Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Circus Is Dying

Friday we attended the Shrine Circus with the family. It wasnt what I remembered. The last time we went was when I was pregnant with my son to the Ringling Bros Circus. That is a much more expensive show. It was a lot of fun and we bought a snowcone with a keepsake cup. This time I wanted to go because my son has never been and my daughter is getting older (we have gone to circus type shows at a fair with him previously, but that was it). As we walked in there was a gated section of protestor shouting things at us. Definite mood killer. We go inside, getting there early to get good seats. They had animal rides and entertainment. Everything was $10. I wanted to stick to a budget so I only brought $15 cash. I jokingly told my kids only 1 1/2 can ride the elephant. So we sat down and watched everyone else spend money. During the show they kept advertising their items for sale. This was a good opportunity to teach my son not to fall for all the hype that people try to trick you with. I have nothing against them raising money for charity, it just wasnt in my budget to do. My daughter knew the items were over priced, but she wanted a $5 snowcone. This did not come with a cup. I just compromised and said after we can go for ice cream to the Dairy Queen ($12 for four small items). The other disappointing part of the show was the lack of audience enthusiasm. The most excited they got was when they threw out free t-shirts. I know the show wasnt all that great and you can see more exciting videos on the internet, but come on people! You pay all this money for a show and you need to get into it!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Feb '15 Non-Budgeted Expenses

Things not budget for before February:
-$20 more cough medicine
-$15 for orchestra fundraiser to buy a cup
-$36 for daughter to attend baby sitting class
-$1.06 dry erase markers to use for my Den meetings (Dollar Tree ones, don't even work!)
-$3.18 in gifts, my son was invited to a friends party
-$79.26 in fast food
-$3.71 entertainment (Red Box 2 rentals with coupon, 1 without)
-$5 cover charge when went out with friends
-$130.05 for part for washer (replaced again!)
-$9.00 valentines for kids
-$42.00 circus
-$110 Costco membership
-$68.20 extra in clothing, Easter/church clothes mostly, found some clearance items
-$5 extra to church
-over $3.62 in personal category (bought a $40 weight set to increase what I lift)
-$.40 extra to pay off my son's school lunch account
-$7.95 in snow blower parts to keep the wheels on and the washers didn't even fit.
- $58 on a will kit from US Legal forms, still need to print and get started.
-$349.64 for the two days in 2014 where our kids didn't have insurance (don't get me started)
-$25.28 gift for my son's birthday in March

Things we did budget in:
$115 in baseball for son
$11.50 eyebrow wax for myself (long overdue, saved half price with first visit)
$100 more for food
$161.50 for cub scout camp
$20 in convenience food
$11.13 eyebrow wax
$27 for kids yearbooks
$178.30 for car tags ($99.20 less than last year)

Everything was paid for in cash, except for the Costco membership. I still have not canceled my American Express credit card. Half of me wants to and half of me can't seem to let it go. It auto renews my membership each year which I hate. I have talked with my mom about cancelling the membership that we share but nothing has happened yet. I do have the money to pay it off, and will do so. I plan on paying for the whole thing as part of her mother's day gift since she is so hard to buy for or she gives ideas after the fact. The biggest disappointments were the washer seal going out again and the medicare bill I had to pay. I really want to just throw the dang thing out! Twice in 5 years we have replaced this part. Next time I will not buy a Whirlpool and I'm thinking of getting a top loader. The wins of the month is we are funding Christmas and able to pay $2005.00 off in debt this month.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Jan '15 Non-Budget Expenses

          I have such mixed feelings about 2015. I am 90% positive we won't pay off everything except the mortgage by the end of this year. We would have been fine but my husband is now making about half of what he was making. He is only 2 months into his job and has already gotten a raise. I hope to get a raise at both my jobs this year, one in Feb and the other is usual some time in the summer. In January I did get a nice bonus, plus my husband can get overtime at his job.

