Sunday, January 8, 2012


My husband and I needed to run some errands on Saturday, so we took the opportunity to go to the Amish community that is nearby. We scored some major deals!

At the discount grocery store:

8 containers of frozen soup, 4 of Cream of Brocolli and 4 of clam chowder. None had passed the expiration date. With these,all you have to do is add 2 quarts of milk to one frozen container's contents and heat in a double boiler. Each container serves 4, plus enough for 3-4 extra leftover servings. Cost for all 8: $21.75!!!

Three large boxes of cereal for $4

8 packages of freezer bags(18 quart size in each box) for $1.30 each

3 boxed of large garbage bags, 84 in each box for $4 per box

At the regular Amish store:

50 lb. Bag of really nice white potatoes for $10

Box of 42 large green peppers for, get this, $6.50!!! Over half are already sliced and frozen, a few are in the fridge, the rest I will share with co-workers

Large shrink pack of active dry yeast for $4.95

I am very excited about these deals! I also went to or local store and picked up the following during their three day sale:

5 bags of lettuce for 0.68 each

4 loaves Whole wheat bread for $.99 each put them in the freezer

2 - 16 Oz. Cottage cheese for $.99

5 bags of doritos for $1.88 each, not a necessity, but at that price, we'll have some walking tacos, taco pizza and I'll use some for lunches

5 - 3.5 lb. Bags of boneless chicken breasts for $3.50 per bag

I used a total of $148 of my grocery budget, but got a lot for my money! I finally got my debt totaled, so I'll post that tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Day 3 No (Low) Spend Challenge

It's day 3 of the challenge and I have not spent one dime. Yea! Our local grocery store is having a three day sale starting Thursday, so I will be stocking up on a few things. Tomorrow I need to pick up bread and milk and will need to send the $50 lunch money to school with the kids for their lunch account, which I have budgeted for.

My budget, ugh.

I must say, I hate budgets. But, I have realized I must learn to live with one. Here is my basic monthly budget:

Phone/Internet: $72.00
Satellite TV: $95.00
Water: $60.00
Auto insurance: $66.88
Cellular phones: $80.00
Electricity: $170.00 (budget plan)
Groceries: $450
Gas: $360
School lunches: $50
Base debt payments: $215
Misc. $40
Kids' allowances: $25


Income for January:
Child support $350
Base pay (1/20/12) $650
Base plus commission (1/6/12) $1500

Total: $2500

I should have $822.12 left over. This may vary as my pay check for the 6th is still an estimate. I am also watching my account closely to make sure I haven't missed any other automatic payments and am tracking every penny spent this month. I am hoping to pay an additional $750 towards debt repayment. Tomorrow I will make a list of all my debt and the balances. This is obviously a work in progress and I have tweaked a few expenses after I double checked the last few bank statements.

I have not included any totals for auto payment or mortgage. At this point, i am not including them because those are the two things that my husband pays out of his account. Using his paychecks, he pays mortgage, auto payments, auto maintenance, his gas expenses and his spending money. My goal this year is to pay off all old debt and credit cards (2), as well as establish an emergency fund.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Happy New Year!

For the first time in quite a while, I am looking forward to the new year. Ever since I made the decision to pay off debt and get my spending under control, I am feeling much more positive. It's amazing how a change in your lifestyle and goals can make such a difference in your outlook on life.

I haven't felt well since Chrismtas and have bee laying low. About the only thin I have gotten accomplished over the past few days is I moved my food pantry cabinet from our mud room to the dining room. It is actually an antique wardrobe with built in shelves. It fit perfectly on one wall in our dining room. The hard part was taking all of the food I had in it out and carry it all out to the dining room, then put it back. I'll take a photo tomorrow and post it. It was a great opportunity to reorganize it and take stock of what I have on hand and what I need to watch sales for.

Another perk of not going any where is I haven't spent one dime since last Friday. There are a couple utilities that come out of my account tomorrow. Other than that, we may need some milk and bread, the car has plenty of gass for the week, so I'm starting the No Spend challenge well! I have a bit of grocery budget set aside in case my local grocery store has some great deals to stock up on. S far, so good!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Did I mention I'm a die hard Iowa Hawkeye fan?

I was home sick today, but still had to watch email closely as today was our deadline day (normally it is Monday, but we are closed to celebrate New Year's Day on Monday), so I had to forward ads back and forth between our designers and customers this morning. This afternoon I rested, I really hope I get rid of this crud soon!

I didn't get anything accomplished budget or organizing-wise and now it is 8:20 pm and I am anxiously awaiting 9:00 pm to watch the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Insight Bowl. Not much comes between me and the TV if the Hawks are playing. One of my reasons to get debt payed off and be able to save some money is so we can finally buy season tickets to the Hawkeye football games. It's something. My entire family would enjoy and something I've always wanted to do. But first, we need to be debt free!

I'll post something more interesting tomorrow, for now, it's time for a rum and coke and to cheer on the Hawks!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

January grocery budget

I've spent some time today checking my pantry inventory and freezer inventory. We purchased another freezer earlier this week. We had a large upright freezer and it was packed so full I couldn't tell what we did and didn't have. We bought a 14 cu. ft chest freezer, so we moved all the meat products into it. All the other frozen items are now nicely organized in the upright. I Love having two freezers! I had passed up a bunch of great deals on frozen products because I didn't have space. Now I do!

I went through the weekly sale flyer and made a list of items we needed (milk, bread) and what was a great deal on sale. This weeks groceries will finish off my December grocery money. My grocery budget for January is $100 per week, beginning next Friday. This should be plenty considering the pantry is well stocked and we have plenty of meat. I could probably spend less, and will, but want to make sure if there are some great deals, I can stock up. Any money I have left at the end of the month will go towards additional debt repayment.

As a side note, my months start a bit after the beginning of the calendar month. I get paid every other Friday. The first paycheck is my base pay, plus commission from the previous month. The second check is my base pay. The check with commission is variable due to fluctuations in my sales. Some months are busier than others. Once I know how much that larger check is, I can realistically set my total budget, including how much I am going to save and how much I am going to snowflake on debt.

Since I am participating in the no spend challenge, I am only spending money on food and gas, in addition to the other monthly bills (utilities, debt repayment, savings). I am trying to keep the grocery budget as low as possible so I can snowflake as much as possible! I'm also going to only drive when necessary and try to combine errands to save on gas. I'm going to spend only $60 per week on gas.

My next post will detail my other monthly bills and my estimated income. Next Friday I will be able to finalize the January budget.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

No Spend January!

I've decided to join up with Carla at My half-dozen daily
And her No Spend Challenge for January. I'll post my progress!