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Posts tagged ‘Christmas’

Preparing for Birthdays and Christmas

For us….our busy season is November-March.  It is loaded with holidays and a boatload of birthdays.  It seems like this time of year just sneaks up on me every single year.  We have 2 birthdays in November, then Thanksgiving, then Christmas…small break and then we have 4 birthdays, every 2 weeks from February to the first part of March.  We were thinking clearly with having all these kiddoes in the same season LOL.  We cannot forget, of course, house taxes that are due between November 1 and December 31.  Good times all the way around, money wise.

This year….I’m taking back what was stolen from me, by the enemy, and I’m regaining control in so many areas of my life.  This is one area that I needed to reclaim.  Since we started our ZERO BASED BUDGET, we actually accounted for that.  We sat down and we thought about how much we want to spend on each of the children for birthdays and Christmas.  This was harder for me then it was for Big Daddy.  I overspend.  We really do not spend much on our kids throughout the year.  We buy our clothes on clearance or at consignment shops.  I buy the necessities, but if you want more, you have to get a job to pay for it.  We just are not made of money but I want to get them what they want for these times…..I mean my kids ask for things like boxes, bookcases, area rugs, a new lamp, chairs, a blender….they do not ask for things they see on tv because we do not have tv.

As we were deciphering what to do….I put in my 2 cents worth.  We *always* buy books for birthdays and Christmas’.  So, I wanted to do books, a game, clothes, and then something they wanted.  This seemed reasonable and I’m pretty good at sticking to it.  We decided that $60 was our limit for birthdays (they make HUGE lists and I buy some and then I have grandparents buy some), and we do $140 for Christmas (it was supposed to be $100….but….well….ya know….they need socks, underwear and things like that too.)

We take out $420 for birthdays for the year and $980 for Christmas for the kids and then a little bit more for our parents/siblings and such…we take this out of our tax return.  We put it in an envelope and as I spend it, I just replace it from our cash to the bank.  I know my limit.  I know how much I have spent.  I can catch things on sale or clearance and we are not desperate or broke by the end of the year (we also take our house taxes out of our tax return).

This is working well.  It keeps me disciplined and the kids know their limits and they are good not to overdo it with their list (with the exception of Grayce and her’s is 2 pages long…I kid you not).

When budgeting….think ahead.  Do not just put down your normal bills.  Think of your yearly bills too (house taxes, car taxes, fire protection, bug man, Christmas, birthday, vacations, etc.)  Keep your list handy and when you think of a new bill or out going money, jot it down so you can keep a good run of it and by the end of the year, you will have a solid look at where your money goes.

Good luck 🙂


Operation “Get Life Together:” Mini Financial Update

When we began our journey to financial freedom….well….it is kind of like a diet, we never stick to it and instead of losing a lot of weight, we triple our weight.

Tis the life.

I believe, though we have broken that bitter cycle because we are seeing MASSIVE improvement in our finances.

Are we still living paycheck to paycheck?  Yes.

Are we still doing a zero based budget?  Yes.

Do we flub up and eat out because we spend most of 2 weeks in a nursing home, funeral home, ER, and hospital?  That’d be a big ol yes.


I sat down today (it is payday) and I got out all our envelopes and my notepad ready stuff those biweekly envelopes and see how much money we have left to pay on our van.

Our van has a payoff of 3 yrs.  It was a 5 yr loan.  We have been paying on it for 2 yrs.  The minimum….cause that’s what you do when you buy a lot of nonsense and do not know where your money is going.

We started our ZERO BASED BUDGET back in September 2017.   As it stood, then, we had:

Van payoff 2020. 

A student loan payoff of 2027. 

An equity payoff of 2022. 

And a house payoff of 2037 (I think it was 20 yrs…might have been 15….or was it 30….you get the idea though).

Right now, on October 13, 2017…due to LOTS of sacrifices, selling an exercise bike, Big Daddy working overtime and taking control of our money again…this is where our payoffs stand.

Brace yourself.

Van payoff will be DECEMBER 2017 

Student loan payoff will be DECEMBER 2018

Equity payoff will be DECEMBER 2019

House payoff will be DECEMBER 2022

Can you even?


