November Spend-less Challenge- Enjoying a cornucopia of savings!! - Mothering Forums

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Old 10-31-2013, 07:36 AM - Thread Starter
 
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This is a support thread to help you not spend your money.

 

Everyone is welcome to join and you can start tracking your spending at any time. It doesn't have to be October 1st. NOW is a good time to start.

 

The plan is simple (although tough to execute):

 

1. Vow not to spend any money on unnecessary purchases.

 

2. Come on here and record your spending. We all record our spending in different ways. There are no rules. You record and update however you would like -- pick a way that will help you spend the least amount of money.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

Please write an introductory message when you decide to join our thread. We would like to know:

 

a. Who you are

 

b. Where you are going (your financial goals) and

 

c. How you plan to get there

 

Good luck MDCers!! Keep that money in your wallet.


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Old 10-31-2013, 07:52 AM - Thread Starter
 
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a. I'm Jenn, homeschooling SAHM to 6 kiddos.

b. We're on track to being debt free. We've been s-l-o-w-l-y progressing on it, it seems as though each time we take 2 steps forward, we also need to take 3 steps back :irked.  But we're pressing on.

c. We're still working on controlling our spending. Our plan for the month:

~ STAY OUT OF STORES, brick and online!! This is our biggest $$ suck. Our family can NOT go into a store for just 1 thing, we end up spending at least $100!! We've been doing really well keeping this under control and we're going to continue to work on staying out of stores.

~ Cooking at home as much as possible. I've gotten some good slow cooker recipes from free e-books, so I'm hoping they'll help. I'm desperately trying to get back into meal planning, but I'm finding it difficult.

~ STICK TO THE BUDGET!!  We have 3 birthdays this month and a trip north to the ILs for Thanksgiving.  All have been budgeted for.

~ I'm trying to maintain our food budget. It's been slowly creeping up.

~ BE AWARE!! We just need to be more aware of where our money is going.


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Old 10-31-2013, 08:22 AM
 
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Oh, thank goodness!   The November thread.  I thought October would never end.  :o

 

 

a. Who you are

 

I am Ruth, mama to my four lovely kids, wife to the ever hard working husband, ruler of this small domain and frugalista. 

 

b. Where you are going (your financial goals)

 

We plan to buy a house next year, so every extra cent we earn is earmarked for a down payment.

 

c. How you plan to get there

 

We eat at home, use less, buy used when we need to and generally try to conserve on everything.  We live in a small place, bike as much as possible, and are very focused on making big changes in our lives. 

 

 


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Old 10-31-2013, 10:40 AM
 
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Oh, thank goodness!   The November thread.  I thought October would never end.  :o

 

OMW, me too. One of these months I'll actually do well!

 

-----------------

 

a. Who you are

 

Melissa, very-part-time WAHM to DD11 and DD8 and DW to my love.

 

b. Where you are going (your financial goals)

 

My main goal is to get a better handle on our finances. We keep trying different ways to rein ourselves in, but nothing we try seems to work very well. DH works on commission and has a VERY variable income (which makes it feel like feast or famine here all the time) and because of a messy job situation, expects to make less this year than he has in 4-5 years (plus, he had just adjusted his 401K deductions from 3% to 10%!). We have the savings to weather the storm, but I don't want to drain our savings. 

 

c. How you plan to get there

 

We're tracking our spending to the dollar with Mint.com, which I think will help us get a better handle on where the money is actually going (and make me more honest with myself about the little expenditures). My goals this month:

 

  • Do better with our food--waste less, make use of the random things in the freezer/pantry, snack less, be less indulgent, etc.
  • Just say NO! to the little, self-indulgent money wasters (I'm looking at you, Starbucks :angry).
  • Generally plan better to avoid unnecessary expenses. Poor planning for Halloween cost us more money than it should have this year :eyesroll.
  • Take us of the equal payment plan for our utilities. I feel like knowing how much the bill will be makes me more likely to feel like we have room in the budget to crank up the heat or leave the lights on for a few minutes, etc. I think if we're seeing the actual cost every month, it will make me FEEL the expenditure. 