For January here is what was not part of our budget:

-went over a nickel in the pet category buying hay for the guinea pigs
- $4.77 in water softener which I didn't budget for so I need to add this in
-$13.00 I bought a white cross for our lawn to display during lent
-$36.65 for light bulbs and fuses for my Jetta, then $80 for the mechanic to fix the headlines which turned out to be a fuse which burned out the bulb (but my husband's job gave a discount)
-$100 or more on eating out/vending foods (we spend some cash which I didn't track carefully)
-$40 in gifts for my niece B-day BIL 40th B-day
-$75 in gas for travel to see family

-$43.18 for a race (I did only one race in 2014 and this will might my only one in 2015)
- $10 in medicine for cough and rash creme
-$50 in daycare registration

          We did get money for Christmas so that helped plus my husband has gotten some gift cards at work. Currently we have $35700 in debt for our siding and two cars. To pay off by Dec we need to pay off almost $3000/month, which also is the amount of monthly expenses. I definitely will have the siding paid off by Sept before the zero % interest expires. With an approximate yearly after tax and benefits income of $48,000, $3,000 in debt payments is not happening right now. I would really like to pay at least $2,000/month (minimum of $1500). The minimum payments are $603 for January, so that would be $1397 extra. We could be really close to paying off our debt this year but it has been really hard to stay focused and not want to relax after all we have been through. I hope tax season is not a big disappointment.

Also see 2014 unexpected expenses: Expect the Unexpected

Monday, January 19, 2015

Meal Plan Subscription

Most weeks I do have somewhat of a Menu Plan put together. I try not to eat out more than once a week, but even that seems expensive, especially if I have a few trips to the vending machine during the week too. I have been thinking more about subscribing to a Menu Plan so I can have it already put together and just go shopping. I can't cook ahead more than a meal or two because our freezer is packed 95% of the time.

Here are the Menu Plan subscriptions I am thinking about:

Bikini Body Mommy
-4 12 Week Plans, one for each season, each $29.99 then $9.99/ month after getting the Monthly Subscription
- healthy meals (gluten-free, grain-free, refined sugar-free),  based on two people eating, but easy to increase for more people, nutrition information

- 12 months $58; 6 months $48; 3 months $30 for dinners
- also can add breakfast, lunch and dessert plans for additional amounts
- 16 different meal plans to choose from

Plan to Eat
-$4.95/month or $39/year
-compiles recipes from web, others who use Plan to Eat or your own
-make a grocery list that you can see on your phone and puts recipes in to a calendar

100 Days of Real Food
- 5 7 day plans, free to sign up
- healthy real food at a low cost for a family of four

Saving Dinner.com
- Basic service $15/ 3 months or $47/year to get a pdf of recipes each week of 4 meal plans: Classic, Paleo, Low Carb, and Daytime
- Premium service is a application online and on your phone for $12/month or $120/year that has new menu plans each week plus you can look back on past menus and add to calendar and create a shopping list.

These all seem like they would be useful, but I don't know if want to spend money every month. I did sign up for the 100 Days of Real Food. I would like to do the Bikini Body Mommy because I am having success following her Challenge. I don't think eMeals will work since I have a feeling most of the menu would be something we wouldn't eat. Plan to Eat and Saving Dinner are similar, but I like that Plan to Eat has a mobile site for my phone so I can see/check off my shopping list. From the video it sounded like Saving Dinner has an app in the works. I know my weight loss can be accelerated if I just stick to a more healthy eating plan so I'm looking for something to help me stick to it.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015


The cold weather is here! Hopeful  you a warm wherever you are reading this now.

This is the time to think of when it was so hot you said i like it better when it is cold because you can put on layers. I don't think that there are enough layers for this weather. Keep in mind this reading does not include windchill. It feels like -18 degrees.

On top of this im walking slowly due to day two of 3.0 Bikinibodymommy.com challenge. I wanted to do 2.0 last year but never got motivated enough. Ive been so busy, im writing this post after working my two jobs from 8am to 9pm while my car is warming. They always say, if you want something done ask a busy person.

So this year my i plan to pay off more debt, get fit, and hopefully still enjoy life!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Best highlight of 2014

The best part of 2014 was paying off $24,967.96 in debt. We worked really hard, but were not able to make our goal to have half paid off.

Going to church and finding one that makes me feel at home has also been a very important part of my family in 2014. It makes me feel even more grateful for the things that I do have.

We had some great times even though we spend less money on misc unneeded items.

My daughter entered sixth grade, and her last year in her current school. My son lost his first tooth. We gained two guinea pigs. My husband changed jobs. I gained a job and new friends.

I look forward to cutting more debt in 2015 and praying for more great things to come.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Thanksgiving Meal Plan

Preparing for the Holidays, Santa is coming soon!

I hope you are defrosting your turkeys if needed because this Thursday is Thanksgiving!!!

Here is what we will be having (but I'm sure there will be even more food than this).

deviled eggs
veggies and dip
Cranberry Pecan Brie Crostinis

turkey (recipe needs prep to soak night before cooking)
mashed potatoes
green bean casserole
stuffing(from a box)


Costco dessert :0)
pumpkin cheesecake bars