Saturday, August 11, 2018

Saturday Sloth....

We woke up (late) to a very dreary and rainy day.  Truthfully I don't have much motivation to do anything today other than finish our binge watching of Twin Peaks on Netflix!  LOL

Maybe I'll work on some additional blog posts later too....Who knows? 

I don't plan on beating myself up too much about being lazy today since yesterday I was on the go from 6:30 am until about 1:30 this morning!  Very long but nice day!

G1 is now (almost) fully set for her first semester.  Yesterday found her taking placement tests (Her SAT scores were misplaced in our house long ago and the high school doesn't keep record of them), meeting with an advisor, and registering for classes.  Oh, and paying too of course - which is why I was along for the ride.  While not physically or mentally taxing - I sat in a common area and read a book until it was payment time, five hours is still a good chunk of time.

Then, last night Papa and I actually had TWO things planned - crazy for me I know!
First, it was Papa's intern "C"'s last day.  I think I have mentioned him here before since the Guppies and I have met C and Papa for lunch a few times over the course of the summer.  Truly, C is one of the most genuine and sweetest kids I have met in a long time.  He plays football for Cornell and is potentially interested in the business side of health care.  Papa and his coworkers wanted to take him out to celebrate for a bit so we ended up meeting at a small bar/restaurant for around two hours.
Then, we took C along with us out to dinner with one of Papa's old Kaman friends who was in town for the weekend.  D is an amazing lady and very easy to talk to/get along with.  She brought C into the conversation like they knew it each forever.
It was one of the nicest/most fun nights we have had with other people in awhile. And I know Papa is going to miss having C around....The girls and I will too.  I had "budgeted" for this night when going over August's expenses and, in the end, it really wasn't as expensive as I anticipated - which is always a nice plus right?

We were home by around 11pm BUT....

G2 was out with a friend and didn't get home until 1am - which was okay since I knew where she was/who she was with/etc.  However, I couldn't go to sleep until I knew she was home and safe - you parents out there are sure to relate - Haha!

So, yeah, it's going to be a lazy day around here....

At least for part of the day....

But possibly all of it too!

Happy Saturday!

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Trying To Play the CVS Game.....

Last night, while on the ride home from the Cape, G2 texted and asked if I could go get her some whitening strips (using her money).  And, wow!  I'm glad I agreed to go since I got the very pleasant surprise of $10 in an ECB promotion for them!  So, that's a completely free and clear $10 as I didn't outlay any money whatsoever!

Cue Happy Dance!

This morning, before my therapy appointment, I ran back over to CVS to see how I could maximize my free ECBs!  While nowhere near the expert level of other bloggers (like Sluggy), I think I did fairly well....

Transaction #1:  $5.68
In a house with three girls, it seems sanitary products are always needed.  U by Kotex was on sale - Buy One/Get One Half off PLUS spend over $15 in products, get $3 ECB's.  And, I had a coupon from CVS for $2 off $8 worth of feminine products too!

1 package (30 count) heavy flow pads
1 package (30 count) overnight pads

I'm pretty happy with how little I spent on the above!

Transaction #2:  $0
I took the $3 ECB I earned from the above transaction and bought a bottle of much needed laundry detergent.

1 bottle (46.5 oz) All

All of the above is included in my monthly grocery expenses.  And, as I have said, I am challenging myself to stick to an extremely low budget for August.  The above purchases was a nice boost/bang for little buck!

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

G1 and the World....

G1's year off didn't go nearly as planned....Her cross country trip got cancelled (due to her BF breaking his leg) so she ended up staying at her part time job at our local Dollar Tree and tried to figure out what she wanted to do moving forward.

Not travelling was a big disappointment - trust me.  But, this year off still wasn't "wasted" by any means.....

*She learned that doing "nothing" drove her crazy.
*She honed in on what she wanted to do career wise.
*She realized that college isn't going to be like high school all over again - partly by gaining some distance from her high school years and from what college friends told her.
*She is more prepared /mature to go to college overall.
*She's learned how to manage her money pretty damn well.  MUCH better than I did at her age!

She's "ready" to move on into the next phase of life.

