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Grocery Spending Tracking

June 15th, 2018 at 09:42 pm

I made it to Trader Joe's and to Winco today. I still need to go to Costco tomorrow, but what I need to get there is minimal: toilet paper, butter, eggs, fettucine noodles, and chicken sliders. I still have $91 left in my grocery envelope, some of which is left from last week, and there is $69 in my household envelope. I do need to get one bag of duck feed tomorrow and then next Friday I need to purchase two more.

I spent $71.21 at Trader Joe's and this is what I bought:

2 bottle olive oil spray
3 jars Alfredo pasta sauce
4 cans tuna fish
2 boxes fish nuggets
2 Strawberry Walks into a Bar bars
4 packs uncured beef hot dogs
3 sweet yellow onions
2 bags shredded cabbage
4 bell peppers (1 red, 1 yellow, 1 orange, 1 green)
1 box peanut butter granola bars
1 lb yellow summer squash
1 container of garlic powder

Hot dog prices were up 60 cents a pack.

At Winco I spent $65.15 and I bought:

8 small Zoi greek yogurts
1 bag shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 bag shredded medium cheddar cheese
7 Beef Nongshim noodles
6 Chicken Nongshim noodles
1 container shredded Parmesan cheese
1 package hamburger buns
1 container garlic salt
2 cucumbers
1 extra large bag of French fries
1 20 count pack of 1/4 pound hamburger patties
1 box of Zingers

Lots of cheese, but Winco has it $1.01 cheaper than anywhere else and I was low on those ones. We use a lot of cheese here.

Payday Report for 6/15/18

June 15th, 2018 at 01:15 pm

Household is low because I ended up having to order some stuff online on a credit card so used the Citi card for that. I took the amount I ordered out of the household budget because it was for a new dishwasher silverware rack (the old one has holes and things are falling through it) and a pair of XXL large cleaning cloves for DS, whose hands can't fit in any of the offerings available locally.

Then after I did that I went and looked and you can actually pay directly out of your checking account with Amazon. So I entered my information on that. I've disabled one-click check out as well, so that I always have to check to make sure which method of payment is coming up instead of blithely clicking.

I was able to make a small payment on the Monster Mom Loan and I started the Laptop Fund. It feels good to be making some sort of forward progress again instead of just holding on.

$181.48 Tithe
_441.41 Autopays
_200.00 Grocery Envelope
__19.00 Household
__37.00 Allowances
_200.00 Medical Fund
_150.00 Gas Money Envelope
__81.32 Car Insurance
_100.00 Laptop Fund
_250.00 Monster Mom Loan
_145.95 Citi (Should be done now, might have something else show up)
------------
1806.16 Total Money Out



Follow Up + Store + OT + New Sinking Funds

June 11th, 2018 at 02:55 pm

DD had her follow up this morning with the surgeon. I thought I was going to have to pay a $55 co-pay, but it was actually considered part of the cost of the surgery, so I didn't. Everything is healing well and DD is on track. He thinks the reason her body sent her to the ER the last time was that she was trying to do too much too soon.

I agree. I've made her stay in bed or in her computer chair for the most part in the last week and she hasn't had a return of those symptoms. If she wants to get up to talk to someone elsewhere then she has to sit down while talking and not just stand there. After another week has passed then she can start doing a little more. She's a bad rester, so I am having to be pretty strict about it.

She does get to walk the length of the house a couple of times a day for circulation, though. She's bored so I gave her my TBBT dvd's to watch. If she makes her way through the 10 seasons I have then I'll start her on Buffy, Angel, Charmed, Roswell, Lost, Farscape, or Fringe.

I did go to the store and pick up the oranges I forgot to buy on Friday and also some cherries that I impulse bought, but they were gorgeous. I bought less oranges so I could have the cherries, too. I still have enough money left to buy some Kerrygold butter, which DH will have to pick up on his way home from work since he goes right by Costco.

I had DH run the numbers for me and with the amount of overtime he worked last week, this week's paycheck will have an additional $590.83 give or take a penny. Most of that will go to the Monster Mom Loan, but I am going to put $100 of it aside to start funding a laptop fund. DH's laptop is giving him trouble and I'd like to have the money in place to replace it before it gives up the ghost. While we can do 18 months same as cash, that is still a debt and we don't want to do it that way anymore.