I mean COMPLETELY debt free by 2022. Now, of course, this does not account for any surprises, but most of the surprises, we have take out money for in our zero based budget plan.  We call it a “sinking fund.”  Anything that we perceive to be needed or could happen, in the future, we are saving for…plus we have a little emergency fund that we can rely on.

Even if we have to delay being debt free for a couple of years….we are still WAY ahead of the year 2037….that is a 20 yr difference.  That is saving interest and not paying a boatload more in interest rates.

God is good…..even through my last hellish 3 yrs….He is good.  We are trying to be obedient and, yes, we are making sacrifices because we are not choosing to serve two masters anymore.


Operation Get My Life Together: The Debt Snowball

I mentioned in yesterday’s post about my envelopes and my cash flow system to help us get out of debt.  I want to stipulate that, as of now, I DO NOT add my house into this snowball debt.  Let’s be real, folks….its kind of like me being fat…the fat did not accumulate in a day and it will not be gone in a day.  I want to set attainable goals to keep me motivated and that is what I’m going to do.  Will we, eventually (prayerfully) get out house paid off quicker…yes…but my main goal is to get this other debt gone and be on a cash only plan for purchases in the future.

I stumbled on this wonderful website for DEBT SNOWBALL – ing.  This is good for those visual people, like my husband! There is also another cool site on Debt Reduction that is really good, as well.  Both of these sites are free and easy to use.

The debt snowball is listing all your debt from SMALLEST to LARGEST. Again, I’m excluding my house for now.

For us, that would be:

  • van
  • student loan
  • equity

We owe the lowest amount on our van (I’m not even looking at interest rates).  My monthly payment on my van is $240, but only $220 goes towards the principle. The rest goes towards interest.

For the MONTH OF SEPTEMBER only, this is what we have to throw down on this debt.

Mthly pymt:  240

Kids bills:  110

2 Travel checks:  282

OT: 300

Extra check:  125

Leftover from August envelopes:   453

Zero out extra:  645

This is a total of $240 regular payment + $1615 that is added directly to the principle.

If we were to continue ONLY paying the $240 a month, we would have 3 years before this is paid off.  With doing a ZERO BASED BUDGET, we will have this debt PAID OFF by December of 2017. Anything extra that comes in..we put in our debt envelope.  We just continue building it up to pay this off.

Now, starting in January 2018, we will ROLL that $240 van payment that we no longer, technically have, and we will add it to our next debt…my student loan.  Let’s look at the projected monthly amount we can throw at that bill in January.

Mthly payment:  183

Kids bills: 150 (yes it went up only because we were not having our daughter pay anything for a month because of her financial issues)

Extra check:  125

Zero out extra:  645 (this should always remain the same)

Old Van payment  240

I cannot calculate his OT or his travel check because these may not come through this month.  With ONLY those few things….we can pay the $183 regular payment and then add on an EXTRA $1,160 to our principle.  If I just pay the minimum amount, I will pay this bill of January 1, 2031.  By adding on this EXTRA, I can have it paid off by by the end of next year….maybe sooner if I added in that OT, travel and anything extra we might get.

After this is paid off, we have our equity loan.  We have our regular payment of $115, but then we add the kids bills, extra check, zero out extra, old van payment, and old student loan payment.  We will pay $1458 per month.

Then we move onto the house…..

Seriously…………..this is doable.  I’m excited.  Big Daddy is excited.  We have been painfully disciplined and we do not spend if our envelopes are empty.  We have not used our debit card and we do not own a credit card.

Please if you have any questions, let me know.  I’m happy to answer them.

Operation Get Life Together: Zero Based Budget Explained

The first thing Big Daddy and I did was to sit down and make a list.  In truth, I sat down and made a list, he sat down and watched LOL

We listed out all of our incoming monies.  His paychecks. Our fear was that we were upside down….more month than money.  We added that all together and then we moved on to the scary part.  ALL his travel checks, OT (if he has it), kids monthly bill payment to us goes directly to our debt.  He has a travel check monthly.  He has taken some overtime to help us out and we are trying to sell some unnecessary things….equipment, clothes, etc.  All this goes towards debt.  It is an EXTRA payment that goes towards the principle.

