Monday, June 30, 2014

July 2014 Grocery Challenge

I have noticed that our grocery expenditures have been steadily creeping up these last couple of months. It could be that we are now buying baby food, the cost of food is going up, or the summer when I love cooking. I don't care why. I just want to keep my spending to $500 this month. That will cover three meals a day for all of us.

I'm going to track my spending and blog about it on a regular basis this month. Our month starts today because it is our payday.

I spent $29 on cheese, salad dressing, brats, buns, and juice. All except the buns were a good sale so we stocked up a bit. We have $471 left for the month which seems like a lot but will go so fast if I let it.

Anybody care to join me?

Sunday, June 29, 2014

We went camping this weekend for one night only. We went to Storybookland in Aberdeen, SD.

We left on Friday after getting off work early. It turned out to be about a 2 1/2 hour drive but it was a beautiful little road trip. We met Y's best friend there with his three boys. We grilled when we got there. It turned out to be fun night.

We went to bed late as the kids fell asleep on the way there. We were woke up at 2 by a vicious thunderstorm. Our tent felt like we were on top of a waterbed. I was worried that one of the trees that was over our tent was going to fall on us. It was a little nerve wracking but we survived just fine. The kids were up at 6 and ready for the day.

Saturday was a bit drizzly. We had breakfast and went to Storybookland. We enjoyed carousel rides, a balloon ride, exploring the Land of Oz and playing on the different exhibits. We also took a train through the entire park and zoo.  We left around noon when it started to downpour.

We had a super fun time for minimal cost. We spent $20 on the campsite and firewood. The different rides were about $20 total. Admission to the park was free. We also had gas and food. The gas was around $45 and the food was around $50 but we still have a lot of food because of the early departure due to the rain.

The only downside besides the rain was that Y forgot the air mattress. According to him, who needs an air mattress when camping? Jeesh! Way too old for the ground. Lolz!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Hubby Got a Raise!!!

The fiscal year for Y's work begins July 1. I hadn't heard if he had gotten a raise so I was asking over the weekend. He realized that he hadn't heard either. This raise would be just a cost of living raise but we expected something.

He checked it out today and he is getting a 3% raise. It will be about $120 gross per month. It's not a huge amount but every little bit helps.

Definitely better than a Polk in the eye. :)

Sunday, June 22, 2014

New Tiller

We bought a tiller yesterday, a Honda 4 cycle. It was $375 with tax.

I left the research up to Y because I don't have the patience for that but I wanted the best tiller for our needs. We have heavy clay soil so that eliminated the mini tillers. We didn't want anything huge because I wanted to be able to use it. The Honda we got had great reviews and we have had luck with Honda small engines in the past.

I used it today in my regular garden. It worked great but the vibrations bothered my hands. I will have to use gloves when I use it. After tilling the entire garden, I weeded a few rows. It's so much easier to just weed around the veggies than the entire garden.

It was an expensive purchase but I love gardening and I'm able to cut our grocery budget tremendously for a few months of the year. I don't think that I will have any regrets about our latest purchase.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Friday Financials

I received a reimbursement from my boss for $500. It went directly to our savings, bringing the balance to $8700. I also found a check from Ebates when I was cleaning out my purse. It was only $5.45 that I sent to the new car fund.

I'm planning on buying a garden tiller tomorrow. It might be expensive. Any tips on brand or specifics would be appreciated.

Y is doing a small project for a coworker. We bought the needed supplies last weekend. It was about $100 and he hasn't been reimbursed yet. Y hasn't asked for the money from her but stuff like this kind of annoys me.

We are actually doing fairly well budget wise foe the month. We are planning a camping trip next weekend that will add up a bit.

Happy Friday! 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Savings First

We made the decision to increase our savings to $10,000 while we continue to make monthly payments to the car of $400. Friday was our payday and today I received the reimbursement for our daycare and medical flex. I transferred $500 from our paychecks along with the entire reimbursement. Our saving account is now at $8198. When I saw that balance, I immediately felt a huge sense of relief so I know I made the right decision.

Should an emergency arise, it is more important for us to have savings than a paid off car. Now I just need to get to $10,000 and start paying on the car. :)

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Too Many Irons in the Fire

I feel like I have too many irons in the fire. I have three goals that are important to us.

