Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A belated menu plan

I'm trying to focus on the positives this week, & really enjoy the time with the family. Lots of tears & questions (both my own, unanswered questions) as well as now questions from the kids. It's very hard to move back into daily life with all of the constant reminders of the terrible tragedy.

As I mentioned yesterday, I do well with distractions & focusing on the day-to-day minutiae of our lives right now.

Here's our menu plan for the next ten days or so (M is out of town a lot, so meals will be easy again):

  • Monday - we had leftover chicken pesto pizza + cheese pizza for the kids & salad
  • Tuesday - Lentil soup + salad
  • Wednesday - Leftover soup + grilled chicken on a salad
  • Thursday - Soup + sandwiches
  • Friday - Three cheese chicken florentine bake (from the freezer)
  • Saturday - Chicken pesto paninis
  • Sunday - Leftovers - cleaning out the fridge before we head out of town
  • Monday - I'm bringing Maggiano's (Italian food) to my family's Christmas Eve party
  • Tuesday - Christmas dinner with the family
  • Wednesday - at the beach. I'm thinking Oven Baked Chicken Risotto
  • Thursday - at the beach. Crab cakes + salad
  • Friday - at the beach. Barbecued burgers + a veggie of some sort.
  • Saturday - at the beach. Basil shrimp with feta & orzo.
  • Sunday - Home from the beach, & possibly skiing. Chicken enchiladas (from the freezer)
  • Monday - New Year's Eve! I think we're going to do grilled steak, sauteed mushrooms, garlic mashed potatoes, & chocolate souffle.

In accordance with my plan in December to really dissect our 2013 budget & areas for cutback, I'm posting about one category per day. So far, I've covered mortgage interest (and a potential refi), our grocery budget., dining out, kids activities, gas, utilities at our vacation house, & utilities at our primary residence, & clothing.

Today's topic for discussion is . . . a juicy one - travel.

Oh my, the shame. Notice this one is buried ten deep in the list. ;-) And, honestly, I don't have *too* many regrets. We love spending time with our friends & family, & blew this number out of the water. I treat my friends to a trip every summer, & we treated my mom & sister to a trip for my mom's 60th birthday. Insert a few weekends away with me + M, and our family Hawaii trip, & you can quickly see where this is going. We spent $1400/month (averaged, of course) in 2012 on travel. *shivers*. Our goal for 2013 is. . . . (drumroll, please) - $0. That doesn't mean we won't do anything, but for goodness sake, we have a vacation house, & our priority should be spending our vacations together there. If we do any trips in 2013, the money will not be coming out of our standard budget. I have a few creative ideas on how to finance some upcoming events (my sister's 40th & a potential family trip to Hawaii), but none of that can come out of our monthly budget.

Now that I've confessed to our travel expenses, what was the number one category that you spent more than you expected on in 2012? And, how much do you spend on travel?


  1. It looks like some yummy meals are about to be had at your house!
    I think that you will find a few bucks for travel and I can't wait to see how you come up with it!

    1. You know me too well! ;-) I'm sure we will be creative & coming up with something.

  2. Wow, that's a steep cut from $1400/mo to $0. I normally spend about $1,000 a year on travel, including parking, flights and food. Realistically, all of my traveling costs (not including longer terms) would come to about $1200/yr, but still. The category I spent the most... I'm still not sure! Unexpected things that popped out and ate my EF twice this year (um... I guess that'd go under my 'parents' category).

    1. I know, but we had such a huge year this year, that I think it makes sense to have 1-2 years of serious cut backs, then move to a more balanced approach. ;-) That said, we'll likely still do somethng for my sister's 40th. We pay for all family trips (my parents, my sister, my BFF, etc), which adds up quickly.It's something we really enjoy doing, but it's time to cut back for a few years.

  3. Wowzers! As shocked at how little you spent on clothing I'm double shocked how much you spent on travel. I really need to start budgeting tracking to become more aware and accountable. If I'd have to guesstimate, this year we spent somewhere around $5,000.00 for travel. Which included a trip to Disney in February for the Princess 1/2 marathon (super fun, you should do one with your girlfriends), a trip to Portland/Seattle/Inside Alaska Cruise (we got an inside cabin, ugh, my frugal hubby's idea) and just last week a nice East Coast trip to Baltimore/Washington DC (this was great because my hubs ticket was from work (mostly a work trip for him) and 1/2 our hotel time was paid by work too. DC Smithsonian Museums were FREE! Lots of time walking around and delish seafood. I'm not including dinners in travel cost guesstimate, because we'd have to eat anyway, though during traveling we usually splurge on a few meals. I think you should use your vacation house more. Great idea. Bonus money could be used for trips too :)

    1. Yep, we devoted almost my entire bonus last year to traveling, and paid for trips for others as well. Lots of great memories, but time to reign things in for 2013

      Your trips sound awesome! I've been wanting to do a Disney run & will definitely put it back on the list when we have a travel budget again!

      We're trying to use the bonus money this year & next year to pay off a substantial chunk of mortgage debt ($50K or so). Once we achieve those goals, we'll be bumping our travel budget back up again.

    2. We love to travel too! The memories are totally worth the cash. I was initially drawn to your blog because of the Hawaii title. We went to Kauai for our Honeymoon. My In-Laws go to Kauai every other year, and we are joining them in 2014 for at least 10 days. My mother in law will be there for 6 weeks or so, nice! I would love to retire to Hawaii, but most likely we'll end up snowbirding in an RV :)

    3. Yep, the plan is to retire to Hawaii! We're on the fence between Maui or Kauai. We love both islands, but will likely choose Kauai for retirement.

      We'll probably split time between the Oregon coast & Hawaii. Where are you located right now? Are you in the northwest?

    4. We live in Michigan. We'll probably stay here as I work in my family business.

  4. I spend $0 a year on travel. I can't remember the last trip I went on other than an annual conference I go to most years. I don't have any plans for travel in 2013, but it's something I would like to start to save for.

    My lack of travel spending is more than made up for by my biggest spending category, which is ugh. of course tuition.

    1. I've been in that place before, when I was paying for college, & then grad school. It was so hard! We did lots of camping. :-)

  5. Wow that's a lot to spend, but I can totally understand - travel spending is the one area of our budget we have trouble controlling!!

    We spent about £6k on travel this year and will probably do the same again in 2013. But only if it looks like we've going to achieve our mortgage repayment target.

    Good luck with your $0 goal!

    1. Oh yes, we clearly have trouble controlling our travel spending. ;-) Once we make more substantial progress on our mortgage repayment goals, we'll be increasing the travel budget once again! It's a priority for us.