On Monday, she and I spent the day in New Haven.  We did some last minute stuff at the community college - handed in her medical records to admissions and also scheduled her testing/advisor and registration appointments for this coming Friday.  We walked around a bit to help her get acclimated to some of the spots she may want to go to for lunch/coffee/etc.  While it was a super hot and humid day, it was also a really nice one too.

Today she gives notice at Dollar Tree.  She's never had to officially quit a job as her last one was during school months and you more or less had to "sign up" to come back the next year.  Papa and I fully support her decision.  Things have been going downhill since new management came in and G1's hours were getting constantly switched, lessened, and she is no longer being given the early shift (5am to 9am) as she requested (and was briefly given) - which was what she needed once school starts.
Papa and I told her that she didn't need to work while she was in college full time.  But, G1 is still interested in working if possible.  After she gets her schedule, she plans on canvasing restaurants/bars and trying her hand at waitressing in the evenings/weekends.  (While evenings/weekends could have been an option at DT, G1 feels she could make more money/be happier elsewhere.)

It's take awhile to get here, but, as always G1 found her way on her own terms.  I am so excited to be able to watch her grow even more once school starts at the end of the month.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Grocery Shopping First Week of August

I think I am going to be changing the parameters of my low spend challenge already!  LOL

I didn't take into account the fact that we would be eating out more than usual this upcoming week.  Guppy 1 and I will be having lunch with Papa and his coworkers, we will be taking Papa's intern out for drinks as his internship ends on Friday, AND Papa and I will be heading out for dinner with an ex-coworker who will be in Connecticut this week.   While I plan on trying to keep the amount spent to a minimum, $175 will be too much of a stretch for both groceries and these costs.

So, I am going to remove the eating out costs from the equation.  And, lower the $175 to $150 for groceries.

Here's what I spent for the first week of August:

Big Y:  $46.46
If you all remember from my Spending Journal post, I ran to the grocery store on Friday since Ramsey came earlier than expected and I wasn't prepared to have him for dinner.  While I was there, I took advantage of a few good deals -which, to be completely honest, I feel got cancelled out by bringing G1 and Ramsey to the store to pick out something for dinner.

1 small round of sourdough (for a soup bread bowl for Ramsey)
3 half gallons of ice cream (Buy 1/Get 2 free)
1 2ltr bottle of Fanta grape soda (G1 request)
1 bag Lays Lobster Roll flavored chips (Ramsey)
1 bag Deep River cheddar horseradish chips (Ramsey)
1 12 pack regular Coke (Ramsey)
1 bottle of cold Coke (Ramsey)
3 bags of Utz chips (Buy 1/Get 2 free)
1 container of JoJo fries from the hot bar (G1)
1 16 oz broccoli cheddar soup from the hot bar (Ramsey)
1 vegetable sushi tray (G1)

Yes, it was extremely indulgent.
Ramsey got hurt at work during the day on Friday.  He landscapes and had a decently sized tree limb fall on him.  He needed neck and shoulder xrays.  Thankfully, he didn't break anything but he's still in a lot of pain with a lot of deep bruising. 
So, I indulged him and was feeling to lazy to actually make them something for dinner.
I own all this.
No excuses.

My plan is to stay out of the grocery stores this week completely.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Guppy 2's Absence AKA Biggest Freebie of the Summer

Last Friday morning, around 8am, I received a strange text.  It was from the mom of G2's close (male) friend, J.  She was packing her car up now and wanted to know if G2 was ready yet....


Well, J asked G2 (at one am) if she wanted to go with his and his mom to their townhouse in Cape Cod for six days!

G2 hadn't asked me yet because signals were crossed and she thought they were heading out Friday night not Friday morning!

G2 and I raced around and got her all packed up in less than twenty minutes and she was on her way!

J and G2 have been very close and strictly platonic friends for over five years now.  J's mom adores G2 and knows all her little quirks/likes/dislikes and loves my daughter like her own kid.  ( I feel the same way about J too.)  So, we are very comfortable sending G2 off with them - J's mom is a nurse to boot so that is an extra plus!

The townhouse has been in J's family for awhile and, from the pictures G2 has sent me, it looks to be directly on the ocean. They plan on spending a lot of time on the beach, walking/biking into town, etc.  Even though I think the extra cost of having G2 with them is minimal, I sent her with some money and told her to offer to pay for things as the opportunity arose. 