We listed out all our bills.  We wrote down every single thing we could think of…nothing was off limits.  Even if it was small (like our fire insurance that comes once a year and is only $60).  This is listed below.

Next to each thing we put a total of what we budgeted out for the month.  I’ll spare you from that.  After we did that, we marked next to each one “D” for debt owed, “W” for want and “N” for need.  Distinguishing between your wants and needs is huge.  We went through the “wants” cause, obviously the needs and the debts have to be dealt with.  We ended up eliminating from our list, Time 4 Learning, vacation, sports, and hair.  It was painful….mainly for me.

Then, we decided what we would create envelopes for.  I actually ended up buying some clear makeup pouches and writing on the front of them what they were for and how much we were to keep out every 2 weeks, since that is when Big Daddy gets paid.  We made the following envelopes:  Clothes (40), gas (300), misc (250), entertainment (100), groceries (500), medical (50), sinking (50)..  I take these amounts out monthly.  At the end of the month, whatever is left in the envelopes (with exception to clothes, medical and sinking funds because I want these to accrue), I remove and put in my DEBT envelope.  This is what I’m going to ADD to my first debt payment…extra.

This is the list of what we take out with out tax money every year.  I just keep it in the envelope until we need it.  Birthdays (420), Christmas (1100), house taxes (1800 , veh. taxes (225), fire (60), house maintenance (50), car maintenance (50), cow/pig (800).

I add up all our bills, including what I take out for the envelopes, and I subtract that from our incoming.  To my pleasant surprise (shock really) was that we had money leftover at the end of the money.  This is money we didn’t realize we had because we hadn’t given our incoming money a name or a place so we just spend what we want to spend…when we want to spend it.  How stupid is that? So, once ALL our money is “assigned”, we have $645 leftover at the end.  ALL this money goes towards our debt!

So, for this month (September), we are able to add an EXTRA $1615 towards our DEBT (this will be explained in a follow up post).  How cool is that?

To help with your list….here is ours:

  • Clothes – W
  • Life Insurance -N
  • House -D
  • Cell -N
  • Gas/water -N
  • Time 4 Learning -W
  • Van -D
  • Snap Fitness -W
  • Equity  -D
  • Insurance (vehicles and house) -N
  • Mediacom -N
  • Groceries -N
  • Gas -N
  • Misc. (anything that is not food) – N
  • Entertainment -W
  • Electric -N
  • Student Loan -D
  • Covenant Eyes -W
  • House taxes -N
  • Veh. taxes -N
  • Cow/pig -N
  • Christmas -W
  • Vacation -W
  • House Maintenance -N
  • Car Maintenance -N
  • Animal Feed -N
  • Sports -W
  • Braces -D (paid off)
  • Dental -N
  • Eyes -N
  • Doctor -N
  • Meds -N
  • Bdays -W
  • Tithe -N
  • Fire -N
  • Sinking Fund -W & N:  This is a list of things we know we will need or want (new windows, light fixtures, lawnmower, expand chicken coop, garden, homeschool, AC unit, bathroom redo)
  • Hair -W

If you need further explanation or you have questions, please let me know.  I’ll be doing some follow up posts on our snowball debt reduction.  But first, I must pee and drink a coke.


Operation “Get My Life Together”: Zero Based Budget

The other night, Big Daddy and I sat down and had a chat.  I told him how I was feeling and that I was tired of serving two masters….God and money.  I felt like we were drowning in debt and I am tired of it.  I’m tired of worrying and feeling like I’m being controlled by it.  I have no freedom when I am in debt.

We CHOOSE to be done.

When I researched a zero based budget….I thought that the concept was insane.  After further looking into it, I began to see the positives of it and it forced me to take a long hard look at our money and where it goes.  Then, I left fear seep in….the fear of embarrassment, of feeling like I’m upside down in our finances (have more debt/bills then paycheck), and then it felt like an elephant sat squarely on my chest and I kept hearing “there is no hope…you are trapped…just keep on keepin’ on…you are not hurting anyone.”

The great thing is that I CAPTURED that thought and I REMEMBERED Truth!  When I have Jesus….and I do….there is ALWAYS hope.  Did He “ordain” my stupidity?  I don’t think so.  Did He “allow” my stupidity?  Yep and now we are reaping what we have sown. Natural consequences to our stupidity.

