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August 7th, 2014 at 09:09 am

Yay! I finally was able to go to the Farmers Market yesterday! I was working on No Spend Days on Wednesdays and wouldn't even go over because it would just be too tempting. Finally I was able to go (with a list, of course). I bought tomatoes and flowers. I'm happiest about the flowers because they are something that make me feel like my budget isn't going to strangle me if I can buy $5 of flowers.

I also bought gas for the car yesterday and refilled my gas card. I stopped at the store on the way home for bread, water, and taco shells. I looked at the bacon, but didn't have enough cash, so left it on the store shelf. I'll survive without bacon. Wait, did I just admit that?!?

Today for lunch I have leftover mac & cheese from Tuesday night. Tonight for dinner I'll be eating tacos with the very last bit of lettuce. I have a meal plan for the weekend, which includes Chinese from my very favorite Chinese place. I haven't eaten there in over a month, so I'm really looking forward to it.

Still thinking about my retirement, but it looks like I'm going to leave everything as is. Since it is pre-tax, I would probably only be bringing home an extra $50ish per paycheck, which doesn't seem to be a make or break amount for me right now. Just need to buckle down and be happy where I'm at!

Shrimp Chowder

July 20th, 2014 at 04:49 pm

Recipe for the shrimp chowder that I ate for days.

1 bunch green onion tops slices (4-5)
1/2 tsp minced garlic (or 1 clove)
3 TBSP butter
12 oz cream cheese - room temperature
3 cans cream of potato soup
3 soup cans of milk
1 can of corn, including liquid
1/2 tsp to 3/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1 pound shrimp (shell off)

Saute onion and garlic in butter in large pot. Add cream cheese and cook on low until melted (or very soft). Stir in soup, then stir in milk one can at a time. Add cayenne pepper. Simmer 1/2 hour. Add shrimp and cook until shrimp is cooked and pink.

I also boil four extra potatoes with skin on, just like you would cook them for mashed potatoes. Then I add them when I add the shrimp.

I had No Spend Days on Friday and Saturday. Friday night we went for a bike ride after work. It was a very nice ride on the paved path near our house.

Saturday was the HOA meeting (I am so glad that is over) and then we went boating. We didn't get home until 6. Boyfriend then washed his boat while I did some house cleaning.

Today we woke up early and went to the trails. He rode his bike with a buddy while I ran. Then we stopped at the grocery store and I spent $25, which will get us through this week and most of next. I will probably need to buy milk, water, and maybe bread for next week.


July 14th, 2014 at 09:34 am

It was a lazy weekend. We did go to the mountain bike trail on Saturday morning. Boyfriend rode his bike and I ran. I liked it OK, but I think I like the other trail we go to better. So does he. We got there around 6:45 and by the time we left at 8:15, the parking lot was almost full with more coming in! I'm glad we get up early and go!

My Saturday night dinner with Dad was canceled. Boyfriend and I did go into the city for some shopping, but only boyfriend spent money. I successfully resisted, even though we went to my favorite sports store. I just didn't even bring my purse in. Saturday night I made a big pot of soup and will be eating that most of this week.

On Sunday we went for a run on the paved trail by our house. Then we didn't do hardly anything. I took two naps and felt I could have laid in bed all day. I read, watched a little TV, but mostly slept. I think I was just tired. It's been warm and muggy at night, which is hard to sleep in. We haven't put in the window air conditioner, so it has been fans only for us. Cheap, but worth it?

I had No Spend Days on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. By the end of the day yesterday, I still had $44 left from the cash I took out the last time I got paid. I put $40 towards my rent and the last $4 I will be walking to the bank on my lunch hour. Every little bit counts! I'm trying to get the savings back up to $1000 while still paying off the credit card.

Today I get paid, which means grocery shopping. I have a decent list of something things that are on sale and some things we are out of, like yogurt and apples. I anticipate going to two stores.

Tomorrow I'll post my 1/2 way through the month numbers.


July 9th, 2014 at 11:01 am

Shouldn't have said anything. I need to buy gas for the car, so spending is happening today. I'll buy my gas card for the month: $100. Then, on my way home, I'll go ahead and get the groceries to carry us through the beginning of next week. I think I have six things on the list (bread, ice cream, garbanzo beans, special k crackers, taco shells, egg noodles) so it isn't going to be bad. This should get us through to my payday--which is on Monday.

Tomorrow, I will spend $10 on bowling and boyfriend wants to eat at Subway, so I'll probably buy a $5 footlong. I'll grab chips from home and drink water. Saturday Dad wants to have his belated Fathers Day dinner at the Chinese Buffet place, so I'll be spending money then. I'm hoping we will go to the mountain bike track again on Saturday morning and I'll run while boyfriend bikes with his friends.

Shopping Saga

July 2nd, 2014 at 09:41 am

I really try to do all my shopping at once. One big trip. I dislike shopping (or should I say spending money) and so I try to get as much out of the way on one day as I can.

Yesterday was that day. The monthly Sams run and using up a few coupons that were about to expire.

Get out of work and first stop: Meijers. I had clipped an online coupon for my grape tomatoes I eat almost every day. I also had a $5 gift card boyfriend received in the mail to inspire him to use the electric company's "non peak usage." I bought two containers of tomatoes and spent $1 out of pocket.

Next up: Walgreens that is kitty corner from Meijer. On Monday I had used a $1 off starbucks iced coffee coupon, getting the iced coffee for free and getting a $1 off a future order coupon. I used that coupon plus my Walgreens balance rewards points to get two spaghetti sauces, a pedicure set (including a nail brush and toe separators that I've been wanting--clearance), a set of emery boards to give as gifts at Christmas (also clearance), and another iced coffee. I used a coupon for the sauce and spent $2 out of pocket.

