A month of meals

Those of you reading who have me on Facebook have probably seen my bits about my Costco meal plan and shopping/planning for a month at a time. I figured it was time I organized my random posts into one nice article.

I saw someone else post a link about doing $5 dinners, shopping for 20 meals at once. I have been wanting to do this for quite sometime so in February I took the plunge. I paid the couple of bucks to download the PDF file because it made things SO much easier rather than printing or bookmarking 11 different recipes.

http://www.5dollardinners.com/20-meals-from-costco-for-150-recipes-printable-shopping-lists/

Initially I spent about $160 at Costco and another $40 on pantry items at Wal-Mart. I labeled and froze the meat and rolls, then filled out a calendar for February.

1618451_10202212124498022_1484126614_n

Most of meals were kid-approved. However, the beef stew dishes did not come out that great. Maybe being a vegetarian has something to do with my lack of meat cooking skills. 😉

Following this meal plan, we found there were family favorites that we were all missing like pot pie or even just BBQ burgers. So I decided to give it another go, but do it MY way this time. Using what I learned in February I created my own monthly menu. We shopped at Costco and did an entire month of shopping for $200, plus left myself another $50 per week for perishable items like milk, bread, and fruit.

72117_10202372442825880_423616008_n

Month 2 is more than halfway over and I am so relieved at not having to think about what I’m going to cook every night, or what I need to shop for. Worth the time I put in at the beginning of the month.

Death by chocolate?

Chocolate is always associated with such negative words like sinful or Devil’s food.  Why so bad when it tastes SO good? 

Perhaps because it consumes me.  Really.  I baked brownies last night when we had company over for dinner.  Even though I was full, I ate two.  And what was the first thing I put in my mouth when I woke up?  Another brownie — even before my morning coffee!  It’s sad, really.  My younger two kids catch me often sneaking sweet treats because I “smell like chocolate.”  My older two probably know better than to say something after all these years. 😉 

I complain often about how unhealthy I feel, how little energy I have, and how nothing I own fits me comfortably anymore.  Yet, here I am eating half a pan of brownies in the past 24 hours.

The first step in the road to recovery is to admit you have an addiction.  So here goes:

Hi, my name is Bethany.  And I’m completely addicted to chocolate. 

Now I just need to stop bringing it into my home. 

The dreaded budget

With the decrease of income, hubby and I had to rework our budget.  Being told my spending is being limited is never fun, but every time I ask, “where else can we make cuts?”

When we knew the job change was coming, we got right on refinancing the house.  We were able to get some cash out of the house to pay some bills, and reduce the payment a little.  Small savings, but every dollar counts now. 🙂

Since refinancing the house and picking up the serving job on the weekends, we’ve been able to pay off nearly $13,000 in debt.  This cut a huge chunk out of our bills which was helpful.  At one point, our minimum payments were about $800 per month.  Yikes!  (We have one card to go and I’m hoping to have that one paid down within the next calendar year, continuing to work weekends at the restaurant.) 

The other two areas we were able to cut back were gas and groceries.  Gas was easy, given that my commuting days are behind me – saving $300 per month.  Groceries was a little trickier, trying to feed a family of 6 – saving $150 monthly.  (I will share more on that in a later post)  All in all we were able to make the budget work – on paper, that is. 🙂

Any additional expenses for “fun money” is going to have to come from outside resources such as garage sales and reselling larger items on craigslist.  Now I just have to make it my goal to stick to that budget going.  (And I will probably have to get tougher on the kids with turning the lights off. ;))

Welcome Home

So I’m new to blogging, and I hope not to bore you, but I thought it would be fun to journal my transition from work to home. A little background – let’s see… I worked for the same company for over 11 years, 10 of which were full time. I have been juggling (and failing miserably) working, mothering, house cleaning (really failing here), homeschooling, cooking, shopping, and trying to fit in being a good wife. Some days went well, and others ended up in many tears – most of which were mine.

After years of praying whether I was to quit my job, the Lord finally made it clear to me. I think I had to set aside my selfish reasons for wanting to leave that job. I needed to be ready to do what He wanted me to do. So in November, I gave my notice to quit.

My last day at work was February 28.* I have spent most of my time embracing my role. The rooms have been reorganized and shuffled around and reorganized again. We find ourselves wandering around at times trying to remember which room the desk is in now. 🙂

I’m already working on meal plans, lesson plans, DIY projects, and more — all the things I never felt I had time for before.

*My disclaimer: I do still work a couple of nights as a server at a local restaurant, and I will begin an additional part time data entry job in a few weeks. It’s not quite “full-time” at home, but a significant improvement. 🙂