Saturday Cents

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I went to the grocery store yesterday, as the weather people had been warning of a winter storm for the past week.  Each day that has passed, though, the chances of a lot of snow keep diminishing.  Because of the chance of snow this morning, I decided to go grocery shopping early yesterday morning.

I *almost* came in under budget, and I know I could have, except I bought a few things not on my list.

Amount budgeted: $130.00
Amount paid: $132.64
Over budget: $2.64

I did have a few bucks in my wallet, aside from the $130 cash, so I was able to still pay cash and not use our debit card.  I am pretty happy about that!

As far as items not on my list, I got a Command Cup for our shower ($4.99).  I was planning on just getting a hook to hang up my spongy-guy, but I went ahead and also got a cup so I could put my razor in there.  Our bathroom does not have the best circulation, even with the fan on.  This causes mildew to happen quickly (gross, I know).  In addition to that, my razors start rusting within about 2 weeks.  Hopefully by having them hung up and not on a ledge in the shower, they won’t rust as quickly.  I do not regret this purchase at all, but this single item could have kept me under budget.

Another thing not on my grocery list were bows.  All of the Christmas items were 75% off.  They had bags of stick on bows.The bows are all different colors, so I will be able to use them throughout the year for different occasions.  I am down to about 3 bows after this Christmas, so I felt this was a decent deal.  The original price of the bows were $2.99, and I got two bags for $0.75 each.  A savings of almost $4.50 on items that I will use.

One of my best deals of the day were on frozen meals for Hubs.  (These were on my list.)  They were on sale for $1.88 each (originally $2.99 each).  They also had a deal that if you bought 10, you would get a $3.00 off your next purchase coupon.  Since these are frozen, they can be stored in a freezer for quite some time.  I also know that they will all get eaten and won’t go to waste.  With the sale, I ended up saving $11.10, and I got a coupon!

I didn’t have any other really big deals, but my savings were pretty good.

The coupons I brought saved me $4.55.  My e-coupons loaded on my card saved me $2.75.  Shopping sale items saved me: $24.64.  A total savings of $31.94 or 20% of my total.  I will also earn $0.50 on my rebate apps.

I was planning on checking out Aldi’s today, but I found that there is one problem with that.  They do not open until 9:00.  I honestly like to be done with my grocery shopping by 9:00.  I usually head out around 7:30 and am home by 9:00.  I hate dealing with crowds at the stores and prefer to get groceries done before the rest of the world is awake.  Hopefully this summer, when I am able to shop during the week, I will make a trip out there to check it out.  I find that the crowds aren’t that bad during the week, as most people have to work.  Until then, I will continue to use my coupons and shop sales at my current grocery store.

What great deals did you find this weekend?

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Happy New Year’s!

This is what our household looked like last night:

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We are not big partiers, even though New Year’s is a favorite of mine.  I love the fresh start and the new beginning.

 Unfortunately today, I have not really taken advantage of it.  I am still in my pjs and guess I am just slow to get 2015 started.  Don’t think today has been a total waste.  I did cook a nice, homemade lunch for the family before Hubs headed off to work.  I also got my first nap of 2015 out of the way.  Most importantly, though, I updated the pages on this blog and think I have finalized my resolutions for the year.
Without further ado, here they are:

Finances
$435 into miscellaneous savings accounts*
$300 into emergency fund*
10 No spend days
Track spending
Use cash only
Snowball and get 2 students loans wiped out

Marriage
One Date night this month

Health
Run at least 35 miles
Start muscle strengthening workouts
Yoga at least 3 times a week
Each more veggies (at least 1 at lunch and 1 at dinner)
No more pop!
Drink at least 5 cups of water a day

Recreation (Things I like to do)
Blog 5 times a week
Read at least 1 book a month

Home
Start a cleaning routine
Paint last set of cabinets*
Vacuum at least once a week
Complete one large home cleaning task a month

*Each goal with an ‘*’ is most likely going to change each month or will become a new challenge once it gets completed.

