Tag: Wal-Mart

January 2018 Update

January 2018 Update

February 1, 2018

Hey Everyone,

I can’t believe that 1/12 of the year is already over. Seems like yesterday that it was the stroke of midnight welcoming in a brand new year with lots of things to accomplish. While there have been many strides forward during this month to kick off the 2018 year, there have been a couple setbacks.  As with any journey we keep pushing through to reach the finish line.

Husband and I reevaluated our financial situation for this upcoming 2018 year, especially since he is losing his GI Benefits in May and we needed to figure out how to pay for his summer classes and then the last semester of college for him. At first, it was going to be so constricting that we would have been having absolutely no room to breath, not even a penny could be squeezed out anymore.

After our conversation, we found some breathing room with him filing his FASFA for his last semester early. We just needed to figure out how to pay for the last three weeks of the current semester, summer classes and books for those times Which would have still caused it to be tight but breathable. Another windfall came as well in the form of my in-laws. Goodness, I love them. They kinda knew that with the loss of the GI Bill that we were going to have some difficulties so they gave us some money to finish paying the last three weeks of this semester, and then books for the summer. Now we just need to put aside money for books for the last semester at the University of Nevada, Reno. Much easier to come up with $500-$750 for books than an extra $6,000+.

We celebrated a whole year of braces for me, a successful eye surgery for Monster, and I even got a small promotion at work, and Husband is working on a promotion at his job. We even dropped my youngest down to two partial days at daycare to cut some daycare costs.

With all this stress and more “free time” since there isn’t as much overtime at my job at the moment (still an extra 12-20 hours a week, but less than what I did during OEP) I’ve been able to hit the streets more often. During the month of January, I’ve accumulated 36 miles under my feet. Yup, only 36. Those miles certainly feel fantastic right now. I’m only 7% accomplished with my goal of 500, but I’m slow and steady. I do not want a medical bill to worry about during this year. That can wait for a time of never.

January 36-500 miles

How about you? Did you accomplish any of your 2018 goals? Was it as hard as you thought it would be? Tell me in the comments.

Also, whoever can guess correctly the number of running miles completed by the end of February will get a special gift from me. Give me your best guess. Who knows? You might be a winner.

See you on the other side.

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Recap of 2017. Welcome, 2018.

Recap of 2017. Welcome, 2018.

January 02, 2018

Hey Everyone,

The last time I spoke with you was in September. Wow! It’s been so long. I know I kinda went off the face of the Earth but I kinda had a whirlwind of chaos enter my life. Don’t you hate when that happens? I certainly do.

Well, I was in a car accident and totaled the car. Everyone was okay, including the other person I was in the accident with and my boys who were in their car seats. It was one of the scariest days of my life. I will go over at a later date in more detail about what happened and how we were able to replace the car within a week of the accident. That was the end of September.

After the accident, I decided that instead of trying to work a budget out every month and not being able to see into the financial future that I would use Excel. At first, Husband thought that I had gone and lost my mind when I made this document, but after I had it set up how I wanted he was a little impressed. I didn’t organize it by month because we get paid bi-weekly, and that would frustrate me to no end. So I did it by paycheck and then put in the amounts that are expected for income and then what bills are coming out in the pay period. All across the sheet until the end of the year. When I put in the formulas the numbers would change accordingly, which is exactly what I wanted so that I can see ahead what time frames are going to be hard for us and see what we can limit, or use some savings on. (Also, if you look the savings is only $75 which is the automatic transfer that happens from the bank each month, not including the automatic savings that comes from my paycheck each pay period, so that is slightly misleading.) I already started putting in the numbers for the 2018 year using expected numbers.

I swear the hardest part was the pie charts. The chart down below in the Expenses for the 2017 year from 10/06 to 12/28. I cannot put the income chart for that same time frame due to legal reasons with my company, but just know that during this time I made 71% of our income.

