Friday, June 15, 2018

Frugal Friday

I started off the week with a mild case of the flu, but I'm back in action & ready to go. Which, is great news, considering we're flying to Portland this weekend!

Here's what we accomplished this week, in the world of frugality

  • Made all meals at home. Wasn't feeling well on Sunday, but rallied enough to throw a few things in the crockpot. The boys ate while I slept. 
  • Saved $56 on two flights by using Alaska's price matching
  • Made two extra (small) payments on our vacation house mortgage. In 2018, I started tracking "unexpected/unplanned for" money. This includes things like rebates, gifts, side hustles, etc. All of that money goes straight towards one of our unfunded 2018 goals - primarily extra pay down on our vacation mortgage, and the boys college accounts. It's really motivating to see the money roll in. So far, I'm around $6000 in "found" money for the year! 
  • I will pack dinner for myself for the airport today. The kids always like getting a slice of pizza for the flight, so they'll eat pizza. 
That's it for us. It was a pretty typical week. What about you? Any big (or small) frugal wins? 

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Let's get things done today

I'm so happy to have a weekend in between my business trip & our personal trip to Portland next weekend. School is out, and camp begins next week. The boys will do one week of camp, and then be gone for three weeks. They are very excited to see my parents. :-)

We have no soccer this weekend! Hurrah! We have plenty to do, and because we have no soccer commitments, I agreed that Sam could have a couple of friends over today. Originally the plan was to have them swim, but the weather doesn't look like it will cooperate. I'm sure they will find other things to do instead.

Here's what we plan to accomplish today:

  1. Menu plan
  2. Make a grocery list
  3. Costco
  4. Produce stand/Trader Joes (same complex)
  5. Clean the bathrooms
  6. Vacuum
  7. Mop
  8. Clean the kitchen
  9. Go for a run
  10. Bike ride with the kids (training for our event next weekend)
  11. List another couple of items on our neighborhood swap
  12. Work on our packing list for next week+

And, with that, I think I'll just check off #1. 

  • Friday - we went out to celebrate the last day of school. We had Greek food. Yum!
  • Saturday - M is making kebabs & rice
  • Sunday - I'm trying a new recipe - General Tso's chicken in the slow cooker. Will report back
  • Monday - leftover kebabs & rice
  • Tuesday - leftover General Tso's chicken & rice
  • Wednesday - finish up any remaining leftovers
  • Thursday - assuming we still have rice, I have chicken curry in the freezer that I'll defrost & serve with the remaining rice
  • Friday - we'll be eating at the airport before our flight
What about you? What are you hoping to do today?

Friday, June 8, 2018

Frugal Friday

And, the end is school is here! This week was complete with lots of crazy, but we still had a few frugal wins.

  • Dried bulky items outside in the beautiful sunshine. One of our post school & soccer tasks is to empty & wash all bags, and put them away for the following school year/soccer season.
  • Used a freebie hotel offer for a getaway weekend when the boys are at summer camp. So excited to have a weekend away with M!
  • Booked the flights for above weekend by first going through ebates to & buying Southwest gift cards. All told, I saved about $18 off a $450 purchase. So, maybe one drink in Las Vegas? ;-) 
  • Despite the crazy schedule, made dinner & leftovers into new dinners.
  • Submitted my Tokyo expenses promptly, so I can get paid for my out of pocket costs. 
  • Found $10 in a pair of jeans I was getting ready to donate to the Goodwill.
  • And, my biggest win of the week. Yesterday I went to the local grocery store to get a gift card for a birthday party Nick is attending. I noticed that Home Depot gift cards came with a Starbucks bonus card. So, I bought a $300 Home Depot gift card & earned a $90 Starbucks gift card. What a deal! So excited. 
That's it from our end. What about you? Have you had any frugal wins this week?

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

June goals

June is going to be a different month, schedule wise. I'm dropping the boys off in Portland (and, attending my best friend's daughter's graduation) & then flying back for a work training. Once that wraps up, I'll be on vacation for two weeks! It's the longest I've ever taken off from work since I started this job, & I'm thrilled. I've managed to squeeze in: a girls trip, taking the boys/my nephews to an indoor water park to celebrate various milestones, a trip to the beach with my mom + the boys, time at the beach with my crew, and finally everyone will descend upon the beach for the 4th of July. Super excited, although it will be admittedly crazy.

I'm going to put together a menu plan for June that reduces food costs, given we'll be in & out quite a bit.


  • Keep dining out to $150 
  • Create detailed June food plan, given crazy schedule. 
  • Come up with one way to reduce what we need/spend on an ongoing basis
  • Earn another $100 in sidehustle money. Split this between college money for the kids, & an extra payment on our vacation house mortgage.

  • 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
  • Plan road trip for after the 4th of July. 
  • Decide on long weekend with M in July

  • Complete another full round of 21 Day Fix
  • Eat 5.5 servings a day of fruit & veggies
  • Lose 3 pounds
  • Run at least 8 times
  • Go on 4 bike rides (I'm doing a family biking event in June) 
  • Work from home 3 days
  • Prep & attend work training trip


  • Make one new recipe
  • Spend time with a friend
  • Volunteer at least 1x
  • Finish voting research & mail my ballot!

I'm excited for June, and all of the various activities. What about you? What are you hoping to accomplish in June?

Monday, June 4, 2018

May goals recap

Let's look back & see how I did on my May goals. Hint: not as well as I would have liked, with two weeks of the month spent on international business trips, and then feeling a lot of jet lag between the trips. I'm hoping June will be much stronger, although I'll be away from home for nearly 3 weeks. But, for vacation + work training, so still a derailment of my normal schedule. Here's how things went in May.