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Now for a bit of a breakdown of our financial goals (I will focus on breaking down a different area for the next couple of days):

Finances:
For the first goal of $435 into miscellaneous savings accounts, here is how it looks:

$95 into a savings account for Labor Day travels.  We are thinking about traveling out to see some of Hubs’ family for Labor Day.  This would include a hotel stay for 1 or 2 nights, along with gas, and food on the road.  I do not know if it will happen.  If we decide not to travel, then the money will be moved to somewhere that it is needed.  Once September arrives, we will reevaluate if we are going to make this a yearly trip.  If so, then I will adjust the amount for a full year’s worth of savings instead of just 9 months worth of savings.

$50 into a savings account for Thanksgiving travel.  We are celebrating Thanksgiving with Hubs’ family this year, and in the past it is has been hosted by his sister in Chicago.  We are not sure of the arrangements for this coming year, as we have offered to host it if anyone is interested.  If we end up not traveling, and we get to host it, then this will go to buying food for the holiday.

$50 for Christmas.  We are not traveling for Christmas this year, as we will celebrate it here with my family.  This means that we will not need to set aside as much as we did this past year.  I do believe $600 by December should be plenty to be able to buy gifts for everyone on our list.

$10 a month for classroom expenses.  Classroom expenses seem to always show up at the beginning of the year, the end of the year, and randomly throughout the year.  I think $10 a month will be enough to cover costs throughout the school year (along with money we get from the PTO and our building budget… assuming we get to keep our building budget.)

$75 a month for a consignment sale.  I will actually save $125 this month and $75 next month for the consignment sale at the end of February.  Unfortunately because Miss C is getting older, clothes are not sold in cute little outfits.  We have to buy tops and bottoms separately which end up adding up.  We will continue to keep these costs to a minimum by buying at the consignment sales.  After the sale at the end of February, I will lower this amount to $50 a month.  Then we will have the fall consignment sale to save up for.  It will become a regular savings process in our world.

$75 a month for a lawn mower.  We will save this for about 4 months.  Hopefully we will get to buy a lawn mower in April.  Ours is on it’s last leg, and it is a beast to use.  It was free when we got it and has lasted for 2 summers, so we aren’t complaining at all!  Once we buy the lawn mower, I think I will put this money aside for a dishwasher, as that is going to be the next appliance we would like to update.

$60 a month for dog expenses.  Dogs need vaccinations and monthly medication (all dogs, not just our two highly special dogs).  I like to set aside some money, so when vaccinations come due or we need a refill of heartworm protection, it is not a surprise.

$50 for car tags.  I have been doing this forever.  Our tags are due in July.  The first year we were married, I was not ready.  It was an unexpected expense (unexpected due to me not being prepared).  It is more than we need at this point, but I want to keep this amount the same for when we get a new vehicle and the price increases.

$15 for Miss C’s birthday.  By October there will be $150 which should be no problem at all for a 3rd birthday!

*Another one that I did not add is $450 a month for a car down payment.  I did not add this, as I am treating it like a bill.  It automatically comes out of our checking account and is deposited into a savings account.  I don’t even want to see the money, so I am not tempted to spend it.

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Because of the tv debacle, I know we are going to use some of our emergency fund money.  In all honesty, $300 this month into this account is going to be a stretch.  In our budget, I have $280 budgeted to go in there, so the other money will have to be scraped from somewhere else.   My semi-long term goal is to get our emergency fund up to $1,000 by the end of March and then up to $2,000 by the end of the year.  I sure hope that can happen!

When I think about only putting away $300 into our emergency fund, I get a little depressed.  I feel like we should be able to put more than that away.  But if I take a step back and add up how much we are saving all together (just in separate accounts to keep it easy to see), we are actually saving $1,185 in January.  That is not a number to be depressed about!

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10 No spend days.  I think this will be pretty easy.  My hardest part with this is tracking it.  I need to get on the ball with tracking things.  At least I have my beautiful new planner to help out with that!  I want to see if we can get 10 true no-spend days.  In the past I have let days that I paid bills count as no-spend days, but I don’t want that this time around.  I really want true no-spend days.

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Track spending.  Again, this is a goal that has shown up often and one that I fail at every time.  I really would like to track not only spending this year, but savings.  I want to see what I managed to save with coupons, sales, etc.  I don’t have a specific goal for how much I want to save, but I would like some baseline data to get me started so I can make a goal.

As far as tracking spending, this is just something I am going to have to force myself to do until it becomes a habit.  I am not sure how I want to track it yet, but I really want to see where our money goes each month.

