Monday, October 5, 2015

This Week on the Dining Table

It's the "I spent money this weekend" Edition--

 Besides my "wild" spending spree at Big Lots this past weekend, Saturday was the annual local Church fundraising auction.  I dropped some major coin at that too!  I got some deals(I was more selective than last year's lot)and helped out a local church keep their doors open.  I also had my annual bowl of haluski there as they served lunch.
More on my auction haul later......

Onward to the meal planning!
Here's what was planned last week.......
1. Sunday--Eating Out while traveling-I had a Roast Beef Panini and Salad
2. Monday--Leftover Beef Stroganoff, Veggie TBD
3. Tuesday--Ribs, Yellow Squash and Onions
4. Wednesday--Smoked Chicken, Smoked Potato Salad, Smoked Apples
5. Thursday--Fish, leftover veggies, cheddar broccoli soup
6. Friday--Leftovers
7. Saturday--Leftovers
And this is what actually happened--

1. Sunday--Eating Out while traveling-I had a Roast Beef Panini and Salad
2. Monday--Leftover Beef Stroganoff, leftover mixed Beans or Salad
3. Tuesday--Ribs, Smoked Potato Salad
4. Wednesday--Smoked Baked Chicken, Sauted stir-fry Veggies
5. Thursday--Fish, Yellow Squash and Onions, Noodles
6. Friday--Leftovers
7. Saturday--Red Lobster, eating out

I basically cooked 2 days last week for 3 days worth of meals(except for the stir-fry which was made on the 3rd day of eating).  We splurged Saturday and went out for an early dinner for seafood.  Not a big fan of that chain but it was "Endless Shrimp" after all.  ;-)
As for my grocery spending last week......ended Sept. with a couple of small Weis shops($70.15 total) for a total of $212.25 spent for the month.  I did a shop(or two)at Big Lots this past weekend on October's food monies and spent $30.76 of my $300 Oct. food budget.

Leftovers going into this week....ribs and smoked chicken.  We ate ribs last night(and there are still 2 more servings)and I might take the leftover smoked chicken and make a garlicky broth soup with it to have for lunches this week.
Here is this week's food plan--

1. Sunday--Leftover Ribs, Leftover Potato Salad, Leftover Squash & Onions
2. Monday--Lasagna, Caesar Salad, Garlic Bread
3. Tuesday--Fish(freezer), Mixed Veggies(freezer), Roasted Potatoes(pantry)
4. Wednesday--Meatloaf(freezer), Collards(garden), Roasted Potatoes(leftover)
5. Thursday--Leftovers(Lasagna or Ribs)
6. Friday--Leftovers(Lasagna or Meatloaf)
7. Saturday--More Leftovers or Pizza take-out(use freebie)if we are tired of eating Leftovers

What I need to buy for this menu?......cottage cheese, Romaine lettuce.  I'll be picking up a few other items that are on sale this week besides those 2 items but it shouldn't run more than $25 total(unless surprise meat/produce specials pop up while I'm in the store).  8-)  Spending $25 will put me right around $55 spent of my food budget for October.  I have to keep reminding myself that I am only giving myself $300 this month for groceries/toiletries.  If $55 spent gets us through Oct. 10th I'll be in great shape to meet this challenge.

Cooking 3 days this week(other than making side dishes to have with leftovers)will yield me 2 more leftovers(lasagna, meatloaf)to eat up later in the week.  But I already have a premade meatloaf in the freezer that just needs a bit of thawing and then sticking in the oven so not really "cooking" that night.  It's difficult even if you make a small one to NOT have leftovers when it's lasagna and meatloaf and it's only 2 people eating those meals.

It's a compact cooking week with plans to eat all the leftovers keeping food waste at bay.
What is getting fixed and served at your house this week?    

Was last week's plan successful, did you go off plan or did you not even plan what was going to be eaten that week?

Any great deals on food at your stores this week? 


Sunday, October 4, 2015

Shopping.....More Rite-Aid Stuff & Big Lots

Well I went back and returned those 2 items on Friday that didn't give me the $20 in pts. the shelf tag said I was suppose to get.  Incidentally the shelf tags stating you get $10 in pts. for each item were STILL UP on Friday!
Way to go Rite-Aid on the old Bait and Switch Scam!!!