Onward to all of my goals for June!


  • Keep dining out to $150  - This was a major fail, as we spent just under $450. $75 of that was to refill a Starbucks card (earned a reward) for our road trip in July. But, the rest was a crazy expensive date night + M taking the boys out a couple while I was traveling. We need to keep this way in check in June. 
  • Come up with one way to reduce what we need/spend on an ongoing basis - We are planning to cancel our Amazon prime membership, and I called to reduce our car insurance & home insurance by making a few small tweaks. 
  • Earn another $100 in sidehustle money. Split this between college money for the kids, & an extra payment on our vacation house mortgage. - I made $26 in May. I have two things to sell, but because of my travel schedule, didn't have time to get them listed on eBay. (Was afraid they would sell & I'd need to mail them while I was traveling. 

  • Have one family evening together: cooking dinner, board games, etc  - We had a family evening making dinner & watching a movie. 
  • Have a date night with my husband - Yes, we had a great time. It was too expensive, but we enjoyed ourselves. Will look for cheaper alternatives next time. 
  • Continue financial help (knowledge, not money) with sister & friend - I accomplished nothing on this one. 
  • Finalize June trips for myself & M. This was previously complete, but a change of plans means I'm back to evaluating our options & rebooking.  - Done. 
  • Decide on Thanksgiving plans (if any). - Done. 

  • Complete another full round of 21 Day Fix - I finished 17/21 days. I'm actually okay with this, as I didn't have my DVDs/equipment when I was traveling, & did several doubled up days to hit this number. 
  • Eat 5.5 servings a day of fruit & veggies - No, I was at 3.87. Traveling really hurts this one for me. 
  • Lose 3 pounds - I lost 1/2 of one pound. 
  • Run at least 8 times - I ran 2x. 
  • Go on 4 bike rides (I'm doing a family biking event in June)  - I went on 1 bike ride. 
  • Work from home 3 days - Yes. 
  • Take two classes that I need for a work opportunity - Have decided to pass on the opportunity right now, as ironically, it requires me to give up my work from home day, and I'm unwilling to do that at the moment. 


  • Make one new recipe - nope. Not a lot of cooking time in May. 
  • Spend time with a friend - had lunch with a friend. 
  • Volunteer at least 1x - no, but have it on the schedule for this week!
  • Read a goal book ("Wishcraft".) Hoping to get some clarity on what I want to do when I'm done working at this job. - Nope. 

What about you? How did you do with your goals for May? Any big wins? 

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Struggling through jet lag

I went to sleep early last night (8 pm), but was up from 11-2. I finally fell back asleep for a few hours, but it was a very unrestful night. Here's hoping I get back on track quickly this week.

I spent most of yesterday outside (final soccer game, end of the season soccer party, & then hanging out by the pool with my boys). Sunshine is supposed to help with the jet lag, so fingers crossed on that front.

I managed to do most of the errands yesterday, so now I'm left with chores for today. So much to do, as usual. Particularly because I missed all of last weekend. Here's what I need to accomplish today:

  1. Get Nick ready for pick up at 10 am. He's going to a water park with a friend, & I need to help him get everything packed & ready to go.
  2. Brown the rest of the ground beef I defrosted yesterday, and make it into taco meat.
  3. Help Sam with his final phase of homework/print outs for school.
  4. Laundry
  5. Wash all of the sheets/make the beds
  6. Clean the bathrooms
  7. Clean the kitchen
  8. Vacuum the house
  9. Clean the shower, which I'll call out as a separate project, as it's a bit of a disaster. Our bathroom has no fan (?!), so the air doesn't circulate & it can get icky quickly.
  10. Update my work schedule for the week, because it's the last week of school & I have a bunch of schedule changes
  11. Coordinate schedule with our nanny
  12. Get a workout schedule together for the week
  13. Have the boys call my parents
  14. Work out. Preferably 2x, but that may be wishful thinking.
  15. Make guacamole
  16. Prep dinner for tonight.
Fingers crossed that I can get it together & get everything done today! What about you? What's on your agenda for the day?

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Menu planning & other chores

I'm back from my trip to Tokyo, and very jet lagged! Between the trip there, and the trip home, I typically miss about 12-16 hours of sleep on the trip. The missing sleep combined with difficulty falling back to sleep on a normal schedule makes it really challenging to get back into the groove. However, I do find that getting some fresh air & a little sunshine can help a bit. I sat outside by the pool yesterday and read my book for a few minutes. Not sure I understood much of what was on the page, but it was nice to be out.

As for today, we have the boys last soccer game (hurrah!) followed by the end of the season party. Tomorrow Nick is going to an amusement park with a friend, and I need to scrub the house from top to bottom. Doesn't that sound fun? ;-) I clean the house on weekends, and we missed last weekend, so you can imagine how great it looks.

I did inventory the fridge & freezer this morning, so I could make our shopping list & menu. Here's the plan for the week:

Friday - I heated up leftover pizza I found in the fridge. It was super gourmet dining . ;-)
Saturday - ground beef tacos w/guacamole. I'll prep a bunch of meat & freeze the leftovers
Sunday - one pan chicken fajita rice w/guacamole. One of our favorites.
Monday - leftover tacos & guacamole
Tuesday - spaghetti & meatballs
Wednesday - leftover chicken fajita rice
Thursday - eat any remaining leftovers, or I'll make chicken patty burgers
Friday - oven baked chicken risotto

That's the plan for the week ahead! What about for you? What's cooking this week? Any good recipes to share?