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Using it up and vacation meal planning.....

March 30th, 2014 at 07:56 pm

We will be leaving on vacation next Saturday, so I decided to get creative in the kitchen for the coming week. I went to the store this morning and only bought a few fresh produce items (apples, banana's, strawberries, raspberries and a cucumber) I have milk, eggs, cereal, bread, cheese, lunch meat, a few frozen entree's and some canned soup)to get us through for breakfast and lunches, along with the fresh fruit. If we run out, we have canned fruit we can use. Dinners will be using odds and ends from the freezer and pantry...nothing fancy, but enough for Monday through Friday.

We plan to eat breakfast at the airport on Saturday morning and buy some snacks for the plane ride. Our first leg is almost 5 1/2 hours with no meal. We will have a little less than 1 1/2 hours before our next flight which is almost 4 1/2 hours to grab a bite to eat, and then that will be it....we do not get to our final destination until 9:40 pm, so I doubt we are going to want to eat that late. I hate the thought of buying snacks at the airport due to the cost, but I don't think we would get through security with food in our carry on's and I am sure not waiting until we land to eat. I get a little cranky when I am super hungry Smile

We will spend the night in a hotel and part of the reason we chose it was because they offer a hot breakfast in the morning. It will be nice not to have to find a place to eat. We will board the ship in the early afternoon so our meals will be set for the duration of the trip. Our only other meal should be lunch during our layover on the way home (we will eat breakfast before disembarking), but we may have to purchase some more snacks for the flights home as it is another 10 hour travel day with no meal service once again.

Birthday freebies.....

February 4th, 2014 at 07:48 pm

So my birthday is on Friday. I have received several emails for freebies and/or discounts at several restaurants.

Panera (free pastry)
Red Robin (free burger)
Roadhouse Grill ($10 off an entree)
Red Lobster ($5 off an entree)

Of course, some of these require spending money, but I am always happy to get an entree free or at least a discount. DH and I do go out to dinner at least once a week, usually on Friday or Saturday....sometimes we are really naughty and go out on Friday and Saturday.

Maybe being empty nesters isn't so good for the pocketbook Smile

Menu plan for the week

January 12th, 2014 at 04:44 pm

Jumping on the band wagon along with everyone else:

Chicken soft tacos
French dips
Barbequed Meatballs with rice

All dinners above will have one or two sides with them.....as long as I have the main part of dinner planned, I can easily do the sides....usually a salad, veggies or fruit or a combo of both.

I find menu planning to be especially helpful during the work week as we like to eat early, rest our tummies and then head to the gym. I like to get my work out done and have some time to relax when we get home before bed.

Well I sure feel dumb

October 27th, 2013 at 03:18 pm

A few months ago I upgraded to a smart phone. I wasn't really checking the bill (bad bad bad I know).

I discovered I was being charged for insurance and phone protection (which of course they never "told" me)

A few weeks ago, I was just browsing the bill and came upon these two charges. I immediately logged online and deleted those services.

This will save $9.99 a month. DH also downgraded his DISH movie package and that should save $20 to $30 a month. He had a special they offered him for 6 months and it has now expired. He decided it wasn't worth it anymore, except I am sure he will be missing Game of Thrones when that comes back on.

Our electric bill and water/sewer bill went down also. I imagine it is because both girls are now away at college and the usage has gone down. I am not spending as much on food either.

The natural gas bill however, did go up. Obviously that is because the weather has turned colder and we had to turn on the heat.. We have a programable thermostat which we feel really helps. We were also notified that our garbage bill will be going up also but I don't know how we could save anything there. If they offered every 2 week pick up we might be able to swing that, but I think it is either every week or once a month. I definately will check into that.

Foster Farms Chicken Recall

October 9th, 2013 at 08:17 am

I made dinner last night (orange chicken stir fry) and we had just sat down to eat, when DH turned the local news on and they had a segment about a Foster Farms chicken recall. They gave the serial numbers and DH went to get the bag of chicken from the freezer (I buy the big bag of frozen chicken breasts from Costco) and sure enough, the bag was part of the recall!

Dinner went into the garbage (boo)and we will be returning the bag to Costco this weekend for a refund.

They said the recall just came out (and not sooner) because of the government shutdown and the lack of people available.

