Monthly Archives: January 2014

Menu Plan Monday – Jan 27

MPM-WinterThis week I happily have all of my ingredients already in the pantry or freezer.  We are about to begin “Polar Vortex, Part 2” (a few days of temperatures below 0 F).  I hope to not have to grocery shop until the end of the week when I turn my attention to Superbowl snacks!

Black bean soup - Dinner at home

Black bean soup – Dinner at home

Mon – Dr McDougall Back Bean Soup (Veg), Biscuits and Honey

Tues – Turkey burgers, fries, and broccoli

Wed – Spaghetti (sauce already made in freezer, joy!), home-made garlic bread

Thurs – Eggs, hash brown potatoes, turkey sausage, fruit

Fri – Pizza night, and ice skating (hopefully!)

For more menu inspirations, check out orgjunkie!

 

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My Spreadsheet Thinks It’s Summer!

La Galera beach

Photo: Wikipedia

While the temperature is an icy cold 6 degrees Fahrenheit outside, in my budget it is already summer!  Our budget accounts for recurring expenses (such insurance, utilities, etc.),  upcoming expenses that need to be funded, and also larger goals such as retirement.

In upcoming expenses for 2014, we are starting to fund a variety of needs between now and summer.  They include:

  • A new hot water heater – Ours is pushing the limits of its expected lifespan at the age of 13.  We will be prepared to replace it in summer when I am off work.
  • Tires and brakes on one car.  We began funding this in 2013 by setting aside money each week.
  • Summer kid activities – Registration for summer camps and activities usually begins in February or March, so this category needs attention right away.  We have $200 set aside from 2013.
  • Vacation – We have been using my checks from part-time work to fund our vacation category and have a good amount saved, but not enough.  Read more here about our decision to make saving for vacation a family affair.

Those are the big items for the next 6 months.  Every Saturday night we have a final look at our expenses from the past week and any unspent money is allocated towards these budget goals.  Setting aside $10-20.00 a week does add up, and keeps us from falling back into the arms of Citibank!

Goodbye to the Two Week Party

Perpetual Party at Ceramic Pub

Perpetual Party at Our Ceramic Pub

The whole family has been mostly off work since December 20, and it has been a non-stop party around the homestead.  Trips to Whole Foods (Mr. Saver reminded me that we can ‘Live like No One Else’).  Old-fashioneds (a cocktail) at night.  Dinners that are comprised of foods you eat while watching a movie at home.  The dining room table has become more of an American Girl furniture making shop than a spot for family meals!

BUT… tomorrow is back to school and work for us all.  I did prepare myself for this inevitability by having two meals ready to cook for Thursday and Friday.  I at least managed that in between buying all the fancy cheese and crab sushi!  I also kept a grip on reality by doing Flylady’s Holiday Clean-Up missions every day.  The clean-up missions are quick 15 minute actions, such as putting away holiday dishes or tossing out holiday foods that are on their way to becoming science projects.  I feel good about that.

Another thing I really let go of over the holidays was my coupons.  Today I will sort through them while we have the Rose Bowl Parade on and get back to my money saving ways.  BudgetLovingMilitaryWife – watch your mailbox, my loss is your gain.

One of the best ways I know to keep myself on budget and on task is by making a weekly meal plan and sharing it with you.  I am working on next week’s meal plan which returns to some pantry and freezer meals, and I am real excited to try a new recipe for a White Bean, Sausage, Kale soup.

While being debt-free does allow us to ‘live like no one else’ for periods of time, we have many financial goals and getting back to the basics of meal planning, budgeting, and coupons is how we can make them happen.