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Archive for July, 2017

Menu Planning - Pantry/Freezer Use

July 29th, 2017 at 10:12 pm

Our grocery spending was high this month. Ugh. And I still have to do one more shopping trip before the month is over (tomorrow).

The reason is partly that the dr. told us that F needs to try a gluten free diet for a month. I have celiac, and she just had the celiac blood test. I am hoping it's negative, but even if it is, we're supposed to try the gf diet. She loves tortillas (wraps and burritos instead of sandwiches), and the brown rice tortillas are pretty awful, so I splurged on the Rudi's brand. They are tiny... so I used two to make two mini burritos. I also bought her gf english muffins.

The menu plan for this week takes advantage of things that I already have in the freezer and pantry.

Risotto - we already have risotto rice and sundried tomatoes. Just need celery
Cockaleekie Pie - from the freezer; and we have lettuce for a side salad
Chili - we have that in the freezer, too. Just need an avocado.
Tuna melts with corn - can use the celery for the risotto and corn is inexpensive right now
Chipotle sweet potatoes with roasted veggies on the side - a couple of sweet potatoes is all we need to buy
Chicken piccata with rice and broccoli - just need one lemon and some broccoli
Quesadillas and guacamole - An avocado for the guacamole

So our grocery list:
- avocados
- celery
- sliced turkey for lunches
- sour cream
- cheddar for lunches
- sweet potatoes
- broccoli
- tomatoes for lunches
- head of lettuce
- corn on the cob
- one lemon

Hopefully less than $30.

D's New Job

July 26th, 2017 at 01:56 pm

D got his first "real" paycheck of his new job (the previous paychecks were not really representative - one had fewer hours, one didn't have the 401k taken out yet, etc).

I learned a couple of things;
- Money put into the 401k is not subject to federal withholding but is subject to social security and medicare; didn't know that because we've never been eligible for a 401k before
- Because the paycheck is every two weeks, we are treating the extra two he receives each year as a "bonus" and we're not budgeting it. So we'll live off 24 paychecks rather than 26.
- Each paycheck will be $362 more than the old job plus since my business doesn't need to provide healthcare anymore, I will be paying myself extra to cover the health insurance that gets deducted from D's paycheck. That cuts my business expenses by $272 each month.
- Net gain from his last job is $544 per month (and $272 less in business expenses).

And D likes his job!

Company picnic (I've never been to a company picnic before!) is this weekend. D has to work for an hour and a half of it. I'm not completely sure what to expect from a company picnic. There will be A LOT of people. I know people that work up there, but we'll probably have to find each other with our mobile phones. There are THAT MANY people!

Other stuff related to D's new job:
- I am still working full time, too
- He has a few weekend and evening events (one is tonight - a lecture series) so F and I are on our own for dinner, which is pretty fun (time together).
- It's a longer commute, so I will report back on the gas usage later. Our cars are fuel-efficient, but they are still fuel (not electric).

Paying Ourselves Back

July 16th, 2017 at 12:04 am

With D's new job, we are getting very close to paying the bank back (mortgage is right at $5k!!) and paying ourselves back (sometimes WE are the bank).

​Paying the Bank Back...
Mortgage is at $5058.07. I had a weird moment where I couldn't understand why the payoff amount on the website was less than what we owe, and then I realized that it's the escrow they've collected. They have about $600 in escrow and when we make our August payment it'll be $900. But we will need to save $300 each month from August through November for the next property tax payment.

Paying ourselves back:
Our estimated tax payment is $2119 every quarter. We are a little behind and still owe ourselves $2033. Next payment is due in September.

Paying ourselves back:
We need to repay our emergency savings $1280.

We will need an extra $2400 this year to fully fund our Roth IRAs. I think we'll be able to do this with D's new job.

The future:
We need a dog fence, but I haven't gotten prices yet.

This is all very intimidating, but we just have to keep plugging away. And now I am off to make a frugal dinner!

Meal Plan and Folk Art Market

July 9th, 2017 at 07:34 pm

I bought too many groceries. We will eat it all, so I'm not worried about it, but sometimes I just buy more than my meal plan calls for. We do have to have food for lunches, etc. I also bought pasta which will last us a long time; we have pasta once a week.

Here is the meal plan:

last night - Bad Breath pasta
tonight - Pad Thai with shrimp
M - tostadas
T - lemon-crumbed fish with broccoli and potatoes
W - Music on the Hill (we will stop and each get a premade salad at Trader Joe's (that's our night out)
T - pasta carbonara with asparagus
F - food at Folk Art Market

We got two FREE tickets to each event at Folk Art Market as a thank you for my volunteer work. The opening night party is an amazing event (I've worked it before, but never attended). There's a lot of food, so we'll eat for free. We have to wait until F's basketball practice is over, then we'll bring her to her friend's house which is right near the party. Then pick her up at 9 or so. We never go out, so this is exciting.

F and I will go to the Early Bird Market the next morning. Early bird opens and 7:30 am, and we're going to try to get there when it opens; that way it will be less crowded and still cool.

I am giving her $20 and she can buy something if she wants or keep the $20 for later. I, on the other hand, don't want to buy anything at all! I am contemplating a garage sale... need to talk to my neighbor to see if she wants to join in...

Shutterfly Coupon

July 9th, 2017 at 02:02 am

Got an amazing coupon for our annual Shutterfly album... it expires tomorrow...

Actually two coupons...
1. UNLIMITED - you get unlimited extra pages in your album for free
2. SAVEFORTY - 40% off

So we got a 111-page photo album for about $40. I have $156 in the Shutterfly category, so I can take some to pay down the mortgage.

We had a lot of photos in 2016... apparently we got a lot done last year... soccer camp for F, meeting her hero Meghan Klingenberg, trip to CA to see my parents, our nephew coming to stay for over a month, Thanksgiving and the big trip to England and Croatia.

Anyway, I thought I'd mention the deal in case anyone is interested, has a project finished but you haven't ordered yet, etc...

Here's a photo of Rovinj, Croatia...

Freebies (or Almost-Freebies)

July 6th, 2017 at 12:45 am

Lots of freebies lately, which is good because we are really pushing to get to the end of our mortgage.

- Chocolate bars - my mother knows I like Chocolove 77, so she always has a bar for me when I visit. But I think she doesn't understand that it takes our family a week to eat an entire bar. She thought that I could site down and eat one by myself in a day, so she got me 4 bars! We took the other three home and are working on one of them this week.

- Dental floss - My mother also gave me four packets of floss; she gets them from the dentist, and it's not the type she uses.

- July 4th - We paid $5 to go to Tent Rocks (it's a per-car fee); if you come to NM, you have to go there. It's a really magical place (see F walking through the slot canyon portion in the photo I'm attaching). There are also hoodoos and a beautiful view from the top. We also went to the pool and then to my neighbor's house to watch fireworks from her roof.

- Long Walk - We walked downtown and back (total of 5.9 miles) today. It was a great time to hang out and talk.

- Virgin Pulse - D's new job allows us to track our fitness on Virgin Pulse and make money for our FSA while doing it! I made $105 in June for the FSA and working hard on this quarter.