Its a NEW day.  Its a NEW dawn.  Its time to let HIM take control over my finances.  I know that it is time because Big Daddy is on board!  Stay tuned to our journey of becoming debt free!

Operation “Get My Life Together”: Capsule Wardrobe

In my night time Youtube obsession, I came across something that I used to do and now it has a fancy name LOL.  It is called a Capsule Wardrobe.  I do this more, for the kids, then I do for me because my closet is quite large and can accommodate all my clothes.  My kids, I keep things for the season in their rooms and what is off season, I put in sterilite containers and I store it on the left side of my attic.  Every 3 mths or so, I would go through their socks, the socks with no mates and their underwear.  Anything with holes got thrown away….socks found their mates, especially if I had to throw 1 sock away because of a hole….there were “lost” extras in the sock basket.  This kept me  on top of replacing what needed to replace and find what I needed to find.

I found that my stuff was getting out of control!  I do not like buying clothes.  I’d rather have a rusty nail in my eye then go to a store to try on clothes.  I do like zulily, at times, but I find that their clothes are too thin, don’t fit right, and they take FOREVER to get to me.  Typically I will find a style shirt I like and then buy one in a couple of colors for variety LOL.  It is really sad.  I do not, however, have a shoe problem.  Flip flops all the way with a pair of boots, tennis shoes, and some nice sandals.  Now, my purses…that is another issue.  I have a problem.  I love purses.  All of them.  All the time.  Oohh…rabbit trail and sort of makes me want to go to the Coach website to see what is on sale, but I will refrain because we are still on track for getting out of debt.

To start my capsule wardrobe, I first, went through to pull out all the items that were too small and that I could not pass down to my girls.  That was pretty easy.  Then I went through and chose ones that I just really didn’t like. I bagged up those clothes.  Out of sight = out of mind.   The next step I took was to turn all my hangers around backwards.  For 6 mths, I pulled out of my closet to wear clothes, as normal.  After that 6 mths, the hangers that were still backwards were ones that I had not worn in that time frame.  I assessed those things and for the most part, I got rid of most of them.  All my too small, too big, too ugly, didn’t wear clothes went to a consignment shop.  From there, they were resold and I received a percentage of the sales.  What did not sell, was given to a local shelter or needline to help those less fortunate.  It is a win win situation.

Now with what is left.  This is where the CAPSULE WARDROBE begins.  I separate out the spring/summer from the fall/winter clothes.  Right now, we are approaching fall.  The off season can be stored in my attic.  From this point I start figuring out how many pieces I want in my capsule wardrobe.  The normal amount is about 30 pieces (I do not count bras/socks/underwear/shoes and some people do count those in their core pieces).

I have a goal and it is pretty simple.  Get up…get dressed….where my own clothes instead of Big Daddy’s clothes.  They are easier and more comfy but I look like a sloth.  I find that I do not fix my hair or do anything with my face….not even lotion if I wear his clothes.  This affects my depression in a big way.  I have gained so much weight that I did not even realize because I wear his clothes and they are huge on me.  It is time to take a step in the right direction.   Declutter.  Make some money.  Simplify my life.  Enjoy minimalism.  When my home is decluttered my mind is decluttered.

A capsule wardrobe are pieces of your wardrobe that can easily be interchangeable.  Like I can wear almost any of my shirts (tshirts or dress shirts) with my blue jeans.  Do I need 8 pair of jeans?  Nope.  I need 2 maybe 3.  When I switch out seasons, I can get out 3 more pair of blue jeans and put the old 3 pair back in the sterilite container (does that make sense).  I live in t-shirts but I do go to church, so I need some nicer stuff to wear there.  I have some cotton dresses that can be worn alone or in the winter, I can pair them with some cute leggings and boots.  1 dress…many outfits.  I also love jogging pants….do I need 10 pair?  Nope.  The more I have the more I will wear them.  My goal is to move out of wearing things with elastic and wear more fitted things that do not make me look like I am wearing a potato sack.  I need 2 pair and that is it.  Something comfy after a long day.