Onto the busy street that has all the stores. I went into Kohls, they just renovated and sent me a $10 off $10 coupon. I used it towards workout socks for boyfriend and spent $2. In recent weeks, I have received two other $10 off $10 coupons and used them towards my own socks. I'm stocked up on socks!

The monthly Sams run was next. I really try to only go once a month and keep a running list of things we're running low on. My boyfriend and I's agreement is that he buys the Sams stuff for the house. I buy the Sams stuff that only I use. I spent $41 for me in strawberries, grapefruit, shrimp, and healthy choice ice cream. He bought the chocolate syrup, sandwich bags, water softener salt, shredded cheese, bath soap, granola bars, apples, and chicken breasts.

Onto WalMart. Last stop and definitely the most entertaining! I had a $25 egift card from swagbucks and a handful of coupons. The list was long. Cat food, yogurt, ice cream, water, bread, mac & cheese, corn, bananas, sour cream, gatorade, individual bags of chips, special k chips, oatmeal, ham for sandwiches, bacon, and I'm sure I'm forgetting a lot. Spent $36 out of pocket.

I still have to get a few more fresh things and then I'm going to be set for next week, food-wise. Boyfriend is revamping his diet for his Tough Mudder, so that could change, depending on how he wants to be healthy. He's eating apples with his lunch, so that's a plus!

I am going to try to do another No Spend Month. I would love to be able to set the rule for myself that there will be no stocking up; that I will only buy something when we need it, not when it is on sale--no matter how good the sale. This is my default way of shopping and I need to untrain myself to be that way. Just buy it when you need it; no stocking up this month!!

I like routine

June 18th, 2014 at 12:20 pm

*Lost my last entry because I took too long*

Last night I worked the front gate at a local fair to help benefit the Friends of the Library of my local library. I am a serious library user and like to look for ways to pay back all the entertainment I get out of it. I was nervous about it.

It was fine. I worked the gate and collected the money and met some other great Friends supporters. It was 2 1/2 hours and the time flew by.

I am a creature of habit. I love routine. I love having a plan and sticking with the plan. Doing something like the Friends thing is outside the routine and is good for me. Even though it makes me nervous, you gotta shake things up sometimes!

On my way home, I went to the grocery store. I spent $55 (!!!) and bought milk, meat, cheese, bananas, chocolate cake mix, frosting, cupcake liners, fish, ice cream, and butter. Boyfriend requested cupcakes for a birthday work treat and the steak is for his birthday dinner. Meat is stinkin' expensive!!!

Frugal thing I did yesterday: I used the gym at work to work out at lunch. It is free to me to use and it was a humid, rainy day outside, so I ran on the indoor track. It is one of the many, many perks at my work that make me feel lucky to be working here!

2nd NSD!

June 7th, 2014 at 08:33 am

Had another NSD yesterday. My goal is to have at least 15 of them this month. Maybe I should aim higher since I'm trying to do a No Spend Month?

Yesterday I had big (no spend) plans after work. I was going to go for an inline skate and clean the camper. At my last break of the day at work, I decided to just sit in the sun and read my book. Normally, I go for short walks on my breaks. Sitting in the sun reading felt amazing and I decided that when I got home, I would bring up the folding table and chairs from the basement to sit out on the deck.

When I got home, I did just that. I ate leftovers for dinner and took them outside to eat at the table on the deck. It was just a perfect day! Once I was done eating, however, I lost all ambition to do anything. I decided that I would wait until it was cooler before completely giving up on the ideas of an inline skate or cleaning out the camper.

After about an hour and a half, I decided to go and at least pop up the camper to prepare for cleaning. And I couldn't get the wrench that you use to crank down the "feet" of the camper in between the camper and the garage. So, I rather easily gave up on the idea of cleaning out the camper. Instead, I pretty much just read my book until bedtime and went to bed.

This morning when I got back from my run, I realized that probably boyfriend and I could push the camper up about a foot and I could then get the wrench into place to crank down the foot. He had to work this morning, so I have not yet presented my plan to him. I could have cleaned the house while he was at work, but instead I have done some swagbucks, written in my journal, read my book, and did some laundry.

Today I anticipate some spending. I'm meeting my cousin at a festival downtown. Her daughter has an art piece in the show. The only thing that is going to tempt me to spend money is the elephant ear cart. I get one elephant ear every year and we don't go to too many places that sell them. So, I'll be tempted to find the cart and spend $5.

Afterwards, I will go to the grocery store with my list. Need to stock up on some fruits and veggies to keep me on Weight Watchers. Carrots, Broccoli, Bananas, Strawberries, that kind of thing. I have coupons for the carrots and broccoli. This shopping trip should get me set for the next week for dinners and lunches. If I had to guess, I'd say I'll probably spend $40 at the most.

Edited to add: frugal thing done yesterday! During my lunch break at work, I walked to the bank and deposited $12.50 in coins into my savings. I save all my change in a jar and once a month, I count out what I have and roll up what I can. Then I deposit it into my savings.

After that, no plans for today! Have a great weekend!

Finally a NSD!

June 5th, 2014 at 05:48 am

You'd think since I'm trying to have a No Spend Month that I would have had a NSD before day 4! Just goes to show how hard it is for me to do this, I guess.

My boring NSD: ran in the morning before work, walked at lunch on the indoor track (it was raining), went right home after work. Made dinner, made lunches, cleaned up the kitchen, took a bath, watched some hockey, read a library book, did my crunches and planks, went to bed.

It was very nice. I do love days like that.

Today I did not run before work, so I will run at lunch. Bowling after work. I'm going to hit to grocery store while I am waiting for boyfriend (we drive together to bowling), I anticipate spending about $25-$30 on things that are on sale and I have a coupon for. Then bowling ($20) and probably dinner for me ($9).

