MONDAY MONEY REVIEW

Monday - Let's Do This

What a great weekend! I spent the weekend enjoying visiting relatives on Saturday, organizing and cleaning and watching Beyoncé have a sing/dance off with Bruno Mars.  On top of that, thanks to some awesome Game Day food specials at Aldi, I laid out a pretty fantastic spread to nibble one.

Here’s is where we work out if the weekend matched the expected weekend money so here we go:

Before

  • Church (tithes/offering) = $353
  • Gas = $0
  • Personal Care (haircut, mani/pedi, etc.) = $0
  • Groceries = $60
  • Dollar Tree = $10
  • Vehicle Service/Repair = $0
  • Clothes Shopping = $0
  • Auntie’s B-day gifts = $100
  • Restaurant = $30
  • Zips Dry Cleaning = $0
  • Prescriptions = $50
  • Fun Outing = $0
  • Total = $603

After

  • Church donation = $353
    • Church donation = $328
  • Groceries = $60
    • Groceries = $65
  • Dollar Tree = $10
    • Dollar Tree = $25.50
  • Vehicle Service/Repair = $0
    • Vehicle Service/Repair = $0
  • Clothes Shopping = $0
    • Clothes Shopping = $0
  • Auntie’s B-day gifts = $100
    • Auntie’s B-day = $100
  • Restaurant = $30
    • Restaurant = $0
  • Zips Dry Cleaning = $0
    • Zip’s Dry Cleaning = $0
  • Prescriptions = $50
    • Prescriptions = $63.60
  • Fun Outing= $0
  • Shopping – Ollie’s = $26.98
  • Total = 609.08

Hmmmm…I came right around budget but…

I spend too much on groceries.  I wanted to make some special foods for the Super Bowl and everything was delicious but this category needs to be tightened.

The Dollar Tree budget was blown because I decided to reorganize my bathroom closet as well as some shelves in the laundry area and the refrigerator.  I purchased some organizing bins and totes for the Dollar Tree to make sure everything has a place.  I am so pleased with how those spaces turned out!!

Auntie’s B-day celebration has been accomplished and enjoyed!

I didn’t need to use the budgeted $30 for restaurant this weekend because my dear Cousin treated!  I had yummy lobster tacos and couldn’t finish them all.  Unfortunately I left my doggie bag in my mom’s car.  It would have made a great pre-midnight snack.

Prescriptions from Sam’s Club cost a lot more than I was expecting.  I still have a deductible to meet combined with the fact that the lower cost I was expecting to receive was only if I was a Sam’s Club Plus Member.  It pays to read EVERYTHING.

I unexpectedly went shopping at  Ollie’s.  I had a coupon for 15% off the entire purchase and I used it to get more ice melt and a new shovel.  More snow is expected in the area this week and I want to be prepared.  Also, I want Mirror Image to start helping me out.  She is little but mighty and shoveling is best done is pairs Happy Face Wink.

So there is it. Weekend Money reconciled.  I am going to go back to working for the weekend now.

Thrifty Image Mirror

Weekend Money #2

Money

I rarely use cash anymore…

The weekend is here and it is time to plan the money!

When I started this test last week, I realized that I forgot some  spend categories so the list below is revised.

I am going to pre-spend here on this post, then reconcile on Monday.  I plan for this to be another avenue of accountability and budgeting.  So here we go:

  • Church (tithes/offering) = $353
  • Gas = $0
  • Personal Care (haircut, mani/pedi, etc.) = $0
  • Groceries = $60
  • Dollar Tree = $10
  • Vehicle Service/Repair = $0
  • Clothes Shopping = $0
  • Auntie’s B-day gifts = $100
  • Restaurant = $30
  • Zips Dry Cleaning = $0
  • Prescriptions = $50
  • Fun Outing = $0
  • Total = $603

Church – I was paid this week (yeah!) and my tithes and offering will go into the storehouse on Sunday.

Groceries – Sigh.  This is higher than I usually budget for groceries to account for making a special breakfast for my family on Saturday and having special foods for the Super Bowl.  I am making Saint Louis Style Ribs using this recipe – http://www.wmarketnyc.com/recipes/apps/stlouisstyleribs.html#.  Aldi had these ribs on sale this week so I am indulging.

Dollar Tree – I expect to only spend $10 or less over the weekend at the Dollar Tree.  That is largely because I have shopped there every day this week to use up some coupons and to buy some organizing bins and systems.

Auntie’s B-day gifts – Will try this one again.

Restaurant – As a matter of habit, I try to minimize our restaurant/fast food eating.  We did not eat our at all in January – success! However, I am spending Saturday with family members that are coming up to visit. They have already shared they want to go out to eat lunch.  So, hopefully I can keep our bill down to $30.