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Use cash only.  I did not do as well with this one this past year, and I can tell, as we do not have as much change in our change jar as we have in the past.  I have gotten very lazy with just paying with our debit card for groceries.  We will continue to pay for gas with our debit cards, as I refuse to either unload my child to run into the gas station to pay with cash or leave her in the car as I run in.  It’s just not ok in my book.  Groceries have gotten expensive lately, so it is going to be tough keeping our grocery budget in check so I can use cash only, but we will definitely try our hardest.

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We should be able to get our first student loan paid off in May this year and our second paid off in September!  I can’t believe we are so close to getting more debt wiped out!  Right now we are paying double on our lowest balance, and we plan to snowball that to our other loan.  Being able to see that we are making headway and are closing in on being debt-free really gives me the encouragement to work hard and get it done!

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Wish me luck this year!  I have some lofty goals (as always)!

What are your financial goals for 2015?

Recent Money Woes

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This year whenever anyone asked us what we wanted for Christmas, Hubs and I replied “money.”  We have been working on updating our kitchen, one small step at a time.  I have almost finished all of the painting of the cabinets, and we will replace outdated and nasty appliances one a time, as we can afford them.

Since we have been married, we have had a counter microwave.  It has worked well, and we will keep it when we replace it, but we are not thrilled about it.  We have wanted an over-the-range microwave, but to do this, we will need to adjust the cabinets above our oven.  I have not painted those cabinets, because of it.

Anyway, we decided that the money we got for Christmas, along with the money I have gotten from my piloted program at school, we would use towards a microwave.  We ended up getting a lot more money than expected, and we came in under budget for our Christmas this year, so we decided that we would also get a treadmill with the money.  Here is the breakdown, as I had figured it out:

$746 (Cash, extra money from Christmas, money from piloted program)
~$300- Microwave (Ended up being $300.66)
~$320- Treadmill (Ended up being $342.32 with a 2 year warranty)

This leaves us with $57.02.

If you read my blog earlier, then you know that our tv died.  We are now looking at buying a new one.  We are coming in under budget for December by about $100, so I am willing to put that towards our tv.  We also have $60 in our “house” envelope that we will put towards it.  That brings us up to $217.02.  I told Hubs that I am willing to use about $250 from our savings to go towards the tv as well.  If you are keeping up, that means we are at $467.02.  Some other miscellaneous money I have available includes:
Paypal (~$45)
Rebate apps (~$65)
Change jar (~$50)

Total: ~$160

Absolute tops of how much we can spend on a tv is $627.02.  I do not want to spend that much, and Hubs is being really good trying to find them for under $400.  (I do love that he is on the same page with me about spending money and making large purchases.)

(I also have an upcoming photo shoot in February, but won’t count that money until it happens.  I also want to save all of my photography income this year to hopefully fund a new lens.  I don’t want to come reliant on it.)

Basically, we will be able to replace our tv, but not with something as expensive and nice as the original one.  I told Hubs that if we use the money from savings and are down to not much emergency fund, then things are going to be pretty tight for quite a while.  No eating out, no coffees for me (once my gift cards/gift certificates are gone), no extras really.

If we include the new CD player for Hubs’ car that we got before our trip to Chicago for Christmas, this makes 4 LARGE (over $200) purchases for us in about 1 month.  This is UNHEARD OF in our world.  I am happy to say that even with these purchases, we are paying them outright and will have no additional debt!  No extra payments!

So there ya have it!  An update of our purchases.  I need to redo our January budget so we can really pump up how much we are putting into our emergency savings fund again.  It needs to be built up and built up fast!

Have you had any unexpected, large purchases lately?

Christmas Budget

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Christmas spending is underway!  I have never done much online shopping, especially for Christmas, but it seems like that has been a big draw for me this year.

To bring up up to speed, we have been putting $75 away each month since January.  We have put it in a special savings account, that is not easily accessed.  This brought our budget for Christmas to $900.  This year we are going to be traveling for the holidays, so we knew that travel expenses had to come out of this budget.