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Old 10-31-2013, 12:53 PM
 
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a. Who you are

 

Rural, unschooling mama of 2 girls.  Both dh and I are self-employed-- I am a part-time housekeeper now, dh a gardener.  We live on 10 forested acres in rural W. Washington.

 

b. Where you are going (your financial goals) and

 

I always think I'm going to copy and paste this, but it's important for me to really pay attention.  My short-term goals are to have every month being the black with a little to save each time.  I want my girls back in gymnastics.  I want to finish the downstairs so we can spread out.  I need extra savings to eventually get a replacement car in a few years.

 

c. How you plan to get there

 

I have been actively looking for supplemental work.  Seasonal job hunting is not working, so I am aggressively advertising my housekeeping services right now.  I can make do with $1000 per month--about 2 days per week approximately.  Looking at going to school part time in September to get a 2-year science degree--applying for grants in January.  Must stay out of stores as much as possible, and if I have to shop leave the girls at home.  Really be careful about car trips.  Keep Christmas mellow.  I'm encouraged by the low Visa bill we just got today.


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Old 10-31-2013, 01:25 PM
 
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a. Who you are:  I'm Kathirynne, single, WOHM to 4 kids, the eldest two of whom are in college.  I always start these challenges really strong and then peter out, but I'm determined to buy a new-to-us Volvo station wagon in 1 year or less.  I can do it if (and ONLY if) I follow my budget like it's my religion.  I also checked my student loan balance, and it's MUCH less than I thought, so that was another motivator to really get serious about my budget and remove that particular millstone from my neck.

b. Where you are going (your financial goals):  In light of the above, I laid out some very specific goals for the foreseeable future.

1) $1,500 emergency fund

2) $5,000 saved up for my "new" car (I'm hoping I can get it for less, but $5,000 will definitely be enough, so that's my goal.)
3) Children fully kitted out for winter (Christmas gifts are included under this goal)

4) Fully stocked home (food, hygiene supplies, cleaning supplies, et cetera)

5) All monthly bills paid in full and on time


c. How you plan to get there:  My budget works on paper, so I just have to STICK. TO. THE. BUDGET.  To accomplish this, I will use the envelope system and put the debit card on ice (literally) so that when money is deposited into the savings account connected to the debit card, the money stays put and grows.  I also need to remember to pack a lunch for myself, so that I can avoid spending money on lunch.

 

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Visit www.evolutiontosimplicity.blogspot.com to follow my epic saga of single mummahood....

 

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Old 10-31-2013, 08:44 PM
 
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a. Who you are

 

I'm Ellen, single WOHM to DD (10) and DS (8). 

 

b. Where you are going (your financial goals) and

 

I want to get rid of this student loan debt!  It's sitting around 30K right now and just needs to go away, so I can move on!

 

c. How you plan to get there

 

I have been really great with my budget lately and I want to stick with it.  I'm trying to trim it just a bit this month so I can put $1000 toward my loan.  I'm finally in a place where I can sustain myself (it took quite awhile to get here!) and I want to make sure that I don't increase my expenditures just because I have a higher income.  I plan to consolidate spending as much as possible.  My Saturdays are my typical errand day and it's been helping me to really think about purchases before I make them.  I am planning to have a fairly frugal Christmas and have a bit of my shopping done already.  I want to get that out of the way early this year so that I can really focus on doing holiday related things (that are NOT shopping!)  I'm also trying to cook at home as much as possible to keep food costs down. 


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Old 10-31-2013, 09:08 PM
 
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Ahhhhhh....a new month.  I don't know why I get so excited at the start of a new month.  Love a fresh start.  So, time for some goals.

 

November goals:

 

$1000 grocery/household budget.  This cover everything we eat or consume; shampoo, toothpaste, laundry soap, cat food and litter, food for 6 people and the occasional wine and beer.  This will be extra tough this month, because this needs to cover Thanksgiving as well.  We are hosting 2 maybe 3 people plus our family, so 8 or 9 total. 

 

2 tanks of gas, no more.

 

$150.00 to get van registered here in our new state. 