So Friday I learned that with this new Plenti Points scheme Rite-Aid has if you buy something using Plenti points for any part of your purchase(transaction), if you return an item for any reason, Rite-Aid gives you back points up to as many as you used on that purchase(transaction)and then gives you your cash used on whatever amount is left to refund.
So I had used $12 in points on the transaction with the 2 items I ended up returning on Friday so my $14.98 cash refund turned into $12 in points put back on the card and $2.98 in cash(which I opted to have credit put back on the gift card that was used for that transaction).
Realize that this is a change from the +Up Rewards system where you got cash/credit, NOT a return of +Up Rewards.
While this makes sense and I had used a gc so whether I have a return in points or back on the gc it doesn't matter.  But if you are expecting cash back for a return you will be sorely disappointed.

After picking up my rx refills I then bought this stuff.....

I won't do a detailed breakdown since this Deal is over now.
SubTotal was $18.94
Coupons brought it down to $7.96, using $4 in points brought it down again to $3.96 on the gift card plus I'll get $2 in cash rebates from Saving Star and $4 in Plenti points back on this Plenti/Wellness card so this deal "cost" me $1.96 OOP.

There will be no Rite-Aid shopping this week other than I may pick up a jug of Persil laundry detergent at Rite-Aid this week as it's on sale for $3.99 and there is a $2/1 Manu Q(plus one at coupons dotcom online to print), making this $1.99 a jug.  If you like this brand or want to try it out for cheap, this week head to Rite-Aid for one.

But the plan the Week of 10/11 is to head back in for the free Arizona Iced Tea Deal.........

4 cans of tea beverages for free after points, so if you have $2 in points already on your card you can get this for nothing OOP.  I just wish they carried an unsweetened version at my store. sigh

Then on Saturday while Hubs and I were out we stopped into Big Lots as I wanted to pick up a jar of minced garlic as I am almost out.  Ollie's didn't have any(where I usually buy it)last trip there and Weis(PMITA)Markets wants almost $5 a jar(hahaha!)but I remembered Big Lots carried it among their food selection.
So we go into the store and I see 20% Friends & Family signs are up.
Could this be a happy accident, stumbling into the 3 or 4 times yearly Big Lots 20% off sale??
Why yes, yes it could! 8-)

So the "just stopping in for a jar of garlic" turned into a "what are we running low on, let's stock up if it's a good deal 20% off" trip.

Food items--minced garlic(they only had little jars so I got 3), some tuna, water chestnuts, creamed corn, tomato paste, applesauce cups for Hubs' lunches, spaghettio's w/balls and peace tea cans for College Boy.  Also Q-tips for CB.
There were more items(snacking type foods for CB which I am sending him in a care packages)but I can't post photos of those at it's a surprise.  ;-)
Altogether I spent $22.00 including tax on the food and toiletries I bought.

We also picked up a calendar for the kitchen for $4.  Hubs usually buys me a calendar for Christmas and it's never something I like (you would think he would know me after 35 years!lol)so I told him buy one now and don't over pay like he does at the mall kiosk during the Holidays.  Yes, I am frugal.
I also got 2 bath scrubby brushes for $2 each after discount.
Dollar Tree use to carry good brushes for $1 but the handles got thin and they break(ask me how I know!)so these are awesome at $2.

And then I did something I don't do much anymore, I spent frivolously. 
I wandered into the Christmas section and saw these......

And I had to buy them! lolz

But that's ok, because they are so cool and bring me joy for the low price of $30.52.
Who knew joy could come so cheaply?   ;-)

The 20% Sale at Big Lots continues today so go on and get what you need.  This is probably the last Friends & Family Sale day there until after Christmas.


Saturday, October 3, 2015

$28K Savings Challenge.....September Update

Every year I keep a close eye on our monthly expenses and our monthly income.
Our income is mainly the salary my Hubs draws from his job.  We have money taken off each paycheck from the top to put into savings, before we even get our hands on it.  This money that's taken goes into various insurance, health insurance premiums, long term care insurance premiums, investments and retirement savings.  It's automatic so we are never tempted to NOT put it into savings or these other categories.

Once the automatic savings amounts, plus taxes and medical/dental/vision premiums are taken out, it leaves what we get to "live on".  From this amount we budget for bills, both monthly and irregular bills(semi-annual, annual etc.) and our variable bills(like food, eating out, clothing  etc.)  Anything left over once our monthly expenses are paid, I put aside into an interest bearing Savings Challenge account. 

