6 Tips for Combating the Mid-Year Frugal Slide

8517c9bb93cc1354d4320f323cf0afa6.jpg

It’s July, and for most of us, Our New Years Resolutions are a thing of the past. Mr. and I were talking today about ways we could reign in our budget. We’re not making it rain by any means, but… we could make a few changes. Here are my top ten tips, and trust me, I’ve already started incorporating some of these. I’ll have all of them back in the works by weeks’ end.

  1. Back to meal planning and sticking to it. No more trips to Denny’s when I am feeling lazy in the morning, or Mondays after group therapy.  That means I’ll be back to meal planning posts and new recipes too. And I’ll have several “back up dinners” on-hand in case the day gets away from me, or it’s too hot to cook the original meal. I took advantage of the sale on chicken breasts at Smart & Final the other day, and picked up 10 lbs. I came home and cut up the whole half breasts into more manageable sizes, and marinated some of it with different spices and put it in ziploc bags in the freezer. 10 lbs of chicken should get us 5 dinners, plus leftovers from each meal.
  2. Back to maintaining a robust snack bag in the car, refilling it daily, and remembering our water bottles when we leave the house. I fill our water bottles (we have these for the kids and these for the adults- in 40 oz) with water and ice before we leave in the AM and refill them as needed throughout the day in various places.
  3. In conjunction with #2, start taking surveys on receipts for deep discounts and free stuff again. I am Sonic’s text list, so when they have a daily deal that I have change in my car for, the kids and I stop for .50 ice cream cones, 1/2 price drinks (cherry limeade!). Frequently when you check out, there is a survey on the bottom of the receipt that will score you an XL (Route 44) size beverage for free! I really need to get back into stretching the buck.
  4. Check all my apps before I go shopping. I’ve been bad about this over the past few months. I’m sure I’ve missed out on Ibotta deals, Checkout 51 offers, and Cash Dash promos. No More! I’m back, baby!!
  5. Allowance. Yup, just like a teenager, I’m putting myself on an allowance, and Mr. is going to as well. I’m sticking to $40 in the summer, and $25 once we are back to school. This will just be for “fun money”. I still shop around for gas to stay within budget for gas each week. Costco is usually the cheapest.
  6. Keeping eyes open for cheap entertainment. Big Dude is in ESY (summer school) for the next few weeks, so a lot of the traditional summer things that are fun and cheap we haven’t been able to do (like Regal Summer Movies). We’ve mostly been doing fun stuff at the library, which is free, but I think we need to look beyond that. It’s starting to get too hot for park play dates!

I’d love to hear from you about how you combat the frugal slide. What do you do when you feel yourself slipping off your track?

Advertisements

Meal Plan Monday 3/5/18

file000738334533.jpgSpring Break is just 2 weeks away and Henry is asking daily if it’s “Time for Spring Adventures” yet. I tell him not yet.

Even though he’s got school each day, I try and plan an adventure for him, it can be as simple as a walk at Walker Preserve or making cookies (these Justice League sugar cookies have been a recent hit).

The reason my Meal Plan Monday is so late today is that we had our daily adventure after school today. After school I treated the kids to Cheesecake Factory for cheesecake. By The Way… The pieces are HUGE. I know have three half decimated pieces of cheesecake in the fridge. We’ll be eating cheesecake for days!

I’m just posting dinners for our meal plan. The kiddos lately have been having protein pancakes (I like Kodiak Cakes mix- it’s yummy and very versatile) with butter and Peanut butter. Hubs likes Oatmeal (my recipe for an easy almost instant oatmeal mix can be found here) if he’s got time, otherwise he and I have protein shakes. We mix it up, and have different flavors and mix in all kinds of stuff into our shakes, so as not to get bored. Here area few of our favorite recipes.

Lunches for Lil’ Man are usually Peanut butter and crackers, fruit, milk, a protein muffin (aka a kid cupcake), and applesauce cup. He takes his lunch every day! Hubs usually has a protein shake or I pack him leftovers or a frozen entree.

