings Event: -$1.00
Total Spent: $0.99
Total Saved: $2.50

Mission Tortillas (x2)
Original Price: $2.79 ea. ($5.58)
On Sale: $1.00 ea. ($2.00)
Total Spent: $1.00 ea. ($2.00)
Total Saved: $3.58

Herbal Essence Shampoo and Conditioner
Original Price: $3.99 ea. ($7.98)
On Sale: $3.49 ($6.98)
Manufacturer Coupon: Buy One, Get One Free: -$3.49
Store Coupon: -$1.00
Total Spent: $2.49
Total Saved: $5.49

Glade Warm Oil Plug-in
Original Price: $1.49
On Sale: $1.29
e-coupon: -$1.00
Total Spent: $0.29
Total Saved: $1.20
*I also got a $1.00 rebate from Checkout 51 for this purchase.

Glade Warm Oil Plug-in Refill
Original Price: $5.99
On Sale: $4.99
e-coupon #1: -$2.00
e-coupon #2: -$1.50
Total Spent: $1.49
Total Saved: $4.50

Cottonelle Toilet Paper (12 pack)
Original Price: $6.49
On Sale: $5.99
e-coupon: -$1.00
Total Spent: $4.99
Total Saved: $2.50

One tip for everyone out there:  If you have a buy one, get one free manufacturer coupon, use it at Target!  The past two times I have used them there, they take off the maximum value allowed by the coupon, even if it is more than the item is worth.  Today I had a buy one, get one free coupon for some dog treats.  The maximum allowed value was $4.49.  They took off the entire $4.49 even though the dog treats were only $3.99 each.
Whenever I have used buy one, get one free coupons at Dillon’s, they have to punch in the exact amount of the item.  I would have done this with my shampoo/conditioner coupon, but all of my grocery coupons were in the car when I was at Target.

Did you find any good deals today?

Finally Friday!

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I cannot put into words how happy I am that it is Friday!  I had one goal today: survive.  I am happy that I did manage to survive.  I did do something to my neck, though, and now I am resting in bed with a heating pad.  I hope I just slept on it wrong or tweaked it.  It doesn’t feel very good at all.

Right now I am debating whether I want to go to bed at 7:30 and wake up early to finish our grocery list, or if I want to push through and stay up to finish everything; then just wake up when the munchkin wakes up.  I honestly cannot figure out which one sounds better at this point.  I will probably just stay up for now, and knowing my body, I will be awake early anyways.

I do have to give myself a pat on the back though.  For an entire week now, I have kept our kitchen super clean!  I have cleaned up after every meal.  I have unloaded the dishwasher immediately.  I have kept miscellaneous items off the counters.  It makes me so happy to see a clean kitchen every morning and every evening!  I also find that after dinner, it only takes me about 10 minutes to clean up.  So much easier!

I have also stuck to my menu plan!  We did eat out one night this week, but it was planned.  Hubs had to take in his car to get a recalled part fixed, so we were out at dinner time and just had a nice meal out as a family.  Tonight I really wanted to get pizza (mainly because I was talking to one of my students at recess, and she mentioned something about pizza.  After that, I really wanted some pizza).  I stuck it out though and cooked dinner even though I was exhausted!

Finally, we have done pretty well with finances this week.  Hubs did have to get his driver’s license renewed (because it had expired… oops).  I gave him a $20, but it ended up being $26, so he used our card for it.  No biggie, but now I have to do some erasing and rearranging on our budget.  When things like that happen, I just keep the cash out and reallocate it to another envelope that I was going to get cash out for.

Even though it was a long, rough week at school (overall), the week at home has been successful!  I am happy that I am building some positive habits, and I hope to keep it up!

How was your Friday?

Thankful Thursday

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After a few rough days at school, it is time to change my outlook.  Here are a few things I am so very thankful for these past couple of days:

First and foremost, my family.  This includes Hubs and Miss C, but also my parents and siblings.  They are my support system, and I couldn’t make it from day to day without them.

My friends.  Most of my closest friends are actually co-workers, either at my building or at another school in the district.  They listen to me vent on my bad days, and they celebrate with me when I have good times.

Our financial situation.  It’s not perfect.  We have tight times, but we are able to make it.  Our debt is not building, and we do not depend at all on credit cards, loans, or other forms of debt.  In fact our debt is shrinking!  We have one more car payment, and then we are free of car loans!  I know it will not last forever (as I will need a new car sooner rather than later), but that is a big chunk of money that we will be able to put away into savings.

