Tuesday, May 31, 2016

May 2016 Budget Update

May ended with over $100 left in the grocery budget -- wahoo!  That is totally amazing!  I am so thankful for the amazing deals that I have been able to find, and the ability to just keep rolling the excess grocery money into the next month's budget.  I am hoping that by the end of the year I will be able to do a massive Amazon order and a large BJ's trip to help replenish our pantries and freezers to keep them well-stocked.  I am so pleased with my grocery deals this month.  I was able to stock up on laundry detergent, sunscreen, frozen meals and veggies, and lots of fresh produce!  Below is the weekly breakdown for the month budget-wise; feel free to click the weekly links to get a more detailed listing of my purchases and to see more pictures.
*Use this link to sign up for Ibotta and get a $10 bonus!
Total OOP: $288.88
Total Earned: $42.25
Total Remaining: $123.89!!!!!

How did you do with your budget this month?  
Did you get any amazing deals?
Share in the comments below...

Monday, May 30, 2016

Menu Plan Monday: 05/30/2016

I have a full work schedule this week, plus I have planned to tackle a few household projects with Joe's help this coming weekend.  I am in the process of getting caught up on my coupon clipping/filing, the house is cleaned, and the laundry is folded - yay!  I feel like the clouds have broke and the sunshine of progress is shining through!  I am praying that I can keep the momentum going this week so I can steam through my many to-do lists.  Since I am hoping for a full week of accomplishments, I kept my menu simple, and filled with family favorites.  Here's what's cookin' this week...
  • Breakfasts: Eggs, Bacon, Peanut Butter Toast and/or Fruit for Me; Pop-Tarts for Joe; Fruit and Grain Bars, Mini Muffins, Peanut Butter Fiber Bars, Fruit, and/or Turkey Sausages for Howard
  • Lunches: Leftovers, Salads, Canned Soup, Sandwiches, Misc. Frozen TV Dinners
  • Dinners:
    • Tuesday - Leftovers
    • Wednesday - Crock-pot Meatballs and Marinara Sauce, Pasta, Garlic Bread, Salad
    • Thursday - Take-out!
    • Friday - Pizza
    • Saturday - Sautéed Turkey Kielbasa, Scalloped Potatoes, Broccoli and Cheese  
For more AWESOME Menu Plans, visit Org Junkie!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Weekly Spending Report: 05/22-28/2016

This week I did most of my shopping at ALDI.  There were a few deals to pick up at CVS and Giant, but we mostly needed things that I buy from ALDI - produce, snacks, cheese, and trash bags.  I was very pleased to find a deal on laundry detergent since I was almost out.  I really need to get back to making my own, but I was able to get each bottle of Purex for just $1.50, so I'm not too worried about it right now.  I have also started stocking up on sunscreen for summer.  I try to just shop the deals at CVS for sunscreen so I can pay with ECB's.  I can usually pick up enough to last the three of us the summer.  I was also pleasantly surprised to see vidalia onions at ALDI!  I love these on hot dogs with sauerkraut and mustard - I know I'm weird, but they are so tasty!  Overall I had a good week spending-wise, below are the deals I scored...
  • Sunday's CVS Trip: $6.40 oop, Earned $2 ECB's (Coppertone)
  • Saturday's Dollar Tree Trip: $3.18 oop (no picture, just 2 newspapers, and 1 sheet of stickers)
Total OOP: $69.93
Total Earned: $3.25
Total Remaining from May: $123.89

Linked to Couponaholic, I heart Publix, and many more! 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Household Project List 2016 - May Update