Frugal thing done yesterday: I made up about two weeks worth of oatmeal packets to keep in my desk at work for breakfasts. 2/3 cup instant oatmeal, sprinkle of salt, heaping tablespoon of Splenda, heaping 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon in a ziplock bag. I have little tiny boxes of raisins to add to my oatmeal and there's breakfast! I have access at work to a hot water dispenser, so this is an easy way to frugally eat a healthy breakfast.


June 10th, 2013 at 06:50 am

It was a NSWeekend this weekend. I went shopping on Friday at the grocery store and didn't spend another dime. I will today!

Saturday we went to the homeowners association meeting in the morning. An hour and a half of not-so-exciting stuff. Afterwards, we resisted all temptation and went home. I cleaned the house while boyfriend worked on the yard. We're having sprinkling put it in a few weeks and he wanted to start getting ready for that. We just had black dirt trucked in to give our poor grass seed a bit of a boost. Lots of yard work things being done this year! After I cleaned the house, I went for a run.

Side note: I am actually proud of myself for running 4 times last week. That I actually got up out of bed and went for runs--or did them after doing something else is something that is not easy for me to do. I want to get more exercise into my life and I do enjoy running. There is a Nike app that I use and can have people cheer for me on facebook. It seems to be the thing to get me out of the house and on the road. I hope I can keep this up.

When we were both done with our chores, we watched motocross, then some hockey, then went to bed. While I watched these sports, I was also paging through a magazine and looking at recipes to try to figure out what this week's new recipe was going to be. I hardly ever just watch sports.

Sunday we woke up early. Too early. I was hoping to sleep in to do more catching up on sleep. Oh well. By 9 AM I was inline skating on the paved trail near our house. I have to drive to the park to get to the paved trail, which is a bit of a bummer. But the trail itself is beautiful and I skated about an hour--just out and back.

Came home and prepared food stuff for the week. Lunches, made the cookies from this week's new recipe, made up taco meat for boyfriends tacos that he will eat for dinner or a snack. Just did all the kitchen stuff in one shot. Then relaxed until boyfriends' hockey game.

Today I ran in the morning before work. I was afraid it was going to rain on me, but it held off (yay!) and I was able to run 2 miles. I notice that my morning miles are much slower than miles I do later in the day. Legs just aren't awake yet, I guess. I'll work until 5, then go to class. Right before class I'm dropping off my old microwave to a co-worker who is collecting kitchen stuff for a young woman who seems to need everything to get on her own. My microwave was just sitting in the attic since boyfriend and I moved in together, so I offered it to her and she accepted.

After class I hope to go to Kohls, then Meijers. I have a $10 off $10 coupon they sent me, plus a 15% off coupon. I'm going to check out the sandals because the pair that I've been wearing for 10 years finally died. If they don't have something I like, then I'll get some kitchen towels or something similar. Then to Meijers for fresh fruits and bread for lunches.

It's Friday--hoooray!

June 7th, 2013 at 01:03 pm

Yesterday managed to be a NSD--which always makes me happy. Went to work, walked at lunch, went to the library after work (no puzzles to tempt me), got home, changed and went for a run. I ended up going to bed at 9:30. I was sitting on the couch, writing in my journal about how short-sleeped I felt, and thought "how dumb am I? Go to Bed!" So I did.

I can tell I am short on sleep because I'm slightly irritated at things that would normally not bother me. And I want to eat everything in sight. And I have attitude about EVERYTHING. So I went to bed. Brilliant!

Today I went to the grocery store on the bus at lunch. Keeps the list short and sweet and you can only carry so much home on the bus! I bought bananas, celery, cherries, 2 bags of coffee beans (on sale and I had a coupon!), 2 boxes of ice cream treats (another coupon), a diet coke (oops), and I was very, very hungry so I bought a pre-made fruit cup. The fruit cup was well worth the 1.75--cured my hunger in a healthy way and reminded me how much I love melon. Need to get some melon for the lunches--not in a pre-made container!! Total for it all: $30. Should last me most of next week.

It looks like that will be my only spending today. I plan on eating tacos for dinner (everything already at home), boyfriend has some leftover pizza to eat. Tomorrow we have a Homeowners' Association meeting, but other than that, no plans. He wants to work on the yard and I need to do some cleaning in the house. I really am a homebody. I love that we don't really have plans.

I love reading about other people and how they need to tighten their belts--like CB is doing. It inspires me to try to follow their lead. I need to keep on the straight and narrow myself--and in looking at the budget, I have five cents left in the personal care category. So no buying from there for the rest of this month! The rest of the budget is doing OK, but it IS only the 7th!

Oh yeah. That.

May 30th, 2013 at 05:54 am

So I was complaining in my last entry that saving $300/month seemed easier before. Then it hit me this morning: I now pay the full amount towards the student loan and the ex sends me his portion with a check. I don't dare count on this happening (although it has happened for about six months now), so I essentially have an extra $240 coming out of my budget every month on paper. When I get his check, it all will go into savings. But, again, I don't count on it the way I count on my paycheck.

Oh yeah. That. So now I'll jiggle with the numbers again, taking that into account. Maybe the budget won't seem quite so tight then.

Also, Petunia100 had a great idea of rolling over whatever I don't spend in a category into the next month's budget. I'm showing how much of a long time lurker I am--there used to be someone on here years ago who was trying to do a budget based on minimum wage and in her spreadsheets, she would roll over her amounts to the next month. I was always inspired by her posts because she seemed to take such pleasure in simple things like drinking hot tea and footie PJs.