Bitty Bird and I usually have leftovers from the night before, or soup, sandwiches, quesadillas. She eats almost anything!

Monday:

  • D: Pancakes and applesauce.

Tuesday:

  • D: roasted chicken and veggies- I’ve got tons of marinated chicken in the freezer. I’m trying new combinations of veggies and chicken roasted in the oven. Onions, carrots, celery, cherry tomatoes, potatoes, and garlic have been popular together.

Weds:

  • D: Black Bean Soup, cheese toast, and fruit salad 

Thursday:

  • D: Cheese quesadillas, beans, rice, and green salad

Friday:

  • D: Date Night

Saturday:

  • D: Family night in- Not sure yet, maybe home made pizza?

Sunday:

  • D: Chef Salad/leftover buffet. I love chef salad because you can just put whatever you’ve got in the fridge in the salad.

The menu may change, as  I pull stuff out of the pantry to rotate what we’ve got (I am trying to cut down on waste, and put the older stuff up front to get eaten first).

 

11/21/17- Meal Plan… Tuesday?

dsc07997

I fell asleep last night before I could hit Publish on this article. Yesterday was the first day of Thanksgiving break and I was bushed after playing all day.

I’m just posting dinners for our meal plan. The kiddos usually have a small toasted bagel with cream cheese for breakfast along with fruit.  Hubs likes Oatmeal (my recipe for an easy almost instant oatmeal mix can be found here) if he’s got time, otherwise he and I have protein shakes with frozen bananas and PB2.

Lunches for Lil’ Man are usually Peanut butter and crackers, fruit, milk, a protein muffin (aka a kid cupcake), and applesauce cup. He takes his lunch every day! Hubs usually has a protein shake or I pack him leftovers or a frozen entree.

Bitty Bird and I usually have leftovers from the night before, or soup, sandwiches, quesadillas. She eats almost anything!

Monday:

  • D: Spaghetti Squash with caramelized onions, bacon, and cheese

Tuesday:

  • D:  Casserole (We’ve got  guests for dinner tonight)

Weds:

  • D: Chef salad

Thursday:

  • D:   Thanksgiving feast with family

Friday:

  • D:  Leftovers from Thanksgiving

Saturday:

  • D:  Date night for our Anniversary

Sunday:

  • D:  breakfast for dinner

The menu may change, as  I pull stuff out of the pantry to rotate what we’ve got (I am trying to cut down on waste, and put the older stuff up front to get eaten first).

11/13/17 Meal Plan Monday!

dsc07997

We’re scraping the bottom of the produce drawer, so I’ll be hitting up .99 Only to pick up some salads, veggies, and berries.

I’m just posting dinners for our meal plan. The kiddos usually have a small toasted bagel with cream cheese for breakfast along with fruit.  Hubs likes Oatmeal (my recipe for an easy almost instant oatmeal mix can be found here) if he’s got time, otherwise he and I have protein shakes with frozen bananas and PB2.

Lunches for Lil’ Man are usually Peanut butter and crackers, fruit, milk, a protein muffin (aka a kid cupcake), and applesauce cup. He takes his lunch every day! Hubs usually has a protein shake or I pack him leftovers or a frozen entree.

Bitty Bird and I usually have leftovers from the night before, or soup, sandwiches, quesadillas. She eats almost anything!

Monday:

  • D: Potato Cheese soup and fruit

Tuesday:

  • D: breakfast for dinner- probably pancakes, eggs, and fruit salad

Weds:

  • D: BBQ chicken (in the crockpot), green salad, biscuits

Thursday:

  • D:  Grilled chicken and grilled veggies 

Friday:

  • D: Date Night! (we go out)

Saturday:

  • D: DIY pizza night!

Sunday:

  • D: Leftover buffet

The menu may change, as  I pull stuff out of the pantry to rotate what we’ve got (I am trying to cut down on waste, and put the older stuff up front to get eaten first).

Free Water & Energy Savings Kit from SDG&E!

Screen Shot 2017-11-09 at 1.26.41 PM.pngThis offer ends 12/3117, so order ASAP!