I'd also like to start funding a clothing envelope. DH needs new socks pretty soon. DS will need sweat pants in the fall and he still needs one more pair of regular pants then as well, since he only has 2 pairs of pants now and 1 pair of jeans that he doesn't like to wear. He's never been a jeans kid. So I will try to fund that up to $300 while DH has overtime available. I think I'll do $50 a week for that until it is funded, then switch to $50 a month.

I am considering whether or not I should try to start a Christmas Fund or not. While we have been paying back debt, Christmas has always been pretty limited, but I'm not sure I want to try to cash flow it at Christmas time or not. Maybe when I get the clothing fund funded I can switch to Christmas. I just really want to throw the majority of this at debt and get the Monster Mom Loan paid down as far as we can.

If DH gets 10 hours of OT a week through August we should be able to pay back $7000. If he gets the max, 15 hours a week, it'll be quite a bit more. I don't know if overtime will be available after that or not, but I certainly hope so. For example, if he has it through December we could pay off an additional $10,000, which would make our progress astronomical, cutting the debt almost in half. But there are no guarantees that it will last past August.

It really depends on which projects he ends up working on. Some have OT built into their budgets and others do not. Holiday weeks can throw things off as well. He will have enough paid time off to take off Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's, but how that would affect overtime I'm not sure. He will likely just work on the 4th and Labor Day, though. We never do anything on those days, and the only thing we do at night on the 4th is take our chairs to the end of the driveway at 10:30 and watch the Blast Over the Bay fireworks show. We're still in bed by midnight.

So I guess I have two plans in place, one with OT and one without OT. And we'll just have to see how it all goes.

Payday Report for 6/8/18

June 9th, 2018 at 03:25 pm

After paying all of the bills and funds allotted to this week we have $60 left in checking. DH has finally got a working debit card, so now the medical checking account is working as intended. I am funding it to the tune of $200 a week and then any excess in that fund each month will be saved towards future big medical expenses.

The only thing not funded out of that is the chiropractor which has its own line on the budget. If DH does get hired on direct at some point, we'll be stuck paying COBRA for a while and have a new deductible, so I want a huge medical cushion. Plus, we need money in there for future surgeries we know are coming.

$122.47 Tithe
_200.00 Grocery Envelope
__50.00 Household Envelope
_275.00 Chiropractor Monthly Family Plan
_200.00 Medical Fund
__90.91 Internet
_100.00 Car Insurance Fund
__36.00 Allowances
__50.00 Car Maintenance Envelope
__36.00 Garbage Fund (paid every two months)
__25.00 DS's Driver's Permit Renewal
-------------
1186.38 Total Money Out

Grocery Spending Tracking

June 1st, 2018 at 05:49 pm

DS and I did the banking this morning and I funded my envelopes. I put $200 in the Grocery envelope and $50 in the Household envelope. I put $200 into the Medical checking account and took out $35 for DS's allowance. DD is not getting one as she is doing no chores while recovering from surgery.

After that DS and I went shopping. In the Household category I spent $19.54 on dishwasher soap. It was a very good sale. In the Grocery category I spent $159.66. I still need to buy tissues and body wash from the Household and yogurt and soup from the Grocery categories. I may get some butter, too, yet, but that depends on how fast we go through what we have. I am hoping to push the butter off another week.

Groceries I bought at Safeway:

4 Miracle Whip
2 lbs organic tomatoes
4 boxes organic spaghetti
2 boxes organic penne pasta
12 Chef Boyardee Mini-Ravioli
6 organic Nectarines
1 cantaloupe
2 Jif naturals creamy peanut butter
1 Justin's honey peanut butter (for DS)
4 organic ketchup
1 2 lb bag Mexi-Blend shredded cheese
2 potato bread
2 dynamite bread
1 Thousand Island dressing
4 jars Prego pasta sauce
3 1/2 gallons of milk

I spent $117.61 there. Almost everything I bought there was on sale. Only the milk, bread, and Jif peanut butter was full price.