After I am done, I will create a new post that lists what I have chosen.  I am excited.  I have cleaned out and organized almost every nook and cranny of my house and this is the next step.  I am hoping Big Daddy lets me do his side, as well….we shall see.

Enough is Enough

Tonight, I had this overwhelming feeling of being suffocated by debt.  I hate that feeling. I hate the fact that I am a slave to money.  That is not how it is supposed to be.  When we moved into this house, about 10 years ago…we had no debt (other than our previous house).  We do not do the whole credit card thing (learned our lesson from that), we didn’t have new furniture…if we did, we paid cash for it.  Our cars were paid for, no student loans…nothing.

Now…..shazaam……we have a van payment, a student loan, an equity loan, another type of loan, a house loan, medical bills, bills from where things have broken and they have to be fixed.  It could be worse.  I know that, but I feel like, right now, this is worse because I know better.  I know what Jesus teaches us and instead of walking that narrow path that He chose for us….we saw the bright shiny-ness of the wider road and we took it.  Now, we are standing on the little strip of dirt between the wide road and the narrow road.  I equate it, in my mind, as those little pieces of dirt between the different lanes of the interstate.  Where it is posted no U turn.  That is where we are standing.  The wide road is so shiny and it is filled with new vehicles, coach bags, sports obligations, vacations, and movies.  The narrow road is not so shiny, but it is being protected, from the elements, by these beautiful weeping willow trees.  It is filled with discipline, being trusted with little, tithing, paying cash, not serving two masters.

I am over it.  I am ready to walk on that narrow road…not sure if Big Daddy is, but I also know he is tired of it too.  This is scary.  It is a hard road.  We’ve walked on that road.  We’ve made sacrifices.  We succeeded.  We can and we will, in the Name of Jesus, succeed again.  It is time to hand over this endeavor and because we are so weak…..we need to lean on Him because He is SO strong.  He is our Strong Tower.

Another issue that we have given lip service too is our health/weight.  We are fat.  We are fat people.  We are not fluffy.  We are not round around the edges.  We are not jolly.  We are fat.  Straight up.  Our health sucks.  We get winded walking up the steps to the bedroom.  Big Daddy can’t hardly walk because of pain.  We have purposed, for years, that the next year will be the year.  It is the magical year we get fit.  We give it a week…we only lose 4 lbs of pee weight and we are done.  We want a double quarter pounder super sized with a coke the size of my face and a side of a double decker death by chocolate cake.

I am over it.  Done.  Just done.  I do not want to give the illusion that we eat crap all the time.  Frankly, I do not buy sweets (now there are other people in my house that do, then eat it all in one sitting). I do drink coke.  I am going to try and cut that down to 1 a day.  We only drink water.  I cook with tons of veggies.  We do not eat much bread or pasta.  We are fruit eaters…..we do not do things badly BUT we are completely inactive and we do not blink if we want to eat out…we eat out. So, we are affecting our health and our finances by poor choices along those wide roads.

I will be documenting our journey of getting out of debt and getting this fat off of us.  You are welcome to follow along.  You can subscribe to my blog >>>>>>>>in this side bar>>>>.  You can also follow me on any social media platform (also on that side bar).  If you have suggestions, by all means, give them too me.  Suggestions on stay at home jobs, how to make some extra money on the side, healthy recipes, or exercises.  Anything.  I am open.

Here’s to having my belly full of ENOUGH.

Onward and upward.

New Year New Budget

Budgeting can be a dirty dirty word.  I mean dirty.  Who wants to think about money and the allocation of it.  Not me.  I just want to be able to go and do/buy what I want and the money magically be in my bank account.  This is, obviously, not realistic.

Big Daddy *finally* got paid today (praising God) and so our new plan began.  I downloaded this cool phone app “favado” and you can use it to select any stores that are in your area.  I chose Walmart (which I rarely shop at), Kroger (main place because of the gas discount), CVS, Rite Aid, and Walgreens (all three good places for couponing).  Each week, you can pull up that stores ad.  It will have all the “good deals” and if there is a coupon that can be used, it has a little paper clip to the side.  You click on that paper clip and it takes you to where that coupon can be found.  You click on each item that you are wanting/needing and you save it to your list.  Very easy.