2017 Expenses Pie Chart

For some strange and blissful reason, people started panicking and calling the call center so the Overtime opportunities got greater and well before OEP started I was working 50+ hours a week, leaving me super exhausted. With the car totaled and needing to pay off the replacement, I decided to throw myself into working as much Overtime as possible. From 10/15- 12/08 I worked Monday through Friday from 4:00 AM to 8:00 PM with two 45 minute breaks before and after my regular shift to have breakfast and dinner with my family. Working Saturdays and Sundays was super difficult but I also worked from 6:00 A.M- 5:00 PM. 8 Weeks straight. I even got sick in the middle of November and had a fever of 104 degrees, with body aches, headaches and some vomiting and diarrhea. Not pleasant, but I pushed through and worked my butt off. I knew that it was worth it in the end.

I did get Thanksgiving off and spent it with my family and some very close friends.

Husband also started his job at Wal-Mart as a courtesy clerk, a.k.a. cart pusher. Since he has classes Monday through Thursday, he works Friday through Sunday. It isn’t the most glamorous job, there are days he comes home telling me about someone ODing in the parking lot, getting yelled at for closing the doors when the person’s vehicle is “Right there” and even, getting told that it is a shame that he can’t do better, on and on. We know that this job is only going to be temporary, i.e. a year. It is a temporary situation to a permanent solution.

Also, you know that chore chart stuff that I made for the boys at the beginning of the school year? It didn’t work for very long. Not because the boys weren’t doing the chores, but because they were too easy. I’ll tell you more about that in a little bit.

The last thing that would be a great thing to acknowledge is that I am so grateful to my company to allow people, such as myself, to be able to turn in our unused purchased PTO and get it the first paycheck in December. Even though we were financially stable and could have put the money towards paying off our “new” vehicle we decided to use it for Christmas gifts for the kids and family. It was our fail-safe measure to make sure that no matter what, we didn’t dip into our Christmas savings. It definitely worked.

Welcome, to 2018. Even though Husband worked New Year’s Eve until 11:00 PM. We did a mini celebration on his lunch break for the kids at 6:00 PM. This is the year that we are buckling down. We are using our Excel document, doing as much overtime as we can stand, and just making it through this year. I will still be running, but not as much as I would have hoped. This is going to be a bumpy road.

See you on the other Side.

 

Crazy, Long, Torturous Week

September 16, 2017

Hey Everyone,

I cannot believe it is the middle of September, I swear it was January yesterday. But alas, that is not the case, much to my chagrin. Today we are celebrating my oldest boys birthday, so we’ve had a turbulent week and it just got totally thrown sideways. As a relatively OCD person that likes to plan in advance, if I hadn’t had an idea of what was going to possibly ensue, I would have probably had a nervous breakdown. Let’s see what this week brought to the Dopey Challenge Adventure.

09/10- Sunday- Learned from a friend how to do an oil change, after buying the wrong size filter for my car. Who knew there were three different sizes? And then randomly having a game night at their house, where the kids made the biggest popcorn mess in the living room. A vacuum got clogged and then getting stuck with sweeping the entire mess. Kids are since banned from eating popcorn- ever.

09-11- Monday- Worrying constantly about the MRI/MRA for my oldest child the next day and getting him to eat lots of food because he wouldn’t be able to eat until Tuesday afternoon. Also, getting a message from my oldest child’s teacher that I didn’t put enough money in the field trip envelope for both of us to go, so I need to figure out how I’m going to 1)get the money, 2)get it to her on time to still be a chaperone.

09/12- Tuesday- Oldest child having the MRI/MRA and then ending up urinating on himself, and also waking up during the middle of the scans.

09/13-Wednesday- Coordinating with all the guests for the party on Sunday if they are coming and what they are bringing food wise. I never knew how many people don’t answer their phones or don’t look far enough in their schedule to know a week in advance if they can go to an event they were notified about a month ago. It’s done and over with, my son will have a nice birthday party no matter what.

Husband and MIL organizing a pizza dinner and movie for everyone at her house.

My oldest son losing his 2nd tooth right before needing to go to bed, and then figuring out how to come up with money to pay him as the tooth fairy. Last time we got a $5 movie that had been on his wish list. Husband and I only gave him a $1 this time.