What I bought at Haggen:

3 lbs organic grapes
1 organic cauliflower
5 lbs organic broccoli
1 bunch cilantro
1 yellow summer squash
1 container shredded Parmesan cheese

I spent $42.05 there. The only thing on sale was the grapes. The other items were cheaper at Haggen then at Safeway, though. Now I need to sit down and make up my meal plan.

Grocery and Household Planning

May 31st, 2018 at 02:16 pm

I went through my freezer to decide what kind of meats I want to build my meals around this pay period and checked on my levels of onions, potatoes, carrots, celery, and sweet potatoes (all still good), and then I sat down with my price book spreadsheet and the grocery ads and filled things in around what I already have plus any super sales for staples I want to get.

I wrote everything out on a master shopping list divided into different stores and I put the prices of everything down and added them up. I am under budget with enough left to get milk or bread if we run out later in the week.

Safeway is having a very good sale on Cascade dishwasher soap. I need some, but the sale is $5.49 each if you buy 4 or more, so I am going to go ahead and buy 4. I like having a stockpile and I have $12 left in the household budget, so with payday's $50 added, I'll have $62. I also need to buy my son's body wash and some Puffs tissues, likely a 6 pack. I went through a ton of tissues with this cold. How much body wash I buy will depend on the cost of the Puffs, but I would like to stock up a little.

With the extra $12 I can easily absorb the cost of the extra dishwasher soap into the Household envelope. Unlike with food, I have to account for sales tax of 8.7% in the Household budget. Next week I will be buying more toilet paper (I like to have 2 cases on hand) and deodorant. Something else may crop up, but so far the $50 a week seems to be covering it all.

Tracking our expenses so closely is making me feel an enormous amount of freedom. I know that we will meet all of our bills and have enough extra to pay some on the Monster Mom Loan. I don't feel nearly as overwhelmed now that I know where every dollar goes. I am looking forward to tomorrow when I can fund my envelopes. It is good to have focus again and realize there is a way out if we keep our eyes on our goals.

Finished the Budget for June

May 30th, 2018 at 05:24 pm

I have done a detailed budget for the month of June, breaking it down into four weekly budgets, assigning amounts to each week and making every dollar work for us. While doing that I kept coming up with extra money each week. I figured when I got to the last week it would zero out, but it didn't.

Turns out when I added up the four paychecks I must have made an error, because I had more money than we thought. I was off by $110, so that means I can actually bump the grocery budget to $200 a week instead of $175. I added the extra to the cushion category, which put that at $40.80 a month. I want to build a small cushion into the checking account.

I am really grateful to have found that mistake, because we have gone over $175 both weeks so far, but still stayed under $400 for the two weeks. I was really trying hard, too, but when you are feeding four adults, 2 of which are male and 1 of which has extreme dietary limitations, and trying to eat organic at least on the dirty dozen, turkey, and chicken, that extra $25 a week is going to make things a lot easier.

There are still a few things I can cut yet in the grocery budget, but because I was sick, didn't. For example, I bought 8 bags of chicken fried rice from TJ's at $2.99 a bag which is $23.92.

Normally I make chicken fried rice at home and I have all the ingredients for it. I do up about 16 cups worth of rice in the rice cooker and then add some coconut aminos, peas, carrots, corn, shredded meat of some sort, scrambled egg, ginger, and garlic and stir-fry it in a bit of chicken broth. I used to use sesame oil, but not anymore with DD's restrictions. Then I divide it into quart size freezer bags. It is a huge difference in cost. I can make up as much rice for about $8, a savings of about $16.

So I know I can balance stuff out a little better to come in under budget, I just have to get there and be well enough to do it. As soon as I feel good enough to make our bread and rolls from scratch again that will help, too. Convenience happens when I don't feel well, so as soon as I finish this cold I will do up my rice. Or maybe even tomorrow. I did a lot today, got caught up on dishes and halfway caught up on laundry and didn't have the energy to do more than just make dinner today. I do have to make up more pudding tonight, but that will be easy.

Tomorrow I have to make breakfast burritos for the freezer and I will at least make the rice in the cooker. It stir-fries best when it is a day old.