 

30% of take home to savings. 

 

 

:thumb No spend/budgeted spending

nono.gif Un-budgeted spending

 

 

November 1

November 2

November 3

November 4

November 5

November 6

November 7


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Old 10-31-2013, 09:27 PM
 
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Please write an introductory message when you decide to join our thread. We would like to know:

 

a. Who you are

I'm Becky. I'm married and we have two kids age 10 and 7. I was laid off from my job in June. However, it wasn't necessarily a bad thing. I hadn't been happy there in a long time and had already started a graduate school program to get my Masters degree and my teaching certificate. So right now I'm going to school, collecting unemployment, doing a little bit of substitute teaching, etc.

b. Where you are going (your financial goals) and

We are used to a lot more disposable income than we currently have and it's been a struggle to rein in the spending to fit our new lifestyle. Right now our plan is simply to make it financially until I find another job. I am applying places, however with student teaching coming up next semester then graduation I'm not counting on anyone wanting to just get me trained than face the possibility of me moving on at graduation, so I don't anticipate any job offers, though I have been getting interviews.

c. How you plan to get there

Our best way to stick to the budget is to stay out of the stores. So our goal is to do a weekly menu and one big shopping trip a week.

Good luck MDCers!! Keep that money in your wallet.

Planned Spending - :loveeyes

Unplanned Spending -  duh.gif 

No spend - :clap 


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Old 11-01-2013, 09:11 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Starting off the month on the right foot, setting some goals.

 

Grocery budget:  $625- this does NOT include beef and chicken.  We buy our beef by the side and chickens in bulk from a friend; both are already paid for.

 

Gifts- $50 each for DD1 and DS2. DH is the other birthday this month and he got his gift yesterday, a cell phone upgrade (budgeted).

 

Knit a stick horse head, 2 pairs of child gloves, a pair of mittens, a hat, and sew a Waldorf baby doll for Christmas gifts.

 

:treehugger  Do something intentionally frugal every day.

 

1.  :thumb   Co-op order placed, $117.70, DH gstopped @ store $7.14; $500.16 left in the grocery budget.  :treehugger  With DH's cell phone upgrade came a contract change, lowered our cell phone bill about $15/ month.  Mended one of the baby's knitted wool diaper covers.


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Old 11-01-2013, 09:39 AM
 
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OK, so I was wowed by our low Visa bill, then dh went and gashed his head so he ended up in the emergency room getting stapled *entirely* without medical insurance.  OUCH!


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Old 11-01-2013, 12:14 PM
 
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Grocery budget:  $625- this does NOT include beef and chicken.  We buy our beef by the side and chickens in bulk from a friend; both are already paid for.

 

Okay, $625 is seriously amazing.  Even if that number doesn't include meat, it is crazy good.   I need to do better with our food budget.  I wonder if I could drop it to $900 this month and still make it work?


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Old 11-01-2013, 12:15 PM
 
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Planned Spending - :loveeyes

Unplanned Spending -  duh.gif 

No spend - :clap 

 

11/1/13 - :loveeyesduh.gif  Got the grocery shopping that was planned for yesterday done today. My daughter home sick and miserable means it wasn't done yesterday. Came in on budget. Did the shopping while we waited for my daughter's prescription filled. Also took the sick little girl to the doctor today and filled a prescription. She has strep.


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Old 11-01-2013, 12:19 PM
 
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OK, so I was wowed by our low Visa bill, then dh went and gashed his head so he ended up in the emergency room getting stapled *entirely* without medical insurance.  OUCH!

 

Oh hun, this is crummy news.  How is your husband feeling? 


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Old 11-01-2013, 12:30 PM
 
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a. Who you are

 

Working married mom to one

 

b. Where you are going (your financial goals) and

 

Pay off student loans and eventually our mortgage

 

c. How you plan to get there

 

-Get grocery budget below $200 per month.  We usually spend about $300.  I need to get better about working with inexpensive ingredients.  We will be eating a lot of rice, beans and canned sardines.  (wow I rhymed)

-Do not use the dryer and keep the heat at 62 or lower. 

