Saturday, September 29, 2012

September Saving Challenge

This was the last week of doing the September savings Challenge.  My husband gets paid weekly on Fridays so I am not counting the last two days of the month.
Week 4 ending balance was $33.73 out of $200.00

Gas $100.02
Groceries $ 37.76
Dining out $11.39
Gift $ 12.10 - fleece material for son's blanket
School Dance $5.00 - entry fee for daughter.

I ended up being able to put $400 in our Christmas fund.  I learned a lot this month. I had gotten in a bad habit of using my debit card for purchases instead of paying cash. This helped me break that habit. Tracking everything also let me see where my money is going.

Monthly total
Groceries : $ 305.25
Dining out $ 47.71
Gift : $12.10
Entertainment $10.00

I don't think we did too bad for the month.  I need to make my menu plan or next week.

Have a good weekend.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

About Me

I realized I never really shared much about me so I figured I would I share a little. :) 

I have been married for almost 18 years and have 3 children, 1 girl (14) and two boys(10 & 6). We live in a small rural town in the Midwest of only about 1300 people.  My husband and I both work full time jobs outside the home. Hubby works for our town as one of the Village Employees, so his commute to work is about 2 minutes.  Since he is a Village Employee he has to live within a certain distance.  I work in a larger city about 30 minutes away as a Computer Programmer.

The name of my blog SKAMM life is the initials of everyone in our family.  My Husband (S), Me (Kim), Daughter (A), Son #1 (M), Son #2. (M).  Each of my kids are involved in Sports/School that keep us busy. Our daughter is a Cheerleader and plays volleyball.  Son #1 is into all sports possible. We do restrict it to one sport at a time. :) He plays Football, Basketball and Baseball.  Baseball is a big one for us since he is in a Travel league and has quite a few games from April to July. He is also involved with Cub Scouts.  Son #2 also did T ball this year  for the first time and is also in Cub Scouts.  Hubby also bowls and is a Volunteer Firefighter for our town.  Hubby and I are also involved with our Youth program at church. 

I started this blog mainly for Personal Finance accountability but will probably be sharing other happenings in my life also. My main goal is to get rid of our Credit Card debt and pay off our Van and Hubby's motorcycle. We would like to sell our house and move to a bigger one but need to get rid of our debt first. 

Hope you enjoy my little update.


Monday, September 24, 2012

Meal Plan Monday

Here is this week's meal plan.  I always go Monday - Sunday so I can buy groceries for the week while I am in town at work. The less running up to the local store I do the better.

Monday:  Spaghetti / Garlic Bread
Tuesday: Broccoli Sausage Simmer - Even my picky kids will eat this.
Wednesday: Sandwich /Left over night. Younger kids night at Church.
Thursday: Sloppy Joes/ Chips
Friday : Chicken/Steak Fajitas
Saturday: Eating at my Mom's
Sunday: Jr/Sr Youth Group at Church

Last week we did pretty good on the Meal plan.  I only had to change one day because we ended up going to a fish fry instead.  I had bought 10 pounds of Ground Beef back in August when it was on sale so that has helped this month.  I have used up most of my meat in the freezer. I still have some Ground Beef, Lots of Fish, a Turkey and a Ham to use.  The Turkey and Ham will have to be cooked on a weekend since those take longer.  I will be going to Seattle for a week in October so will have to plan easy meals for the Hubby to fix.
Linked up to I'm an Organizing Junkie

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Week 3 Savings Update

This was week 3 of September Challenge . I was able to add another $100 to the Christmas Fund. I ended up with $20.23 left of my $200. Here is my breakdown

Gas $ 99.02
Groceries $ 49.43
Dining Out $ 26.32
Football Game $5.00

Our Dining out was really drinks and snacks for Baseball game and practices. We are not allowed to bring coolers ino the complex and being there for 4 hours for two games you end up spending money.  We eat before we go but usually end up buying drinks and snacks.  Only spending $49.43 on groceries is unusual for us but I will take it.

I have this weeks menu done and actually have most of it on hand.