09/14- Thursday- It’s my oldest boys 6th birthday!! Oh, how time flies, I remember when he was born. *Cue tears* Super excitement, and craziness ensued that morning with both boys. That afternoon I ordered a cupcake-cake from Wal-Mart. It is where the cupcakes are placed close together and the frosting is smoothed out over all of them as if they were a cake. I would have made it myself, but I’m not the good. The person who was taking the order seemed to have a hearing problem and couldn’t figure out the difference between G, V, and B, and even asked me if I was placing a serious order. Um. . . .yeah, I just totally wasted 45 minutes of my time waiting for you to get on the phone, get your book in front of you, and told you my order for it to be a total fake order because my child’s name isn’t traditional and I called 3 days in advance instead of the night before? Totes fake.

After trying to order a 6ft sandwich for the party from Wal-Mart and being told it would be $150, I’m like, “See ya” and just ordered from Port of Subs ended up being $45, and I got three different types of sandwiches out of the 6ft platter.

09/15- Friday- A pipe burst at the apartment complex so the water got shut off for about 6 hours. So instead of doing dishes on my lunch break, I had to smell nasty dishes for the whole hot day. ***Warning***If you are not mature enough to read about a normal biological activity such as pooping, please skip the ** content. Thank you for your maturity. **And my youngest child wasn’t feeling well after coming home from the daycare and ended up pooping himself, it was an accident because we are allergic to cranberries (in any format) and when we (myself and my boys) consume them we get major diarrhea and vomit. I got a text from the daycare letting me know they had served them on accident and wanted to let me know so we could be prepared but the text came after he had already pooped his underwear.  My youngest knows he shouldn’t be having accidents in his underwear and when it happened he tried to clean it up with toilet paper, but ended up making a mess everywhere in the bathroom. With no running water, it was a horrible experience for everyone.**

My oldest came home from school crying and confused because his substitute teacher wouldn’t allow him to eat the packed lunch for him, telling him that he had to eat the school’s lunch. The school we are designated for 98% of the students qualify for free/reduced lunch, not us because we make $50 too much, so we pack lunches for him. Another text to the teacher to find out what the hell is going on, and I feel bad for her because she had been at a funeral.

09/16- Saturday- Had planned to do my Long run of 12.5 miles on this day because I knew that today was going to be busy with the birthday party before, during and after, Husband decided that he was going to get up early and go to the college and start working on a long and complex paper, so I didn’t get it done.

This is what life brings. Chaos. Love. Fudged up plans. If I hadn’t looked ahead and seen that this last week was going to be jumbled, I would have been super upset, stressed, and probably would have just said, “F this” and just given up. Instead of stressing, too much, I kept going and knew that this is just another hill in the adventure. Albeit, there was a night where I just texted a friend about how life sucks and then got over it the next morning.

As a part of this journey, this is the kind of kink that life will throw at you. Don’t give up. Not on yourself, or your plan, or this adventure. Just keep going. We cannot go anywhere successfully if we give up at every little bump in the road. Instead of just throwing your whole training plan out the window because a week didn’t go as planned, just pick up as if the hick-up had never occurred. Be strong and resilient. I believe in you! This is only 1 week out of 52 in a year, there are 51 other fantastic weeks that will make up for it.

See you on the other side!

 

 

Let’s Prep. . .Crockpot meals

Let’s Prep. . .Crockpot meals

September 10, 2017

Hey, Everyone,

It’s the middle of September. I cannot believe it. The goal yesterday was to make some crockpot meals. I’m jumping on that train. I’ve heard that it helps save money in the long run (if the freezer doesn’t break, power doesn’t go out, or kids randomly leave the freezer door open). I hope none of those events transpire. To work up to this main event I had been slowly eating all the junky freezer food in the freezer, and not replacing it so there was enough space to store these wonderful freezer meals.

It’s the middle of September. I cannot believe it. The goal yesterday was to make some crockpot meals. I’m jumping on that train. I’ve heard that it helps save money in the long run (if the freezer doesn’t break, power doesn’t go out, or kids randomly leave the freezer door open). I hope none of those events transpire. To work up to this main event I had been slowly eating all the junky freezer food in the freezer, and not replacing it so there was enough space to store these wonderful freezer meals.

Since I do not have a large freezer. It is a standard size freezer that doesn’t hold a lot of food in general. I froze the meals flat so that there was enough room for the many meals that I want to make, that is a combination of yesterdays meals and future meals. I used Pinterest and went through this site to print out the crockpot meals (with recipes) that fit our food guidelines and also sounded delicious.