The recall affects people in 18 states and approximately 287 people have become ill.

Two of the serial numbers are P6137 and 6137A (I believe).

Almost a no spend day....spent $1.00

January 7th, 2013 at 06:06 pm

On a tip at my coffee drive through .I had filled my punch card up and was due a free drink, so I put a $1 into the tip jar.

Spendy Costco trip

January 5th, 2013 at 01:59 pm

We hit Costco today....we usually end up going there about every 6 weeks. They had a lot of good coupons (for once) so we took this opportunity to stock up on a few things....DH was paid on Friday and it was a full check with a few overtime hours. We will probably see the reduction on his next check from the time he had to take off at Christmas.

We used this opportunity to stock up on mainly cleaning supplies. I don't think I will have to buy these items for at least 3 months...hopefully more.

Sometimes you have to spend to save.

This and That

June 1st, 2012 at 08:21 pm

Paid the MasterCard bill today....ugh! Approx $3000.00. Most of it was from the new tv that we purchased before we went on our cruise. Picture was having some issues and the tv was about 5 years old. DH cannot live without his beloved tv, so a new one is ours. It is pretty nice....a smart tv....can view YouTube on it (yeah...oh wow) and NetFlix is on it too as well as the internet. We did not however, get one with 3D. A co-worker has one of those but she has small kids. I am not a huge fan of 3D and neither is DH so we opted out of a tv that had that.

Anyway, May had 3 family birthday's with gift cards at $25.00 each.

Mother's Day had us buying some pretty flowers for our Mom's. DH asked what I wanted but I said nothing....we had our cruise and I got some stuff then.

We relaxed over the long holiday weekend but ate out a few times. We went and put flowers on my grandparents graves. My mom gave me some money to defray the cost. My maternal grandparents are buried on somewhat of an incline and there is no way my mom and aunt can navigate that...especially since the ground was wet and muddy. My paternal grandparents are buried on flat land, but my dad has a degenerate muscle disease that makes it very hard for him to walk....it is getting worse and worse and he is finding it harder and harder to get out. My sister, nor my brother and sil offered to go so it fell to DH and I....no bother though, we were happy to do it. We also went out and purchased some flowers for our yard and pots. Almost forgot to add....2 baby shower gifts for the girls at work.

It was a long and busy May, but we had some good times spent with family and friends

Hopefully June will find us spending a little less money! I didn't really realize until I typed this out, how much spending we really did!

Is it my imagination?

February 28th, 2012 at 01:18 pm

That grocery prices have REALLY gone up? I don't mean just a bit, but like alot! I was shocked when I went to the grocery store on Sunday....this is my usual store for most of our groceries (pantry items) and I just couldn't believe the prices on some of the itmes I regularly buy....they have really jumped!

Add in gas prices these days and it's just crazy!


Using gift cards to get something back

January 10th, 2012 at 03:18 pm

DD2 had a soccer tournament last weekend....such as it is....we were out on the "other side" of town last weekend. That necessitated eating lunch and dinner out on Saturday and lunch on Sunday. Lucky for me, I had some gift cards to use!

I buy gift cards through our scip program at her high school...actually it is district wide, but at the high school level, we get a percentage back that goes into an account that can be used for school fee's.

I used to buy religiously when DD1 was in school and I have kind of slacked off the past couple of years.

I am happy to report I am back on it! I want to build enough so when DD2 is a senior next year, I will have hardly have any out of pocket costs. Freshman and Senior year in our school seem to be the spendy ones. The only thing it can't be used for is driver's ed....bummer for me....I just paid $185 for DD2 to do driver's ed in April.

These gift cards are going to come in handy next weekend....DD2 has a 4 day socer tournament this coming weekend.....1 game a day on Friday, Sat, Sun, and Mon (no school Mon)

I am hoping to find some coupons also to pair with my cards...nothing like saving money when you have to spend money....ha ha....does that make any sense? Smile

Freezer Meals

January 5th, 2012 at 07:44 pm

Had the first of the freezer meals I made over Christmas break for dinner tonight.

I used my Dream Dinners cookbook to make 4 meals that I froze in heavy duty gallon bags.

I've been in a rut lately making the same old meals and we are all getting rather tired of them!

