Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Just a week to go in February

And, I still have some progress to do on my goals for the month. It's actually been a pretty good month, & I've made progress on almost all fronts. Just not as much progress as I'd like. I need to push hard the last week of February!

Financial:

  • Spend $200 or less on groceries (have a gift card for the rest) - Yes, this is on track. We are at $139.62, as M forgot the Costco gift card one time. We should be able to use the gift card & keep the rest of the spending under $200. 
  • Keep dining out to $150 (that's with two birthdays) - On track. We are at $139.68 (almost the same as groceries!) We had my birthday dinner, and then a couple of quick bites. We did buy dinner on our way home from skiing, but that was covered under our travel budget. (Originally, we were doing a hotel stay + skiing, so this was the trimmed down version.)
  • Pay for plans on house remodel, so we can get a finalized budget & timeline, and make prioritizations - On track. Have paid for the plans & meeting with the designer today!
  • Come up with one way to reduce what we need/spend on an ongoing basis - I'm stumped for February. Going to have to give this one more thought, & welcome ideas!
  • Assuming one car is back from the shop, sell our sedan (carryover from Jan, as car isn't back from shop) - eh. This hasn't happened. M has had a lot going on, and he's responsible for this. 
  • If we sell the sedan, call around for new car insurance. (ditto above)
  • Earn another $200 in sidehustle money. Split this between college money for the kids, & an extra payment on our vacation house mortgage.- I've made $194 to date, and have someone stopping by for two items totaling $23 today. So, should make this. 
  • Get our taxes sorted! Yikes, so scared to tackle this. - Have handed off all docs to accountant, & also answered all questions that have been generated to date. 

Family:

  • Have one family evening together: cooking dinner, board games, etc - we went skiing instead!
  • Have a date night with my husband - it's planned for this Saturday
  • Continue financial help (knowledge, not money) with sister & friend - Yes, I sent a doc with additional money saving, budgeting & overall financial help. Continuing to provide input & support. 
  • Determine timing & budget for adults only vacation - Timing is sorted, and we will likely go to Napa in July while the kids are in camp. Budget is still a bit of a work in progress. 
  • Take the kids skiing one time - Yes, and they had a great time!

Fitness/health:
  • Complete another full round of 21 Day Fix - I've done 11/21 days & am a bit behind. Need to pick this up!
  • Eat 5.5 servings a day of fruit & veggies - I'm at 4.3 servings/day
  • Lose 3 pounds - I've lost 2 pounds so far. 
  • Run at least 6 times - I've run 4 times this month
Work:
  • Work from home 3 days - Yes, done
  • Take two classes that I need for a work opportunity - I need to make one of these happen this week

Personal/creative:

  • Make one new recipe - nope. I doubt this will happen this month. We've made a few old favorites instead, and kept things simple. 
  • Spend time with a friend - nope. Dates didn't work out for our hike. 
  • Volunteer at least 1x - yes, and will likely get a second one in as well. 
  • Write for at least 4 hours on personal stuff - Nope. :-( Need to plan time for this. 
  • Summarize my findings from completing my Dream Bio, and plan to turn at least one of those findings into action. - No, still haven't done much with my findings. 

What about you? How are you doing with your February goals, with one week left in the month? 

Monday, February 19, 2018

I love long weekends

It was a little crazier than normal, as Sam had a birthday party on Friday, followed by a sleepover. Both boys had soccer on Saturday, & then we skied on Sunday. Getting ready for skiing, followed by cleaning up & unpacking from skiing were really half day projects. I'm tuckered out! So happy to have today off.

And yes, we finally, five years later, took the boys skiing. It's so much of commitment here (cost, drive time, etc) vs where we could do quick trips in Seattle. But, they had a blast yesterday & we really enjoyed being back on the mountains. We will certainly try to go again & optimize our time.

In other news, I've been working on our menu. Here's what we're thinking about this week.

Menu Plan:


  • Friday - we had a pizza party at the bowling alley (Sam's birthday)
  • Saturday - I made chicken fiesta rice + guacamole
  • Sunday - we ate at a Spaghetti Factor on our way home. 
  • Monday - I made butternut squash soup & prepped everything for goat cheese crostini for tonight. I'm driving to soccer practice, so need everything ready to go. 
  • Tuesday - leftover chicken fiesta rice
  • Wednesday - leftover soup & rolls
  • Thursday - Eat any remaining leftovers, or make my go to backup spaghetti & meatballs. 
  • Friday - Planning to make chicken risotto with grilled chicken (freezer) + goat cheese (also freezer). I need to use up  bunch of chicken broth I made after I roasted my first chicken. It's taking up a lot of freezer space!