In the end, we did the last recipe section labeled 6 Make Ahead Freezer Meals in 50 minutes because I was excited about the time aspect of the recipes, and it seemed like the most affordable food combination than the others.

We also do not have a large crockpot and I ended up not needing to halve the recipes like I was afraid might have been needed. We have a 4-quart size slow cooker because it was on sale last year at Wal-Mart for $10. I had never worked with a slow cooker before and I gotta say that I sometimes wish that I got a bigger one that could hold a small chicken or turkey, but hindsight is 20/20. I’m content with what we have.

us-money-billsI made this food this week because it’s a paid weekend and am going to try and keep it up by doing it again almost every two weeks from now to coincide with my pay schedule. And then I’m going to plan out the FOE food schedule so all that needs to be done is to take out a meal the night before, and put it in the crockpot in the morning. Will save some money because then even if I’m too busy to make the meal myself, all my amazing husband has to do is follow the directions on the bag and be done with it until dinner time. Otherwise, we will not be financially diligent with our money with all the eating out we would most likely be doing.

These freezer meals are supposed to be good for 3 months, and if everything works out like I want, that will be perfect timing. And if I keep adding to the freezer on pay weeks, they won’t get depleted as fast and can save money all year long. Because yesterday was the first time and I kept having to go back and forth between the food and the recipes, it took much longer than 50 minutes to prepare everything. Plus, in the middle of the food preparation by youngest son had finished his nap and being the sneaky little boy that he is decided to sit next to my feet and when I went to check the next food item I tripped over him and almost stabbed myself with the knife I was working on. Yup, that adventure happened. No one was hurt, but we both scared each other.

I am a little OCD when it comes to being financially knowledgeable about how much we are going to budget for food. In the original post, she says that she only spent $59.69, for her food, but 1) it was made in 2014, and 2) I don’t know where they live. Two things that change the price of everything dramatically. So I went to Bing and for every item needed I typed in something like, “Average cost of onions” and it would give me the response of, “Onions vary by season, usually costing less than $2.00 per pound. Since onions are plants, the growing season determines the availability of the item. Seasonal problems can affect the price. Onions vary by season, usually costing less than $2.00 per pound.” So in the spreadsheet that I made, I would put in the average cost, or since I’m going to Wal-Mart for the items if I could look up a price (like a bottle of spices) I would add it to the spreadsheet, always rounding up to the nearest $1 (I.e. if something cost $2.14 I would put it as $3.00, it is an easy way to keep a simple total, because no one likes doing complicated math at the store, and so that if I reach my budget limit with my rounding up total, then I know that when I check out I will be under my budget).

So, on my spreadsheet, it came out to be $84 for the cost of all the food and items needed to do this freezer meal planning. I printed out the spreadsheet and on the back, I kept a running total of everything I put in the cart. (Because not everyone can read my writing I added it to the spreadsheet as well). My rounding up total ended up being $68. Walking out of the store it was $60.22. That is only $0.89 difference from the original post!!!

Frrezer meals 1

Freezer meals 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

My family is not meat centric, so we do not need to have meat as a primary focus for our meals, and so when we had the meatloaf, instead of making a traditional 9″x5″ pan we are going to put them in small pans 2.5″x8″ and that should be good enough for a meal, plus sides. And because I made them this way, there was enough for 4 meals instead of the 2 the recipes called for. In the end here are the price breakdowns for these meals included in the spreadsheet. Freezer meal plan– Spreadsheet.

Honey Sesame Chicken (x2)- $6.11 for the meal itself and $1.52 per person

Turkey, White Bean, Kale Soup (x2)- $4.85 for the meal and $1.21 per person

Brown Sugar Meatloaf (x4)- $5.81 for the meal $1.45 per person.

Because yesterday was the first time and I kept having to go back and forth between the food and the recipes, it took much longer than 50 minutes to prepare everything. Plus, in the middle of the food preparation by youngest son had finished his nap and being the sneaky little boy that he is decided to sit next to my feet and when I went to check the next food item I tripped over him and almost stabbed myself with the knife I was using. Yup, that adventure happened. No one was hurt, but we both scared each other.

burn-out

Have any of you had experience with freezer meals? How did they turn out? Do you still do them?

See you on the other side!