Prescriptions – I still need to pick those up…

No “fun” stuff planned other than being together with the people I love.  Will likely rent a movie from the Library or just plan to enjoy those Super Bowl ads.

I will be back on Monday to tally up my successes (or fails).

Thrifty Image  Mirror

 

 

The Water Challenge

River Aare, Interlaken, Berner Oberland, Switzerland

That’s a lot of water!

In early December, I read an article about a woman who drank 3 liters of water everyday for 30 days.  She reported being aches and pains free, disappearing under eye circles, clear skin and uninterrupted sleep.

It sounded like she had found the fountain of youth.  And I wanted in.

For years I have bemoaned the lack of sleep and aches and pains.  (Nothing wrong with my skin, though.  Smoother than a babies butt thank you very much. Seriously, I glow).

So I decided to go for it. No more coffee filled with 5-6 flavored creamers.  No more fruity drinks or wine with dinner.  Just water. A LOT of water.  For 30 days.  I happened to mention this challenge to some folks at work at our holiday luncheon.  For some reason, some of them were really interested although not everyone was super excited.  In fact, they were confused.  I heard feedback like:

Ok, I can do it as long as I can have a cup of coffee…Uh, no

I will do it as long as I can have my Super Big Gulp of Diet Mountain Dew in the morning….Really?  No.

What?  No wine? No…no wine

Can I have Vodka since it looks like water?  NO!

Anyway, after somewhat agreeing to the rules, our merry band started drinking 1 gallon of water January 1st and the results, experience and conversations were pretty amazing:

First, I cheated on January 1 — How embarrassing since I was the one to start this thing. I had been diagnosed with a sinus infection at the Minute Clinic on New Year’s Eve eve that then blossomed into an upper respiratory infection and I was sick, sick, sick.  I broke down and had hot drink of apple cider vinegar in hot water with honey the first 2 days along with my water.  I don’t regret it. I was seeking relief anywhere I could get it.

Second, my merry band had cheaters, too — tea, coffee, accidental orange juice, vodka, wine and orange juice made its way into some cups.

Three, I lost seven pounds in one week — I think it was a combination of cut calories from not drinking so much sugar laden drinks, being sick and my body no longer having to starve for water.

Four, the body rewards you for taking care of it — members of the merry band reported more hydrated skin and less achy muscles.

Five, my mom is a rock star– She drank 3 liters of water and nothing else for 30 days.  And thanked me for including her in the merry band.

Six,  I can do anything — I have a pretty aggressive sweet tooth and somewhat stressful life.  It is easy to comfort myself with food and drink.  Taking this Challenge showed me I can control myself and reset my habits and patterns.

Seven, good habits spill into other areas of life — Without the daily  start of sugary flavored coffees in the morning, I no longer pined for cinnamon buns and Swiss Rolls and cookies throughout the day.  I either went without or reached for my bananas and oranges.

Eight, humor goes a long way when dealing with change — One of our merry band really wanted a diet coke and was close to giving in.  I sent her this picture I found on clip art:

Diet Coke Addict

Nine, children are always watching/children don’t allow for nuances — Mirror Image was always quick to point out my “cheats”.  She disapproved of my Green Smoothies, hot Theraflu and probiotic drinks.  She did not agree with my explanations that a green smoothie was basically a salad and the others were medicine.  To her, I committed to water only and those were the only liquids allowed.

Ten, there are budgetary benefits to the challenge — I did not eat fast food, restaurant food or purchase any wine or cocktails during the Challenge.  My Mint budgets allow for $150 each month for those 3 categories combined.  That is now $150 saved.

Eleven, challenges are challenging — when working with a group on a shared goal, listening and adjusting are hugely important . There was a minor rebellion early in the Challenge and I was asked to give feedback since I was in charge (wait, how did THAT happen?!?!?).  The issue?  Hot tea. They wanted it and would drop out of the merry band without it.  Personally, I didn’t see this as defeat but as a compromise to reach the overall goal of drinking more water. So let them drink tea! I did put the kibosh on coffee, however.

Twelve, role models make me better — there were 2 members of the merry band that drank all the water and only water for all 30 days. No cheating! Their enthusiasm and commitment really motivated me.

Thirteen, it is OK to be different– According to one member of the merry band, when she chose not to drink wine with her wine drinking friends at a lunch/brunch, they were really shocked and a bit wary.  She was strangely happy.  Like she had won a contest (she did!)

