Sunday, March 13, 2016

Busy with planning, a few frugal wins, and a menu plan

First up, the weather here has been very, very rainy. Quite a change from all of that sunshine we've been used to, and a good reminder that moving back to the northwest would be a big adjustment for all of us. :-)

I went to two soccer scrimmages yesterday, went for a run (I'm up to about 80% running vs walking), read a book, made risotto for dinner, and took Nick to Target to buy a birthday gift for a friend. It was a pretty mellow day. I'm pleased with my running progress, but I need to keep it up! I want to be able to run 3 miles consistently in the next four weeks. Once you can run 3 miles, it's easy to build your base & starting adding distance. Getting to the three miles is always my hardest part.

We also planned our Hawaii vacation that we've been talking about since last year. ;-) I just discovered that Alaska Airlines (best option for most of our flights) offers a credit if the price goes lower on any booked trips. I booked pretty much everything for the rest of the year, and will keep an eye on prices to see if they go any lower.

We got our first estimate back on our taxes, and we owe about $32K to the IRS. I adjusted our withholdings last year, and we are getting a small refund back on our state taxes. My adjustments worked perfectly on the state taxes, but once again, our options continue to be a challenge for estimating/withholding at the right level. We paid $40K last year, so my extra withholdings did minimize the pain somewhat. I saved $40K, so at least I'll able to add a bit more to our travel fund. Which, is infinitely more enjoyable than paying the government. ;-)

Here are a few frugal wins from the past week or so:

  • Got a $50 off camp offer in the mail - the week after I'd booked the same camp. Emailed, and they applied the $50 discount.
  • Sold an ebay item. It took the buyer 10 days to pay for it (??), but it's paid for now for $19.31. I have to ship this.
  • I menu planned, even when I didn't feel like it last week.
  • I was able to use a companion fare to book one of the flights to Hawaii, and use 4 of my free first class upgrades.
  • I was able to use hotel points to pay for 5 of our 7 nights in Hawaii. 

As always, building a menu plan helps me stay on track & avoid going out to eat, so here goes!

Menu Plan:

Saturday - I made chicken risotto with freezer from the chicken, & the very last remnants of goat cheese from the holidays that was about to go into the garbage. Plus a red onion. It was delicious.
Sunday - kebabs & rice
Monday - leftover risotto
Tuesday - pasta & meatballs
Wednesday - late day, in the city. Leftover kebabs & rice
Thursday - late meeting, eat quickly/early. Tacos.
Friday - Nick's sleepover. Pizza

What else is on the agenda for today?

  1. Working out - cardio & strength of some sort
  2. Yoga
  3. Plan the week (including four separate soccer carpools), my work schedule, M's work schedule, and making sure I get in some workouts.
  4. Email our nanny with details for the week
  5. Pick up Sam from a sleepover
  6. Corral oldest child into writing a book report
  7. Wash all sheets/make beds
  8. Laundry
  9. Clean bathrooms
  10. Have the boys call my parents
  11. Find a new babysitter. (Not nanny - this is a sitter for evening activities). Ours is fine, but never available. M & I have had one date since October, and we'd like more. ;-) 
  12. Take Nick to a birthday party
  13. Work. I was at an offsite last week, so I have a few pending work things to get done.
  14. Figure out plans for Nick's birthday next week.

And, that's it! What about you? Happy Sunday!


  1. I'm always inspired when you write about planning date nights. I think it's so neat, and I always think to myself that I should do it, too.

    1. Apparently, I've only been planning them, because we had to cancel again & haven't actually had one. Soon!! I keep telling myself. It's needed. With the kids around, there's almost no chance of having a private conversation, or just discussing the future. They are pretty nosy at 9 & 10. ;-)