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Home > Archive: January, 2019

Archive for January, 2019

Well...it's cold

January 30th, 2019 at 05:55 am

Woke up to an actual temperature of -21F this morning. It's cold! Never seen my big dog poop in such record time. He's now recovering by the heating vent. I'm trying to wait to let the little dog out until it heats up a bit more (maybe to -17 or something balmy like that).

In preparation for being tucked in today, I stopped by Target and purchased some groceries (supplemented with a gift card) and filled up my tank of gas. We have a garage, but I wasn't taking chances. Plus, I won't be driving for awhile as I'm having a c-section!

On a separate note, I am pleased as pie that I opened the second checking account and have my expenditure budget for the pay period directly deposited there. It really makes knowing exactly how much money I have so much simpler. One account for bills, one for expenditures. Perfect! I'm also really trying to project out expenses two weeks ahead of time. That helps too. Anything I don't spend from the expenditure account will be deposited into the emergency account, even if it's chump change.

Once I'm feeling a bit better, I'm looking forward to cleaning and organizing my pantry. I want to get at our freezers too and clean out some things. I'd like to use those spaces much more strategically. Instead of waiting until freezing after we're done eating 2 or 3 nights or a recipe, I'm going to freeze a batch or two right after I make them. I'm hoping this will help with food waste and assist us when things get hectic.

The Instant Pot DH bought me for Christmas ended up having a fatal error when I went to use it. It was very disappointing. Since he bought it on Black Friday, I went through the company for a replacement. They must have had some trouble because they're behind in production. Over a month and I STILL have not gotten my replacement. It's frustrating because I was really excited about making my own yogurt. I'll keep hounding the company week after week.

Chicken Thighs

January 27th, 2019 at 05:05 pm

I follow a woman on Facebook who from time to time, has some excellent recipes. She posted one for baked rice and chicken thighs that I hadn't made in quite awhile, so I decided on it for our Sunday night dinner. The grocery store had chicken thighs on sale for .99 per pound so I paid $2.62 for 8 thighs! .89 for rice, .05 for an onion, spices and garlic at home. Most expensive item was the chicken broth. Anyway, was a really good reminder to me how cost efficient chicken thighs are as opposed to the breast. It's also really cost effective just to buy a whole chicken and cook it.

Here's the recipe in case you're interested: https://www.recipetineats.com/oven-baked-chicken-and-rice/?fbclid=IwAR0NqnPl0VccBqmAudjrvyx4-zlJWRtikv6dxF1OCko5NM8Y8nGBEXxHUkA

So my spending last pay period was a hell of a lot better, but I was still over budget. I did honestly track every single expense. I'm continuing to do this and tweak my purchases. It really has me thinking about wants versus needs. Only 3 more days of cooking this week as I will be in the hospital Thursday through the weekend. After Wednesday, DH needs to man the fort.

Have yet to receive the social security check for my son's survivor benefit. If it doesn't get here tomorrow, I'm going to need to visit the field office. What a pain! Got to address it before Thursday, though. I anticipated paying bills receiving that money last week but it never came. Murphy's law...oh, and the weather to boot! Of course I have a baby the worst weather week in 20 years. I hope it gets above 20 or so when we are ready to head home.

Dirty Work

January 13th, 2019 at 09:43 am

Last week pay period I did a super diligent and honest job of tracking my spending. I over spent. A LOT! This pay period was the first where I had my grocery/gas money directly deposited into my separate checking account. This should make being honest with myself about purchases a bit easier. I really need to reign in the spending and look at categories that are absolutely unnecessary. This will be the key to sticking with my plan and being successful this year.

As I have been preparing for the baby and clearing out clutter, I am constantly struck by how much WASTE we incur as a result of being a consumer. This is driving me to be more frugal in my grocery purchases as well, especially in food waste. The composting has been great, but there's a huge guilt trip every time I clean the fridge. Waste of money!!!

Also, one area that is suggested to help the environment is reducing the consumption of meat. I currently have gestational diabetes, so going more vegetarian isn't going to happen. DS recently suggested he would like to go more vegetarian. Once the baby is born, I am going to appease that request for all of us. I've got some great cookbooks with some great recipes I can add to my repertoire. Plus, I have an instant pot!!! So excited to use it. Looking forward to making homemade yogurt (save money and save on WASTE!) I also want to make an effort to switch over to more glass/reusable products as possible and cut plastic out as much as possible.

The clutter. The never ending clutter. I'm also putting myself on a purchasing diet with reducing the amount of "stuff" we have hanging around. Oy. Every time I am shopping I will have to remind myself of all the drama I've had just trying to reduce, reduce, reduce around here. We have plenty of space in this house. We have way too much stuff we just don't use.

Crazy Year

January 6th, 2019 at 09:19 am

So it's been a crazy year. My financial plans kind of derailed a bit focusing on getting a new job, which I did. It's a much more sound job and I'm very comfortable there after six months. One HUGE surprise was a pregnancy. I am currently due very soon. My husband and I are over the moon. This has been a long, private and painful road for us.

With the baby coming, I've got some goals for the road ahead. One thing I have been doing in preparation is purchasing used cloth diapers (the fancier newborn ones for the first month or two) and will transition to more classic cloth once he's a little larger. I'm also going to do cloth wipes as well. I've also been purchasing some used baby clothes and items that I know will be very short lived. My plan is to continue this throughout his first few years and as feasible.

So....financial goals. The debt snowball/snowflake method just isn't working for me. I can pay off a loan because it is structured. So my tactic is now to pay a specific amount per month to each account with a target payoff date. I ran two financial scenarios using an online credit calculator for each account: 36 month payoff and 24 month payoff. Throwing an extra $400 per month at the debt will help me pay off all accounts in 24 months, so I have decided to work with that plan. If for some reason I find myself unable to keep up, I have the finances already worked out for the 36 plan. Right now, I'm sticking with aggressive.

I've also decided to save a specific amount to my emergency fund every month. Very much like another blogger here, Veronak, I feel more comfortable with some padding. So my goal is $700 per month for a total of $8400. This is not inclusive of my 52 week challenge and Christmas challenge accounts.

I reconfigured my tried and true excel budgeting spreadsheet for the year to include tracking expenditures. I also opened a separate checking account where my allocated money for spending every month (gas and groceries) is direct deposited every pay period separately from my bills. This will make it REALLY easy to track my spending as it won't get mixed in with any regularly scheduled bills.

I am looking forward to a really great year. I've got a stash of baby clothes that I hope will help get us through this first year with a few additions here and there. I intend to breastfeed as long as possible and cloth diaper. Some personal goals, I am working on composting through my village's program, reducing overall waste, decluttering and reusing as much as possible! My car is still running well with over 150k miles and is completely paid for! I am researching electric options for when I do decide to buy new, which hopefully will not be until the unsecured debt total is paid off.

Cheers to 2019!