I don't have a ton of energy & am trying to recoup today. But, here are a few things I'd like to do before I go to bed:


  1. Some sort of a workout. May do a walk or run when I'm at Nick's soccer practice
  2. List a couple of items on eBay
  3. Organize my schedule for the week
  4. Finish making all of the beds (washed the sheets)
  5. Laundry
  6. Put away all ski gear (once dried)
That's it! I'll be thrilled if I get all of that done? What about you? What are you up to today?

Friday, February 16, 2018

Frugal Friday

Although it didn't particularly feel like a frugal week, we did have some wins. On the non-frugal side, I booked summer camps for the kids, booked a day of camp I need for next week (ski break) & booked my parents to come for spring break. (I pay for their flights). All of these are budgeted, but it felt like a lot at once!

Here are the frugal wins for the week:


  • Ate all meals at home (although, tonight we'll be eating pizza out for Sam's birthday. It's already been paid for as part of the bowling/pizza package).
  • Kept food waste to a minimum. I love looking in the fridge at the end of the week & seeing it pretty much cleared out. It's perfect just before re-stocking.
  • Stuck to just cards for the adults for Valentine's Day.
  • Sold two kids jerseys for $10 through our local Facebook swap
  • I've been reading free books that I got from work. I've finished 7 so far this year. 3 have been great, 2 have been good, 2 have been passable. Can't win them all. ;-) 
  • I've been working out & staying on track with my eating. Which is good, because most of my clothes don't fit & I don't want to buy anything new. 
What about you? Any frugal wins for the week? 

Sunday, February 11, 2018

I put off all of the work today

And just enjoyed yesterday. It was lovely! A run, cupcakes, wine, reading my book in the sunshine. All was fabulous. However, a full weekend of chores now awaits. ;-)

Here's what I need to accomplish today:

  • Take the boys to soccer. They are playing each other. Yikes.
  • Vacuum. Last week, Sam vacuumed, so it's pretty dire this week.
  • Laundry
  • Clean bathrooms
  • Clean the kitchen
  • Sort my eBay stuff, and determine what to list on local FB site
  • Wash/clean the garage fridge
  • Book flights for my parents to come over spring break
  • Call my parents
  • Make the schedule for the week
  • Email our nanny the schedule
  • Help the boys with their menu for the week
  • Do yoga
  • Go for a walk
  • Make a couple of phone calls
  • Go to the produce stand
M is making dinner tonight, luckily! I'm also hoping to hear from the accountant. I've been waiting to hear about our 2017 taxes, and am on pins & needles. We had a ton of big changes last year, and while I think we appropriately saved for selling our rental house. .. only the accountant will really tell. This will allow me to finally finish off our savings number for 2018 & determine next steps. What about you? What are you up to today? Were you more productive than me yesterday?

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Menu plan & a relaxing Saturday

It's supposed to be a gorgeous day here today, and all signs are very promising. I'm planning to go for a run, and then mostly relax until it's time to go to Nick's futsal game. Regular season soccer is now back on, so we also have a game tomorrow morning.

Our menu plan is a bit different this week, as we're not doing our typical cook Friday/Saturday/Sunday & eat leftovers during the week. A meal out + a birthday means we need to get more creative. Luckily, our freezer is packed & needs to be eaten down anyway. As a result, we will only be cooking one dinner this week (chicken fiesta skillet) & the rest of the meals will be created from freezer things & leftovers. Should be easy!

Friday - birthday dinner, out (Greek food - yum!)
Saturday - baked chicken + empanadas (both from freezer)
Sunday - chicken fiesta skillet
Monday - leftover chicken tortellini
Tuesday - leftover chicken fiesta skillet
Wednesday - Pesto cheese tortellini + chicken
Thursday - leftovers, or soup/rolls
Friday - Sam's birthday party (pizza)

In other news, I've finally lost two pounds, and have been consistently working out. Now that I'm back & recovered from my jet lag, I also have a bit more energy. I will be (hopefully) having cupcakes today, but otherwise hope to keep the eating pretty in check.

