A new grocery budget and a new way to shop.

September marks the first full month that I only have to feed three.  I’m anticipating that my food bill will be much lower, and not because I have one less person to feed.  I’ve decided to take a whole new approach to grocery shopping.

Starting this month, I’ve decided to only purchase food that I will use in the month that I purchase it.  No stocking up.  I want to see if this will save me money in the long run, as opposed to buying things ‘on sale’ and buying large amounts.  I found out very quickly that I bought WAY too much food over the last couple of months, as I’ve been trying to eat down the freezer and pantry.  I still have a nice supply.

Here is my menu for the week.  Below the menu is my grocery list.  (I’ve already purchased some food over the weekend, so this is just what I need left to have the dinners I’ve planned.)

Menu

  • Chicken Soup w/crusty bread
  • Steak Quesadillas w/tortilla chips
  • Meatball Calzones, tossed salad
  • Chicken Gyros, Rice, Greek Salad
  • Homemade Pizza
  • Grilled pork chops w/baked potatoes and asparagus

Grocery List:

  • cilantro
  • lemons
  • carrots
  • corn on cob
  • green onions
  • asparagus
  • potatoes
  • flour tortillas
  • tortilla chips
  • Naan bread
  • Tri-tip steak
  • Whole Chicken
  • (3) Pork Chops
  • mozzarella cheese
  • colby jack cheese
  • taziki sauce
  • sour cream
  • skim milk

My new food budget for the month will be: $500.00.  ($300 less than what I’ve been averaging.)  Let’s hope this works!

How do you grocery shop?  Week by week? Monthly?  Stock up?

August Budget Recap.

friday financialsI’ve closed out August a bit early, and thought I would do a short recap.

This month we had a lot of big expenses, but fortunately we had the funds to cover them.  Here are some of the biggies:

How I spent my money:

  • Car maintenance: $1,515.52.  The bulk of that was the Honda repair.  The rest was registration fees for two of our cars.
  • College tuition and dorm supplies: $9,800  (Yep folks, this is only 1/2 a year’s tuition.)
  • Medical:  $521.06  We pay out-of-pocket up until we reach $3,000.  We’ve met our deductible this month, but some of that was for an eye exam, contacts and glasses (which isn’t covered under the deductible).

Thankfully, the other ‘usual’ categories (gifts, entertainment, clothing, etc.) were well within our budget.  I’m especially proud to say our grocery budget was the lowest I’ve ever paid in a month.  Although I didn’t make my $200 goal, I came in just under $300.00.  Nothing short of amazing for me.  I have a feeling my food bill will stay low now that there are only three of us.

What’s working for me:  Multiple Savings Accounts for Variable Expenses!

  • Having all of my variable category expenses in an online savings account helps me separate money and save for the big expenses when they come due.  (i.e. taxes, insurance, repairs, college)

What I did to save some $$ this month:

  •  Stayed put.  No travel, no vacation, no fun, no spending.  I was concerned about our budget so I planned nothing for this summer that would cost money.  Not sure it was the most fun, but it did eliminate budget busting.  Next year I hope to have a bit more summer fun planned and saved for.

How was your August spending? Over budget? Under?

Organizing Wednesday: Why do we hold on to clutter?

Once again, the week went by and I wasn’t able to tackle an organizing project I had planned.  (I really have about 5 just waiting to be done….)

So, instead of leaving my blog blank today, I wanted to share the following video from Kathryn’s YouTube channel,  Do it on a Dime.  This is a great video about how to purge sentimental items or items given to you that offer no value and you are keeping out of guilt.  It’s a great primer for me to start editing (purge) some of my photo boxes in the basement and other stuff I have lying around.

Do you have sentimental items you can’t part with?

Two Product Reviews

Wow.  Time is flying by.  The weather has really been spectacular for this time of year…70′s and 80′s.  Quite unusual for the Northern VA/DC area. I’m thrilled, but am a bit worried about the winter not being so nice.  Everyone says it’s supposed to be a very cold one.

Today starts the last week of summer vacation for my son.  Since my daughter left for ollege,it’s been quite lonely around here these past couple of days.  The dinner table has been just my husband and myself with my son finding newfound freedom with the car all to himself.  Sigh.

Anyway, I was able to try a couple of new products (to me) this weekend and I thought I would share.  First up is this new fruit bar from Trader Joe’s:

There are only two ingredients in each of these bars. (Can you guess what they are? :) ).  I’ve tried all of them except the apple and banana and I can tell you they are filling, sweet and delicious.    Each bar is 90 calories, and has 2 g of fiber which is probably why they are quite satisfying.  These will now be my ‘go to’ snacks as they are a perfect size to take with me, leave in the car or fit in my purse.  They aren’t cheap at .99 a bar, but if they keep me from having a Snickers bar, I’ll buy them!

I’ll have more Trader Joe’s product reviews coming up as I’ve become quite the fan!

Next up is something I’ve been meaning to try for a while:

Okay, okay, I know I’m a little late getting on board with this.  I had heard that it works well, but finally decided to buy a small tub and try it out.  Today I used one scoop on a light/white  load of laundry.  Oh.my.gosh.   I wasn’t sure if it would be noticeable, but I have to say, this product stands up to it’s claim.  My whites were so much brighter!

After a bit of research on this product, I found out it can also be used for:

  • tile and grout cleaner
  • removing stains from carpets/upholstery
  • remove stains from outside furniture
  • use it as an all purpose cleaner

If you haven’t tried this, and you have dingy whites, I strongly suggest you give it a try.  There is even a $1.00 off coupon here.

Okay, so there are my two product reviews.  I enjoyed doing this post, and will do more in the future.  If you have a product that you absolutely love, please share it!

Have you ever used OxiClean?  If so, what do you use it for?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Hubby: My birthday wish.

Do you remember when you asked me what I wanted for my birthday this year?  Well…

 

Backyard Fire Pit Ideas Design, Pictures, Remodel, Decor and Ideas - page 2

Do you think you could build this?   (You’ll have 3 months!) :)

I’ve wanted a fire pit in the back yard for a while.  I love this style, especially with the Adirondack chairs (my personal favorite).

Since the end of summer is fast approaching and the cooler weather will be here before you know it, this would be the perfect way to enjoy those brisk Fall evenings.

What do you say honey, would you build it for me?

 

 

Never say it.

Last week, as I mulled over my balance in my checkbook, I was excited to see that I had a nice tidy sum. (This was partially due to the fact I’ve been staying out of grocery stores. :) ) I patted myself on the back and called out to the universe...I have money!!!!  Never say you have extra money out loud.  Seriously. It will come back to bite you in the wallet. 

At the same time I was patting myself on the back, my husband was taking our Pilot in for a routine oil change, safety and emissions inspection and windshield wipers(just for good measure).  I had $150.00 already saved for this service (which was a lot more than was needed for the work) so I was pretty happy.  Then the call came.

Houston we have a problem.

Apparently during the inspection, the steering wheel fluid was leaking because of a cracked rack and pinion gear box and it needed to be fixed or we would not pass inspection. We were given the option to have it ‘patched’ for $90.00, but there was a good chance it could crack and then the steering wheel would lose all power at any time.  Since our children drive this car, it wasn’t an option. The repair (done the right way) would take hours of labor.  Hours of labor = $$$$.

Yep, my nice tidy sum was gone in an instant, as well as a nice tidy sum from my emergency fund.

Good grief.

Moral of this story?  Never, ever, let the universe know you have money.  Just sayin…

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