This blog.  I know I don’t keep up with it as well as I should, but I love being able to get on here and share my thoughts.  I know there are many lurkers and many people who read my page without commenting or letting me know.  That’s ok, because I know you are out there reading and that’s what makes me happy.

My determination.  I know that I stress myself out, and I put a lot of pressure on myself, but I know that my determination will help me become the person I strive to be.  I am working on developing and building many habits right now (and am actually being successful with a number of them).  I am determined to do my best and be my best!

I think I will stop with that.  I know there are so many other things that I am forever thankful for, but I don’t want to take all of your time.  (I also have a few things I need to get caught up on tonight, which is turning out to be a later night than I would like.)

What are you thankful for today?

Quick Post

I am happy Wednesday is over.  The weather was rainy and gloomy all day.  Changes in the weather always affect how the students behave, and it’s not normally for the best.  I know I was cranky and tired all day too, which doesn’t help.

On the positive side of things, dinner was fabulous tonight!  I made BBQ pulled pork sandwiches for the first time, and we enjoyed them quite a bit.  I also have lots of leftovers that I can pull out for a quick and easy meal down the road.

I honestly don’t have much to say (mainly because my brain is fried), so I will keep you entertained with a photo of Bandit:

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This guy was actually a big part of why I am so tired today.  He wanted to sleep under the covers with me last night, but couldn’t decide how to get comfy.  He was up and down and turning and all kinds of moving around.  It was not conducive to a good night’s sleep at all.

I suppose I should get working on my school stuff for tomorrow.  Always lots to do!

How was your Wednesday?

Good Day

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There are not many days that I come home from work and just feel good.  Today was one of those days.  I felt like a rock star at work (which also is not a common occurrence), my house is still clean, we had a home-cooked meal for dinner, things are just going well.  I know that it will not always feel like this, so I am trying to soak it in as long as possible.

Today at school was hectic with starting new small groups, being videotaped for a language arts program I am doing (which I just started yesterday), having a college student come observe, and just all the regular goings-on of a 2nd grade classroom.

One thing that made today awesome was getting a Thank You card from the parent of one of my students.  My job is rather thankless from day to day, and teachers are often taken for granted.  I am not complaining, as I love my job and wouldn’t change it, but I am just stating a fact.  I have been working closely with this child and the parent simply reached out with a handwritten note expressing her thanks for this.  I pinned it up behind my desk so I could see it daily.  It really just warmed my heart and made me feel like I am actually making a difference.

The college student who came to observe today was very nice and had many sweet things to say about what she saw and observed in our classroom.  I really love working with future teachers and getting them excited about their careers!

I know that everything just came together at the right time to make today feel so good.  It wasn’t just one thing, and I know that it can change in an instant.  I know that I won’t get compliments every day.  And I know I won’t get thank you notes every day.  But I need to remember that even on those tough days in the classroom, my job matters.  I am making a difference.

Well, I have about an hour and a half until I am headed to bed.  I have a few things to get done for school tomorrow, and I know that an easy way to start my day off right is to be prepared!

Did you have a good day?

Menu Plan Monday

Better late than never!  This is going to be a very brief post!  I have about half an hour until I want to go to bed, and I still want to get one more school thing done.  I have been super productive this evening, and I think it’s thanks to my new daily schedule pages!  They do take a while to fill out each week, but I find it is so very worth it!

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Here is what we are serving up at Chez Confessions this week:

Sunday, September 14: Grilled chicken teriyaki with rice and grilled asparagus

Monday, September 15: Tacos and corn on the cob

Tuesday, September 16: Sesame chicken, rice, asparagus (First time making this, so hopefully it turns out well)

Wednesday, September 17: BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwiches, raw veggies (carrots, cucumbers, celery)

Thursday, September 18: Out (Hubs is getting a recalled part fixed on his car at 5:15.  We will be in town, so we figured we can have a family dinner out)

Friday, September 19: Pasta Toss, Steamed green beans, bread

Saturday, September 20: Grilled chicken kabobs and rice

Just looking at those dates makes me wonder where September has gone!  We are already halfway through, and although each day has been slowly creeping by, I can’t believe it is already so far gone!  This seems to be how every month goes.  I just can’t seem to get a grasp on how quickly time flies!

Well, I am off to finish some school work!  I hope you have had a productive Monday!

What is on your menu this week?  Trying anything new?