Other big plans for today include checking out a few books from the library, & reading in the sunshine. Yay! Hope you have a relaxing Saturday!

Friday, February 9, 2018

Frugal Friday

It's a glorious Friday, as I'm using a comp day (weekend travel) to have an early birthday. :-) Looking forward to a nice weekend with the lovely men in my life.


  • Sent feedback to United about lack of entertainment/wifi (on a 10+ hour trip!) & got points credited
  • Submitted expense report to work in a timely manner, so I'll get repaid quickly
  • Bought Costco groceries using gift card
  • This is about the kids, but they went BMX racing on Sunday. They can either get a trophy (assuming they place) or, partial credit towards a future race. Both passed on the trophy & took the future credit. Woohoo!
  • Packed lunches for the kids, so they would avoid the snack shack while at the BMX park
  • Made lunch & dinner at home on Saturday/Sunday. 
  • Stuck to things around the house for the Superbowl, minus avocados (guac for our tacos) & my favorite spicy hummus. I knew I wouldn't get around to making it myself. 
  • Treated myself to a 90 minute massage at a fancy pants spa today. Used a gift card I received from work last Christmas & never used. At this spa, most people order food to be delivered after, while they hang out by the pool, etc. I came home & had soup from the freezer. ;-)
That's it for me. We are going to enjoy the sunshine this afternoon, have an early birthday dinner (Nick has a futsal game tomorrow evening) & then relax. I'm hoping there's wine or champagne involved! Hope you are all having a fabulous & frugal Friday.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Weekly spending recap (1/22-2/4)

It's a two week summary, as I didn't get to this while I was traveling last week.

Monday (1/22) -  No spend day

Tuesday (1/23) - The boys went BMX racing with friends. Total cost was $80 ($60 of that was for a yearly membership for Sam). $20 is the standard entry for two.

Wednesday (1/24) - Tip for a massage for a back issue I'm having - $10, and $15 towards my disabled aunt's health care.

Thursday (1/25) 

  • $143 to the DMV for a car tag renewal
  • $262.50 for our nanny (two weeks)


Friday (1/26) - $16 for a tshirt for school (this is a fundraiser)

Saturday (1/27)

  • $1 to mail a certified letter
  • $94.06 - soil, seed & aerator
  • $120 - charger for the chainsaw
  • $8.06 - produce stand

Sunday (1/28) - No spend day

Monday (1/29) - No spend day

Tuesday (1/30) - No spend day

Wednesday (1/31) - No spend day

Thursday (2/1) - No spend day

Friday (2/2) - $32.97 - In & Out for the four of us + 3 of the power workers who were at the house. We had no power, and I was jetlagged. That's my excuse. ;-)

Saturday (2/3)

  • $13.76 - uber to the repair shop to check on our car. Sigh.
  • $300 - Home Depot gift cards. These generated a $45 Starbucks gift card, and we will be using them shortly for more house stuff
  • $7.17 - Lucky for cream cheese & a few other things
  • $4.62 - Bananas & spicy hummus at Trader Joes


Sunday (2/4)

  • $20 for BMX racing for the kids


Total spend for the two weeks is $1087.14. Given that $300 will be used for home repairs, after minusing that out, it's a pretty standard amount. Note that you don't see any Costco bills. We're using our gift card for groceries. I also made $285.03. All of the money I make in my sidehustle goes towards our unfunded 2018 goals (kids college accounts + our vacation house mortgage). 

What about you? Do you track your weekly spending? How have you been doing keeping your expenses in check? 

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

February goals

February is nice & short, which can be seen as a good thing, or a bad thing, depending on your perspective. I will also be indulging at least one day this month, with cupcakes & cookies in honor of turning another year old. :-)

Here's what we'd like to accomplish in February!

Financial:

  • Spend $200 or less on groceries (have a gift card for the rest)
  • Keep dining out to $150 (that's with two birthdays)
  • Pay for plans on house remodel, so we can get a finalized budget & timeline, and make prioritizations
  • Come up with one way to reduce what we need/spend on an ongoing basis
  • Assuming one car is back from the shop, sell our sedan (carryover from Jan, as car isn't back from shop)
  • If we sell the sedan, call around for new car insurance. (ditto above)
  • Earn another $200 in sidehustle money. Split this between college money for the kids, & an extra payment on our vacation house mortgage.
  • Get our taxes sorted! Yikes, so scared to tackle this.