I also downloaded the Kroger app because of the e-coupons that can be found there.  Now, you can’t double e-coupons, or any for that matter, now at our local kroger…sadness, but you can still rock out the deals and match those great savings with store or manufacturer coupons.  This week, they have several items that are 10 for $10.  I skimmed through the favado app to see what was on that list.  There were some canned foods that were on the list, but I can buy that stuff cheaper at our local Priceless IGA (formerly Save A Lot).  I got pasta, parmesan, pizzas, hashbrown, colgate, spaghetti sauce, and the list goes on and on.

My goal was to limit my grocery shopping (only food) to $500/mth for our family of 8.  This includes breakfast, lunch, suppers (I homeschool, so we are always here).  My first goal was to get out my little baskets and to ravage my pantry/fridge/freezer for complete dinners.  I was able to get 10 dinners pulled together.  By going through my pantry, it allowed me to buy the 10 for $10 items.  Now, I have a great stockpile of things I can easily throw together for a supper.

As for breakfast…this can be a HUGE money sucker.  I am in the habit of buying 4 boxes of fruit bars, 2 boxes granola bars, 4 large bags of cereal, milk, special milk (almond milk), yogurt, etc.  It was eating us alive.  Today, I bought enough stuff to make up a mess of pancakes (I had a coupon for syrup), muffins, granola, and oatmeal.  Another cost sucker is bread.  We eat a lot of bread.  I have bought flour to make up my own bread which will serve for toast or bread crumbs (if you want seasoned bread crumbs add a tsp. of oregano, italian seasoning, and basil…then shake shake shake).

Lunch is hard to skimp on.  We rarely have leftovers, but when we do, the kids eat that.  I had been buying canned soup, but that is pretty stupid when I can make homemade one day, freeze what is left for another day.  I was able to get bologna 10/10, so that is a good thing.  We do peanut butter (I am making my own) and jelly, sandwiches, hotdogs, lunch meat, fruits, veggies, etc.

Suppers, I feel like I have a good grasp on.  It totally excites me to see what all I can do with as little as possible.  I have growing kids…almost 4 teenagers and 2 elementary school kids….they eat and they eat alot.  I will be posting my dinner ideas along with some breakfast ideas and recipes.  I will also be posting proper ways to freeze different food items.

Since my husband gets paid twice a month, and today was that day, I have broken up my budget to include $500/mth for groceries; $50 misc (cleaners, pet food, bathroom stuff, etc); $100 gas; $50 entertainment (eating out, frivolous stuff that we don’t need, date nights, etc).

As I am a big Dave Ramsey fan (, I will institute some of his ways, but I will tweak it to fit my family’s life.

Goal #1:  Set up a budget … done

Goal #2:  Make sure Big Daddy is good with said budget

Goal #3:  Beat Big Daddy into submitting to using budget

Goal #4:  Drink a coke

Goal #5:  Get out of debt (with the exception of our house, we have one school loan that my sister has yet to cut me a check for…..)

Goal #6:  With whatever is left over, at the end of the two weeks we have choices.  We can take all the leftover money and put it as an addition to my student loan (snowball effect), we can start our emergency fund ($1000), we can add it to our 3-6 mths worth of bills fund, we can let it go over into the next pay cycle and not take out as much or just have extra.  It really depends on what bracket our money is leftover from (grocery, misc, gas, entertainment).  We will probably not have any gas or grocery money left.  We will probably take that amount and add it to my loan.  Entertainment….we leave alone because there won’t be much in that area.

Goal #7:  Watch ads for their coupon cycle and try to stock up when it is in my benefit to do so.

Goal #8:  Coupon again (more on that later)

Goal #9:  Do the envelope system without the envelopes.  I will be keeping a running log of the budget for each thing and how much we have used.  I won’t be keeping cash….I’ll just be disciplined (bahahahahaha).

There is certainly more, but I have to finish supper.  It’s burning.  Plus, I found some great shaved parmesan on sale and it is calling my name.

Breakdown of My meal plans

At the end of my 2 week food supply, I sit down, with the calendar and I write down the next 2 weeks. I immediately fill in Wednesdays and Sundays with a big ole X because I do not cook on those 2 nights.  We eat at church.  I also fill in the 2 Thursday nights because Big Daddy makes me a homemade pizza, while the kids eat frozen pizzas or mac and cheese.  I add those ingredients (the needed ones) to my grocery list.