If you are an SDG&E customer, check your emails for this offer!

When you install a Water & Energy Savings Kit, you can save up to $100 per year in water and energy costs. This kit is valued at $30 and you have been pre-qualified to receive it at no charge.

Take advantage of our improved online order process and receive your kit sooner. Quantities are limited so order now while supplies last.

The Water & Energy Savings Kit includes:

•1 Low-Flow Showerhead

•1 Kitchen Faucet Aerator

•2 Bathroom Faucet Aerators

•1 LED Sensor Night Light

 

I just ordered ours! Anyway we can save money and natural resources is a win-win in my book!

Keep Cool During a Fall Heat Wave!

file6421289668006.jpg

San Diego County is expecting a heat wave this week. Tomorrow it’s forecasted to be 104. UGH.  A heat wave this late in the year is different from a summer one because so many of our go to activities to beat the heat either aren’t available because venues are closed (local splash pads are shut down October 1st-regardless of the weather) or are not not appropriate for the fall (the ocean temp is in the mid-60’s, too cold for most kiddos to play in conformably) .

So what CAN you do to beat the heat and keep a handle on spending?

Check out your local library for events! Our local Library has Lego club, various storytimes, teen activities like chess and robotics building, yoga, even creative play on Saturday mornings. San Diego County Libraries have tons of great activities- each branch has different schedules.

Check out your local mall! Did you know that Lego stores have free build/Make and Take events each month. Some malls also have free monthly kids events in their courtyard/common area. Our local mall updates their local events through their Facebook page and their website. Past events have included free crafting events, storytimes, and visits from Santa. In fact, many malls have Halloween/trick or treating events.

Toys R Us locations frequently have free events too! Like free Lego building events, Geoffry’s Birthday Club, and other fun toy related events!

If you’ve got a 4th grader, check out this free pass for  National Parks. Here in San Diego, we’ve only got one, but it’s at the ocean, so it’s at least a littler cooler than our house (only 85 instead of 100!). National Parks have free days several times a year! The next one is for Veteran’s Day!

There are always Kids Eat Free (Denny’s does it Tuesday and Saturday) if you want to keep the oven off too. You can also score free ice cream at Baskin-Robbins!

We use Ohm Connect to save energy (and money) and earn cash. They text and/or email you to let you know when you can save energy to help the grid load (and help avoid brown/black outs).

 

I’d love to hear how you beat the heat! Leave a comment.

Meal Plan for the Week!

DSC07997

This week has been crazy, and it’s just Tuesday! Mr. is sick, so our usual routine has been thrown off.

I’m just posting dinners for our meal plan. The kiddos usually have a small toasted bagel with cream cheese for breakfast along with fruit.  Hubs likes Oatmeal (my recipe for an easy almost instant oatmeal mix can be found here) if he’s got time, otherwise he and I have protein shakes with frozen bananas and PB2.

Lunches for Lil’ Man are usually Peanut butter and crackers, fruit, milk, a protein muffin (aka a kid cupcake), and applesauce cup. He takes his lunch every day! Hubs usually has a protein shake or I pack him leftovers or a frozen entree.

Bitty Bird and I usually have leftovers from the night before, or soup, sandwiches, quesadillas. She eats almost anything!

We’re pretty stocked up of food for the next week or so- We’ll need milk, cream cheese, and cheese. I’ll probably hit up Costco tomorrow.

Monday:

  • D: Chicken Tortilla Soup and toast

Tuesday:

  • D: Soup and grilled cheese (While Mr. is sick, we may be eating a lot of soup)

Weds:

  • D: Breakfast for dinner

Thursday:

  • D:  Spaghetti Squash boats with Vegetable Marinara sauce

Friday:

  • D: Date Night! (we go out)

Saturday:

  • D:  BBQ hamburgers and BBQ veggies

Sunday:

  • D: Leftover buffet

The menu may change, as  I pull stuff out of the pantry to rotate what we’ve got (I am trying to cut down on waste, and put the older stuff up front to get eaten first).