Sunday, February 28, 2010

March Goals

In like a lion, out like a lamb. I'm hoping for more of the lamb and less of the lion around here. I feel like March will be a great month for us, we'll pay off the last of the Bike loan, and it will be all savings from there. We are expecting news on David's orders sometime this month, and then we should have a good idea of when we'll be moving.

March Goals:

  1. Pay off remaining $170 of Bike Loan.
  2. Add $200 to savings.
  3. Cut back on dining out.
  4. Try to use less gas, and makes fewer trips to the store.
  5. Finish Spring Cleaning.

I'll check back in soon!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

2/25-2/28: Living Frugally

I'm just now catching up on the last couple days. I have to say, we've been doing very well at not spending much money this weekend. A lot of that has to do with the fact that we've gotten serious about house shopping, and it really makes you think before spending money when you're saving for something so important.

Thursday was easy, it rained so David drove my truck into work and I didn't leave the house. He did spend $12 on lunch with co-workers but it came out of this $30 weekly blow money, so that's not a big deal.

Friday was payday and I went out to get the envelope cash and gas in the truck. My bank gives rebates for ATM fees, so there was no waste there. Before I got gas I checked so find out where the cheapest place in town was. It happened to be Walmart, which is great because it's only about a mile away and I used a Walmart Shopping Card to save $0.03 a gallon. I bought 16 gallons, saving me a total of $0.48. Doesn't sound like too much, but it was something I was going to buy anyway, might as well save a couple quarters doing it, right? Next stop was the vet to buy Bear's hear worm prevention. It was $55, but it came out of his envelope, so again it there was no real effect on the monthly cash flow. Pet care can be expensive but it's SO worth it to keep your pet happy and healthy. A little money spent to protect your pet now can save so much more expense and heartache later on. I cannot stress this enough!

Which brings me to Saturday. Weekends are always, ALWAYS a "budget buster" for us. I should say for me though, because most money spent is because I don't feel like cooking. I'd say 80% of our blow/entertainment money is spent on dining out. There really is no reason for this, especially when we have a house full of food. But I am really making an effort this week, so I cooked breakfast at home this morning instead of running to McD's. We had leftovers for lunch, then met friends for dinner. We went to a local deli, where I had coupon for a free appetizer and we got a military discount. We saved about $6, and the total bill was only $17. After that our friends came over to watch some movies and play Wii. We had a great time, and $17 is not bad for a Saturday spent with friends!

2/28-3/6 Menu

Hello warm weather...where are you? I am so over this cold weather and I'm in the mood for warm weather and outdoor fun. Next weekend is the first race at our local dirt track and David and I are so excited about that we can't stand it! Other then that, it's just the same 'ole routine around here.

Here's the menu:
Sunday: Going over to friends house or Stuffed Shells
Monday: Stuffed Shells or leftovers, depending on if I make them on Sunday
Tuesday: Cola Chicken, Rice, Peas
Wednesday: Beef Stroganoff, Green Beans
Thursday: Baked Fish, Potatoes, Broccoli
Friday: Breakfast
Saturday: Out to the race track!

February Summary

February was a really great month for us, especially financially speaking. It really is amazing the things you can do and the motivation you find when you aren't paying a "stupid tax" on a credit card. We were blessed with getting a larger tax return then we planned on, and with that we were able to almost pay off the bike loan!
In addition to our regular income, we got back $1,556 from Uncle Sam. That is actually a LOT more then we anticipated. Usually our returns are small, about $500. But with the extra $800 stimulus whatever it was (I seriously do not understand all of that!) we got back a larger amount. And wouldn't you know, it was enough to cover all but about $170 on the Bike Loan! We were thrilled, this was out last debt to pay off before saving to buy a house next year. (More on that in the coming months-SO exciting!)

So all combined, here are the numbers for the month:
$351 toward the Truck (regular payment, but still lowering the balance!)
$1,617 to PAY OFF the Bike Loan
$60 Vehicle Savings and Maintenance

Total: We increased our net worth by $2,028

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

2/24/10: Living Frugally

Today started rainy and cold here, so not too much happened. I went to Walmart early this morning to get some grocery items I didn't get at the commissary. I spent $25, and only saved $3 but I bought a lot of things that don't have coupons like eggs, fruit and seafood.

I also marinated 2 pounds of meat I will be making jerky out of tomorrow. David is leaving the country soon for work and I'm trying to get a bunch ready for him to take with him. All together it cost about $6. I don't know how much it would have cost to buy store bought, but I know it would be more the $6, plus it wouldn't be the quality I can get from making it myself.