Right now we know our hotel expense will be $220 (we are staying for two nights).
Here is how the rest of our budget seems to be playing out:

Miss C (Shopping is done): $64
Friends: $50
My Co-workers: $68
Hubs’ Co-workers: $10
My Secret Santa: $20
Parents (both sides): $125
Nieces and Nephews: $90

Total: $422

If you are keeping up, that leaves us $258.  I also budgeted an additional $250 just in the month of December for additional travel expenses (gas, food, etc.)  That means we have over $500 still!  That is crazy!  I really thought we were going to be stretching to stay under budget.  I have been able to find relatively frugal gifts for Miss C, friends, and family.  I did buy one item for myself so far (it was $17).  I think that is going to be my hardest struggle.  I have a few things on my wish list, but I am really trying my hardest to be good and not spend on myself.

As far as gifts for us, Hubs and I are asking for money.  We would like to buy a new microwave.  I think we will be able to do that with the money we receive from family.  We would also like to get a treadmill.  I have some money on a gift card from the program I am piloting.  I haven’t spent any of it.  We should have another payment ($200) coming this month.  That will bring the amount up to $300.  If we continue to stay under budget, then the extra money from Christmas along with the $300, should be more than enough to get a treadmill!  We don’t need anything state of the art… just something to run on.

So far, so good!

How is your Christmas budget looking?

Sunday Cents

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Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

Last week I started a No Spend Challenge.  Here is the post in case you were wanting to know more information about it.

I have done pretty well, except I did buy a couple things at the grocery store today simply because I had coupons.  I know that was one of the rules on my challenge, but hear me out.  The two coupons I used were buy one, get one free coupons (one for lotion, the other for shampoo/conditioner).  These coupons expired before my challenge would be over.  These are also two toiletry items that I know I am going to need in the next few weeks .  By getting these items now and using the buy one, get one free coupons, I saved $11.28 ($6.49 for the lotion and $4.79 for the shampoo/conditioner).  I felt that these coupons were worth using before they expired, especially since they are items that will be used and that will be needed in the near future.  I also saved an additional $1.00 with a store coupon I had (spend $3 on hair care items, and save $1).

This week my grocery store was having their mega savings event: Buy 10 items and save $5.00.  Luckily I had 10 specified items already on my list, and didn’t  have to buy anything additional to get my savings!

There were quite a few good deals this week, and I was able to combine some coupons to make them even better!  They were having a buy one, get one free deal on vitamins, and I had a coupon for $2 off 2 bottles of vitamins.  I ended up getting a bottle of multivitamins and a bottle of fish oil supplements.  Originally it would have been $20.28.  With the BOGO deal and my coupon, I ended up spending just $8.13!  Not too bad at all!

Another good deal was frozen veggies.  I typically stick to the veggies that are 4/$5.00 as some of the other choices are a bit pricier.  This week though, the ones that are typically $3.19 (mixed veggies with asparagus, and broccoli florets) were on sale for $1.99.  They were also part of the mega savings deal, so an additional $0.50 off each.  That brought each bag down to $1.49 each.  A savings of over 50%!  I also had a store coupon for $3.00 off a $15.00 purchase in the frozen foods section.  After stocking up on frozen veggies and getting some frozen bread, I was able to use this coupon as well!

Overall, I would say I stuck to my no-spend challenge pretty well.  I did buy a couple items that were not immediate needs, but are needs down the road.  I also feel good with those purchases, considering how much I saved by using the coupons instead of until later and not getting the opportunity to use them.

This past week has been a success as far as my no-spend challenge.  Aside from groceries this weekend, I have stuck to it pretty well.  I did buy some coffee with my MAD money, but that falls under the rules, so it is ok.  We did buy tires for Hubs’ car, which was an expected expense.  I think the main thing that will keep me successful is staying out of stores that I don’t need to be in (i.e. Target).  I still have a little over a week to go, so I am not in the clear yet, but I do think I will be able to make it!

Ouch!

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(Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net)

If you have been following this blog, you know that last month we made the final payment on Hubs’ car!  Woo-hoo!  I knew that this month we would use the money we weren’t spending on his car payment to buy him new tires.  The tires are desperately needed.  I called and got an appointment to get them put on, along with an oil change, on Saturday.  I talked with the guy for a while trying to figure out the best tires for our use.  Right now Hubs’ car is the one that we use when we travel.  It is bigger and newer than mine.  We tend to make at least one long trip once or twice a year (at least 8 hours in the car one way).