This has been a great experience and I have decided to continue in February.  From a self control perspective, this has been the best experience I have had since the Whole 30 Challenge in 2014 which  I used to help reset my sugar addiction.  And I am convinced challenges come to make me strong.

I will go into how this challenge compares to money management and budgeting in a future post.  For now, here is how much a 30 day water challenge could cost:

Great Value Water

Walmart Brand

Nursery Water

Nursery Water

Crystal Geyser

Dollar Tree Brand

Poland Spring

Poland Spring

Aldi — 30 gallons of filtered water @ .79 each = $23.70

Walmart — 30 gallons of distilled water @ .78 each = $23.40

Walmart — 30 gallons of Nursery Water @ $1.00 each = $30

Dollar Tree — 30 gallons of Spring water @$1.00 each = $30

Poland Spring — 30 gallon of Spring Water @ $2.83 each = $84.90

Home/Office — 30 gallons of tap or fountain water = FREE

I chose FREE, of course but did buy a gallon of the Aldi water for my neti pot that I was prescribed to use during my sinus infection.

Thrifty Image Mirror

 

Monday Money Review

Monday - Let's Do This

It was a beautiful and productive weekend at the Thrifty Image household. Errand running,  a preteen sleepover, (more) shoveling and Church.  And great food, thank you Aldi and and Sam’s Club.

Here’s is where we work out if the weekend matched the expected weekend money so here we go:

Before

  • Church donation = $28
  • Groceries = $60
  • Dollar Tree = $30
  • Safelite (cracked window) = $0
  • Clothes Shopping = $0
  • Auntie’s B-day gifts = $100
  • Sam’s Club Rotisserie Chicken = $0
  • Zips Dry Cleaning = $0
  • Prescriptions = $20
  • Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum = $0
  • Total = $238

After

  • Church donation = $28
    • Church donation = $28
  • Groceries = $60
    • Groceries = $63
  • Dollar Tree = $30
    • Dollar Tree = $30.22
  • Safelite (cracked window) = $0
    • Safelite = $383.00
  • Clothes Shopping = $0
    • Clothes Shopping = $0
  • Auntie’s B-day gifts = $100
    • Auntie’s B-day = $0
  • Sam’s Club Rotisserie Chicken = $0
    • Sam’s = $7.97
  • Zips Dry Cleaning = $0
    • Zip’s Dry Cleaning = $0
  • Prescriptions = $20
    • Prescriptions = $0
  • Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum = $0
    • Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum = $0
    • Gas = $26.21
    • Walmart = $60.98
  • Total = 512.19

Way over…and not even on fun stuff.

Groceries category wasn’t too bad based on my projections but still more than it should be for 2 eaters in one week.  We restocked from the storm and this will last us until next week.

Dollar Tree total is fun because I actually purchased $50 worth of stuff but used $20 in coupons and in store promotions. Last week I saw this YT video – Dollar Tree Haul Brag.  I had no idea it was a thing to purchase items at the Dollar Tree and post a video about it. So that led me to videos like this –Dollar Tree Couponing and this –  Dollar Tree Couponing.  I was hooked on the idea of seeing if I could get those staples that I often go to the Dollar Tree T for (movie candy, cleaning products, etc.) for less. And I did!  This is what my Dollar Tree shopping looked like this weekend:

Dollare Tree Shopping with Coupons

The Pedigree Dentix dog snacks were FREE with coupons!!

My dog has enough snacks for 6 months, now.  The Lysol cleaners came to only 50 cents each.  Our supply and snack cabinets are now stocked, locked and loaded.

Windshield repair.  Sigh.  It turns out that my windshield could not be repaired because the crack is longer than a dollar bill.  So, it is replacement for me, not repair.  Thanks for having my back, Emergency Fund.

Auntie’s B-day celebration has been pushed back to next weekend.

I purchased a Sam’s Club membership that came with a bunch of goodies.  However, what I didn’t know was that you had to redeem those goodies within 2 weeks.  Yikes!  So instead of walking out with a rotisserie chicken, I walked out with the chicken, the breakfast platter (pastries) and a cheesecake platter (7 flavors).  Obviously I will be asking the kind people at work to help me nosh through this unexpected haul.  Since I purchased this through Groupon and there was no paperwork, I didn’t know about the 2 week deadline.  It pays to ask the basic questions at the membership counter.

Sam's Club Membership Goodies

I looked like a real member with all this stuff!

I also used $7.97 to purchase watermelon sticks. Mirror Image and I love watermelon. And all of this came in timely since I had some giggly girls doing sleepover/movie night this weekend.

I did not pick up the prescriptions.  I was so overwhelmed by having to get so much more food than I thought, I completely forgot.