I thought that my progress for April was slow, but things moved sloth-speed in May.  I have been SO BUSY with work, and teas, and Howard, and life.  But that happens sometimes and it's okay.  The way I give myself grace is knowing that there is always tomorrow, and if not, I won't care anyway.  It's a phrase that is becoming clearer to me the longer I am a working mother!  We are in the process of having our bathroom remodeled by our 'landlord,' so the projects I have planned for there have been put on hold and will possibly take care of themselves.  I love it when that happens!  I have been chipping away at a few other things, but I wasn't able to cross much off this month.  We are still down a docent at work, so I have a heavier work-load then I should - there is suppose to be a new person hired in June.  I am hoping that this will give me a little more time to work on my household projects before the summer gets too crazy.  Here are how the list is looking so far this year...
  • Bedroom: 
    • Declutter 2 Dressers, 1 Chest of Drawers, 2 Nightstands, 1 Closet, and Under the Bed -- Finished in February
    • Steam off the crappy boarder - Have not started yet.
    • Re-glue the wallpaper seams - Have not started yet.
    • Change the wall art - I am still on the hunt for a shelf, but with all the rain we've been having, shopping for one at a yard sale has been hard.  Memorial day weekend is looking promising - there are always a slew of yard sales then, and the weather looks like it might cooperate at least a little bit, so we'll see.
  • Hall: 
    • Declutter Hall Closet, Desk, and Coat Closet -- Finished in February
    • Sell desk, and move in a bench -- Finished in April
    • Build another shelf in the hall closet -- Unneeded, crossed off in February
  • Bathroom:
    • Declutter the Bathroom Cabinets and Drawers  -- Finished in February
    • Touch up the paint - Like I said above, our bathroom is getting some work done to the tub and surround, so it is very possible that we will be getting some fresh paint in there as well, without having to lift a finger, but only time will tell.
  • Living Room:
    • Declutter 8 Cube Baskets, 1 End Table, and 3 Dresser Drawers -- Finished in March
    • Finish adding pictures to our 'mural' wall - I sent quite a few pictures from my phone into CVS to be printed.  Once I pick them up next week, this will be finished, for now anyway.  I'd like to update at least a few of them yearly, just to keep things looking fresh.  
    • Paint the letter 'R' on our 'mural' wall -- Finished in January
    • Find new art for behind the futon - I have found the picture that I want, but it's pricey.  If I can find something similar at a yard sale for less money, I will scoop it up for sure.  If not, I'm in the process of saving up so I can get it as a birthday gift to myself.
  • Kitchen:
    • Declutter 35 Cabinets, 1 Pantry, 1 China Cabinet, and 11 Drawers -- Finished in March   
    • Get a new trashcan -- Finished in February
    • Steam the wallpaper off our microwave table, and repaint it - Have not started yet.
    • Paint the windows/sills/trim - Have not started yet.
    • Clean out the chest freezer and defrost it -- Finished in March
  • Nursery/Office:
    • Declutter the Closet, Dresser, Desk, Chest of Drawers, Bookcase, Sewing Table, and Cedar Chest -- I'm done my part of the bookcase.  I am waiting for Joe to go through a basket of stuff on it that is his, and then we can add it to our flea market stuff and move the new dresser in.  Then it's onto the cedar chest - almost done.
    • Go through the CD 3-drawer organizer and combine into a large CD case - Have not started yet.
    • Install new curtain rods and tie backs; Hang new curtains - Have not started yet.
    • Make a new curtain for the closet; Hang - Have not started yet.
    • Buy new Lamp/Shade for the Dresser -- Finished in April
    • Re-glue wallpaper - Have not started yet.
    • Bring in new chest of drawers (#2) - See above.
    • Build new shelf (or two) above the desk; Add books to shelves -- We won't be able to build shelves above the desk the way I wanted to, so I am on the lookout for a small, mostly decorative, shelf at the thrift stores and yard sales.
    • Paint the windows/sills and the closet door frame - Have not started yet.
  • Laundry Room:
    •  Declutter Desk, 3 Drawer Stand, Bookcase, and Closet (including stored Christmas decorations) -- Finished in March
    • Touch up paint from renovation - Have not started yet.
    • Hang art -- Crossed off in May.  I decided that this isn't necessary.  Plus I am working on Joe to get me a hanging clothes line for in the laundry room, so I will need all the wall space I can get. 
    • Wash box of new-to-us toys - I made a HUGE dent in this in May, but I'm not quite finished yet.  I Clorox-wiped everything that I could, but what is left needs to soak in bleach water to be sterilized.
    • Buy an Ikea cube system, assemble, and organize -- Have not started yet.  We are in the process of getting rid of the desk that is in there now and that is a total waste of space.  We should be able to buy the cube system in June or July.  
 Are any of you working on some household projects this year?
What are you getting accomplished? 