For 2015 I am continuing my Yearly Savings Challenge.  I am raising the Goal amount slightly to $28,000 this year, $4K more than my goal for last year.

On to the September report.....
I have posted my September End of Month $28K $AVING$ CHALLENGE Totals.
Check out the Savings Challenge page tab at the top of the blog for the specific numbers HERE.

I have 2 goals each month.....
The 1st is to actually finish each month in the black and not the red.
The 2nd is to hit the targeted savings amount of $2,333.33.

I have to report that we finished up September with a nice amount leftover.
The extra amount we ended the month of September with?.......$1918.36


We had $1679.09 left over from our income after our monthly expenses were deducted.
Other monies received in September totaled $239.27.  This included interest made on non-retirement accounts, a Staples rebate and stock dividends.

This brought us to our gain of $1,918.36
Since we have no debt, this goes into savings.

As for the expenses this September, here are the good and the bad side of things....

*  Phone charges and internet were approximately the same as last month.
*  The credit card bill was down $1208.50.
*  The water bill was down $12.37.
*  The electric bill was down $31.94.  September is usually our lowest electric month as we don't use the heat or the a/c hardly at all.
*  Cash withdrawals were down $200.00.
*  Medical bills paid by check were down $91.97.  With the foot problem this month I foresee many medical bills being paid in October.

HERE are the BAD THINGS(and the not so bad)
*  The gas card bill was up $110.82 from last month as Hubs used that more than the reg. credit card to buy gas and the credit card bill went down as a result.  This is really not some much a "bad" thing, but just moving where the money goes to/comes from in the ledger.
*  Irregular annual expense of School taxes were due this month.
*  There was a Sam's Club charge paid.
*  There was a dental bill paid.
*  We paid for our Daughter's plane fare to come visit.(Not that her coming home was a bad thing but the expense was not planned for as it was a last minute decision for her to come visit.)
The Food Budget costs for September are in another post, which is located  HERE.

September was most expensive expense month for 2015.  Mostly this is because of the annual school taxes, an unexpected dental bill, plane tickets and a charge card bill(for a card we don't use much).

Take off those 4 expenses and we are down to $1773.58 in expenses for September.
I wish we could do THAT more often! lolz

The 2015 TOTAL.....
With 9 months accounted for, our Savings Challenge Grand Total for 2015 is $27,667.43.
That savings amount averages $3074.16 a month put into savings so far. 

We only have $332.57 left to put away this year to reach our $28K Goal!!
I wish I could have reached that landmark in September but it wasn't to be.  So close thought!

With $27667.43 saved already we only need to put away $110.86 each of the next 3 months to reach the $28K goal for the year and unless a catastrophe befalls us, it is a given that this goal will be reached next month, especially since Oct. is a 3 paycheck month.  8-)

Last October through December I was able to tuck away $11K from our income for those 3 months.  We also had a 3 paycheck month in October of 2014 which went a long way in reaching that amount.

Looking over our expenses from Oct.-Dec. of 2014 compared to what I foresee for Oct-Dec. of 2015 I should be able to tuck another $10K away from our income in the next 3 months unless something big and unforeseen happens in the coming months left in this year.  This is even with all those medical co-pays that will be arriving in the next couple of months for my foot issue.

Why don't y'all stick around and see how I do with this?

Final thoughts on September---
More monthly bills were down rather than up except for the credit card.  4 irregular bills put a kybosh on socking even more money away this month.

THOUGHTS going forward into October----

October is an extra paycheck month(3 instead of 2 this month)so it will be a great month for savings!
Most bills, except for electricity, should be about what they were in September.
As for irregular expenses.....6 mo. car insurance premium will be due in October.
More medical co-pays will go onto the credit card(which is paid off each month)and we go to a Church auction fundraiser this month so a bit more "fun" spending for that.

With 9 months behind us we have $27667.43 down and $332.57 left to save in 2015.   Our 2015 Savings Journey is coming to a close in just 3 more months and it is looking swell.  8-)))
So how was your September financially?
Did you spend less than the income you had in September?
Did you stay within your budget or not?
What did you do with any money leftover at the end of the month?
Did you pay off any debts or put extra toward your mortgage principle or into savings, in an emergency fund or a retirement account?
Or did you blow it on a want?
If you posted your financial progress on your own blog, leave a link in the comments so we can go check out your progress too and celebrate or commiserate with you!