-Keep the gas budget under $150 this month.  No unnecessary driving.  Commuting and things along our route only.  Bike to church and library on weekends.

-I would love to not eat out at all, but we are going to Cali for Thanksgiving.  I would love not to spend over $100 on food there and maybe $100 on other expenses.

-Only go out to the brewery once this month.  We usually go weekly to meet with friends

-Advertise one item on Etsy or Ebay every day-no excuses

 

Last month we paid $2000 extra on my student loans and I would love to do at least that!


V + E=baby G in 2012.  Rural Midwestern homesteaders going back to their roots.

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Old 11-01-2013, 12:43 PM
 
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Starting the month with a no-spend.  I would love to go grocery shopping, but after seeing FillingMyQuiver's budget and digging through a few low-budget food blogs, I think I can really lower our food budget.  If I could knock ours down to $900, I would have an additional $1200 next year for our down payment.  That's huge!   Even better, spending $800 a month would mean $2400 next year.  Seeing it written like that really brings it home for me. 

 

I am going to scrape together meals for today -- pasta, leftover chicken for lunch, chicken and the last of the veggies and rice for dinner.  I can make gluten free waffles for breakfast tomorrow and after that, we are pretty much out of food.  I have a tiny kitchen and very limited storage, so I don't keep much of a pantry, just a few basics, so when we are out of food...we are out of food.

 

I transferred 30% of take home pay over to savings and put money aside for our van registration. 

 

 

:thumb No spend/budgeted spending

nono.gif Un-budgeted spending

 

 

November 1 -- :thumb

November 2

November 3

November 4

November 5

November 6

November 7


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Old 11-01-2013, 12:46 PM
 
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-Get grocery budget below $200 per month.  We usually spend about $300.  I need to get better about working with inexpensive ingredients.  We will be eating a lot of rice, beans and canned sardines.  (wow I rhymed)

 

I posted before I saw this....fantastic!   Wow...I am really behind the curve.  You guys are inspiring.


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Old 11-01-2013, 04:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay, $625 is seriously amazing.  Even if that number doesn't include meat, it is crazy good.   I need to do better with our food budget.  I wonder if I could drop it to $900 this month and still make it work?


Ruthiegirl, the $625 is just for this month, I'm trying to work off some pantry/ freezer items that need to be used.  I just increased our food budget to $750/ month, but when you include our meat costs spread out over 12 months, our budget would be close to $900 I think.

 

95% of my grocery budget is food.  We have very few toiletries that we buy: toilet paper, toothpaste, shaving cream for DH, replacement razor heads for DH (though he's been researching a straight blade), contact solution for DH, deodorant for DH, and as far as household cleaners, I buy our laundry soap and dish soap in bulk from Sun and Earth and our dishwasher detergent in bulk from Costco.

 

And we all know that depending on where you live, grocery budgets can vary widely.

 

I wouldn't be hard on yourself.  I know you're feeding your family a whole foods diet and don't you have teens now?  Food is expensive!!  I was just looking at the USDA's food budgets and I don't know how they're saying a family my size can eat for under $600/ month on the thrifty plan.


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Old 11-01-2013, 04:20 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Starting the month with a no-spend.  I would love to go grocery shopping, but after seeing FillingMyQuiver's budget and digging through a few low-budget food blogs, I think I can really lower our food budget.  If I could knock ours down to $900, I would have an additional $1200 next year for our down payment.  That's huge!   Even better, spending $800 a month would mean $2400 next year.  Seeing it written like that really brings it home for me. 

 

I am going to scrape together meals for today -- pasta, leftover chicken for lunch, chicken and the last of the veggies and rice for dinner.  I can make gluten free waffles for breakfast tomorrow and after that, we are pretty much out of food.  I have a tiny kitchen and very limited storage, so I don't keep much of a pantry, just a few basics, so when we are out of food...we are out of food.

 

I transferred 30% of take home pay over to savings and put money aside for our van registration.

