November Recap & Breakdown

$3,000 earned, $1.584.25 Spent, $1,415.75 Saved

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$14.95      Photo Canvas (11/1)

$1.04        Greeting Cards (11/1)

$0.00       (40) Free pictures from Walgreens (11/1)

$35.02     Gas (11/3)

$13.42     Copps Food (11/5)

$11.77     Copps Food (11/5)

$10.47     Halloween Costumes @ Walmart (11/5)

$28.00     Health Insurance (11/5)

$0.00       College basketball tickets and parking pass (11/5)

$26.24     Wings and Drinks @ Buffalo Wild Wings (11/5)

$2.00       Newspaper (11/6)

$13.45     Baby Wipes & Costume Acc. @ Walmart (11/7)

$37.00     Electric Bill (11/7)

$19.35     Drinks at Buffalo Wild Wings (11/8)

$39.69     16X12 Canvas, (3) 8×10 collage, (1) 11×14, (8) 4×6, (8)  5×7, (7) 8×10, (5) 4ct wallets @ artscow.com (11/9)

$50.00      Gas (11/9)

$32.04      Water bill (11/10)

$9.96        Shredded cheese @ Copps (6 @ $1.66ea) (11/11)

$100.00    Dean Care/Medical Expenses (11/12)

$13.14      Grocery shopping @ Copps (11/12)

$15.96      Grocery shopping @ Copps (11/12)

$11.50      Drinks @ Legends (11/12)

$37.31      Cell phone w/ Virgin Mobile (11/13)

$1.93        Apples @ Copps (11/14)

$11.66      Yoga pants @ Kohls (11/15)

$22.30      Grocery Shopping @ Copps (11/16)

$41.47      Gas (11/18)

$5.80        Subway (11/18)

$4.21        75 printed pictures @ Shutterfly (11/18)

$11.70      Walmart (11/18)

$24.04      Grocery Shopping @ Copps (11/19)

$23.46      Grocery Shopping @ Copps (11/19)

$0.00        Car Insurance (my parents owed me money so they paid for my insurance) (11/20)

$200.00    Daycare

$26.59      Diapers for #2 @ Amazon (11/23)

$31.03      Diapers for #3 @ Amazon (11/23)

$52.53      Black Friday @ Walgreens for toiletries & Wine (11/25)

$16.65      Roasting Pan @ Walmart to cook the turkey 🙂 (11/27)

$3.57        Coffee & Paper @ Kwik Trip (11/27)

$35.00      Gym Membership (11/30)

$550.00    Rent (11/30)

I actually earned $3,000 this month instead of the $2,500 I normally budget for. I make my budget on a basis of 4 weeks in each month (4 paychecks), this means every 3 or 4 months I get a bonus when a 5th paycheck lands in that month. There are usually a few extra expenses like additional food costs and daycare expenses but I still come out with some extra money. This month looks pretty nice but it was actually due to that bonus check 🙂

BUDGET                                                     ACTUAL

120.00 Childrens College Savings (automatically transferred)

*my monthly income of $2500 is after this is taken out of my check so I will not include it

– 200.00 Daycare                                      200.00

– 130.00 Healthcare expenses                  130.00

– 200.00 Gas                                             126.49                                           

– 200.00 Food                                           135.98

– 70.00 Car Insurance                               0

-150.00 Utilities                                         69.04

– 550.00 Rent                                           550.00

– 40.00 Cell Phone                                   37.31

– 35.00 Gym Membership                        35.00

0 Other                                                    300.43

Although I gave myself a hard time for not planning out my grocery trips quite as well as I hoped I saved $64 in grocery expenses uses coupons and I was able to go shopping every week and start a stock pile. If need be at this point I have enough freezer and cupboard food we could make the majority of our meals for a week or two on it alone. This month should be even easier and I’m hoping to get the grocery bill down to $100 a month!