Have a good week!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Mid Week Update

I never got around to posting my Meal Plan for the week. Here is what the plan is for the week.

Monday: Homemade Pizza.  My daughter is old enough that she started this before I got home.
Tuesday: Chili -
Wednesday: Leftovers - Plenty of leftovers from the last week. Pulled Pork/ Meatloaf.
Thursday: Chicken , Broccoli Fettuccine Alfredo
Friday:  Surprise Party  - have to take a side dish
Saturday : Tacos
Sunday: Lunch Sandwiches. Dinner: Youth Group at Church.

I have been faithfully planning out my meals for 8 weeks. I think the family is getting used to it by now. I need to come up with a whiteboard or calendar at home to write the  meal plan on for the family.  They know I am doing it and are starting to ask what is on the menu for dinner tonight. :)  I try to make sure I plan meals they like and throw in some new ones. The Chicken Alfredo is a new one so we will see how they like it.  I also have to plan around activities and keep things simple in the evening. We try to keep the activities to a minimum but with 3 kids they still keep us busy. 

Savings Update: $200 weekly Budget for Food/Gas
So far this week I have spent
$20 Eating out - Snacks/Drinks at Ball Games on Saturday and Sunday.
$67.02 Gas for my Van
$28.66 Groceries

So I have $84.32 left until Friday.  Groceries for this week meal plan are all  bought. The only think I need to pick up are ingredients for the Taffy Apple Salad I am taking to the Surprise Party Friday night. I may also have to pick up more Milk as our family has been drinking a lot more milk lately. I believe I should make it this week.
The Taffy Apple Salad is very quick and simple to make and there is only 3 ingredients.

Snicker Bar
Cool whip

I have not made this before but we had it at Youth group the other night and the kids loved it! I don't have an amount for each of these but was just given some guidelines.  1 snicker bar for every two apples and enough cool whip to cover all of it.  How many apples depends on how much you want to make. I am going to give this a try and see how it goes.
Basically you cut up the apples and snickers into bite size pieces and mix with the cool whip. This is simple and I think I may be able to handle this. :)

I will update on Saturday with how my week ended up.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Week 2 - Savings Update

I am a few days late posting this as we had a busy weekend.  Week 2 of September Savings Challenge  I did pretty good again. I ended up with $3.44 left. :) Hubby was going to be gone on a fishing trip from Friday - Sunday so there was extra money spent on food this week. Hubby being gone also caused some transportation issues.  I have two boys 10(M1) & 6(M2) and both had baseball practice on Friday. Luckily one of the other moms helped me out and took the old boy (M1) with them. They went out to eat afterwards so I gave her $10 for his dinner and for helping me out.  Here is the break down.
Food $132.56
Gas: $54.00
Eating Out: $10.00

I definitely spent more on food this week than I did the previous week but Hubby likes to take plenty in case he needs it. He did come home with quite a bit of it and the kids are enjoying his leftovers. (Poptarts which I never buy)\

So far this week I have spent $20 on food/drinks at the baseball and football games we went to over the weekend.  I don't usually spend this but it was a off weekend for everyone.  My Daughter (A) also made the Cheer leading squad this week and we will have that expense coming up. Usually tryouts are in the spring and I wouldn't have to worry about this expense at this time of the year but they moved them to the fall and I wasn't planning ahead. I also prefer the spring tryouts since it gives me more time to come up with the money.  There is a new Coach this year so not sure what the expenses are going to be like. Planning ahead is definitely an area I need to work on.   Have a good week!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Midweek Update

Last Friday I planned out the menu for this week and on Saturday I went and bought groceries for the entire week. My hubby is going to be gone this weekend on a fishing trip so I also had to buy groceries for his trip. He is taking food with him for breakfast and lunch.  I planned meals I knew would give me leftovers to stretch the food. Hopefully I can make it through the week under budget. So far I have spent $112.54
This has all been spent on food or supplies for the hubby. I have to get gas tomorrow and paper plates for the hubby.
September Savings Challenge
Week # 2 -
Food - $ 112.54
Gas - 0

