Monday, October 3, 2016

Menu Plan Monday: 10/03/2016

This past weekend, we had an excellent time at a little steam and gas show in western Maryland.  We sat up in the flea market, made a little money, Howard had a blast seeing the tractors, saw mill, and playing on their play ground; so it was an all-around great weekend!  It was also our last vacation for the year - boo.  But there will be plenty of museum and holiday activities coming up to keep us busySince we are back to business as usual, and I'm back to work, it's time to get the slow-cooker back to work as well.  Here's how our menu is shaping up this week...
  • Breakfasts: Fruit, Eggs, Cream of Wheat, and/or Oatmeal for Me; Pop-Tarts for Joe; Turkey Sausage Links, Mini Muffins, Fruit, and/or Fruit and Grain Bars for Howard
  • Lunches: Tomato and Bacon or PBJ Sandwiches, Leftovers, Chips, Veggie Dippers with Ranch, Soup, and/or Fruit for Joe and I.  Howard will have Turkey Sausage links, Cheese Slices, Mac and Cheese cups, Blueberry Pancakes, French Toast, and/or PB Waffles, and Fruit.
  • Dinners:
    • Sunday - Cheese-steak Subs
    • Monday - Take-out
    • Tuesday - Mac and Cheese, Hot dogs, Salad
    • Wednesday - Crock-pot Pork and Mushroom Gravy, Jasmine Rice, and Steamed Broccoli
    • Thursday - Leftovers with Steamed Green Beans
    • Friday - Sandwiches
    • Saturday - Pizza, and Salad
For more AWESOME Menu Plans, visit Org Junkie!

31 Days of Money-Saving Tips: Day #3 - Make a Menu Plan

Making a menu plan can save you money - gasp, I know, crazy, right?  But really it can.  By making a menu for the week or month, what you are really doing is making a plan.  When you have a plan in place, it is harder to justify picking up a pizza or making a run to the border for tacos.  You know ahead of time what ingredients you have, the ones you need from the store - which you have already picked up, and whether or not you need to thaw meat.  When all the of planning is already done, you don't want to sabatoge that hard work with eating out, because then not only does your money go down the drain, but so does all the time you spent planning.  And time is money, or so the saying goes.  There would probably also be some guilt involved - money wasted, time wasted, good food wasted.  Are you seeing a pattern?  So, save yourself some money (and guilt), don't be wasteful, and make a menu plan. 

Photos for this series are from Flickr.  They are pictures that are under the license of ‘commercial and mods allowed.’  Edits were done by me.  The licensor does not endorse me or my use.

31 Days of Money-Saving Tips: Day #2 - Use Cash

Yesterday we talked about setting a budget; today I'm going to tell you that your budget should be done in cash.  The reason for this is really simple, if you only have $50 cash to spend on say a new pair of shoes, then you can only spend that $50 because you don't have any more.  If you use a credit card, it's very easy to justify an extra 10 or 20 dollars, and if you do that frequently, it can really add up.  Yes, you will need to shop around, and wait for a sale, and probably use a coupon, but it's worth it.  That is money saved and still in your pocket!  
Using a cash-based budget also allows you to see your money adding up.  It builds excitement.  It also makes you really weigh your decision when it comes time to spend that money.  If you are saving up for new curtains for your house, you are going to be much more diligent in finding the best quality and price, because you know the sacrifices and time that went into saving that money.  Basically, using cash makes you a much more diligent and wise spender, which in turn saves you money.  So, money-saving tip #2 -- use cash!

Photos for this series are from Flickr.  They are pictures that are under the license of ‘commercial and mods allowed.’  Edits were done by me.  The licensor does not endorse me or my use.

31 Days of Money-Saving Tips: Day #1 - Create a Budget

Today I want to talk about budgets, and how they can save you money.  Now, I was not always a budget person.  We also didn't always have a regularly-scheduled paycheck either.  Part of the reason I started budgeting was to make sure I had enough money to cover our bills and groceries, not necessarily to save money.  I would get to the end of the month, and need to run to the store for food, and not have much left to do that with.  We would have to do without things that I thought we needed.  It was rough.  So, I decided to change things up and set a budget.
Here's how we do things now.  Joe gets paid at the beginning of the month.  I use that month to pay all of our bills.  Then I take the grocery money out, right now that's $350 per month.  What is leftover is our gas money for the month.  Some months there is more, some months there is less.  If we have more we can doing more running around, if there is less, we don't.  It's really that easy.
My paycheck is our slush fund.  The money I earn from flea markets, listing online, and at my regular job is what buys our clothing, our cat's food and litter, it's what we use to eat out with, and purchase basically anything else we want or need.  My paycheck varies, while Joe's is always the same.  I know which months will have more and which will have less pay, so I can plan accordingly.  We've been doing our finances this way for about 6 years, so I pretty much have it down to a science.  I'm pretty good at planning ahead for what will we need, and getting deals on those needs.  Even with adding Howard to our family, the only change has really been to the grocery budget.  
Now, how does this save you money, well, it's pretty simple.  If you budget a certain amount, then that is all you can spend.  Period.  No more, only less.  Even though everyone's budget will look different, this concept still applies.
The best example I can give is with grocery shopping.  I have $350 a month, that's it.  So as I shop throughout the month, I have to be diligent about what I am buying.  Even with stocking up on great deals, I still have to make sure that I have enough money available to buy things like bread or milk, should we run out.  It saves you money, because you are evaluating each purchase, not just throwing things in your cart because they look good or they're on sale.
So, my #1 tip to you to start your money-saving journey is to set a budget.  Even if you only start with one thing, like groceries, do it.

Photos for this series are from Flickr.  They are pictures that are under the license of ‘commercial and mods allowed.’  Edits were done by me.  The licensor does not endorse me or my use.