For supper I made fish tacos, and dessert was strawberries with whipped topping. After dinner entertainment is a walk around the neighborhood and American Idol, of course.

Also, my seeds that are planted in the "green house tray" have started to sprout!! I can't wait for the weather to warm up so I can start planting outside!

**One thing I forgot to mention is that I am trying to cut down on my crazy soda addiction. Not only is it super unhealthy, but soda is not cheap! Today I only had 2 cans, which is much, much less then I normally drink, so that was pretty frugal, not to mention healthy!

2/23/10: Living Frugally

I've decided that in order to keep motivated and amp up my efforts, I'm going to try and keep track of frugal choices I've made for the day. In a perfect world, I would post my amazing frugality everyday. But the reality is, some days there just isn't much frugal-ness going on, and the some days I won't get around to posting. But I'm really going to try! I love reading about how everyone lives frugally on a daily basis. I get so many ideas, and I realize that in some ways I am making frugal choices and didn't know it, while other times I see that I can do so much more!

Yesterday I went with a friend to the commissary an hour away. It takes about 7 gallons of gas to drive there, and at the current price of $2.45 a gallon, it's a total of $17.15 to drive there. That sounds like a small fortune just to drive to a grocery store, but I easily made up for it in savings. Also, my friend and I switch out weeks, so every other week she drives. I spent a total of $105 (including a $2 bagger tip), and my total savings was $65! I am very happy with that, since I didn't go grocery shopping last pay period and we were low and just about everything. In reality, I saved much more then that, because the commissary is an average of 30% cheaper then Walmart.

On the way to the commissary we stopped by McD's where I ordered a biscuit from the Dollar Menu. I spent $1.09 but saved another $1 by bringing my own soda from home.

Our next stop was Old Navy to see what deals we could find. Sadly, there weren't many. I did buy a pair of pants for $10 and 2 pair of flip flops. Total spent: $16

On the way back to our town we picked up lunch at Chik-fil-A. I know! Eating at 2 fast food places in one day is neither frugal nor healthy. But we had a great time, and we don't have a Chik-fil-A in our town so it was a real treat. Total spent: $6

Then we stopped by the local grocery store for a few things. I got a couple grocery items, and used several Marcal Tissue Paper coupons. Total spent: $12, Savings $6

For dinner, David grilled some steaks for him and shrimp for me. I made hush puppies from scratch and a side of green beans. Total cost of the meal was about $7 compared to $30+ at a restaurant.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Staying Motivated

Good news! With the exception of the truck loan, we are DEBT FREE. Bad news? Now that we're not focused on paying off unsecured debt, we have lost some steam. It was easy to be motivated to get rid of that "evil credit card" and the motocycle loan. But now that we're saving to fully fund an emergency account, we're finding it to be harder. Yes, it's thrilling to be putting away money each pay check instead of sending it away, but at the same time, now we feel like we have "wiggle room" to cash flow things and frankly, we've been doing too much wiggling! We (mainly me!) have been justifying buying thats because I was putting so much stuff off when we were focusing on credit card debt. Now that we have cash in hand, I have been spending a lot on things we were putting off for the last few months. And I guess that fine, things have to be replaced, and now we have the cash to do it. But I am so scared that I'll get into the habit of spending and we'll one step forward, two steps back.

Also, I think another reason for my lack on motivation is because of my lack of posts! Now that the credit debt is gone, I feel like I have nothing to post about anymore. I've been thinking about branching out into other topics, and definitely adding a monthly summary so I can see how much we've been able to save. I've made a couple posts about cheap date/entertainment ideas, and I'd like to continue with those. I need to do something to get my focus back into saving and being finacially smart!

Monday, February 1, 2010

1/31-2/6 Menu

Mardi Gras is in full swing here, and with the Saints going to the Super Bowl next Sunday it's even bigger then ever! We've been to a couple parades already, and have several more in the next few weeks. This Friday is the Mona Lisa Moon Pie Parade, and I'm really excited about it. But that's really all that on the agenda for this week, it should be pretty quite until the weekend. So here's the menu for the week:

Sunday: Chili

Monday: Cola Chicken, Rice, Brussel Sprouts

Tuesday: Burgers, Cajun Potato Wedges

Wednesday: Pancakes, Eggs, Bacon

Thursday: Grilled Chicken, Macaroni, Peas

Friday: Parade, and out with friends.

Saturday: Spaghetti, Garlic Bread