After discussing with the nice Midas man, we decided on some mid-grade tires that come with a 40K mile warranty.  We could have chosen cheaper tires, or even more expensive tires, but these seemed the best bet for what we needed.  We also realize that with the cold coming, we need these tires sooner rather than later.

In my mind I felt good about our financial decisions.  I had a little over $500 earmarked for these tires, and figured we would be fine.

Boy was I wrong!  Once everything gets done, it is going to be right around $1,000 for new tires, balancing, alignment, and the oil change.  Ouch!

I am going to have to look at our budget a bit closer, but I know that we have at least $675 that we could use without really interrupting our budget much ($500 set aside, and $125 from 2 student  loans that we had paid ahead on and technically do not have anything due this month, and $50 that is put in for car tag renewals each month.  I overestimate this deposit, so I feel comfortable skipping a month).  In our handy-dandy envelopes, we have another $55 cash for car repairs that can be utilized.  That brings us up to $730.  Unfortunately I think the rest of it will have to come out of our savings.  Boo!

Looking ahead at December, if we stick to our budget, though, (and I maintain the No-Spend Challenge) we should be able to recoup that lost amount by December 6th and then we would be back on track.  Let’s just hope my calculations for my budget are correct.

Do you have any big, not fun expenses coming up?

On another note, I would like to extend my thanks for the outpouring of love and support from my post yesterday.  I hate that other people struggle with the same things I wrote about, but it also made me feel a bit more normal.  I have gotten some great ideas and encouragement as a result of this little blog, and I can’t thank you enough!  My readers are the best!

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?

Sunday Cents

My days seem so busy this time of year.  We are starting to wrap up our school year and the things at home are starting to pile up.  The problem is that my motivation is plummeting.  I come home from work and don’t want to do anything.  The weekends now are just teasers for what is to come.  I don’t want to get started on any major projects, as the weekend is just two days.  I find that I have no motivation to do much of anything but just spend time with the family on the weekends.  The problem with this is that our kitchen is a wreck, laundry doesn’t get done in a timely manner, and the house needs a good scrubbing.  I am hoping to hold out until summer, and then I can really get to work!

I find that blogging has fallen to the wayside, as well.  I feel as though I don’t have anything interesting to blog about right now.  I need to get back in the groove, as I do enjoy blogging.  Hopefully May will be a relaxing, almost boring month (unlike March or April), and I will get back to a regular posting schedule.  Until then, just bear with me.

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Miss C and I did go to the grocery store today.  Not many huge deals, but there were a couple decent ones.

Total Budgeted: $160 ($120 from grocery envelope, $30 from dog envelope, $10 from gift envelope)
Total Spent: $153.58
Total Saved: $29.79

The big deal at the store is the same as last week: Buy 4 participating items and get $4 off.  I was able to take advantage of this today to save us $4.00.

Here are the big deals I found:

3 lb. 85/15 ground beef
Regular price: $16.99
Sale price: $11.07
Saved: $5.92

Digiorno’s Frozen Pizza (x4)
Price: $5.99 ($29.95)
Coupons: -$2 x 2 (-$4)
Total Spent: $25.95
Extra: Catalina coupon for $3.00 off my next shopping order

Dole Apple Sauce (x2)
Regular price: $2.79
Sale price: 2/$4.00
Coupon: -$1.00
Total Spent: $3.00

Sargento String Cheese
Regular price: $5.49
Sale price: $4.49
Mega Event Savings: -$1.00
Coupon: -$0.75
Total Spent: $2.74

Hallmark Cards (5 Total, Various prices)
Regular Price: $19.35
E-coupon: -$1.50
Scanned coupon: -$3.00
Total spent: $14.85

Eggo Waffles (x2)
Regular Price: $4.69 ($9.38)
Mega Event Savings: -$2.00
Coupon: -$0.75
Total Spent: $6.63

I did also get two 4 packs of Motts Apple Sauce.  I don’t know what their regular price was, but they were on closeout for $1.88 each.  Miss C loves these pouches of squeezable applesauce, so I knew they would get used.

