Tag: wife

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!

 

 

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Things We Are Teaching Our Kids about Budgeting

September 12, 2017

Hey Everyone,

People seem to have kids, be having kids, or thinking about having kids. It must be something in the water for people to have that kind of activity. I have two of my own.

Growing up my dad would get paid at the beginning of the month and then would expect to be able to go shopping at that time and that the food would last us the entire month. That would be $300 to last 5 people (2 adults, 3 growing kids) and 1 black Labrador. More often than not it didn’t. We would run out of food about a week into the month and live off of nothing but Top Ramen, pasta (in any way you can possibly think of- dry; with butter; salt and pepper; etc), or just dry cereal. Sometimes it would last two weeks in. I’m so glad that my siblings and I were able to get food at the school, otherwise, it would have gotten even worse.  During the summers, and breaks were the hardest for us.

If you were to hear this, many people would think that we didn’t have money, were poor, or were just down on our luck. The truth is, my dad actually got enough money to support us decently for the entire month and not have to worry about anything. The problem was that my dad didn’t know how to manage his money. Or make wise money decisions.

This is sad that some kids have to go through this. As a way to counteract this with my own kids, Husband and I implemented a way for the kids to earn money, and have the freedom to choose how to spend it, within reason.

chore Chart Since it’s the beginning of the school year I bought 2 different chore chart notations. (To the left is for my oldest). This is a tester model to see if this system is a right fit for my kids. On the left side is the weekly dates. Across the top are 5 repeating expectations for my oldest with monetary values:

Homework- 2 cents

Quiet Time- 3 Cents

Pick Up Toys- 1 Cent

Eye Patching- 2 cents

All 4- 2 cent incentive

So far it is having mixed results for the effectiveness. My oldest is in Kindergarten so he doesn’t come home with homework. So there are two workbook pages that he CAN work on if he wants. Quiet time is during the times that I’m working. I cannot be on the phones at home and have someone hear, “Mommy, can you come wipe my butt? I pooped”. They need to be quiet. Picking up toys is so easy and basic. And eye patching, oh man. With my son’s eye problems, he hates wearing his eye patch, for every day that he wears one for the full 6 hours, he gets some money. As you can see the ones that are consistently being not done are the homework and toys.

At the end of the day, I will put a sticker in the correct spot to show that he accomplished the task and then on Friday I will pay him accordingly. I will give him pennies for each task completed and any incentive that was earned, and also make a separate pile for the money that was missed out on so he can see what not doing something does for him. Once I’ve finished divvying out the pennies we will count and exchange for Nickels and Dimes. Quarters are needed for laundry money so he won’t be getting any of those, unfortunately. But he’s still learning about how to exchange money.

Incentives

On Friday’s I get a weekly report from his teacher about his behavior and anything special that happened so he will get 10 cents for every “Dojo” point he gets during the week as an incentive to listen to his teacher. Also, if he does anything “extra” that is paid out on that day, right after it happens, i.e. putting away dishes, matching socks, taking out the bathroom trash.

Friday is the only day that he can “buy” something. The reason for this is because we needed to limit when he would be able to utilize his money. And make conscious decisions about it, right when he gets it, instead of changing his mind. Plus, if he wants to buy something on Wednesday night, he will have a couple days to think it over if he really wants it or not. He could buy a piece of candy for 50 cents, a soda for $1.00, an hour playing on my iPad for $5.00, and if he saves enough money ($10) he can pay to have a bowling night. Bowling night is something that the boys decided they wanted if they were to save a lot of money.

Also, we are teaching consequences and that some bad or negative choices come at a price. If my oldest son is being mean to his brother then he has to pay a 5 cent fine, pay 10 cents for every “Dojo” point taken away by his teacher, 50 cents for losing his temper/throws a temper tantrum. There are other things that he can do to pay a fine, but he is a good kid.

First Buy

This proud guy has saved $4.50 and decided that he wanted a soda so he with his own $1 money he walked with Husband down to the gas station and bought his own. You can tell he is so proud of himself.

The reason why I’m doing this is that I want my kids to be money smart and learn to make financial decisions, learn the value of $1. I know that next year because things will be different, we will need to change the chores, and also change the values. Next year he won’t get paid for picking up his toys, while his younger brother won’t be paid 1 cent for going on the potty (I am not a fan of potty training).

Being financially smart on this journey is imperative because there is no need to go into debt for a vacation. Start being smart with your money now, so that it will be easier when we cross that finish line together!!

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!

 

3 Financial Focuses for 4th Quarter of 2017

3 Financial Focuses for 4th Quarter of 2017

September 7, 2017

Hey Everyone,

It’s coming upon the last quarter of 2017 so this is the time of the year we need to be more financially focused to end the year strong and start 2018 even more financially stable.

Here are 3 financial goals that my husband and I are focusing in the 4th quarter of 2017:

  1. Financial Diligence
    1. What I mean by financial diligence is sticking to the budget. I found a great free budgeting document that allows me to use Excel, and see any adjusted amounts. At first, it was a little time consuming to re-name everything because I did it individually for each page and then, my husband seeing my frustration was like, “What the f**** are you doing? You can just copy and paste the name into the cell you want because those don’t have any formulas.” He then proceeded to take over and finished what I had been slaving over for an hour in 2 minutes. I still say I did most of the work, it still got done.
    2. With all the extra money I will be working during the Federal Open Enrollment (FOE) we cannot just spend the money earned unwisely. We need to be focusing specifically putting that extra money on paying rent ahead. The goal is to pay 4 months of rent ahead in 2018 (January- April), so that during January- April when we get the GI Bill and Tax return we can put it towards the rest of the 2018 rent. That may sound confusing, but my husband is losing his GI Bill in May of 2018, so it will no longer be paying for housing or the last semester of his schooling. We really need to be financially diligent so that when we lose 1/3 of our income it won’t be as much of a blow because we have that covered. Wish us luck on that we will need it for sure.
  2. Work, Work, Work
    1. October 15- December 7 is OEP. That is the time of the year that my job hours jump from 40 hours a week up to about 100 hours. That is some hard earned money for sure. The great thing about my job is that we DO NOT HAVE to take any extra over time (OT) that we don’t want to take, outside of the 6-10 hours mandatory. We even have the freedom to spread out the OT to whenever we want to take it. That is fantastic because I still have my training scheduled on my calendar that is not to be missed.
    2. I am actually limiting myself to about 70.5 hours a week so that I don’t get burned out, can spend some time with my family, and still make some very good money. By the end, I will be totally exhausted and want to sleep for a week, but there are only 2 more years (’17/’18) where I absolutely need to push myself to my limits. I probably still will push myself year after year, so that we get closer to our financial goals.
    3. My husband’s goal is to go to college and get good grades. So far he has a 4.0 GPA, part of the honor society, Dean’s list and even does some tutoring for those struggling in his classes. We really want him to finish school, so to help financially he put in his application at Wal-Mart as a part time courtesy clerk (a.k.a cart pusher) on the weekends. It shouldn’t interfere with his studies. That will help us financially put aside some money for 2018.
  3. Forward Dreaming
    1. We cannot be planning and pushing ourselves to this extreme without some dreams of the future. During this post, it should have given you an idea of what some of our financial dreams are for the future.
      1. End of 2017- 4 months of rent paid for 2018
      2. 2018- Finish College
      3. 2019- Pay off 25,000 in debt and save 8,000 for Dopey Challenge Adventure in January 2020
      4. 2020- Pay off 35,000 in debt
      5. 2025- 30% Down payment on a house

This is going to be one turbulent adventure for sure, glad you came along for the ride.

See you on the other side!