This is going to be a HUGE difference in our food budgets alone!!  I don't know what I would do without my food storage space!!  While I have a fairly average sized kitchen (I guess compared to newer homes it would be small), I have the ability to store lots in my utility room.  I have 10 grain buckets full of oats, millet, buckwheat, AP flour, wheat berries, rice, etc.  I currently have 36qts of canned peach halves and 54qts of applesauce (and I still have 3 bushels left to can!!)  I have a 15cu ft chest freezer AND our old refrigerator w/ top freezer in there, too.  Of course my food budget is lower, I can store months worth of food!!  I can't imagine my budget if I didn't have that ability!!

 

Kudos to you for keeping your budget under control with your limitations!!


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Old 11-01-2013, 07:04 PM
 
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Starting off with a no spend--woohoo!! :)

 

11/1 - :love no spend


Single mama to DD 10/18/03 and DS 9/15/05 

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Old 11-01-2013, 08:41 PM
 
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OK, so I was wowed by our low Visa bill, then dh went and gashed his head so he ended up in the emergency room getting stapled *entirely* without medical insurance.  OUCH!

 

Oh hun, this is crummy news.  How is your husband feeling? 

He's feeling great.  Cheery, even.  No pain meds, so I can only figure some strange transformation happened.  Stay tuned.  


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Old 11-01-2013, 08:43 PM
 
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:2whistle Ate at Dairy Queen while they patched a tire.  The repair was free.


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Old 11-01-2013, 09:15 PM
 
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This is going to be a HUGE difference in our food budgets alone!!  I don't know what I would do without my food storage space!!  While I have a fairly average sized kitchen (I guess compared to newer homes it would be small), I have the ability to store lots in my utility room.  I have 10 grain buckets full of oats, millet, buckwheat, AP flour, wheat berries, rice, etc.  I currently have 36qts of canned peach halves and 54qts of applesauce (and I still have 3 bushels left to can!!)  I have a 15cu ft chest freezer AND our old refrigerator w/ top freezer in there, too.  Of course my food budget is lower, I can store months worth of food!!  I can't imagine my budget if I didn't have that ability!!

 

Kudos to you for keeping your budget under control with your limitations!!


Ahhh...thanks.  You are right.  I am working with less than ideal resources.  I am just so achey for a house and garden right now.  The rains have come and our little place is starting to feel crazy small this week.  I know the faster we can accumulate cash, the faster we can go house hunting.  So, I am combing through our budget looking for places to shave a little more. 

 

Even with a less than perfect tools, I think we can do a bit better in the food department.   I have just the right amount of motivation to reduce a bit more.  We were under $1000 last month even with a birthday.  I think I can get closer to $900 this month without too much fuss.  We'll see how close I can get. 


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Old 11-02-2013, 06:30 AM
 
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Well, unfortunately we've had an unexpected death in the family, so there will be so unplanned spending happening that I can't even bring myself to keep track of. I'll jump back in when I'm able to. 


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Old 11-02-2013, 06:35 AM
 
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Ahhh...thanks.  You are right.  I am working with less than ideal resources.  I am just so achey for a house and garden right now.  The rains have come and our little place is starting to feel crazy small this week.  I know the faster we can accumulate cash, the faster we can go house hunting.  So, I am combing through our budget looking for places to shave a little more. 

 

Even with a less than perfect tools, I think we can do a bit better in the food department.   I have just the right amount of motivation to reduce a bit more.  We were under $1000 last month even with a birthday.  I think I can get closer to $900 this month without too much fuss.  We'll see how close I can get. 

 

Can you grow anything in some pots? Even greens--we grew mixed salad greens in a 2'x3' raised table and got more than we needed as a family for weeks. Herbs even? Is there any chance of a community garden plot somewhere maybe? I can totally identify with the urge to grow your food. I longed desperately for a garden (and we HAD a yard, just terrible soil and conditions) until a few summers ago, when we were finally able to put in raised beds. Now I have more garden than I can handle, LOL! But oh, how it hurt me every winter when the catalogs started arriving. The Baker Creek catalog is total garden porn!