I saved on gas the month but I think that had a lot to do with the Thanksgiving holiday and not having to travel to and from work, daycare, and daycare. I will be staying at work for lunch more often to save even more on gas expenses.

I saved quite a bit on utilities because we have not turned on our heat yet but I’m sad to say that will probably end this weekend. We are supposed to get some snow in and the house is already pretty cold. We all have to wear sweaters right now and usually cuddle under a big warm blanket before bed time 🙂 I will be trying to find other ways to save on energy and ways to make the electric heat work more efficiently.

Now for what I did wrong…..

$59.89 on photo needs and I have to reorder the canvas and some 8×10 because they did not turn out correct. No returns or exchanges…

$115.42 on going out to eat/drinks.

$93.29 on practical needs like newspaper, wipes, diapers, etc

$31.83 on miscellaneous stuff.

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November: Post 6

Oh thank goodness for the end of the month…. it seems with each week I felt more and more guilty about the way I spent my money. When you force yourself to track each expense it is really an eye opener. On the 1st I will break down where all my money went and try to come up with a game plan. I think it is unrealistic to assume I could cut out any going out money but maybe I can be a little smarter about it.

If I can push my gas to last until Thursday I will have only gone over by $50 and I can see quite a few areas where that could have been solved- walgreens with their toiletries and wine. I messed up the register rewards- because they forced me to change the order of my transactions. I lost money back due to that and had to pay full cost for the wine which would have hypothetically only been $1/$2 a bottle. The same dealio with my last couple Copps experiences. I didn’t spend enough time planning it all out and in the end spent twice as much. I have to become a little more dedicated to these coupon and rewards programs.

My sons kitchen is not going so well, as the contact paper is proving much harder to put on nicely than I expected. That makes me a little bummed since I saw a bunch of great deals on kitchen sets on black friday for about $30-40. I will make this work! I might end up buying another can of spray paint and saying screw the paper.

Monthly Total:

$2,500.00

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$14.95    Photo Canvas (11/1)

$1.04      Greeting Cards (11/1)

$0.00     (40) Free pictures from Walgreens (11/1)

$35.02   Gas (11/3)

$13.42   Copps Food (11/5)

$11.77   Copps Food (11/5)

$10.47   Halloween Costumes @ Walmart (11/5)

$28.00   Health Insurance (11/5)

$0.00     College basketball tickets and parking pass (11/5)

$26.24   Wings and Drinks @ Buffalo Wild Wings (11/5)

$2.00     Newspaper (11/6)

$13.45   Baby Wipes & Costume Acc. @ Walmart (11/7)

$37.00   Electric Bill (11/7)

$19.35     Drinks at Buffalo Wild Wings (11/8)

$39.69    16X12 Canvas, (3) 8×10 collage, (1) 11×14, (8) 4×6, (8)  5×7, (7) 8×10, (5) 4ct wallets @ artscow.com (11/9)

$50.00     Gas (11/9)

$32.04     Water bill (11/10)

$9.96       Shredded cheese @ Copps (6 @ $1.66ea) (11/11)

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$2,155.60

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$100.00   Dean Care/Medical Expenses (11/12)

$13.14     Grocery shopping @ Copps (11/12)

$15.96     Grocery shopping @ Copps (11/12)

$11.50     Drinks @ Legends (11/12)

$37.31     Cell phone w/ Virgin Mobile (11/13)

$1.93       Apples @ Copps (11/14)

$11.66     Yoga pants @ Kohls (11/15)

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$1,964.10 left

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$22.30     Grocery Shopping @ Copps (11/16)

$41.47     Gas (11/18)

$5.80       Subway (11/18)

$4.21       75 printed pictures @ Shutterfly (11/18)

$11.70     Walmart (11/18)

$24.04     Grocery Shopping @ Copps (11/19)

$23.46     Grocery Shopping @ Copps (11/19)

$0.00       Car Insurance (my parents owed me money so they paid for my insurance) (11/20)