Once they are back, I plan on sending G2 over to their house with a nice bouquet of flowers as a thank you for such a very nice experience!

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Spending Journal - August 1st - 4th

First week of August is on the shorter side, isn't it?
Here is a short list of goals I would like to achieve over the course of the next 5 days....(As a reminder, I update this post each day in real time but post on Sunday after the week concludes)
1.  Have at least one No Spend Day
2.  Grocery Shopping x 1 (at the most)
3.  Keep spending below $250.

August 1st:  $0
So happy to start the first day of August on the right foot with a No Spend Day!

August 2nd:  $135
This is where No Spend Days get tricky for me.  Technically, I DID spend money....but they were expenses are already accounted/allotted for.
I had a therapy session today with a copay of $30.
And, I booked the hotel for our vacation today and had to put down a $135 deposit.
What to do?  What to do?  I *think* I will count the hotel deposit as "spending" but not the therapy copay since the copay is now a "regular" expense.

August 3rd:  $80.46
Papa had the day off from work so we drove to one of my "Summer Bucket List" places for lunch.  A little marina with the absolute best fried clams!  I don't have the receipt but it was a tad under $34 - expensive but well worth it!  And, there were leftovers for lunch on Saturday!
Guppy 1's boyfriend, Ramsey, was coming over for the weekend but came before dinner - which we didn't expect.  Since Papa and I were still full from a large lunch and would be snacking (if anything) for dinner, I drove the kids over to Big Y to grab something quick to eat/make.  While there I took advantage of a few deals too.  I spent $46.46 - more than I had intended and told G1 there would be no more grocery runs this weekend.

August 4th:  $15.77
Papa and I went to a movie matinee - perfect day for it as it was raining when we went!  He really wanted to bring me to see Christopher Robin as I have been a huge Pooh fan since childhood.  Cost:  $15.77.  The movie was PACKED!  And there were a LOT of children, which I didn't expect as this movie was geared more towards adults in my opinion.  Though a bit slow moving (some more editing would have been very useful), I really enjoyed the movie and my time out with Papa.  Money well spent in my book.

Total spent this week:  $231.23

Let's see how I did with my above goals...

1.  Have at least one No Spend Day - Yes but only the one day
2.  Grocery Shopping x 1 (at the most) - Yes  Glad I allowed myself the one time though since I used it!
3.  Keep spending below $250. - Yes...although with only $18.77 to spare!

Goals for the upcoming week
This is going to be a little bit of a tricky week as we have some plans on Monday and Friday that will require some spending. (more on that in posts during the week)

1.  Have one No Spend Day
2.  No Grocery Shopping (Farmers Markets excluded)
3.  Spend no more than $350 for the week.  (I hope to stay far below this amount but need some cushioning.)

Hope you all are enjoying your Sunday!

August Meals - Week One

I believe starting to track our meals/meal plan again is going to be crucial to my success/failure rate for this month's low grocery budget challenge.

Next week I will include the choices we have available for breakfasts and lunches.

But, for this week, here is what we had for dinner:

Wednesday August 1st
Guppy 2 went out to dinner (her dime) with one of her close friends....So, it was the perfect time to make something she does NOT like, right?  =)

Black Beans & Rice

Thursday August 2nd
After picking up Papa from work this evening, I was feeling very uninspired about dinner....I just simply didn't want to cook!  LOL  However, with August expenses looming over me and some planned expenses on Friday & Saturday, I knew eating out wouldn't be a wise choice.  Rifling through the fridge, I found my solution:

Fried Dough (using some of the prepared pizza dough I got at Costco)

Not healthy by any stretch but it did the trick!

Friday August 3rd
Since Papa and I had an extremely large lunch out at a marina, we just picked at stuff around the house for dinner.  He had cereal and I had some toast.
G1 and Ramsey had prepared stuff from the grocery store.
G2 wasn't home.  (More on that in another post)

Saturday August 4th
Grilled Cheese
Tomato Soup

So, yeah.  Lots of room for improvement but it's a start right?

While this past week was more of the "tracking" nature, I will definitely be doing more actual "planning"  for next week's menu!