After I do that, I scour through my recipes to see what sounds good.  On one list, I have my dates and my menu plans.  On another list, I begin my grocery list.  As I choose a recipe, I add the ingredients that we need on my grocery list.  Once I’m done with the suppers/sides,

I ask the kids what we need for lunches.  They are pretty consistent (corn dogs, hot dogs, bologna, string cheese, slice cheese, lunch meat, carrots, nuggets, soup, ravioli, ramen noodles, fruit, bread, pb & j, snack crackers, tuna).  They let me know what we are out of and I add that to my list.  We do, homeschool, so we are all home for every single meal.

I have cut out all of my breakfast foods.  I used to buy pop tarts, 2 boxes of fruit bars, 2 boxes of granola bars, 2 gallons of milk, 1 gallon of “special milk”, go gurt, 4 bags of cereal and let me tell you, that adds up.  I now buy 1 gallon of milk, 1/2 gallon of special milk, 2 of those large containers of off brand yogurt (the kids add my homemade granola to that), I make my own fruit bars and granola bars and I make regular granola that they eat warmed with milk or on granola.  I also make 3 dozen pancakes, 2 dozen muffins and 2 dozen omelet muffins.  I freeze all of this except the granola.  It is time consuming, but worth it because it has cut our grocery bill down by so much.

For drinks, we buy coke (for me…I know, I’m awful), bottles of water and frozen OJ.  I also have those little packets of lemonade you can add to your water.  We do not buy junk food.  If we want something sweet, we make it.  I bake a lot of bread (which is one of the easiest things I’ve ever done…that is for another post, unless I already posted it).

When I get done with adding all that we need (that includes paper products, bathroom things, anything we NEED), then I go through my pantry/fridge/freezer/cabinets to see what I can mark off because we already have it.  Sometimes I can mark off a lot, sometimes we need every bit of what I have written down.  There are  RARE occasions when I needed Big Daddy to stop at the store for 1 or 2 ingredients, but I try to plan accordingly.  If we can stay out of Walmart for those 2 weeks, it is less tempting to buy a lot of crap that we don’t need.

Lastly, we shop at Kroger…seems to do better.  I do load ecoupons, but rarely use them before they expire.  I was an avid couponer, but haven’t had time, so yesterdays haul was coupon free.  Kroger just has better deals and they are nicer.

If anyone has questions/comments/suggestions, feel free to email me or post a comment.  As I think of things, I’ll continue to post.  Hopefully, I can help someone.

**We raised/slaughtered a hog, so we have a lot of pork in our freezer.  Once a year (which we are out currently), we buy a 1/2 a cow and we also have chickens that lay like champions**

I figured it out!

I have tried and tried to figure out the best money saving options, grocery wise, for my family.  I think I have finally figured it out!  For this month, we have spent $435 for a month (for a family of 8….2 teens, 2 preteens and 2 more growing boys).  This includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, paper products, cleaners, misc. stuff…everything.  How good is that?  I’m so stinking proud of Big Daddy and me!

Bear in mind, we raised/slaughtered our own hog, so we have a lot of pork in our freezer.  We also (once a year), buy 1/2 a side of beef.  The meat we buy is chicken and we buy a lot of that!  We also have a garden, so in late spring/summer, we have lots of veggies and I freeze them…although that won’t happen for a while.  We are still buying fresh/frozen/canned veggies.

We are now shopping every 2 weeks.  I plan out our supper menus (cooking from scratch 10 nights in those 2 weeks).  For breakfast, I make, in bulk pancakes, muffins, granola cereal (they also put that on their yogurt), granola bars and fruit bars (I put this all in the freezer).  Lunch is simple (corn dogs, hot dogs, lunch meat, pb & j, soup, ramen noodles, leftovers, chicken nuggets, crackers, fruit, cheese).  For cleaners, I mixed up vinegar and water for my everyday cleaner and I make my own laundry detergent.

My kids aren’t hungry, they are eating healthy and my house is clean…plus I’m saving money.

God is good 🙂  If you want any tips, recipes or menu plans, just let me know.  I’d be happy to share!

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