So there ya have it!  Nothing too fantastic, but every penny saved helps!  I need to sit down and get our May budget done.  I hope to do that this evening.  I am photographing a birthday party this afternoon from 2-4, and then will make dinner.  I hope to get the kitchen picked up and cleaned somewhat after dinner.  Then once the little one goes to bed, I will try to get it done.  I also hope to get my menu plan post written tonight and scheduled to post for tomorrow.  If I can stay one day ahead on my posts, I find I do much better!

Did you find any good deals this weekend?

Two-fer Tuesday

So I have been trying to hide from the world lately.  The past two months have just been killer.  I feel like we keep getting hit with bad news or something bad just keeps coming up.  It hasn’t stopped.  I am hoping that with a new month comes a new outlook on life.  I am no longer hoping for good or great days.  I would just like a normal, stuck-in-a-rut kind of day.

Today our baby had her 18 month appointment.  She had to get one shot and had to have blood drawn from both arms.  Hubs was with her, and from what he has described, it was a horrible experience.  I was almost in tears as he told me about having to hold her down and hold her arms straight as they drew blood.  I don’t know if I could have handled it.  I am so thankful that he has gone to her last few appointments.  I am going to start taking time off work to go to them, so he is not on his own.

Most everything is going well with the little nugget.  She is definitely little.  3rd percentile for weight, 7th percentile for height.  The doctor did think she needed to be saying more words and talking more than she is now.  I honestly am not concerned at all.  She can say about 4 words (that we can understand), but she has so many other cognitive, logical, and reasoning skills, that I know she will develop her speech when she is ready.  She can follow 1- and 2-step directions.  She can do her alphabet puzzle.  She can problem solve by mimicking someone else.  She can match pairs of shoes.  She can build with her mega-blocks.  She loves books.  I think she is working so hard on all her other skills, that her language will come when she is ready.  It is not as though she is silent.  She is rather loud at times, she just makes noise, babbles, and yells instead of trying to form words.

Aside from that, tomorrow I go back to the surgeon for my follow-up appointment.  I hope all is well.  I feel fine, and I am not terribly sore or sensitive where the incision sites are.  I guess we will find out tomorrow if I am healing well.

menu-plan-mondaySince I haven’t been keeping up with the blog, I have a few things to write about.  The first will be my menu plan for this upcoming week.  I rarely miss a menu plan Monday, but honestly, I didn’t have a menu yesterday.  During my plan time at work, I got one written out, made a grocery list, and then went grocery shopping after work.  It is a pretty simple plan:

Monday: Pasta Toss (We had everything at home to make this)
Tuesday: Chicken stir-fry
Wednesday: Baked Ravioli
Thursday: Philly Cheesesteaks
Friday: Spaghetti

I plan to go back to the grocery store on Saturday, so I haven’t worked on my plan for the weekend.  It is a pretty simple menu, which is what I need at this point in my life.

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Next I have Saturday Cents, but it’s on Tuesday.  Tuesday Cents just doesn’t sound as cool though.

First, this weekend I had Saturday to myself, so I decided to take my March Madness winnings and go shopping!  I have needed some new clothes desperately, and I was happy to buy some new ones.  I ended up only buying from a discount store and two consignment stores.  I did go into a couple big box stores and a department store, but I was appalled at the prices.  Here is the breakdown of everything I got and the prices that go with them (I paid only cash for all purchases):

Discount Store (Ross Dress for Less)
Skinny jeans: $9.99
Chevron shirt: $7.99
Striped dress: $9.99
Teal shirt: $7.99
Canvas shoes: $13.99
Total: $56.47

Consignment Store #1 (Ditto)
Gap white cami: $4.00
American Eagle jeans: $6.00
Bullhead jean capris: $16.00
Gap top: $8.00
Paper Denim & Cloth skinny jeans: $12.00
Noir Jeans: $6.00
American Eagle shirt: $0.00
Total: $56.52

Consignment Store #2 (Plato’s Closet)
Shirt: $3.00
Shirt: $7.00
Shirt: $7.00
Total: $18.48

Not too bad for the prices!  A lot of new clothes for just over $130!  I had $164, so I stayed well under-budget!  Woo-hoo!  Not too shabby!

Now for my grocery shopping run-down from today.  No HUGE deals, but there were a few good ones.  The big event they have right now is mix and match 4 specified items and save $4.00. (So a savings of $1.00 off each item bought.)  You have to buy 4 in order for the savings to occur, though.