Yesterday I took myself out to Subway for dinner between work and class. $8. Wow. That was even with a leftover gift card that I've been meaning to use up for months now. Subway has gotten expensive. Then after class, I ran to WalMart and spent $18 on top of the $25 gift card I had. I got most everything on my list and used about $3.25 in coupons.

What did I buy? (kinda boring, I know)
2 - Weight Watchers Ice cream (coupon)
3 - gallons of water (track, truck, home water)
1/2 gallon of milk
bag of yellow popcorn
chocolate chips
fun size hershey's bars (pack of 10 for lunches)
homemade mac & cheese meal
2 boxes granola bars (track food) (coupon)
3 boxes of lean cuisine egg rolls (work lunches on class days) (coupon)
pound of butter
2 jars spaghetti sauce (coupon)
jar of strawberry jam
loaf of bread

So now I hope to not spend anything for the next two days. There are slim pickin's for fruit/veggies for lunch, but I'll survive. I have a list already started for Saturday shopping. Since I have a hair appointment that day, I'm going to be out and about anyway.

Spendy Wednesday

April 18th, 2013 at 01:37 pm

Broke my streak of NSD with a Major Spend Day (MSD?). At least, it seemed like it to me!

Groceries: $48. string cheese, lots of fruit and veggies, water, clif bars, taco shells, fizzy fruit drinks (I'm trying to kick diet coke and think that this might be my 'treat' instead of diet coke), lemon juice, cheese, tortilla chips, Doritos

Gas for month on gas card: $100

Econ book: $30 (used on half.com Checked into the awesome idea of renting and and found it would cost $40 to rent it)

Chair cushions: $47. Boyfriend bought this really cute folding chairs/table set for the deck and we found out at the store that cushions improved the chair's comfort substantially. Only, they didn't have a color we wanted, so I finally ordered it online.

Laptop Cord: $84. Dang Mac. I ended up ordering it at Apple, but I did take the suggestions into account and checked into amazon and ebay. Unfortunately, my laptop is old and needed a cord that I wasn't able to find cheaper than Apple.

Clothes: $30. Two new running shorts and a running shirt. I saw them last week and resisted, but kept thinking about them. They were on sale this week. This was a want. I wanted bright colors so drivers can see me when I run in the morning. Now I got 'em.

I think I can go today and tomorrow not spending anything. Saturday will be my next planned spend day with a hair appointment and out to eat. I will probably pick up bread and milk for the beginning of next week, so a small grocery shop is planned.

Here, it is raining, raining, raining. Rivers and creeks are over their banks and it isn't supposed to stop raining until tomorrow. Fortunately, it doesn't seem to be affecting our basement.

That didn't go quite as I thought

April 9th, 2013 at 02:47 pm

I was all set to go grocery shopping after work yesterday....

and then didn't.

Immediately after work, I went to the indoor track and did some running. By the time I was done running, I had talked myself out of the grocery shopping. I figured we had enough food to last until Thursday, so I would just not go shopping. Unfortunately, since I took my coworker out to lunch, it wasn't a NSD, but I didn't spend anything else.

I was not planning on spending any money until Friday, but I think I'm going to move that to Thursday to try to beat the crowds a bit. Then I'll have a NSD on Friday and maybe even into the weekend. I have my list ready to go. It does help that my boyfriend is out on a run, so I can eat easy and cheap.

Cereal for dinner, anyone?

Spending on Monday

April 8th, 2013 at 02:37 pm

It's my payday today! All the bill are already accounted for, so it's time to go shopping!

Ok, if only it was that exciting. I just get to do some food shopping on the way home. Nothing exciting to see here folks, keep on moving. My goal is to go shopping tonight and then not go shopping again or spend any money until Friday.

I did take my co-worker out to lunch to thank her for switching hours with me so I can go to class in the Fall. I have been spending a lot of money in the out to eat category. I may have to move some of the gifts category into the out to eat category. I guess taking dad and my co-worker out to dinner should be consider gifts, huh?

Another co-worker is getting rid of her cat stuff because her fuzzy recently passed away. :-( I was able to get a whole bunch of new mice and a very nice fuzzy cat bed for my Big Kitty (whose picture you see to the side). I'm sad for my co-worker, she is such a sweetie, but I'm happy for my Big Kitty!

I had two NSDs this weekend. We were supposed to do a lot of running around and being away from home and instead it turned into a nice weekend hanging around the house. I was able to do some running, some walking, some cleaning, some organizing. I was a very happy girl. I just love puttering around the house.

Tonight I will be up late to watch the NCAA tournament. I'm going to be dragging tomorrow morning, but GO BLUE!!

Monthly update of yearly goals

March 8th, 2013 at 03:50 pm

Update (very late)

Save $5000. Yes, still on track for this one. So far, the issues are staying away.

Run a 10K. I will sign up for that this month.

Ride a "T-Shirt" bike ride. I'm leaning towards the Colorburst tour in October in Lowell.

Try one new recipe per week. Yes! This month I've made South Indian Spiced Chickpeas, Honey Glazed Salmon, Chinese Pineapple Chicken with Black Bean Sauce (first fail), Chicken Tikka Masala, and Cinnamon-Pecan Streusel Coffee Cake.

12 No Spend Days--Yes, I had 15

20 Workout days. No. The flu kicked my tail and I only had 16.

New Running shoes in July

At least one 6 week summer class. They released the schedule on March 1st, so I'll be figuring out which class to take.

New Walking shoes in January--already done.

Read 50 books. I'm up to 7.

Up my annual donation by $300. Haven't increased this one yet.

This week Wednesday and Friday, I had NSDs. On Thursday, I did the monthly Sams club shop, along with groceries for the weekend. I spent $23 on food and $15 on kitty litter (which goes under household for me). It's a little bit tight on the budget this week because I am getting my hair done tomorrow, which should cost between $50 and $75, depending on what I get done. I go about every six weeks; it is definitely one of my splurges. If I get highlights, it will be the higher number.