1. Increase savings to $10,000--currently at $5300
2. Pay off my car--currently at $2600
3. Increase car fund to $15,000--currently at $3700

I feel like I have been dividing my attention and not focusing on one goal entirely. Thus, I don't feel like we are making progress with any of our goals at this point. We need to buckle down and make it happen. As much as I want to be debt free besides our mortgage, I'm going to focus on our savings. It simply makes the most sense. I'm going to divert all additional money over the regular car payment to savings, beginning tomorrow with our paychecks.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Contracting Propane

After a very cold winter, I inquired on contracting propane. We had to fill this past winter and paid a pretty penny for propane. I want to avoid that going forward.

I ordered our tank to be filled at the current propane price of 1.59 per gallon. We have a 1000 gallon tank and are currently around 7% full. For summer fills, they only fill up to 70% because propane expands with heat. This fill will cost us around $1000.

The contract price comes into play for future gallons. We have two options with contracting for the future. The first is to order and prepay at 1.81 per gallon. For 500 gallons, it would be $905 which would be payable now. The other option is to contract for 500 gallons at 1.85 per gallon. 10 cents per gallon would be due now for a total of $50. The $50 is credited to last fill of the 500 gallons. The remainder would be due when we fill.

Basically, to prepay we get a discount of $20. I would like to have this paid now because my commission checks tend to be smaller in the winter but I don't think its worth it. I don't really want to pay $2000 for propane right now. I would prefer to keep the money in savings for the time being.

The 500 additional gallons will be more than enough for us for a year. We keep our house warm, around 72 in the winter. We also heat our garage, plus our backup generator is fueled by propane. I'm sure we could cut our propane usage but I'm not willing to do so. I grew up in a very cold house and we live in a cold state. Heat is not something I believe in skimping on.

What option would you do? Would you do a contract for future propane or just risk it?

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Increasing Retirement Contributions--Maybe???

I'm fairly close to paying off my car and I am toying with the idea of increasing my retirement contributions. I currently contribute 8% to my 401k and receive a 5% match. My contribution is set to increase by 1% every year. I also have a pension. I have an old Roth but am not contributing anymore. Y contributes 2% of his income to his pension and his employer contributes another 10%. He also contributes another 5% to his 457. He also has an old Roth but is no longer contributing.

I am thinking that I would like to increase my automatic contributions at work to 10%. I'm leaning towards this for a few reasons. We get hit hard with taxes. Our marginal tax rate is 25% and will likely be lower with retirement. Also, sometimes we can't even claim the child tax credit. I'm not an accountant but I think it makes more sense to lower our taxable income by utilizing my 401k.

What do you think? Or should I leave them as is?

Monday, June 9, 2014

Financial Errands

I will get this list of financial to-dos done this week:
  • Submit medical flex reimbursement
  • Submit daycare flex reimbursement
  • Return Wee-ride to Amazon
  • Request work expense reimbursement --need most recent cell phone bill
  • Deposit insurance check--this was from an accident almost two years ago but just received the last payment last week.
I've been putting off all of this stuff and need to just so it. Writing it down should be motivation for me.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Target Card

I have debated for some time on getting a Target credit card so I can save 5% there. I decided to do it the other day. I was approved for a $2500 limit. Since I pay my credit cards off monthly, I certainly don't need that large of a limit. I had been thinking about it for awhile but did it on a whim at checkout.

Do you have a Target card?

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Busy Weekend

This was a busy but productive weekend. Here's what we managed to get done:
  • Watched Baby G get good at army crawling and rocking back and forth on all fours--so cute!
  • Cleaned and vacuumed my car
  • Went shopping and bought much needed new work pants. Mine are all too big :).
  • Cleaned and vacuumed our bedroom, the living room and Lil Punk's bedroom. The floors need to be vacuumed all the time with a little one on them.
  • Bought groceries and really had to restock on many basics--spent $210, ouch!
  • Did laundry and put it all away
  • Washed our bedding--Baby G's diaper leeked some time early this am when he was laying with us.
  • Planted our vine garden--two kinds of cantaloupe, three kinds of pumpkins, yellow summer squash, zucchini, butternut squash, watermelon, and 5 kinds of cucumbers (lemon, salt and pepper, straight 8, Armenian and Sweeter Yet).
  • Listed an extra bike we have on Craigslist
  • Played Old Maid and Memory with Lil Punk
  • Taught Lil Punk how to use her new little loom
  • Made delicious provolone and pesto grilled cheese sandwiches. I did other cooking was this was the best.
  • Weeded my raised bed with asparagus. I was so excited to see it coming back. I've been watching and nothing until today when its a foot tall.
  • Watched The Bachelorette and cheered for the pantsapreneur.
  • Made goals for June
  • Biked 3 miles and ran 1. It's painful to get back in shape but I need to.
  • Took a nap both today and yesterday
Whew! How was your weekend?