Monday, May 23, 2016

Menu Plan Monday:05/23/2016

This week I work 4 days, but I get to have Friday and Saturday off - YAY!  I am hoping that we get to hit up some yard sales this weekend.  With all the rain we have been having for the past two months, we haven't been able to go at all.  #rainraingoaway  We have a chest freezer bursting at the seems with proteins, so I made sure to include plenty in this week's meals.  I also planned crock-pot meals for my work days -- knowing that dinner will be ready when I get home from work makes me so happy, and relieved.  I am hoping to get some meal prep done today after we run errands and go grocery shopping.  It makes such a big difference when I have produce that is ready to go in the fridge, and meal components in the freezer!  With all that in mind, here is this week's menu plan... 
  • Breakfasts: Eggs, Bacon, Whole-grain Toast, and Fruit for Me/ Pop-Tarts for Joe/ Fruit and Grain Bars or Mini Muffins, and Turkey Sausages for Howard
  • Lunches: Leftovers, Canned Soups, PB and J/Tuna/Egg Salad Sandwiches, Salads, or Misc. Frozen TV Dinners
  • Dinners
    • Thursday - Crock-pot Meatballs and Marinara Sauce, Pasta, Garlic Bread, Salad
    • Friday - Pizza, Salad
    • Saturday - Leftovers - clean out the fridge!
For more AWESOME Menu Plans, visit Org Junkie!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Weekly Spending Report: 05/15-21/2016

For the first time in a L-O-N-G time, I didn't go CVS this week.  We had a crazy Sunday, so I didn't get to the store until late, and by that time, I just wasn't feeling it.  I was only going to pick up some sunscreen anyway, and I wasn't sure if it was going to be a good deal or not, so I decided to pass.  I ran in ALDI for a few things to round out our meals this week, and some snacks for Joe.  Then I sped through Giant, mostly because we hadn't eaten dinner yet and I was hungry!  There were a few good deals at Giant, like cheap diet TV dinners, half-priced organic chicken breasts, and $2 foil.  But the rest of the items were just things I picked up because I didn't have much to get this week - cream of mushroom soup (I like the organic kind), slow cooker liners, and ground mustard.  Overall, we had a pretty good week spending-wise, as you can see below...
  • Sunday's ALDI Trip: $29.04 oop
  • Sunday's Giant Trip: $42.16 oop, Earned $0.50 Saving Star Rebate (Pasta Salad), and $0.25 Ibotta Rebate* (Broccoli)
Total OOP: $71.20
Total Earned: $0.75
Total Remaining for May: $193.82

 *Use this link to sign up for Ibotta and get a $10 bonus!

  Linked to Couponaholic, I Heart Publix, and many more!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Frugal Finds: May 2016 Edition

This month I had to share some of my Dollar Tree finds from the other day!  I think I should probably mention that I am addicted to planning -- Hello, my name is Laura and I'm a planaholic -- he, he.  While I'm sharing secrets, I also love to binge watch 'plan with me' videos on YouTube while I exercise.  Now, while I love watching people decorate their planners, it just isn't practical for me.  I do a little washi tape and some stickers to pretty things up, but I NEED a LOT of space to brain-dump my to-dos.  
3 packages Birthday-themed Stickers for my planner $3
1 package Owl Stickers for my planner $1
3 Zip-top Cosmetic cases for organizing office supplies and Howard's Flash Cards $3
2-6 count packs Ice Cream Thank you Cards $2
2 packages Page Markers for my planner $2
1-5 count pack Self-laminating Sheets for insurance cards $1
1 roll Double-sided Tape $1
1 Eye Shadow Brush $1
+ $0.84
Total OOP: $14.84