Things are pretty quiet around here. Boyfriend is gathering all his stuff to do his taxes, so I'm sure I will help him do that. Probably next weekend though. This weekend is hair and then dinner with the ex-in laws for my birthday.

Awesome Day and lots of freebies

March 5th, 2013 at 02:15 pm

I had a perfectly wonderful, awesome day off yesterday. It was a perfect mix of getting stuff done and chilling out on the couch. I rode my bike on the trainer, cleaned the kitchen and bathroom, and read my book while cuddling with my cats. It was a relaxing day all around.

I didn't spend a cent. I didn't leave the house. I didn't even take a shower (ewwww!). Boyfriend was on a run and will get home tonight. So I had the TV remote all to myself and watched a few DVRed shows. It was just....nice.

Today I went to the grocery store on my way to work and bought bread for boyfriend's lunches, a free two liter of Pepsi Max, and a free container of Oscar Meyer pulled pork. I figure I can find something to use it with. I got the coupons mailed to me--probably a facebook thing or something. They were nice freebies in the mail. I spent a total of $2.50 at the grocery store.

On my way home, I'm going to pick up a free Papa Johns pizza. I somehow managed to acquire enough Papa points for a free pizza. I didn't even know I had them until I logged on to order my free "coin toss" Super Bowl pizza. So I'm using them tonight. I love freebies!

Slowly getting better

February 25th, 2013 at 02:46 pm

According to a paramedic friend of mine, I definitely had the flu, not a cold. Two days of high temperature, body aches, headache, sudden harsh cough makes it a flu, not a cold. I'm on the mend, but not 100% yet.

It definitely helped the finances to be sick, but it isn't helping the workout schedule! I racked up NSDs like crazy because I didn't have it in me to leave the house or even to shop online. The menu schedule also went out the window because I didn't feel like eating anything. Luckily we had a supply of easy to make food, so no one starved.

I spent some $$ today because I finally made it to the store for bread, milk, and some granola bars. I also had to restock the cough drops and Nyquil. I think I spent about $25 all told. I went slightly over on my grocery budget, but I'm OK with that. I'll post numbers in a few days at the end of the month.

Tonight we're going to enjoy our free papa johns pizza from the superbowl coin toss. I need to do a couple of errands on the way home (library, tractor supply) and then I'm in for the night. No spin class for me for a few days. Frown

Try, try again

February 18th, 2013 at 02:44 pm

Yesterday after I wrote my entry, I actually got myself on the treadmill and ran the full amount of time I planned on running. Yay for me!

We did go to stick and puck last night, but boyfriend paid for me to play, so no money out there. On the way home, I treated him to Chinese food, so I spent $21 including the tip.

Then, last night, I looked at the recipe I was supposed to make---I needed a jalapeno pepper for the recipe. I didn't have one. Dangnabit. I also was supposed to marinate the chicken for 24 hours. Ok then. Good thing we stopped for Chinese.

So I pulled out the chicken to thaw so I can marinate it starting tonight. This morning, I stopped by the store and bought two jalapenos, one for this week's recipe and one for next week's recipe. Spent 27 cents for the two. That's all I bought at the grocery store--but after having made a big deal of NOT going to the grocery store, I'm a little irritated at myself for not checking the recipe thoroughly before going shopping last Friday. Urg.

I could have done several things. One, the no grocery week now starts on Monday. So, no grocery shopping until next Monday. Do-able. Just re-jiggered my goal.

Two, I could have substituted....something. I didn't like this idea for two reasons. I always like to make a recipe like it says the first time so I know if it is the recipe I don't like (like the Pineapple chicken I made last week), not the ingredients I used. The second reason is that I'm not sure the jalapeno in this recipe is contributing only heat. You're actually taking out the seeds, so it isn't just a "substitute cayenne pepper" kind of thing. I've never made Tikka Masala before and I'm not sure if there is some....greenness....that the jalapeno contributes that is needed. I didn't have any other peppers in the house to substitute for....greenness.

Three, this recipe is the backbone of my menu plan for the week. It's also my new recipe of the week. I didn't want to not make it, but I did think about it for a bit before deciding to go ahead and buy the peppers.

All excuses, I'm aware. Better organization next time. I will try to not go shopping at the grocery store until next Monday. I'm only worried about running out of milk.

This morning on my way into work, I stopped at McDonald's for a caramel mocha ($4). This is a rare treat for me. It's taken me six months to fill up that little McCafe rewards card and I knew if I bought one more, it would fill the card so my next one is FREE! I woke up from a bad dream and couldn't shake the feeling of irritation the dream caused. In addition, I was the primary one answering the phone all day at work, so I really wanted a treat. Right next door is the gas station I usually use, so I also filled up my gas gift card for the month ($100).

Tonight I have spin class and I might try to stop by the library on the way home. I'm not sure if they are open or not because it is President's Day. Then, home to marinate some chicken for my Tikka.


February 15th, 2013 at 05:43 am

Since I am hoping to not go to the grocery store for a week, I thought I would post my menu to try to keep me accountable. I will go today for the last few things I need to make it through the week like bread and milk and then I won't go again until next Friday.