$200.00   Daycare

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$1,631.12

$26.59   Diapers for #2 @ Amazon (11/23)

$31.03   Diapers for #3 @ Amazon (11/23)

$52.53   Black Friday @ Walgreens for toiletries & Wine (11/25)

$16.65   Roasting Pan @ Walmart to cook the turkey 🙂 (11/27)

$3.57    Coffee & Paper @ Kwik Trip (11/27)

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$1500.75 Left, still have rent

Christmas Expenses

$500.00 Spending Limit

$7.00      Lego Table w/ chairs @ Criagslist.com

$12.00    Contact Paper @ Walmart for Play Kitchen

$122.23  Clothes, PJs, Slippers, Hats, Movies @ Walmart

$101.22  Gift Cards for Grandma, Uncle, Aunt, and Dad

$12.65    Blu Ray @ Walmart for Nolan

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$257.55

November: Post 5

Image Detail

I’m getting a little behind on my expenses because of going out for drinks and buying some new yoga pants. But honestly I don’t feel too bad about it because I really needed some new workout clothes to feel motivated to start going back to the gym. I’ve gained 10 lbs in the last 2 months and my clothes are starting to get tight. (slightly frowny face :-/ )

I think to help make up for the difference the 45c off every gallon of gas I’ve earned from Copps will be handy at my next pump. Also I will be going grocery shopping twice this week (one to take full advantage of the super cheap turkeys and one to get some filler items) and I will be done grocery shopping for the month.

Image Detail

I really need a freezer chest -my stock is starting to pile up. I bought 3 lbs of hamburger this last week, which is why my grocery expenses were a little more than normal. I also have a cut up chicken, taco stuff, froz pizzas, tortellini and a cupboard full of pasta. I ran out of my frozen chimichangas so I think I will pick up some more burrito shells to make more. We really save on groceries by eating vegetarian at least half the week and replace with beans or some other protein.

Image DetailBlack Friday is about a week away and I don’t feel completely prepared. I made my list of who I need to buy gifts and what I am going to get for them but I’m having a hard time going through the ads and comparing to see where to get the best prices. While I was scanning through the ads I realzed how I spent so much last year. I would see things that weren’t on my list and buy it anyhow because I knew how much the recipient would like it. It will be VERY hard sticking to my Christmas budget of $500- last year I spent over $1000. I simply cannot afford spending that much if we want to go on a vacation and get a van. Not to mention we are running out of room for toys- no that’s an understatement. My walls are busting with toys at the seams. I feel so bad about having to get rid off some of their toys but we just don’t have room for the ones we do have and definitely not enough for the ones I want to get for Christmas. I told the kids any money we get from their toys we will put in the Disney World fund. I figure they can have a little spending money while we are there too.

Last but not least! I want to apologize for slacking on the whole purpose I built this blog- crafts, DIY not just the financial part. I haven’t promoted the blog yet because I want to wait until I have a good amount of craft and DIY projects on the site. My goal is to take pictures of the fall flower decoration I’m creating, from items at the dollar store and my yard! I also will be working on making play food with the play dough made with koolaid! That will be a fun project I think we will work on this weekend since we don’t have any plans and the kids can help.

Monthly Total:

$2,500.00

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$14.95    Photo Canvas (11/1)

$1.04      Greeting Cards (11/1)

$0.00     (40) Free pictures from Walgreens (11/1)

$35.02   Gas (11/3)

$13.42   Copps Food (11/5)

$11.77   Copps Food (11/5)

$10.47   Halloween Costumes @ Walmart (11/5)

$28.00   Health Insurance (11/5)

$0.00     College basketball tickets and parking pass (11/5)

$26.24   Wings and Drinks @ Buffalo Wild Wings (11/5)

$2.00     Newspaper (11/6)

$13.45   Baby Wipes & Costume Acc. @ Walmart (11/7)

$37.00   Electric Bill (11/7)