Total Budgeted: $180 (Some was rolled over from last week)
Total Spent: $149.58
Total Saved: $37.86

Best Deals

12 Pack Bounty Papertowels
Regular Price: $16.79
On sale: $13.99
E-coupon: -$1.00
Total: $12.99

Generic Brand Vitamins
Regular Price: $8.99
On sale: $6.74
Coupon: -$1.25
Total: $5.49

Ghirardelli Chocolates (x2 bags)
Regular Price: $3.99 ($7.98)
On sale: 2/$6.00
E-coupon: -$1.00
Total: $5.00

Nutrigrain Bars (x2)
Regular Price: $3.89 ($7.78)
On sale: $2.99 ($5.98)
Mega-Event Savings: -$2.00
Total: $3.98

Store Brand Chicken Tenderloins
Regular Price: $9.74
On Sale: $6.95

Pampers Baby Wipes (x2)
Regular Price: $6.57 ($13.14)
On Sale: $5.99 ($11.98)
Mega-Event Savings: -$2.00
Total: $9.98

Stauffer’s Frozen Meals (x5)
Regular Price: $2.69 or $2.99 ($14.05)
On sale: 5/$10.00

PopSecret Popcorn
Regular Price: $3.95
On Sale: $2.50
Coupon: -$1.00
Total: $1.50

So, there ya have it!  Nothing too major, but not too shabby saving almost $40.

I hope to be back tomorrow or Thursday with my May goals.  They are going to look much different than my goals have looked in the past.

Have you found any great deals lately?

Figuring out Finances

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After the vet visit yesterday, I knew we needed to adjust our finances for future vaccinations, vet visits, and medication.  I have spent some time today working numbers to come up with $85 per month to set aside for the pups.  This $85 will solely cover vaccinations, monthly medication (Heartgard and flea and tick preventative), and Bandit’s new prescription.  If there is an unforeseen emergency involving either dog, the money will come out of our emergency fund.  It was a little tricky to tweak the numbers in order to come up with the $85.

I went through our cash envelope categories to see what I could do.  Here is what I came up with:

The cash category is in bold, the new cash amount is in green, the difference (which will go to the new savings for the dogs) is in red.

Dogs: $60  ($20) (This dog money goes to food, treats, etc.)
Clothing: $0 ($20) (We are doing fine on clothing, and if we NEEDED something, we could start saving for it.)
House: $30 ($10) (This is for projects and supplies, not household goods)
Miscellaneous: $20 ($10) (This is for those small expenses that seem to pop up: stamps, postage, etc.)
Carseat: $50 ($10) (We plan to buy a new car seat in September when Hubs changes schedule and we need another one)

That gets us $70.  The additional $15 will just come out of our budget as a new category.  This means that we will put $15 less into our savings account each month.  This will start with our May budget.  I chose to put it off one month because the cash has already been taken out (and some of it spent) for the April budget.

The problem with starting in May instead of April is that it will put us a little behind when the first refill of everything comes due.  In order to offset that shortfall, I will put any money from photography sessions into this account instead of into our emergency fund savings, as I was planning.  (It will be 1/3 of the income from my photography sessions, as 1/3 goes to photography taxes, and 1/3 goes back into the business).  If we do that for the month of April and May (I currently have 3 sessions booked, and 1 in the process of being booked), then we should be caught up for the meds and should be able to cover the vaccinations that will come due in May.  Once we get to June, our budget will back to normal. (One downside is that our goal of $4,000 in the emergency fund will be a little bit harder to reach, but not impossible.)

There are a lot of different ways to save for unexpected and even expected expenses.  The way we do it is just one way.  I like having the separate savings accounts through CapitalOne360 instead of just lumping it all together into one savings account.  I like knowing where every dollar is going.  Right now we have 6 savings accounts that are saving for future purchases:

Christmas
Photography Taxes
Photography Gear
Dogs
Car Tag Renewal
Car Seat

They are all separate and although they are linked to our checking account, the money is not easily accessible.  It is not accessible at all from our ATM or from the checking account unless we do an online transfer.  It is safe and out of our hands.

I think that is it for our finances now.  I am sure I will have an update again for Friday Financials.

Do you know where every dollar of your paycheck is going?