Friday--breakfast: work breakfast (homemade instant oatmeal packets with freeze dried fruit that live in my desk drawers); work: work lunch (yogurt, cheese stick, boiled egg, baked chips, apple, clementine, carrots); dinner: leftover chicken thigh, homemade bread, frozen veggie

Saturday--breakfast: bagel thin with laughing cow cheese, clementine; lunch: eggs rolls, salad; dinner: salmon, rice, frozen veggies

Sunday--breakfast: waffles, clementine; lunch: apple sausage, salad; dinner: chicken tikka masala from weight watchers **new recipe for the week**, frozen veggie

Monday--breakfast: shake breakfast; lunch: leftover chicken tikka masala, various fruits and veggies; dinner: frozen meal, frozen veggies (maybe asparagus)

Tuesday: breakfast: work breakfast; lunch: work lunch; dinner: chicken tikka masala, frozen veggie

Wednesday: breakfast: work breakfast; lunch: last of the chicken tikka masala, various fruits and veggies; dinner: eggs rolls, salad

Thursday: breakfast: work breakfast (starting to see a pattern?); lunch: work lunch; dinner: frozen meal, frozen veggies

Friday: breakfast: work breakfast; lunch: work lunch; dinner: Papa Johns Pizza!!! (I guess the coin flip right on their website, so I get a free pizza!)

Saturday: breakfast: bagel thins with cream cheese, fruit; lunch: eggs rolls, salad; dinner: teriyaki salmon, rice, frozen veggie

Sunday: breakfast: waffles, fruit; lunch: egg rolls, salad; dinner: indian spiced chickpeas, rice, frozen veggie **make coffee cake recipe as my new recipe for the week**

Yesterday I finished off the last of the Chinese Pineapple chicken from the new recipe I made on Sunday. I was so glad to see that leftover go. I don't think I will be making it again. Bleech.

Also yesterday, I spent $6 at the gas station for those cheese sticks my boyfriend likes in his lunch and $25 at the big grocery store. Today I will spend money at the post office mailing off something to my Mom, the last of the grocery shopping for a week (gotta have fresh bread!), and probably $5 for playing stick and puck for our date night at the ice rink.

Giving something up

February 14th, 2013 at 08:22 am

I am not Catholic, but I like the idea of giving up something for Lent. It is a chance to test yourself, but also to make you think hard about the choices you make in your life.

Having said that, I am not giving up something like coffee. I probably should, because that would be a true test. What I am giving up? Ice cream or frozen yogurt. No ice cream-like treats for me until Easter. This will be somewhat difficult, because those are my sweet treats that I eat and keep me on track with my weight watchers because they are already portioned out.

Yesterday was a NSD. My 7th for the month. My goal is 12, so 5 more to go! Today I will be taking the bus to the big grocery store and picking up a few things that I can only get there. I'm going on my lunch, so I won't have time to shop unnecessarily. I have my list and my coupons ready to go.

Thursdays are my easy day, where I don't have anything planned for after work. I get to go straight home after work!! Tonight's dinner is chicken thighs, homemade bread, and veggies. I'm so looking forward to being home before 7:30!


February 11th, 2013 at 12:46 pm

I get paid on Mondays (of all things!). The money is already accounted for and out-the-door. My federal refund showed up in my account too. It's already going to go towards my yearly car insurance, so no fun there.

Unfortunately, since the ex has been late on the last three months of the joint student loan payment, I have taken that over. Our agreement is that he pays 2/3, I pay 1/3. I had been sending him my 1/3 as a check and then he paid the total payment. Not anymore. Now I am paying the full amount, hoping that he will pay me the 2/3. I'm not counting on it, though. I normally would save a chunk out of this check, but instead I will pay the student loan and if he sends the check, I will put that into savings. I won't go into details about what will happen if he doesn't pay. No one wants to go to court.

My advice to everyone? DON'T CONSOLIDATE YOUR STUDENT LOANS WITH YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER. Even if things are wonderful now and you are never going to get divorced--just don't do it. They won't untangle you if something should happen. Or if your loved one should pass away, you are responsible for the entire amount. Just. don't. do. it.

I successfully had two NSDs this weekend. This morning I went to the grocery store and spent $21 on food and $4 on the cats. I think if I pick up a very few more things (bread, milk), I can go all next week without shopping. That's my goal.

Saturday at home

February 9th, 2013 at 10:13 am

I love days where I don't have to go anywhere.

Today is a day spent catching up at home. I'm doing laundry, planning menus, and watching some basketball and hockey. I already ran on the treadmill (yay! exercise done!), and went out and refilled the bird houses. The snow here is about a foot deep and I don't like filling them in the dark when I get home from work, so they either get done before work (if I have time--HA!) or the weekend.

I planned my menu to use up what I have in the house. I made my grocery list with only those things I actually NEED, and I think that's what I'll be doing for the rest of the month. Maybe I'll make a dent in the overstuffed freezer then. And stay within my budget.

Since we have no plans to go anywhere, I'm hoping for a NSD.

Yesterday I spent $5 to go to stick and puck at the ice arena and worked on my hockey stops. I'm still learning how to ice skate and how to handle the puck. It was very busy last night, so I felt in the way--but as of now they don't have a "beginners only" stick and puck, so I'm out there with the real skaters. Oh well.

I also spent $5 at the grocery store for bread for lunches and pineapple for the meal I'm making on Sunday. I should have leftovers to eat for lunches at work this week.


February 8th, 2013 at 06:57 am

I think I have a problem. Hello, my name is Angel and I'm a food stocker-upper. Oh, and a personal care stocker-upper too.

It is only 8 days into the month and I have spent more than 1/2 of my grocery budget for the month already. I somehow think I can always justify spending money on food because "it is a good deal" or "but I need it for this one recipe" or "ooo, look at this new thingamajig that I can try and it will keep me on track with weight watchers". In addition, food is something you need, it isn't a pair of shoes that you can put off 'til next month.

Yeah. My freezer is stuffed full and my cupboard is stocked up too. I need to do some serious pantry-shopping instead of grocery shopping. I went to Save A Lot to do the rest of the grocery shopping and spent $31. Not bad. Many of my trips are not bad. I don't spend a lot at once, but I go multiple times. Then, as I was checking out, the cashier handed me a coupon for $2 off a $20 order the next time I come in--as long as I come in within a week. Oh! The pressure of using up that coupon! It's like a free bag of flour! How can I resist?