I thawed in the fridge for 2 days and popped it in the casserole dish and covered it with foil. Gave DD2 instructions for heating it up. Have to say it was pretty darn good.

Tonight's entree was lemon pasta chicken...I have actually made this before and just cooked for that night rather than freezing.

I have 3 more meals in the freezer:

Kahlua Baked Beans (with ground beef)
Mustard Chicken
Black Bean and Rice salad

It was awesome to come home to a hot cooked meal since I had to work late today.

I plan to make more soon.....it's especially great on nights DD2 has early soccer practice.

Thanks to having that meal tonight....no eating out!

Uh oh! Miscounted

December 24th, 2011 at 12:23 pm

I realized this morning (after all of the shopping and wrapping these past few weeks), that I was one gift short for DD2.....we always make sure that the girls have an equal amount of gifts....both number and dollar wise. For some reason, I was thinking about it this morning and quickly did a "count". I am glad I did...would hate to have had any hurt feelings. Stopped by and got a gift card for her which she will enjoy (both the girls got 2 gift cards) plus the wrapped gifts they have under the tree. Stockings are usually most of the same things but in a different color or shape ect.

DH and I headed out and braved Costco....ugh....he had to bribe me with a coffee from Tully's. I didn't need to worry.....it wasn't as packed as it usually is. We were in and out pretty quickly. For some reason, shopping at Costco really stresses me out....any time of the year. My office pays for my membership so it is nice to have it. We usually try to get there when the doors open. We were going to go on Friday but by the time DISH left, it was about 1:30 and I thought by the time we get down there, it would be crazy so I am glad we went today. Now I don't have to go back for about 6 weeks. Smile The line for gas however, was pretty long.....$3.23 for regular unleaded. Not bad!

Weekend Happenings

November 7th, 2011 at 08:46 am

After our very stressful Friday night, the weekend ended up being very enjoyable. The weather was very nice, although it was very chilly but sunny....2 beautiful Fall days.

Paid the water/sewer bill and the garbage bill. Both of these bills are paid every other month.

Groceries and gas were also purchased.

Breakfast out with DH Sat morning. Coupon we were going to use ended up not being good for the weekend...bummer. Quick, fast dinner out on Sat night at Wendy's before DD2's state soccer playoff game.

$12 to get into said playoff game. Oh! And they won too! Smile

$40 (on sale) to boots at Big 5. I really was in need of a pair of warm fuzzy boots. DD2 plays soccer year round and it was very cold Saturday night! Tennis shoes did not cut it at all.

Also spent $89.00 at Kohl's this weekend. That included 2 pairs of pants for DH off of the clearance rack. I ended up getting 3 shirts/sweaters and 2 cami's. I don't know why, but I can never seem to find anything good off the clearance racks at Kohl's....DH always finds great things.

Anyway, I can't remember the last weekend we have gone out and "spent" money like that on clothes or stuff.

I guess that's why the bank account has been looking pretty good! Smile


October 24th, 2011 at 04:20 pm

Today is DD1's 20th birthday! Hard to beleive she is leaving her "teens" behind.

We went down to her college on Saturday and took her out to lunch and ice cream. Also brought her presents down. It was weird because this was the first year (ever) we didn't have a family party. It just didn't work out this year. She didn't take her car this semester to college and her boyfriend had something else so they couldn't drive up here. No matter, we had a nice time anyway. Family just sent her gifts to her. It is always fun to get that kind of stuff in the mail isn't it?

DD2 had plans both Friday and Saturday night so it was a bit late as I had to drive her and pick her up.

DH was not feeling well most of the weekend and ended up going to bed at 7:30 on Saturday night

Sunday was spent catching up on housework, laundry and grocercy shopping. Made a lovely roast chicken for dinner.

Tonight DD2 has an away soccer game so after we drop her off, dh and I are meeting mil for a quick bite to eat and then she is coming to the game with us..

I took today off from work as I still have a ton of vacation time to burn. I have several more days in the near future planned off too. Spent some time with my mom....we had coffee, did some "craft" shopping and she treated me to lunch.

It is a beautful day here today and should be a great night for soccer though a bit nippy.

All in all, a very nice 3 day weekend.

