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Archive for March, 2017

Lunch Planning: Like Meal Planning but Lunchier

March 26th, 2017 at 04:54 pm

‚ÄčI have probably told you that I have to be gluten free. This is not a choice (celiac genes, digestive issues, microscopic colitis) and I know a lot of other people have to be on a gf diet, too or choose to be so that they don't have symptoms (there are a lot of diverse symptoms).

This is my Lunch Planning (and includes my daughter's lunch plan, too). My husband is on his own, because he makes his own lunch, but I can tell you what he eats, too.

My husband:
- leftovers or a turkey sandwich (or tuna sandwich on Thursdays when I make two can's worth of tuna)
- apple
- tortilla chips
Yes, that's what he eats every day. I would get so bored.

My daughter:
she gets veggies and dip, a piece of fruit, some chips/crisps and a cookie, and then a main, following this basic schedule:
- Monday - hot lunch (this is something pre-made from the store like Trader Joe's chicken strips or potstickers in her thermos and is in lieu of the very expensive and disgusting school hot lunches)
- Tuesday - turkey and cheese wrap (in a tortilla)
- Wednesday - bean and cheese burrito
- Thursday - tuna wrap with avocado
- Friday - mac and cheese or a quesadilla with a salad (instead of veggies and dip)

My lunch plan:
I also toss in a piece of fruit and chips/crisps, sometimes carrots, too. Her lunch coordinates with mine (so if she's having refried beans in a burrito, I have them on a corn tortilla)
- Monday - one egg (hardboiled or fried), string cheese or goat cheese with chips
- Tuesday - turkey sandwich with cheese rolled in lettuce
- Wednesday - Beans and cheese between corn tortillas
- Thursday - tuna with avocado
- Friday - Salad

This meal plan limits what I need to buy each week: one cucumber, some radishes, lettuce, tortillas (corn and flour) but only once every two weeks, some cheese, one packet of turkey, one can of refried beans, two cans of tuna, an avocado, a couple of types of chips (usually tortilla chips and one other type), a couple of types of fruit. I always have eggs on hand. Oh! and something for F's "hot lunch."

Do you have to eat gluten free? Do you use Lunch Planning like meal planning?

"Back in Time" Series

March 21st, 2017 at 02:16 pm

One of my absolute favorite tv series is Back in Time... where they send a family "back in time" to cook and eat and live like another era. The first series had them going back to the 40s and then moving forward to the 90s with each day being a year. They even transformed their house!

It's a great show to watch with kids, too - entertaining but also educational. F wondered at how I survived the 70s (which I thought was the perfect time to be a kid!)

I can't believe we missed Farther Back in Time! Need to catch up fast since the final episode expires in 12 days.

Frugality (or lack of frugality which in this case often means convenience) is a major theme, or at least an undercurrent.

Speaking of that, tonight's dinner: roast potatoes and a big salad (big salad, as opposed to our regular dinner salad, has whatever is on hand, but tonight will have grated carrot, cucumbers, cut up turkey, sunflower seeds, radishes, homemade dressing).

Frugal Holiday Starts... Now!

March 18th, 2017 at 07:24 pm

We haven't left home yet, but decided that our frugal holiday started today anyway.

F had two soccer games (tied one, won one) and afterward we went down to Albuquerque for dinner. Vietnamese! Yum! We decided to eat out because we won't be eating out much on our holiday next week. The food isn't very good where we're going, so we have hotel rooms with microwaves and fridges and we'll be bringing our own food.

Tomorrow we'll go back to Albuquerque to see Beauty and the Beast in IMAX 3d. And eat out again. This is part of our holiday, too.

We leave officially on Wednesday, and now I'm thinking we're very smart because that's when the weather up here turns cold. It'll be in the mid 70s down south, so we'll follow the good weather.

Hotel rooms are all FREE. My mom had points and gave them to us for two nights, and we had a free night at a Marriott hotel for the third night. Both hotels have free wifi and pools and breakfast in the morning.

Petsitting - all done by friends for FREE taking turns. We'll bring them each back something small (freeze-dried ice cream from the space museum? some alien thing from Roswell?).

We'll need to pay for fuel, admission to White Sands (but we have our sleds ready!), admission to Carlsbad Caverns and probably a parking fee at the Petroglyphs. I think the solar observatory is free.

I'm pretty happy to have a vacation... It's been a long weird winter. And we're $12,910 from paying off the mortgage. I can see the finish line, and I don't want to lose momentum, so frugal is key right now.

Are you going anywhere for Spring Break?

Saving Up for Things

March 7th, 2017 at 08:16 pm

What we're budgeting for:

- F wants to go see Beauty and the Beast 3D when it comes out
- I just bought a new pillow (doctor's orders)
- Driving trip down to Southern NM (White Sands, Carlsbad Caverns, Sunspot Solar Observatory, Space Museum) - gas, hotel, entrance fees and prepared food to buy here at Trader Joe's and bring with us so we don't have to eat at Applebees or Chillis which none of us like (plus the prepared food at TJ's is cheaper)

Things on my mind:
- One of the projects I was counting on doesn't start until May. I have to make the money from that project last.
- When are people going to pay me? Several outstanding invoices from last month.
- When will F get her acceptance to 7th grade? Should be around mid-month.
- Need to return F's basketball uniform to the school (it's washed and ready to go back).
- I have $50 in my clothing category; I need a new pair of black leggings - big hole in my other pair. I'd love a second pair of Darn Tough socks but I can wait until next birthday.
- Need to help the 6th graders finish the treehouse at school (it's their parting gift to the school as they all move on to jr. high) - Friday?
- Need to get reimbursed for treehouse expenses
- Dog needs check up at the vet
- Lots of work to do at work so none of the rest of the previous things will get done or dealt with!

Are you saving for anything or is anything using up all your important brain-space?

Spreading out the Pain of a Big Bill

March 6th, 2017 at 03:14 pm

I don't know how much people care about the minutiae of other people's financial arrangements... sometimes I like to see how other people are handling things so that I can figure out my own finances better.

Anyway, for the record, here are the minutiae of how we are going to fit our big tax bill into the finance stream.

Federal tax bill $4033
State tax bill $411
Estimated payment for April $1649
Total = $6093

The PLAN!!
Since we have some savings and money allocated but not yet spent, we have a cushion and can pay the tax bill and estimated taxes and pay ourselves back little by little. YNAB helps with this... I've set up a category called "Estimated Taxes" that will be negative for about 4 months.

This method will allow me to maintain cash flow in my business and to maintain a good balance in our Irish account. Those two things (business profit and Irish house rental profit) are the reasons for the big tax bill.

March - Deposit into our personal account $1000 as a distribution from my business, $300 from the Irish account, $200 from my husband's side business account
balance will now be: $4593

April - We pay the big bill. Already have $1500 allocated. Deposit another $1000 as a distribution from my business, $300 from the Irish account
balance will now be: $3293

May - Deposit another $1000 as a distribution from my business, $300 from the Irish account
balance wil now be: $1993

June - Deposit $1000 as a distribution from my business
balance will now be : $693

We will cover the $693 with underspending in other categories, little by little.

So there you go. That's my creative accounting method, to soften the blow of the Big Tax Bill. We still have to pay it of course.

I feel privileged to have made a profit this year.