The sad thing is that I still have stuff on my list that Save A Lot didn't have (like poultry seasoning). Most of the things on my list are not really needed for the menu I created for the week, I just happened to run out of them and put them on the list. I have to prioritize and stop buying stuff unnecessarily. At least, that is, if I want this budget thing to work!

Spend, spend, spend

February 7th, 2013 at 08:03 am

Since a big storm is coming today, I decided to do the big Sams/WalMart run last night after spin class. I knew it would make for a long day--but I sure wasn't tempted to go too far off my list because I wanted to get home!

I spent $200 at Sams, but my boyfriend will pay me back $190 because of our financial agreement (he buys most of Sams; I buy the regular groceries).

My spending ended up like this:
Food: $40--$10 at Sams, $30 at WalMart
Household: $15 (cat food, sharpies)
Clothes: $6 (nylons)
Personal: $4 (lotion)
McDs: $7 (dinner out and "reward" for getting shopping done)

I also went to Bath and Body Works because they sent me a coupon for a free travel sized item. I went in, got my free item, and walked out. I just did an order from them, so I didn't need anything. But I was tempted. It sometimes feel cheap to walk in, get my freebie, and walk out. But I do it anyway!!

I spent $30 yesterday on a used heart rate monitor from a co-worker. I'm excited because I've wanted one to see if I'm working hard enough while working out. I didn't want to spend too much, in case it just wasn't my thing, so I got a nice Timex one that would have cost me $70-$80 for $30. And who knows? Maybe this will be my Valentine's Day present. How romantic!!

I am almost positive I'm going to do the last of the grocery shopping for the week at Save A Lot and if I go at lunch time, I will also hit the post office and send out a free calendar with bikes on it to my parents (who are both big road bicycle riders). It was on the free bookcase here at work, so I snagged it.

Wed, Thurs, Fri

August 10th, 2012 at 12:01 pm

Yay Friday! It's cool and rainy here--first time in months. I'm so glad to see the rain--we so need it.

Wednesday I did the monthly trip to Sams. Because of how bf and I divide up our expenses, I go to Sams and shop--he pays for it. Well, as long as it is household stuff. If it is obviously something just for me (say, a book or a shirt), I'll take that out before telling him how much he needs to pay me back.

Anyhoo, I worked, went to yoga until 6:45, then drove the 1/2 hour to Sams. I bought a Diet Coke (gotta quit those things!) to fortify me for the shopping ahead when I left yoga. Spent $234 at Sams, but none of it was totally mine. So that isn't actually $$$$ out of pocket. Then I went next door to WalMart to use the $50 in gift cards I have accumulated. Ended up spending $14 out of pocket. Bought boring stuff like dry milk powder, Febreeze for laundry, dry cat food, and coffee beans. Went to McDs for dinner and bought bf pizza from his favorite pizza place. I didn't get home until 9:30. Whew. I just don't really like shopping. I get in, get the stuff on my list, and get out.

Thursday was a NSD, thanks to the spin class teacher working us extremely hard. I was sweating buckets. Yuck-o. That was my last spin class until mid-September because of the change in my work schedule. I'll be working from 9 AM to 6 PM instead of 8 AM to 5 PM. So, no more spin for me! I'm excited to actually just go home from work all next week!

Today I've spent $25 at Meijer for apples, cherries, peanut butter pretzels, and tomatoes. I'll be going out for Chinese after work and I need to pick up a couple of things at Save A Lot.

It looks like on Saturday I'll be at the dirt bike track all day. Not sure what is going to happen on Sunday yet. Maybe on the boat; maybe getting some chores done around the house. I'm trying to be OK with the by-the-seat-of-the-pantsness, but I admit, I'm rather anal and would just love a plan.

I have been struggling lately with making myself do things that I know are good for me, but I just don't want to do them. Go to spin class? I don't wanna! Eat my carrots? Pfffftttt. 2 mile run before going into work? NooooooOOOOooooo. I'm not sure if it is because I'm tired or I'm doing too much or I'm just basically lazy. I'm hoping that this little break from yoga and spin will recharge me again.

It's getting harder!

July 23rd, 2012 at 03:27 pm

Did a rather thoughtless thing today. I went to work without a lunch. Not a smart thing to do. Especially since I was going to the grocery store at lunch (out of coffee?!? Emergency!). In addition, it's HOT out there. I admit, I don't like heat. I'm a fall girl, myself. So add heat + grocery shopping (not my favorite thing to do) and yeah, I bought stuff not absolutely necessary.

Now I see the talk of spend a lot less at the beginning, because the end of the month gets harder. I haven't gone completely bare bones spending (Panera, McDonalds) but I'm having a lot harder time not wanting what "I can't have." The spoiled brat is coming out a bit. In addition, I bought a diet coke. It's a slippery slope for me. I'm definitely an all-or-nothing person. The Diet Coke on Saturday broke the ice.

Tomorrow is another day! I haven't spent all out, so I can still survive. I am in awe of those who can do this with others involved (husbands, kids) and keep it under $250 or $300. I only have myself to control and it's getting tougher!

Grocery store purchases--$20:
Box of Clif Bars
Bag of coffee beans
Diet coke
Pretzel thins
Red Pepper Hummus
Blueberries (these last four things were my lunch)

Day 23 Numbers:

Spend: $20
Left: $28
In: found two pennies (one at the grocery store!)