I also stopped at a Dollar Tree while we were in Hanover one day, and finally found the utensils for Howard's kitchen he's getting for Christmas!  I was really surprised to find the Little People coloring book with 8 large crayons in the back as well!  It fits perfectly in the diaper bag for when we are out and about.
1-4 pack of HEAVY Magnetic Clips $1
1-1000 count Coding Labels for my planner $1
1 Little People Coloring Book and 8 Crayon pack $1
1-8 piece Play Utensils $1
3 Boxwood Balls for filling a pottery bowl in the living room $3
+ $0.42 Tax
Total OOP: $7.42

Have any of you been to the Dollar Tree recently?
What kind of deals are you finding? 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Frugal Birthday Gift Ideas for a Two-Year-Old Boy

As you can see from the picture above, our son, Howard, did pretty good on his birthday, and these are just the presents from us!  I tried to keep in mind activities and characters that he likes, and I started gathering things before Christmas for his April birthday.  Tip #1: Give yourself plenty of time to find good deals.  We also live in a small apartment, so I try not to buy toys that are super huge, I leave those toys for the relatives who like to spoil him to buy.  This insures that he gets fewer of them.  I also purchased his gifts from a variety of stores, including Michael's and Giant; two places I wouldn't have thought to look for boy toys or gifts.  Tip #2: Shop around; sometimes deals can be found in unexpected places.  You'll also notice that he had plenty to open - 9 presents in all from just his parents.  I could have easily bought more just because it's so fun to buy your child presents, but that can get super expensive.  Tip #3: Set a budget well in advance.  I knew I didn't want to spend more than $40 on gifts for his birthday.  I figured that gave me the ability to buy a bigger/more expensive gift, or quite a few smaller gifts, depending on what deals I could find.  This made me evaluate each purchase -- Will he play with this?  Is it similar to something he already has?  How will it be stored?  Is it of good quality for the price?
Overall, I'm pleased with the presents I was able to find, and the deals I got.  Howard loved everything that he opened, and has enjoyed playing with it all.  His favorite toy is, of course, Daniel Tiger, who now has a place in Howard's crib each night.  I am hoping that you find these tips and ideas helpful the next time you have gifts to buy for a young one.
Below is a listing of what I purchased, from where, and for how much - just in case anyone is interested to see how my present budget broke down...
  •  Smart Play Pad: Free from the Pamper's Rewards program. I enter codes from Pampers diapers and wipes packages online and earn points that can be used for different rewards.  Along with this program, as long as you enter one product code per month, you can earn additional rewards every quarter - like more points, or free custom address labels or photo cards, or toys, like this Smart Play Pad.  
  • Curious George Christmas Movie DVD: I bought this at Target on after Christmas clearance for $4.99.  Howard LOVES George and the man in the yellow hat.  So much so that Howard has his own yellow hat. 
  • Talking Daniel Tiger Stuffed Toy: I also picked this up on clearance at Target for $14.  I could have waited for the price to come down more, but I was afraid they would be gone before I got him one.  This was his 'big' gift from us, and I knew he would love it.  
  • Play-Doh Sweet Shoppe Play-set: This was one of the first things I found at Giant for Howard -- Giant has an AMAZING clearance area in the back of their store.  I can always find great deals there, but I especially love it when they discount stationary supplies and toys!  This set was only $2.99!
  • Play-Doh Grab and Go Refill Set: This was another clearance find at Giant, and for only $1.49!  Howard has a set of dough toys from the Dollar Tree, so we just needed some Play-Doh, and this was perfect - lots of bright colors.
  • Curious George Coloring Book: I lucked out and found this at the Dollar Tree one day when I was shopping for some other birthday items (plates, napkins, etc.), so only $1!
  • Daniel Tiger Coloring Book: Also just $1 -- at Michael's of all places.  I was in the check-out line waiting to buy planner items, and just happen to see these nearby.
  • Mini Mr. Potato Head: I also found this at Giant, for only $0.99!  I spent some time digging in the clearance baskets for the other 2 characters that are advertised on the back of the package, but no luck.  Howard has really loved playing with this little guy, plus he's the perfect size for the diaper bag or my purse for when we are out running errands.
  • Dino Train Color Wonder Set: We were shopping at 5 Below for something else, and came across this set.  Howard loves Dino Train, and I have heard wonderful things about the color wonder products, so we decided to give it a go for $5.  He loves it, and Mama loves that he can't color on the table or himself - Yay!  #colorwonderforthewin 
Total Spent of Gifts: $31.46!  
Under budget by $8.54!!!!
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Monday, May 16, 2016