I am taking lots of breaks so I don't push myself too hard. I will go to bed early, too. I don't want to relapse just when I am starting to feel human again.

I am reading a new library book, "Slaying the Debt Dragon," by Cherie Lowe, and one of the things she recommends is naming your debts. They called theirs the dragon. I did this in the past when I called the credit card companies the Evil Empire and my whole goal then was to bring down the Evil Empire. But with just having the loan left to Mom that doesn't seem appropriate. She's not an empire. So I am dubbing it the Monster Mom Loan. Not to say my mother is a monster, just that the Mom Loan is. It tickles me and gives me just a little more focus. It's weird in my head, but I like it there.

Payday Report for 5/25/18

May 30th, 2018 at 12:24 pm

I had some money leftover from this paycheck but we ended up using it to go over on the grocery budget. I had to buy pudding and Jello and extra milk to make the pudding for DD for after her surgery. I didn't think about that ahead of time. The Jello and pudding were on sale for 99 cents a box if you bought four boxes. I'll get the hang of this, but it may take a few more weeks. There is about $30 left in checking.

I added the tithe for my Thrive commission check into the tithe from DH's paycheck so it is a little higher than usual. My commission check was close to $50.

$128.72 Tithe
__55.00 Co-pay eye doctor
_175.00 Sleep doctor
_175.00 Groceries
__50.00 Household
__81.00 Truck Tabs
_125.75 Van Tabs
__35.00 DS Allowance
__25.00 Blow Money Me
__25.00 Blow Money DH
_100.00 OTC Medications and Vitamins
_150.00 Gas Money
---------
$1125.47

Grocery Shopping And Sticking to the Budget

May 18th, 2018 at 07:29 pm

So I stuck successfully to my grocery list, with 2 exceptions. I bought a case of Nongshim noodles and 3 ears of corn. Everything else was on the list and I came in under budget. I spent $155.73, so I still have $19.27 left in my grocery envelope. I may buy 2 packages of the hot dogs DH likes still and even then I'd have enough left over if we run out of milk.

I bought mostly to fill in around the gaps of my meal plan and I think I will have some overrun into the next week with onions and potatoes, but I am not sure yet. We eat a lot of potatoes, but I usually only get two bags or six pounds a week. This week I got 15 pounds.

Here's what I got at Haggen:

1 pot with 2 cucumber plants in it (yes, this counts as food or at least future food)
Baby spinach
4 red onions
15 pounds of potatoes (red, gold, and russet)
2 yellow bell peppers
Radishes
2 1 lb chubs of breakfast sausage
3 pounds ground chicken
2 pounds ground turkey
2 1 lb jars Jif Natural peanut butter
1 1 lb jar Jason honey peanut butter
1 bag of ice

And what I got at Safeway:

2 1/2 gallons of milk
1 2 lb bag of sharp cheddar cheese (same price as a brick)
2 bottles of ketchup
2 potato breads
1 dynamite bread
1 Thousand Island dressing

And what I got at Winco:

1 case of Nongshim beef noodle soup
1 bottle of Mirin (rice wine for recipes)
1 quart strawberry Zoi yogurt
2 red bell peppers
2 orange bell peppers
2 green bell peppers
3 ears of corn
2 cucumbers

I feel really good about this. I didn't get much in the way of convenience items. The noodles are (but they are the only version I've found outside of Trader Joe's that don't have MSG in them). The shredded cheese is, but it was the same price as the brick. So I definitely have to cook, but I've been doing a lot better lately so that hasn't been a problem. And we haven't even been tempted to eat out, but then I haven't had an RA flare for a few weeks, either. Everyone prefers my cooking anyway, even the Chinese dishes, which I am getting better and better at every time I make them.

I am already planning my next shopping trip for next Friday. I will have to get a couple items from Costco, some seasonings, eggs, cheese, ground turkey, sausage patties, and possibly butter. I will very strictly stick to that list, because I will still have to get regular groceries that week. Costco can be a money suck if you aren't very, very careful. If I stay on top of this, I really think I can do it. It just requires planning, and if there is one thing that I am good at, it is planning.