Monday, September 10, 2012

Meal Plan Monday

Last week I was able to stick to my Meal plan everyday. Here is this week's meal plan

Sunday: Youth Group Night: We help at our church and meal is provided.
Monday: Tater Tot Casserole - kids love this. Corn, Salad
Tuesday: Baked Teriyaki Chicken, Green Beans, White and Wild Rice Pilaf
Wednesday: Pulled Pork Sandwiches , Chips
Thursday: Busy night - Either Sandwiches or Leftover Pulled Pork
Friday: Leftovers
Saturday: Ranch Meatloaf (recipe from Thrifty Crafty Girl), Potatoes, Green Beans.

That is it for this week. Wednesday and Thursday are our busiest nights so dinner has to be quick. Pulled Pork will be made in the Crockpot and everyone can help themselves when they  have time to eat. 

Hope everyone has a good week. I will update with my spending challenge tomorrow.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

September Savings Challenge Update Week 1

I joined Carla this month on doing a September Savings Challenge. My Goal was to save $100 a week. I set my limit at $200 a week for Food and Gas. Here is my earlier post on it. September Challenge- My Goals

I am happy to report that I did it!! I was able to stay within my spending budget!
One of the rules is to track everything you spend.  This was very helpful so I knew exactly where my money was going.  Here are my totals for the week.
Food  -   $85.50
Gas -    $104.00
 Total  - $189.50

I made it with $10.50 to spare.  I was doing really well until Friday. My biggest expense is always gas. I drive 30 miles one way to work. So 60 miles a day adds up pretty quick on gas. I did go ahead and fill up on Friday even though I was just under half a tank. I live in a small town and gas is always 10 - 15 cents higher than in the town where I work. I also had to stop at Sam's Club yesterday to get a few things. I was good though I only ended up getting one item that wasn't on my list. I usually go overboard when I stop there. I stopped mainly for Milk , Lemonade mix and Fruit snacks. Milk is $1.09 cheaper a gallon at Sam's instead of my local grocery store so I bought two gallons. 

I didn't have anything but food and gas expenses this week which is really unusual for our house. I took my lunch everyday. Taking my lunch also helped with me not going anywhere on my lunch hour so I wasn't spending gas leaving my office.

This week I have already done my menu planning and figured out what I don't have on hand. I made sure to plan out the side dishes this week. That is something  I don't always do and this week I had to run up to our local iga store to get a few things. Our local store is very nice and I like their sale prices but if it is not on sale then some things get very high.  We do buy most of our meat from there since it is usually good quality but only buy when it is on sale.

Today will be spent taking my daughter for a sports physical for cheerleading.   While I am in town I will be doing the grocery shopping for the week.

Have a good weekend!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Best 2.99 I ever spent

When I am not busy being a Mom and Wife I work full time out of the house as a Computer Programmer. I am a computer geek and I love it. :)  I also love electronic gadgets. I have a Kindle Fire which I love! I have a smartphone and an Ipad.  The kindle fire was my Christmas gift last year and the Ipad was given to me through a deal at work. I LOVE my Ipad. My husband says I love it more than him. ;)  
One of the apps I downloaded earlier in the year was a Menu Planner When I first bought it I didn't use it very much because I thought it was too much work to setup. At the end of July I gave it another shot.

This app is wonderful! If you do Menu Planning this app is worth a try. There are several sections, Meals, Recipes, Pantry, and Shopping Cart.  The best part is the Pantry section. This setup part can be time consuming. You have to enter items you have in your cupboards/Frig/Freezer. I did mine as I went along adding recipes and meals. The Meals section lets you add items for Breakfast,Lunch, Dinner, Snack etc. You can also import recipes from many recipes sites. The app will compare with what you have in your pantry and if it isn't in there it will create the item and add it to the Shopping Cart. You do have to be careful when adding items because it is case sensitive so "Ice Cream" is different than "ice cream".