Back to "reality" tomorrow Smile

Grocery Bill

May 25th, 2011 at 08:15 pm

Is going to go up, up, up. DD1 is home for the summer.....she is home for 3 months and now I will have to get used to shopping and cooking for 4 again. It is funny how you adjust once one is gone. Main thing I can see increasing is cereal. She and DH are big cereal eaters.....myself and dd2....not so much. I expect to go through more bread, milk, and lunch type items too. Need to get on the bandwagon and really plan meals and shopping a bit better.

I have noticed the last few months that the Sunday coupon inserts have not been that great....at least for food type items. I am finding it harder and harder to consistenly get really good deals. I notice every 3rd or 4th shopping trip I tend to do really well. That is when I seem to get a "good" insert of coupons and I use them all at once and have great savings for that particular trip.

I guess we will see what the future holds....wish me luck!

Money coming and going

January 2nd, 2011 at 03:46 pm

Money coming in....hopefully a raise for me on Jan 6th. I have my annual review coming up and I expect a raise....not much though...probably 2 to 3%. I have been lucky in the 12 years I have worked at this office, I have always received a raise, unlike my poor hubby who gets an annual review but never guaranteed a raise. However much it is, I will take it. I also found a few weeks ago that I had a ton of pto time. Since we can only carry over 40 hours, I have had to cash in 40 hours. That will be a nice bonus. I think what happened was, I have always worked part time up until about a year ago. When I first started this job, I did negotiate paid holidays and vacations and participation in the SEP IRA. Since I was part time, I only accured one half of what the full time employees accrrued. Now that I work 36 hrs a weeks, I am accuring pto time much faster than I ever have. Plus the fact (knock on wood)I wasn't sick at all last year. So, while the money will be nice, I think I will be a better planner this year and take some much deserved time off! Hubby's bonus should hit our account on Friday. These two "bonus checks" will be immediately transferred to the savings acct. I am getting a good start on my goal of increasing savings. Hubby's pto bonus ($750 prepaid Visa card) won't arrive until the end of Jan. That will be used in Feb for groceries and gas.

Money going out: Gas prices! Yikes, it cost me $42.00 to fill up my tank today. I have a Ford Escape and I was almost on empty. Our state just had an increase in the gas tax. So far gas prices are running about $3.05 to $3.13 in our area. Groceries, personal care items, and a few cleaning items were purchased today. Not too much out though...I did a good stock up last weekend since dd1 was home from college. Now that she has gone back, we should have a little more food in the cupboards and thus, a lower grocery bill each week. My coupon stock is running very low. The last few months I have thought the Sunday paper coupons have not been very good. There wasn't alot of great ones in this weekend's paper either. Still, I saved about $10 which is better than nothing.

So, I am off to make dinner soon, and a menu plan for the coming week.

Have a great evening!

Working on some goals and Christmas

December 29th, 2010 at 08:18 pm

Trying to work on some concrete goals for 2011. I told hubby, spend what you want until the end of the year because, come January, we are putting a stop to the non essential spending. Several things will be going up in the new year. Gas for one...our state will be having an increase in the gas tax starting Jan 1. Prices have already started to climb. Also, water/sewer bill will be increasing too.

We had a lovely Christmas. Hubby got me a Nook Color...expensive...yes. I think he wanted to "even" things out since I finally gave in and told him he could get an aquarium. He has been wanting one for years and I finally said yes. I purchased a few things for him for under the tree too. He also got me some of my favorite perfume and a coffee gift card. We each received $100 from my grandmother. She does this every year for Christmas and birthdays. MIL also gave us each $25 gc to Kohl's. My mom and dad got me some kitchen things that I have been needing and my brother and sil gave us a great basket full of food items (soup/cookie/bread mix) type stuff and cookbook too. Yummy! My sister decided not do a gift exchange this year due to finances. Dh' niece and hubby got u a movie gift card which I think we will use this weekend. Our sweet dd1 purchased small things for dh and I also.....dh a ball cap and his favorite candy...me a coffee gift card and my favorite candy. We do not exchange with dh's brother or sister. Bil due to finances and sil just because she chooses not too. She does buy for our girls though.

Our girls were happy with their haul as well.

Typing all of this makes me realize just how lucky we are. We are truly fortunate!

My next post will be about 2011 goals....both financial and personal.

One more day of work and then off for a long weekend....my third in a row. Yahoo!