Weekly Spending Report: 05/08-14/2016

This week I really tried to keep my spending to a minimum; there just weren't a lot of deals to be had.  Basically I picked up the few things we needed at ALDI and Giant, and the rest of the money I spent went towards stocking up on the few deals I could find - like cheap sauerkraut!  We also all came down with a cold funk, so I needed to buy more cold medicines for Joe and I.  I was also SUPER excited that I was able to find the new washi tape at the Dollar Tree!!!  I cannot wait to use it in my planner!  So, even though the deals weren't amazing this week, I still managed to find a few steals, which you see below...
  • Tuesday's CVS Trip: $3.29 oop, Earned $9 ECB's ($2 candy, $2 hand soap, $2 Ziploc, and $3 shampoo), and $1 Saving Star Rebate (shampoo)
  • Tuesday's ALDI Trip: $33.92 oop (included, but not pictured are 8 gallons of H2O), Earned $0.50 Find and Save Rebate
  • Tuesday's Giant Trip: $7.93 oop, Earned $1 Ibotta Rebate* (baby wipes)
  • Tuesday's Dollar Tree Trip: $8.12 oop, Earned $0.25 Ibotta Rebate* (allergy medicine)
  • Saturday's Dollar Tree Trip: $11.54 oop
Total OOP: $64.80
Total Earned: $11.75
Total Remaining for May: $265.02
 *Use this link to sign up for Ibotta and get a $10 bonus!

Linked to I heart Publix, and many more! 

Monday, May 9, 2016

Menu plan Monday: 05/09/2016

I hope that everyone had a wonderful mother's day!  Mine was less than perfect - Howard and I are both sick - but we did get to spend the day together, even if we both felt wretched.  This is the first time Howard has had a cold, so he's very confused along with congested and coughing, so he's been miserable, and miserable to be around.  Then on Sunday, I came down with the funk too - yay!  I am hoping that I will be on the mend soon since I have teas this coming weekend, but only time will tell.  I am hoping to get to the store tomorrow.  Usually I am there on Sunday, bright and early, but with being sick, I'm waiting until I'm at least mobile.  I also have a doctors appointment in the morning, so I'll already be primped - might as well make the most of it, right?  #reallife  But you all came here for a menu plan, not a whine session, so here it is...
  • Breakfasts: Bagels with Cream Cheese/Yogurt/Fruit for Me, Fruit and Grain Bars/Mini Muffins/Yogurt for Howard, Pop-Tarts for Joe
  • Lunches: Leftovers, Salads, Misc Frozen TV Meals, Waffles, PB and J/Tuna Salad Sandwiches
  • Dinners
    • Sunday - Pizza Hut (Mother's Day splurge)
    • Monday - Leftover Pizza
    • Tuesday - Leftovers (clean out the fridge)
    • Wednesday - Crock-pot Pork Loin with Sauerkraut, Crock-pot Mashed Potatoes
    • Thursday - Crock-pot Meatballs and Sauce, Pasta, Salad, and Garlic Bread
    • Friday - Baked Fish, French Fries, Vegetable
    • Saturday - Take out
For more AWESOME Menu Plans, visit Org Junkie!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Weekly Spending Report: 05/01-07/2016