Family:

  • Have one family evening together: cooking dinner, board games, etc
  • Have a date night with my husband
  • Continue financial help (knowledge, not money) with sister & friend
  • Determine timing & budget for adults only vacation
  • Take the kids skiing one time

Fitness/health:
  • Complete another full round of 21 Day Fix
  • Eat 5.5 servings a day of fruit & veggies
  • Lose 3 pounds
  • Run at least 6 times
Work:
  • Work from home 3 days
  • Take two classes that I need for a work opportunity

Personal/creative:

  • Make one new recipe
  • Spend time with a friend
  • Volunteer at least 1x
  • Write for at least 4 hours on personal stuff
  • Summarize my findings from completing my Dream Bio, and plan to turn at least one of those findings into action.

What about you? What are you hoping to accomplish this month?

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

January Goals Progress

January is long gone, and now we're focused on our February goals. Here's how we did with our January Goals!

Financial:

  • Finalize all 2018 budget trackers - done
  • Stick to 2018 budget - in progress
  • Model out savings plan for the year - done, but we are still working on the remodel plan for the house, which will have quite an impact on our savings
  • Come up with one way to reduce what we need/spend on an ongoing basis - yes! I found a handkerchief my grandmother made me, and used that throughout an illness. I've also located additional handkerchiefs that my grandmother made, and will be picking those up in March. They have a nice sentimental touch when I see them, but also drastically reduces our need for Kleenex. 
  • Assuming one car is back from the shop, sell our sedan - still waiting for our car to come back
  • If we sell the sedan, call around for new car insurance. - see above


Family:

  • Have one family evening together: cooking dinner, board games, etc - yes, we had family movie night
  • Have a date night with M, and potentially a date lunch! - we actually did two date nights. One unplanned, & one planned. 
  • My extended family has asked for tips & tricks on travel hacking, so send a family newsletter with helpful details. - Yes, sent. And, already saved someone quite a bit. Love it!

Fitness/health:
  • Complete a full round of 21 Day Fix - Done!
  • Eat 5 servings a day of fruit & veggies - Yes! This is usually a huge struggle on work trips, but I snuck in with a 5.03 servings/day average.
  • Lose 3 pounds - I lost 2 lbs. Given my international work trip, I'm feeling happy I maintained my 2 lb loss!
  • Run at least 6 times - The bronchitis slowed me down, but I ran 4x. 
Work:
  • Work from home 3 days -worked from home 3x
  • Continue working through my checklist on setting an end date - we're working through our remodeling plan, which may impact my end date

Personal/creative:

  • Try a yogurt recipe - Yes! I tried a new yogurt recipe, roasted my first chicken, & tried a new chicken curry recipe. The yogurt was fabulous! So thick & creamy. I followed this recipe, but used 2% milk
  • Spend time with a friend - yes, went for a hike
  • Volunteer at least 1x - nope. My regular volunteer opportunity was replaced by technology (which, is a good thing, I suppose). I've added myself to two different volunteer databases through the kids schools, and have three volunteer opportunities upcoming. 
  • Book a spa/birthday treat, using my gift card - yes, it's all booked
  • Complete a Dream Bio (stolen from Frugalwoods) - Yes! I need to write a post summary some of the things that came out of this. 

All in all, I'm feeling good about how January went. It wasn't a perfect month, but I accomplished a lot, and turned that beginning of the year motivation into real progress. Now to keep it up in February! What about you? How did you do with your January goals? 

Monday, February 5, 2018

Menu Plan Monday

Given my lower energy this weekend, we are planning for a pretty basic menu plan. Here's what we're having:


  • Saturday - M made kebabs, rice & a yogurt sauce
  • Sunday - For the Super Bowl, we'll be having nachos, tacos & taquitos
  • Monday - Spaghetti & meatballs
  • Tuesday - Leftover kebabs & rice
  • Wednesday - Leftover Mexican food
  • Thursday - Chicken (freezer) & pesto tortellini
  • Friday - I think we're going out for my birthday

That's it for our menu - keeping it nice & simple this week. What about you? What are you serving this week?