$19.35     Drinks at Buffalo Wild Wings (11/8)

$39.69    16X12 Canvas, (3) 8×10 collage, (1) 11×14, (8) 4×6, (8)  5×7, (7) 8×10, (5) 4ct wallets @ artscow.com (11/9)

$50.00     Gas (11/9)

$32.04     Water bill (11/10)

$9.96       Shredded cheese @ Copps (6 @ $1.66ea) (11/11)

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$2,155.60

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$100.00   Dean Care/Medical Expenses (11/12)

$13.14     Grocery shopping @ Copps (11/12)

$15.96     Grocery shopping @ Copps (11/12)

$11.50     Drinks @ Legends (11/12)

$37.31     Cell phone w/ Virgin Mobile (11/13)

$1.93       Apples @ Copps (11/14)

$11.66     Yoga pants @ Kohls (11/15)

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$1,964.10 left

Still have car insurance, daycare, rent, and the weekly gas and grocery expenses.

November: Post 4

Call me a newbie at going out for drinks but my sister and I decided to go after she was done with work, which was 11 pm. I thought well bar time is 2 so all bars must be open until 2… not the case with B3W, especially during the week. So we had 2 drinks and then time to go home. That ended up being a positive since I didn’t spend too much money but I’m starting to notice a trend here. I’m still going out! It’s hard to kick that habit to the curb.

I finished up the orders for our photo shoot last month and don’t expect to spend anymore on pictures for at least another year. I think I did a pretty good job with the amount I spent on pictures. Considering I got a huge canvas, 8x10s, 5x7s, 4x6s, and wallets and I could  pick any shot I wanted. I bought the pictures from artcow.com which has incredibly cheap photo stuff but it’s across the country so the shipping can end up costing more than what you are buying. Look for free shippng codes. They also offer new customers free items such as prints, collages, etc. but you cannot get free shipping on those items and will have to do a seperate order.

Copps right now has a great sale on $1.66 (or at least I think it’s great). Anytime cheese is under $2 I grab a bunch. Cheese can freeze well, especially any cheeses you use just for melting. I’m thinking about buying some ground beef tomorrow on my weekly grocery trip and we will have some tasty meatball subs with the old frost burned hoagies in the freezer 🙂

I have also started my christmas shopping list. I know it sounds early but grabbing those black friday deals only work when you have a game plan. I made a list of everyone I need to get gifts for and what I want to get each person. There are a ton of websites that will tell you all the black friday deals so I do a search to find what store is selling these items for the cheapest. So far it looks like Walmart is in the lead for the majority of the items. The great thing about Walmart is they will match prices for black friday door busters. So I can get the price I want for every item on my list at one store. I’m so excited to see that I’m below what I expected to pay. Hopefully it will stay like that 🙂 I receive a $500 bonus at the end of the year and consider that my Christmas shopping money. So even though I get it later I borrow it from savings. You will see when I go Christmas shopping I will deduct that from a different area other than the normal expenses.

Are you planning your christmas shopping? Where do you see the best deals?

Monthly Total:

$2,500.00

—————————–

$14.95    Photo Canvas (11/1)

$1.04      Greeting Cards (11/1)

$0.00     (40) Free pictures from Walgreens (11/1)

$35.02   Gas (11/3)

$13.42   Copps Food (11/5)

$11.77   Copps Food (11/5)

$10.47   Halloween Costumes @ Walmart (11/5)

$28.00   Health Insurance (11/5)

$0.00     College basketball tickets and parking pass (11/5)

$26.24   Wings and Drinks @ Buffalo Wild Wings (11/5)

$2.00     Newspaper (11/6)

$13.45   Baby Wipes & Costume Acc. @ Walmart (11/7)

$37.00   Electric Bill (11/7)

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$2,306.64 

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$19.35     Drinks at Buffalo Wild Wings (11/8)

$39.69    16X12 Canvas, (3) 8×10 collage, (1) 11×14, (8) 4×6, (8)  5×7, (7) 8×10, (5) 4ct wallets @ artscow.com (11/9)

$50.00     Gas (11/9)

$32.04     Water bill (11/10)

$9.96       Shredded cheese @ Copps (6 @ $1.66ea) (11/11)

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$2,155.60 left, Still have medical expenses bill, car insurance, daycare, rent, and the weekly gas and grocery expenses. So I tried to look ahead with paying all the bills that leaves $235 to spend on gas, and food for the rest of the month if I want to save $1000 and considering it’s a month where there is a “bonus” check. This will be tough.