I forgot I needed gas and didn’t account for it on Weekend Money. I was excited to get gas for only $1.76 per gallon at Exxon until I drove further down the street and saw it for $1.69 at Shell.  Hopefully using my Plenti rewards card helps close that gap when I go to cash in my points.

My daughter’s printer ran out of ink on Friday night so we purchased that and a couple of either personal care items from Walmart.  I have to find a cheaper ink opportunity. It is too expensive.

So there is it.  On the surface, major fail being $361.30 over projections.  However, I would have had to get the windshield replaced anyway in order to drive legally. Here’s hoping for no surprises next weekend!

Thrifty Image Mirror

 

 

Weekend Money

Weekend

The weekend is here and that means a loosening of the schedule, running of errands and spending some money.  At least that is how we do it in my neck of the woods.

Almost every weekend, when Mirror Image  and I venture out to run errands, we drive by a large Bank of America with a large parking lot that is across the street from a small PNC bank with a tiny parking lot.  Those places are usually packed.

I am inevitably stopped at a light at this intersection and while waiting, I make the usual observation that “folks are getting their weekend money”.   This use to fascinate my daughter.  Now  she doesn’t even look up from playing her free Minecraft imitation game on her FreedomPop phone.  Yes, I do say it a lot.  Not to judge.  Just as a funny observation.  I hate going to banks.  I bank electronically.  Hadn’t stepped foot in one in years before we set up Mirror Image’s savings account to hold her birthday money at the PNC across the street.  But clearly others still enjoy the process of going in to complete their money transactions or walking up to an ATM to do the same.

I started thinking though, that I can play the weekend money game, too.  I am going to pre-spend here on this post, then reconcile on Monday.  I plan for this to be another avenue of accountability and budgeting.  So here we go:

  • Church donation = $28
  • Groceries = $60
  • Dollar Tree = $30
  • Safelite (cracked window) = $0
  • Clothes Shopping = $0
  • Auntie’s B-day gifts = $100
  • Sam’s Club Rotisserie Chicken = $0
  • Zips Dry Cleaning = $0
  • Prescriptions = $20
  • Ripley’s Believe It or Not Museum = $0
  • Total = $238

Groceries will be tricky. My usual weekly grocery goal is $40. Mirror Image is a foodie like me. And she has been cooped up in the house all week because of school closures due to the storm.  She is going to want to eat her freedom via her mom’s mad cooking skills.  Aldi has some awesome yummies in the ad this week so hopefully this will help me stay on budget.

I have discovered that Dollar Tree accepts coupons for real!  Last year I tried to use one when  I saw the sign but the cashier was clueless so I just gave up.  Well, thanks to youtube, I found out that coupons actually are accepted and I plan of stocking up on cleaning supplies and dog snacks.  I have coupons for Lysol toilet bowl cleaner, Puffs Tissue, Bounty and Canine Carry Outs.  All of these products are currently being sold at the Dollar Tree.

My windshield is a victim of the storm that came rolling through. I discovered the crack and feather driving home last night.  But no issues because I have insurance!  Nationwide covers windshield repair at 100%.  And Safelite will come to me tomorrow morning (I set up the appointment online). My prayer is that this is a true repair and not a replacement. If I have to replace it, my deductible is $400.

It is Auntie’s birthday next week! She will be 81. Flowers, gifts and homemade cupcakes for the birthday girl.

I am not buying any clothes in 2016.

No dry cleaning necessary this week.

I purchased a Sam’s Club membership last year through Groupon.  I got the $45 option which gave me one year of membership, a $20 gift card to spend and a:

  • Free rotisserie chicken (2.75lb—$4.98 value)
  • Free Daily Chef Breakfast Pastry Platter (54 ct—$19.98 value)
  • $14 Off a $14.98 Daily Chef 7-Flavor Cheesecake

I love this deal because I basically got all my money back and then some. This weekend is all about the rotisserie chicken.  Because of my 30 day Water Challenge, I have used none of my restaurant budget this month.  Getting this chicken for FREE will be a nice treat without budgetary impact.

While at Sam’s Club.  I hope to pick up a prescription.  This will be my first time using their prescription services and I am hopeful that the price difference is as significant as I have heard.  According to the price list online, I should see great savings.

I mentioned that Mirror Image has been inside all week (except for walking the dog with me).  I picked up some Ripley’s Believe it of Not Museum tickets through Groupon last month for $18 for 2 entrants.  We may catch the commuter train downtown and visit the Museum and celebrate her excellent report card.  Not extra costs here.

So that’s the weekend money plan.  Looking forward to Monday’s accounting.

Thrifty Image Mirror