The Shopping Cart can be organized by Shopping Groups(Isles). I can categorize each pantry item by shopping group. I can also organize the Shopping Groups in any order I want. I set mine up based on the layout of the store.
I am not doing this app justice. If you have an ipad go check this app out. I did my meal planning in August using this and it really helped having everything in one area. There is also a website for it Menu Planner

Just thought I would pass along a tool I discovered and has helped me out. I will post tomorrow on my Savings Challenge.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Mid Week Update-Savings Challenge

I am halfway through the Savings Challenge week 1. Yesterday was my biggest spend day but I knew it was going to be. I had to put gas into the van, $58.00 and then buy the rest of the groceries for the week. So far I have spent $99.65 out of the $200 I had planned.  Of course last night the kids inform me that we don't have enough cereal for the rest of the week.  Why is it that whenever you get home from the store there is always something that was missed?  Usually it is from the kids finishing something off and not telling me. :) The only items I believe I will have to get before end of week is cereal, Milk and OJ.  I also may  have to top the van off with gas. I drive 30 miles to work so 60 miles round trip every day adds up on the gas.

I have also so far been able to stick to the menu plan for the week. I did a menu plan every week in August so by now everyone in the house is used to it.

Spending total:
Food: $41.65
Gas: $58.00

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

September Savings

September Savings Challenge

I am joining up with Carla on doing a September Savings Challenge. This is the first time I have done one of these so we will see how it goes. I am posting this a few days late but I did start this on Saturday 9/1.
Here are the rules.
  1. No buying "stuff" of any kind. No clothes, books, fabric, toys, etc...
  2. Meds & fixed bills as always, are excluded.
  3. No "pre-stocking" up allowed. If I go out and spend $500 on food before I start, it's not much of a challenge is it? ;)
  4. Track every penny spent. 

My Challenge is to save $100 a week. I am putting this into savings for Christmas since I really haven't planned much for Christmas yet. At the end of the month I should have $400. My husband gets paid weekly and his check is used for weekly expenses. My check is twice a month and we use that for monthly bills. Starting on Saturday I set aside $200 for gas and food for the week. I am keeping it out as cash so I can keep track of what I spend.  So far for food I have spent $22.00.  I planned my menu on items I had on hand so I wouldn't have to buy much.  Saturday was my Daughter's birthday and we did go out to eat but I had already budgeted that dinner from my bonus check I received on Friday so I didn't count that. Her gift was already bought also.

Meal Plan:
Sunday:  Ham, Corn, Potatoes
Monday: Spinach Cheese Manicotti- This had been on the meal plan for the week before but we didn't end up making it so I already had everything bought.
Tuesday: Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup
Wednesday: Chicken Cordon Blue Casserole, using leftover ham.
Thursday: Brats/Hotdogs/ Mac & Cheese. Kid Friendly meal. :)
Friday: Leftovers
Saturday:Meatball Sandwiches, Chips, Salad.

Debt Update

This post is a few days late.  On Friday 8/31 I received part of my yearly bonus. We get it paid out twice a year.  It was enough to pay off the kid's school registration and  one of my credit cards completely and have a little left over. That was the plan until Friday.  I changed my mind and decided to pay off several small bills instead. 
Before Friday Debt:
Store Credit Card #1 $196.95
Store Credit Card #2 $122.91
Appliance Store Card $210.00
School Registration  All 3 Kids $483.00 - 8th,5th & 1st. 8th Grade was $290 by itself.
Taxes: $215.96

Dinner Out for Daughter's Birthday. $80.00
This ate up all of my bonus but I figured two credit cards are paid off and appliance store card is down quite a bit. The Appliance Store card still has a balance of $166 and that will be paid off by the end of the month.  I will now start applying all these payments to the Credit Card. After the Credit Card is paid off I have two hospital bills to pay off from my son's surgery earlier in the year. 
School Registration definitely takes a chunk and I wish it wasn't so expensive. Our middle school/High school registration fees are ridiculous.

Debt Still to Pay:
Credit Card: Orchard Bank: $1085.00

Dr Bill $1300.00
Therapy Bill $1400.00
Capitol One Card:$ 1100.00 

We still have a long way to go but I am making a dent in it.