This week sped by before I knew it.  I only got out shopping on Sunday, and I'm glad I went then or I wouldn't have gotten out.  We have been so busy with event prep here at the museum, and then, Howard caught his first cold three days ago.  I figured we were due soon, since he's 2 and never been sick.  Needless to say, he's miserable, and we're miserable because he's miserable - it's a horrible cycle.  He hasn't been eating or sleeping right for the past two days, and now I'm catching it.  I just hope the germs go far away and stay there for awhile.  But enough about all that, here's how my shopping went this week...
  • Sunday's CVS Trip: $12.87 oop, Earned $15 ECB's ($10 Schick, $1 Almond Joy, $1 Sure, and $3 Ziploc), and $9 Saving Star Rebates ($4 Centrum Multivitamin, $4 Centrum Gummies, and $1 Centrum)
  • Sunday's ALDI Trip: $29.73 oop
  • Sunday's Giant Trip: $40.35 oop, Earned $2.25 Mobisave Rebate (Powerbar and Bananas), $0.25 Ibotta Rebate* (Bananas)
 *Use this link to sign up for Ibotta and get a $10 bonus!

Total OOP: $82.95
Total Earned: $26.50
Total Remaining for May: $329.82

Linked to Couponaholic, I heart Publix, and many more! 

Monday, May 2, 2016

Menu Plan Monday: 05/02/2016

This week I actually only work a couple of days - yay!  However, there is an event on the grounds this weekend, so we do have some prep work to do to get ready for that.  I am in charge of painting some new signs.  I like to paint and stencil, so I am enjoying that.  I am hoping that even with the rain that is expected (again), we can get to Hanover to do some thrifting on Wednesday.  Other then that, I am planning to get my coupons and email caught back up this week.  Since the week is rather laid back, I kept my meals fairly simplistic, and easy.  Why put forth extra effort when you don't have to?  Tasty food can be easy too.  So, here's what's cooking at the Rogers' house this week...
  • Breakfasts: Bagels with Cream Cheese/Yogurt/Fruit for Me, Fruit and Grain Bars/Mini Muffins/Yogurt for Howard, Pop-Tarts for Joe
  • Lunches: Leftovers, Salads, Misc Frozen TV Meals, Waffles, PB and J/Tuna Salad Sandwiches
  • Dinners
    • Sunday - Leftovers
    • Monday - Chicken Filets Sandwiches, Baked Onion Rings, Salad
    • Tuesday - Crock-pot Pork Loin with Sauerkraut, Crock-pot Mashed Potatoes
    • Wednesday - Crock-pot Chicken Fajitas, Mexican Rice, Salad
    • Thursday - Leftovers (Clean out the fridge)
    • Friday - Pizza
    • Saturday - Dinner in the Hearth Kitchen at the Museum with Friends!
For more AWESOME Menu Plans, visit Org Junkie!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

April 2016 Budget update

I started April out with $22.69 extra in the grocery budget, which is always nice!  This rollover from March gave me $372.69 for the month!  I was able to stock up on SO many things this month, including frozen meals, produce, shampoo, and Benefiber, just to name a few.  We ate well, and saved a ton - I love it when that happens!  Plus we ended the month with an extra $62 to put towards May!  Below are the links to each week's budget break down with more pictures, and the links to different money-saving apps I have been using and enjoying in case you want to check them out.
Here's how the weeks broke down...
*Use this link to sign up for Ibotta and get a $10 bonus!
Total OOP: $309.92
Total Earned: $58.59
Total Remaining: $62.77!!!

How did you do with your budget this month?  
Did you get any amazing deals?
Share in the comments below...