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Old 11-02-2013, 07:24 AM
 
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Well, unfortunately we've had an unexpected death in the family, so there will be so unplanned spending happening that I can't even bring myself to keep track of. I'll jump back in when I'm able to. 


So sorry for your loss.


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Old 11-02-2013, 10:20 AM
 
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Well, unfortunately we've had an unexpected death in the family, so there will be so unplanned spending happening that I can't even bring myself to keep track of. I'll jump back in when I'm able to. 

 

I am sorry to hear of your loss.  Thinking of you now and come back when you are feeling up to it. 


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Old 11-02-2013, 10:25 AM
 
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Can you grow anything in some pots? Even greens--we grew mixed salad greens in a 2'x3' raised table and got more than we needed as a family for weeks. Herbs even? Is there any chance of a community garden plot somewhere maybe? I can totally identify with the urge to grow your food. I longed desperately for a garden (and we HAD a yard, just terrible soil and conditions) until a few summers ago, when we were finally able to put in raised beds. Now I have more garden than I can handle, LOL! But oh, how it hurt me every winter when the catalogs started arriving. The Baker Creek catalog is total garden porn!

 

Thanks for this.  I think it will have to wait.  We are sharing a duplex on the steepest, shadiest lot you have ever seen.  And we have the worst infestation of poison oak.  Three of the four kids have been on prednisone to combat the blisters and weeping sores.  We are all clear right now (well, dh has a small patch from raking leaves last week) and I just don't want to spend much time in the yard.  Someday, I will have a hugeass garden again, but for now I am with you...reading the Baker Creek catalog and lusting.  :shy


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Old 11-02-2013, 02:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Grocery budget:  $625- this does NOT include beef and chicken.  We buy our beef by the side and chickens in bulk from a friend; both are already paid for.

 

Gifts- $50 each for DD1 and DS2. DH is the other birthday this month and he got his gift yesterday, a cell phone upgrade (budgeted).

 

Knit a stick horse head, 2 pairs of child gloves, a pair of mittens, a hat, and sew a Waldorf baby doll for Christmas gifts.

 

:treehugger  Do something intentionally frugal every day.

 

1.  :thumb   Co-op order placed, $117.70, DH stopped @ store $7.14; $500.16 left in the grocery budget.  :treehugger  With DH's cell phone upgrade came a contract change, lowered our cell phone bill about $15/ month.  Mended one of the baby's knitted wool diaper covers.

2.  :thumb  Quick grocery run, $21.27, $478.70 left in grocery budget.  :treehugger  Strained the beef stock I had in the crockpot and separated it into ziplocs to freeze.  My stock is made from soup bones AND miscellaneous bones I get from our beef farmer.  Made a batch of crockpot granola.  Picked up chicken necks and feet from my "chicken friend".  They butchered 16 birds of which I bought 8, but she doesn't use ANY of the feet and necks.  She gave them ALL to me for FREE:joy  They make the most beautiful chicken stock, which I will get started later tonight or tomorrow.


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Old 11-02-2013, 03:22 PM
 
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Dh leaves for a 5 day trip tomorrow.  He took the kids to the pool for some dad-and-the-kids time.  $10 for the pool fee.  I am headed to the grocery store later.  My goal is $125 for a week's worth of food. 

 

Meal plan for the next week:

 

7 dinners:  lentil soup, bean and rice bowls (2 meals), roast chicken (2 meals), turkey meatballs and pasta, leftovers

lunches:  packed sandwiches for school, pasta and sauce for the little ones, rice and beans, eggs

breakfasts:  oatmeal, eggs and toast, muffins, waffles

snacks:  fruit, veggies ad hummus, apples and cheese

Other:  TP, soap

 

 

ETA -- groceries tallied up to 129.07.  $5 over budget, but since chickens were on sale, I bought an extra for next week.  So, I really did well, I think.  Now I just need to make this good food stretch for a week. 

 

:thumb No spend/budgeted spending

nono.gif Un-budgeted spending

 

 

November 1 -- :thumb

November 2 -- nono.gif 10.00 pool,  :thumb 129.07 groceries

November 3

November 4

November 5

November 6

November 7


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