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Archive for June, 2013

Weekkly spending recap: 6/21 - 6/27

June 30th, 2013 at 09:24 pm

Back in the budget saddle, tracking the spending. The reckless abandonment of sensibilities while on vacation has been replaced by the frugal mindset.

For the period of Friday, June 21st to Thursday, June 27th I budgeted the following:

Gas: $100
Groceries: $125
Miscellany: $25

Actual spending was:

Gas: $109.51 (Over by $9.51)
Groceries: $128.14 (Over by $3.14)
Miscellany: $25.84 (over by $.84)

So overages were about $13.50. The inlaws were here from Fri-Mon and then again Thurs-Fri, so I shopped a bit more than usual. I also feel that I didn't do too good of a job shopping the loss-leaders at Dominick's, having to do two smaller filler runs because I lacked a cohesive meal plan, and I was just plain old lazy after vacation. The Miscellany was a trip to Old Navy for some needed uniform items for the boys. My overall shopping included using $45 in gift cards ($20 for groceries and $25 at Old Navy) and coupon savings of $69 (this included $30 off the Old Navy purchase).

All in all, I am not un-pleased. I am remotely satisfied that the overages weren't worse. I'll continue to track the spending for this 6/28 to 7/4 and I think I'll be fine due to the way the trips to the gas station lined up and also the fact that I'm only frequenting Aldi's this week.

Onward we plod ...

Learning to like living on less, and learning to say thank you

June 27th, 2013 at 01:21 pm

Lots of "l"s in there for the alliteration lovers. Smile

When I was growing up in a dysfunctional money life (lived with mom and stepdad who were struggling financially and having wealthy father who never paid regular child support), one residual scar that I have a very difficult time accepting money or gifts. That is because there always some sort of string attached to it "If you get your mother to drop the court from pursuing back child support, I will pay your college tuition." That was one of the bigger things I dealt with at 17, but the list is long.

Fast forward to today. Our parents (my money-manipulating biological father excluded) know of our short and long term goals, and how we are adjusting to living on less, and that we are trying to bank a bulk of DH's salary while we have it.

I am needing to learn to just smile and say "thank you". Things that our parents have given us to help out with life (in just the past week):

1) New lawn mower (our last two were hand-me-downers from DH's fraternal organization members, and while we were on vacation and my inlaws were here to take care of the pets, FIL mowed the lawn, or tried to, declared the machine crap, and went out to Walmart to buy a decent new one).
2) Fully stocked paper products (toilet paper/paper towels/liquid hand soap) also from MIL
3) 32 new drinking glasses also from MIL

And from my parents yesterday:
1) 3#s bananas
2) 24 count Danimal smoothies
3) Dole orange cups
4) Trader Joes fig bars

I bit my tongue when I was going to say "oh, you shouldn't have." If there was a simple reset button in my brain, it would be oh-so-much easier. I need to realize that the manipulative motives of one person don't always translate to ungenerous motives in others, right?

ETA: Learning to make the money work smarter, not harder has included me starting a list of things that I know that we need on a regular basis (like Allegra liquid allergy and razors) - On Tues, I was able to stack coupons at Target to get $11.50 razors for $6.50, and yesterday I was able to get Allegra at CVS on sale for $9.99 and I stacked $4 in coupons to get it for $6. The Allegra is still on sale $13.99 regular down to $9.99. I'll go back to today for another one using a $2 off coupon. Smarter, not harder is one of my new mottos.

Did you hear that scream?

June 24th, 2013 at 01:47 pm

I am officially into the "stretch my dollars until they scream" mode. I shared that with my husband and in-laws and they thought it was a funny phrase.

Prior to our vacation we were in need of some clothes so I headed over to Old Navy. At that point I was given a $30 off of $75 purchase. We're in no need for clothes for the summer, but when the kids head back to school I've got one son in a different uniform scheme (khaki-colored bottoms and navy blue polos shirts). I also had a $25 gift card from redeeming points on the credit card.

I managed to get one pair of khaki uniform shorts, one pair of khaki uniform pants, one pair navy blue uniform pants, two light blue polo shirts, and two navy blue polo shirts. I was $4 under the required $75 pre-tax, so I picked up a $4 sock monkey for someone's Christmas stocking. After the $30 coupon and the $25 gift card were applies, I spent $25.84. And I had allotted $25 for the trip. Smile

Now moving on to frugal gift giving, our dear friend is getting married in November. I've checked my stitching patterns, polled the family as to which one was their favorite. I've got the fabric and will need to spend about $3.50 on floss. Again, I've stayed with a standard sized finish so I can get away with a premade 10 x 13 frame. I'll most likely pay the $15 to Hobby Lobby for assembly.

So, I'm happily embracing the frugal phase of life.