Sunday, February 4, 2018

A tired Sunday

Normally I'm pretty on top of things, but today has been one of those days. Got up early enough to take the boys to 8:00 am soccer, and got there & realized practice was at a different location. The coach had sent email about this, but worded it in a way that I thought he was talking about a different team. Scrapped soccer, & came home.

The boys & I cleaned the house (oh, having preteens help with the cleaning is such an exercise in patience!) I know it's a great longer term investment, but . .. Sam was in charge of vacuuming the floor, and it's still not very clean. Anyway, house is "clean" & ready to start the week. I also removed everything from the fridge & scrubbed down every drawer & surface. It needed it.

I took Nick to a quick playdate, & then dealt with some eBay sales, packed stuff up for our afternoon outing, & made lunches to go. Picked Nick up again, & took both boys to the BMX bike race. A friend is giving them a ride home.

I knew I wanted to work out, so I got out my HIIT workout DVD, got all of my stuff out, turned on the warm up . . . and nothing. Just can't do it. I'm exhausted & have a headache. Getting started is the hardest part of a workout, so I blame jet lag. Plan to relax for the rest of the day & get to bed early.

We'll be having a Mexican themed "linner" to go with the Super Bowl. I'll try & eat mostly veggies with hummus, but we'll also have tacos, nachos & taquitos. Should be lovely.

I also want to get outside to soak in a bit more sun - to help out with the jet lag! What about you? What are you eating this Sunday?

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Shopping Saturday

I got back from Tokyo yesterday, & I am . . . very jet lagged! I missed 2 nights of sleep due to traveling, but slept for 12 hours yesterday. I'm still pretty groggy, but am trying to power through today.

I went to Costco & got groceries for the week. Here's what we got:

  • Milk - $4.59
  • Sandwich rolls - $6.49
  • Yogurt - $6.39 (I won't have time to make any before dinner tomorrow, but will reserve some of this for my next starter batch)
  • Bagels - $5.99
  • Apples - $6.49
  • Pineapple - $2.99
  • Pita chips - $4.99
  • Two cantaloupe - $3.59
  • Kiwi - $6.49
  • Cheddar - $4.99
  • Pears - $8.49 (I grabbed the wrong kind - these were more expensive :-((
  • Tomatoes - $6.49
  • Carrots - $4.99
  • Clementines - $6.49
  • Ground beef - $18.66
  • Bagel bites - $5.99
  • Panko chicken - $8.99
  • Cucumber - $4.99x2
  • Pants for Sam's birthday - $14.99
  • Lettuce - $3.79
  • Broccoli - $5.99
No tax on food, but paid $1.35 in tax on the pants. Total trip = $149.20. I like to be at $125 at Costco, so I can also get items at the produce stand. So, pretty much on target, as the pants come from the gift budget. I rarely get broccoli at Costco, as it goes bad before I can use it. I'm going to try roasting some this week, to make sure it doesn't go bad. 

For the rest of the day, I need to get outside! It's 72 out right now, and a gorgeous day. The sun also helps your body adjust to jet lag, I've heard. 

Here's my list for today:
  • Make a menu 
  • Make a Costco list
  • Costco
  • Produce stand
  • Trader Joes
  • Grocery store
  • Take Nick to his futsal game
  • Get some exercise 
  • Mail 3 ebay packages
  • Laundry
  • Pay bills 
  • Update our budget
That's pretty much it. Hope you are all enjoying your weekend! 

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Frugal Friday

Posting from Tokyo, as it's already Friday here. :-)

A few wins for the week, despite being out of town for most of it:


  • Picked up a free baguette from our local grocery store
  • Used a gift card to get 2 packages of pasta ($.88/lb) at the store while I was there
  • Used my Rite Aid points to pick up 3 large mailing envelopes for future eBay sales
  • Received a free $2 produce coupon at Costco, which is super unusual
  • Used my Costco cash card to buy our groceries for the week, as well as a pair of pants for Sam for his birthday. (His request) He rides his bike daily to school, and only has one pair of long pants. 
  • And, my big win. After repeated calling, finally got our insurance company to lower our car insurance by $265/year, due to our updated odometer readings. 

What about you? How did you do with your frugal plans for the week? Any big wins?