November: Post 3

I’m less than pleased with myself and we are only a week into this year long savings plan. I just hope I will be able to keep my head above water.

Somehow our electric bill went down and I feel I did great grocery shopping. I found some great steals for my lunches and since I started a list with all food posted on the front of the fridge, it has been easy for me to figure out how to reuse leftovers creatively.

Last night we had the leftover marinara sauce from the Halloween party mixed with the pierogies that we had left and some plain leftover penne noodles (mix with olive oil in a ziplock bag so easy to reheat). Voila! Cheesy saucy noodles. I love pierogies but the kids do not for some reason, so they loved the leftover penne noodles. I’ve been finding great deals on the frozen steamable vegatables (@ .66 ea) so we have a good stock in the freezer. Dinner was done in 20 mins (prob one of the quickest dinners I’ve ever made!)

I scored some free tickets to the local college basketball game and I don’t go out often so I was quite excited. Unfortunately it was downtown so we had to go out afterwards. And there goes $26.24 that I know I should not be spending.

I didn’t feel as guilty when buying costumes and accessoies at Walmart at 75% off. I probably spent about $13 total but I think that is an awesome savings when you consider that is my total Halloween expense. I didn’t have to buy costumes this year because I did the same thing last year. With 3 boys, everything adds up very quickly.

My sister has been a little down lately and wants to go out. I know I shouldn’t but we have plans to go out tonight to B3W with their $0.45 wings. I think I will try to be more gas efficient to make up for the difference.

Normally I drive to see my youngest (16 mos) at my lunch break. I will nurse or just rock him. He is getting to the age where nursing is becoming more difficult so I think I will be weaning him to just the evenings before bed. Not driving out every lunch break should save me quite a bit on gas.

What have you been doing to save money in your household?

Monthly Total:

$2,500.00

—————————–

$14.95    Photo Canvas (11/1)

$1.04      Greeting Cards (11/1)

$0.00     (40) Free pictures from Walgreens (11/1)

$35.02   Gas (11/3)

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$13.42   Copps Food (11/5)

$11.77   Copps Food (11/5)

$10.47   Halloween Costumes @ Walmart (11/5)

$28.00   Health Insurance (11/5)

$0.00     College basketball tickets and parking pass (11/5)

$26.24   Wings and Drinks @ Buffalo Wild Wings (11/5)

$2.00     Newspaper (11/6)

$13.45   Baby Wipes & Costume Acc. @ Walmart (11/7)

$37.00   Electric Bill (11/7)

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$2,306.64 remaining, still have medical bill, water bill, child care, car insurance, rent, and gas & food each week

November: Post 2

Okay so I know it’s only the third day of the month but I’ve been tempted to go out to eat twice and I’m really trying hard to fight the urge. Today is “Sandwich day” and at Milios (sandwich/sub) they are offering B1G1 free. Oh boy does that make me want to run out and get one because I love their subs…. I’m drooling right now seriously. Today I brought to work broccoli, cherry tomatoes (both leftover from the party), yogurt, and a granola bar. I also have some cans of soup in case I ever forget to bring a lunch. My wants are trying to push my needs to the side. No one ever said this was going to be easy…

After my coupon class last night I felt a little overwhelmed and kind of nervous, since now i will be fighting even more people for the sales at Copps than before. The first piece of advice was to track all your costs (not your budget). See what you actually spend your money on. I think I’m headed in the right direction- I know the first couple of months are probably going to have a lot of trial and error but that’s part of learning.