Back to normal

June 23rd, 2013 at 01:52 pm

We arrived home from our trip on Thursday, 2 AM, followed by a 9:00 AM VBS start time for myself and the girls. My boys opted out. That day included the $23 wristband night at our local festival/carnival. It was dirty and loud and crowded and I'm not a fan of carnie workers (though I'm related to one). The kids did enjoy the time with their friends. So its been socialization and napping ever since then. My inlaws are still visiting, going home tomorrow, but my FIL's mom died yesterday. No big surprise as she was 96 and in a nursing home and in bad shape since April. I'm a crier, so that left me with a big headache. And allergies are bad. So I'm still yearning for "normal" when my house is my own and we're moved toward some sort of schedule.

Budgeted money for 6/21-6/29 (tenant now pays rent on 15th and 30th - $725 each time).

$80 for gas (both cars were on E)
$105 for groceries (had some things frozen and inlaws had some things on hand) - Spent $75, still have a $20 gift card and will do a trip to Sam's Club for yogurt/granola bars/milk and bananas)
$25 for misc. (I think this will most likely be BTS uniform clothes for the boys - at Old Navy I have a coupon for $30 off of $70 and I have a $25 gift card. If I'm careful I can do it)

Our inexpensive activities this week include: library, $1 movie, Arboretum, and pool.

Off to catch up on the blogs, hope everyone has a restful Sunday.

Home, happy but tired

June 20th, 2013 at 09:22 pm

Been home for roughly 15 hours (arrived home at 1:15 AM, went to sleep at 3:30, woke up at 8 AM for Day 3 of VBS and have dealt with driving semi-crankly children to their activities. Did I mention my inlaws ran my home for 11 days (lots of pets) and things are clean but re-arranged?

I loved spending time with my grandmother. She is 93 and has settled into a happy little routine in CA. I had hoped that one day she'd come to IL, but not realize that probably won't happen. That is OK. I've gotten on a plane for the first time since 9/11 with all the kids and DH and managed to survived. Surprisingly, it was fairly easy. I will have to rethink travel, making visiting a priority. I don't think that my grandmother will be coming to IL again, either. She's using a walker more and is far more opinionated in the particulars of her daily life.

We did Disneyland and California Adventure for two days (gift from my uncle), we did a two day pass to San Diego and saw a navy ship, the San Diego Safari Park, and LEGOLAND. We also went to the Mission at San Juan Capistrano with my grandma (quite a beautiful place). We also went to Laguna Beach and Balboa Penninsula Park to see the Ocean. The kids swam at the pool at the hotel.

I squandered the following:
$100 for luggage ($25 a piece for two pieces/there and back)
$70 for a hotel in San Ysidro - I thought it was San Diego proper, but no - it's on the border. Not advised to be safe.

I lost track of the spending, but had a great time.

Affordable gift giving

June 9th, 2013 at 12:48 am

Tomorrow is the going away party at our parish for our pastor and associate pastor. Both have been wonderful leaders in our Catholic community and I wanted to give them each a nice gift to remember my family by. Being on a budget, I've had to be creative. I'm an avid cross-stitcher and had the time and supplies to put these two together. The red one was from a free online pattern, and cost $1.00 in Egyptian Red floss and $2.00 for the fabric. The cross was a pattern I already had and used floss from the previous time I stitched it. I again spent about $2.00 for the fabric. The frames were from my mom's stash. I framed the cross myself, but paid $12 at Hobby Lobby for the Christ to be framed. I bought the wrapping paper at Dollar Tree and used thank you cards I had on hand. All in all, I am very pleased with the end product, especially given how much I could have spent.

Pre-Trip Spending

June 7th, 2013 at 04:23 pm

11-Day trip to California begins Monday, returning the following Thursday.

$2,800 - round trip air fair from ORD to LAX for seven, 11-day car rental of mini van
$630 - 2 day Go San Diego cards for seven
$130 - hotel in San Diego

My uncle covered the cost of two-day passes to Disneyland. My inlaws covered the cost of a limo to/from air port. My inlaws are also staying at our home to take care of our menagerie.

I am so looking forward to this trip. It's been two years since any major travel took place. My first time on a plane since 9/11, and the first time ever for my kids.

On FB I posted the "It Never Rains in CA" video!

Graduation Day

June 2nd, 2013 at 01:36 pm

Younger daughter graduated 8th grade yesterday. It was a beautiful Mass. We had family and a friend over afterwards. We spent $76 for a dinner and ice cream cake from Dairy Queen (her favorite). We gave her a backpack from PINK that she has wanted (used a $10 off coupon, spending $35) and will start her with a Brighton bracelet (more affordable than Pandora).

We are so proud of her.

On to high school!