Days 20 and 21

July 21st, 2012 at 05:58 pm

The bus didn't work out as well as I had hoped. It didn't show up until 20 after and I was not going to be able to shop and get back to work in time. So, darn. I went for a walk instead and just stopped at two grocery stores on the way home to get my shopping done. I've done it before and made it back in time, but I guess this time it wasn't meant to be.

So on my way home from work, I stopped at Save A Lot and the regular grocery store.

Save A Lot $17
Enchilada sauce
Corn Bread mix
Green onions
Corn tortillas
Small scrub brush (just what I've been looking for and it was only $1!)

Regular grocery store (where I go to the get the things not available at Save A Lot) $19
Almond milk
Flour tortillas (a certain brand the bf likes)
Cat food

Day 20 Numbers:

Spend: $36
Left: $55
In: $5 Amazon gift certificate from Swagbucks

Today we went to the dirt bike track and I didn't pack near enough food. On the way home, bf went to his favorite pizza place and I went to McDonalds. All day I had been feeling rather ooky and had a headache. The thing that makes me feel better 85% of the time I feel like this? Quarter Pounder, fries, and a large Diet Coke. Yum.

When I got home, I felt so much better that I made the three cheese chicken enchiladas (which I will happily eat as leftovers) with the corn bread. Bf has leftover pizza and I've got enchiladas for the next few days. Easy eating.

Also, when my parents came to visit, they gave us their pop-up camper. We finally moved it to a place where we could pop it up so I could clean it out. While I was waiting for the enchiladas to cool, I went out and started scrubbing the floor, counters, and "kitchen." We need to buy some stuff to outfit the camper and then we're going camping!!! I'm so excited! I can't wait to hit the Goodwills to find what we need!

Day 21 Numbers:

Spend: 7
Left: $48
In: nothing

Day 19

July 20th, 2012 at 07:10 am

It was a NSD yesterday, but it won't be today! I NEED to get cat food, so a trip to the market is in order. I'm going to take the bus to the grocery store on my lunch hour to go get it at a cheaper price than the local grocery store here in town. It doesn't cost me anything to ride the bus, and riding the bus makes it so that I can't buy much--so off I go!

I have found that if I can resist spending money before I go home, I'm almost home free. Once I'm home after work, I don't like to go out again so I am unlikely to spend money. I also tend to stay away from the internet because I'm on the computer all day at work and turning on my 'puter isn't very tempting.

On the other side, when I do break a NSD I tend to go all out. I'll get gas even if I'm above 1/4 tank just so I don't spend the money on a NSD. Or, like today, since I NEED to get cat food, I'll also pick up other things (stuff to make enchiladas, more milk, lettuce).

Day 19 Numbers:

Spend: $0
Left: $91
In: found a dime and a penny

Hoping for a NSD today

July 19th, 2012 at 06:10 am

Yesterday I got gas for the Bug ($25) and spent $16 at the Farmers Market. I bought an onion, three big tomatoes, a bunch of grape tomatoes, a pint of blueberries, kettle corn, and a bunch of pretty flowers. Yeah, the flowers and kettle corn were completely unnecessary. But worth it!

I was feeling pretty confident--in fact I was thinking that if I do this again, I should give myself less money to make it more of a challenge. Then I realized I'm going to need to get gas at least one more time and I have 12 more days to go. I have lots of food in the house, but I'm always going to need to buy more milk and fresh fruits and veggies. I was even thinking that I had enough money for some Chinese takeout on Friday. Now, maybe not. Better save my money, just in case!

Day 18 Numbers:

Spend: $41
Left: $91
In: found 2 pennies

Day 16

July 16th, 2012 at 03:18 pm

Spendy day 16. I worked a 1/2 day, then went to the eye doctor and the car dealership for the Bug's 130,000 mile service. While I was waiting for the Bug to get done, I hung out with my bf and we ate lunch and talked.

I brought back cans today--most were found on the side of the road while I biked to the library on Saturday. I found six cents on my walk out to my car after my 1/2 day at work.

My eye appointment was easy and quick--I may even get a rebate back for my contacts!

Then I went to Sams. Last time I went, I renewed my membership and came home that very same day to an offer for a $15 gift card if I renewed my membership. So I brought that with me to see if they would still give me the $15 gift card. They did!! It paid for most of my kitty litter; I only had to spend $1 on the tax! Smile

Then I went to Goodwill to find a new squirter for my doughboy soap holder that sits next to my sink. I broke the squirter, so he's been sitting on the side of my sink without being able to be used. It now works--kinda sorta. It isn't as smooth as I would like, but it was worth 52 cents to try the fix.

Then I went to VW so they could work on the Bug. It's just his 130,000 check-up. They changed the oil and gave him a bath, but didn't find anything more wrong with him. This, like the eye doctor, dentist, and massage are not counted in my $300 because it is maintenance and I'm not putting those off just to stay under $300.

Went to lunch with my bf and talked, talked, talked. Got the call from VW that the Bug was done, so she dropped me off at the dealership. I went grocery shopping, then came home. I still need to get gas, so I'll probably be spending more money tomorrow. It is just too hot here to keep running around. Ug.

Not counted: $39 for car maintenance; $280 in eye check-up and a year's worth of contacts.

Counted: $9 for lunch; $1 Sams; $1 Goodwill; $27 Meijers

Meijer list:
5 gallons water
1 can corn
3 cans cream of potato soup
2 packages of cream cheese (potato/shrimp chowder is in my future)
package of flour tortillas
big container of plain yogurt
container of half and half
2 packages of instant chocolate pudding (need the yogurt, half and half, and pudding for pudding pops)
almond milk
baking soda (used most of mine to do the vinegar/baking soda down the kitchen drain to clean it up and make it smell better)

Day 16 Numbers:

Spend: $38
Left: $132
In: $1.30 in cans; found a nickel and a penny

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