My goal tonight is to write down a list of the food/groceries I have and tape them to the Frig, Freezer, and cupboard (you then cross off items you use and write in items you added and update the sheet once a week). I will then make a meal plan for the next week or so using what I have. Afterwards I can write a list of the few items I need to complete the meals and buy a few things to add to my stockpile. We were told to slowly build the stockpile- since different items have different seasons it will take a while to get enough of a variety to eat just from that. I’m hoping to spend $30 every week on groceries- I do have a budget of $50 so it will be fine if it takes a few practice weeks to get down to $30.

I’m excited to share with you all that I’m finishing up my Vehicle Comparison excel sheet. I didn’t want to make another impulsive buy when purchasing the van/crossover we need so what I’m doing is researching all vehicles that would fit my needs. I need a minimum 6 passenger vehicle so that was the only criteria for the vehicle to make it on the excel sheet. I have categories for seating capacity, mpg, real world mpg, consumer rating, and my personal rating on the interior and exterior. Each category will be weighted to what I find is more important (obviously mpg is more important that how I feel the vehicle looks). After all is finished Excel will tell me what is the best suited vehicle for my needs and wants. I will pick the top 3 and test them out and pick my preference from there since a computer cannot tell you if you like how it drives or how it actually feels being in it. Once I feel that I got most of the kinks out I will post up the sheet so you can update it with your own preferences and find a vehicle that works for you!

Monthly Total:

$2,500.00

—————————–

$14.95    Photo Canvas

$1.04      Greeting Cards

$0.00     (40) Free pictures from Walgreens

11/1 Total Expenses $15.99

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$35.02   Gas

11/3 Total Expenses $35.02

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$2,448.99

November: Post 1

I almost forgot today was the start of my savings plan. I started to get my son interested and involved, by informing him we are saving to go to Disney World and once the family jar is full of money we can go. The family jar is this huge glass jar in the living room that I  throw my spare change. It honestly looks like something you could never fill but I wanted my son to feel like he is participating in the saving part and understand why we simply cannot be stopping by McDonalds once a week anymore. The kids all received $5 from grandma to get a halloween treat but we decided to put that into the family jar.

I now wish I had paid for gas yesterday… and not spent my grocery money on snacks for the Halloween party because now I will need to make a run to the gas station and the grocery store sooner than later.

November’s Money Saving Focus: Couponing

I’ve dabbed a little into couponing and have saved some money but I really do not feel like I am going about it the right way. I am subscribed to a local mom who is a extreme couponer and blogs about the deals for the local grocery stores and convenience stores. She holds classes all over the state and I just got a spot in her class tomorrow evening! Now I just need to find a babysitter. My recommendation is to look for a local couponer in your area that also blogs about the great deals so you don’t have to spend hours hunting for them!

So far I have spent $15.99 from my monthly budget. We just received a copy of our picture from our family shoot so I’m going to have to figure in some picture costs. I purchased an 8×10 photo canvas, and the greeting cards for Christmas. I just need to get (3) 8×10, collage photo, and a large 16×20 family canvas photo. I know it will steeply hurt my budget but I’m going to try my best to get some good photo deals.

If you want to scoop up the deals:

I got on the 8×10 canvas for free just pay for shipping 

http://canvaspeople.com/canvas-discount?utm_source=HO_CP&utm_medium=Affil&utm_term=&utm_content=6&utm_campaign=0714

I got the greeting cards from shutterfly, 25 cards for the cost of processing $1.04. All I had to do was blog about it.

https://partialtohome.wordpress.com/2011/11/02/family-photo-shoot-greeting-cards/

Monthly Total:

$2,500.00

—————————–

$14.95    Photo Canvas

$1.04      Greeting Cards

11/1 Total Expenses $15.99

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$2,484.01