Payday Report and DS's Plan for his Future Job

May 18th, 2018 at 12:52 pm

$1400.00 Citi Card
__82.13 Amex
_125.17
-----------
$1607.30

The paycheck plus what was left of the $1000 went towards finishing off the credit cards. AMEX is done and all auto pays have been transferred off it, so as soon as it clears I will be cutting up that card.

I will finish off the Citi card on next Friday and then it will only be used for the auto pays. We will take the credit cards out of our wallets. They can't be an option. Also next Friday I have car tabs due and a medical bill. There won't be a lot left over, enough to fund the grocery envelope and the household envelope. But then starting on the June 1st payday and continuing forward, we should be able to fund everything else with cash throughout the month.

Yesterday we opened a checking account for my son and then he set up his paypal account to hook into it, so he can now make online purchases directly out of his bank account and no one has to use a credit card. He needed a checking account anyway as he is going to get a job this summer and will need it for direct deposit. He's had a savings account since the year he was born.

He wants to read The Total Money Makeover after my husband is finished with it. He is very determined not to carry debt in his life except for possibly a mortgage. We've already talked about 10% of his income going into retirement from the start. He may not qualify for a 401K immediately, but he can do a Roth IRA until he does. He will also be saving 40% for college and 10% will go to tithing. Then he will need to put 20% into savings for a car and insurance and the remaining 20% will be what he can spend.

He wants to make a budget as soon as he gets his first paycheck, but before anything else he is going to save up $1000 for an emergency fund so he has it in place when he is able to afford a car. I guess we are rubbing off on him. Not so sure about our daughter. With her medical issues I despair of her ever being able to hold down a job.

Taking Steps to Move Back to the Envelope System

May 17th, 2018 at 04:41 pm

I went to the credit union today and took out $475 in cash to fund 3 of my envelopes. I put $175 into the groceries envelope, $50 into the household envelope, and $250 into the medical envelope. For medical I am going to start using an old checking account at a different credit union. I took the $250 there this afternoon, deposited it, ordered a box of checks, and ordered debit cards. They even had some pretty checks that were the same cost as plain ones. I chose an American flag with the bald eagle soaring in front of it. I didn't think my husband would fancy the butterflies. Big Grin So that took $16 out of the medical account right there, leaving a balance of $234.

I tend to write checks for medical except prescriptions. We have been using the credit card for that because we usually go through the drive-thru and it is easier than trying to write out a check on the steering wheel. So we will use the debit card for prescriptions once it arrives. That way DH can have a card, he usually picks up the medicine, and I will have the checkbook. That debit card will be used only for medical. It just makes it a little easier than playing with cash and not having a paper trail. I need a paper trail for medical if we need to deduct again.

I will be funding the medical account with $800 every month, with $200 coming out of each paycheck starting on June 1st. That should cover co-pays, prescriptions, and allow us to save for DD's surgeries. This does not include the amount for the chiropractor which is a monthly set amount for the entire family and I will just pay that out of regular checking. It has it's own budget category.

When the medical account reaches $1000 I will send any additional to the online bank and earmark it for medical on the spreadsheet. I'm not sure when they will let DD have her surgeries, not until her BMI is 40% however long that takes, so the extra will go to save up for that. But whenever the account drops below $1000 I will start adding money back into it. I am not sure how much we really need to set aside for medical. It varies so much in a month. This month alone has 6 co-pays, not to mention the numerous prescriptions.

Because we are switching over to mostly using cash and checks, I am not sure we will be able to make a payment on the loan to Mom until June 8th. I figure if I make the $500 payment towards the beginning of the month, then I will have to stick to the budget the rest of the month. If there is any extra at the end of the month of June I will tack it on to the July payment. If I treat it like a bill due the 2nd payday of the month, that should keep me on track.

I think I'm going to like this Gazelle intensity thing. Even if I can't do it 100% like Dave Ramsey, because we have to keep the EF at $6000 instead of $1000 for upcoming medical reasons, I am trying to focus in like we are. And really, we are. The EF is $1000, the medical fund is the rest of it. Once the surgeries are over than we can be fully doing it, but I don't know when that will be. I guess until then it will just have to be baby steps. Yeah, I saw it. Did it anyway.