Wednesday, July 31, 2019

My Grocery Budget 2019 - July Update

July was a busy month for us, but we still managed to fit in a few good trips to the grocery store including quite the haul on our bikes one day.  I took advantage of the sales ads and tailored my shopping lists to what was on sale as well as to use all the digital coupons I could find and download to my store rewards cards to go along with those sales items.  It cut the prices of each item considerably which allowed me to do some stocking up for winter and start filling our pantry and our recently defrosted chest freezer back up.

Shopping the sales did require me to have to go to several stores, but for the savings I received as a result I was more than happy to do it.  I was able to get a lot more food for my dollars this way.

The only nonfood items I purchased this month were two 12 roll packages of toilet paper on sale for $3.99 each  That total came in at $7.98 out of my $25 nonfood budget so plenty leftover.  Here is the food I bought this month:

$188.20 ÷ 31 days ÷3 people = $2.02 per person per day!

I do try to keep my budget closer to $150 a month, however a lot of what I did buy is for future months so I'm fine with going over budget a little bit this month.  No way did I want to miss out on those great buys from our big haul at Albertson's.

Did you come across any super buys at the stores this month?  Have you started stocking up for winter yet?

This budget month runs from July 1 through July 31

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Restoring An Old Car - Phase 4

I think I have created a junkyard junkie.  I'm super proud of my girls.  They took the initiative on their own one day to head over to one of the local junk yards and pulled a part we needed off of a wreck they had.  Never having done it before they found what they were looking for and removed it.  With the kindness of strangers who lent then a screwdriver, as it hadn't occurred to them they might need some tools, they got it done.  Silly girls, but they know for next time - take your tools.  Why were they at the junkyard and what part did we need?  A wiper switch!

The Scion's intermittent wipers didn't work and when you turned off the wipers they stuck in position where they happened to be.  They didn't return to the down position.  We needed to fix that and replace the worn out wiper blades.  A quick stop into Wal-Mart for replacements and she had all she needed to complete this project.

Wipers used to get stuck wherever they happened to be
when you turned them off.  Slightly annoying.

After researching the issue and having watched a couple YouTube videos on how to do the repair we knew what we needed to do and what part was required.  Now we had it so we grabbed a flat head and a phillips head screwdriver, the keys and the "new" switch and headed out to the car.  You should've seen the look on her face when I told her she was going to do this repair while I watched.

I figured if you can pull the part off a wreck you can certainly do the repair and I was right about that.  After a quick lesson in auto electronics and how not to short things out or shock yourself she was ready to go.  She did a great job.

After removing three screws she was able to easily remove the column shroud.  Then all she had to do was unplug the connector and pull out the switch.  Putting the "new" one in was as simple as going in reverse order.

Now the wipers return to the home position and the intermittent option works too!

We put the key in and gave it a turn to the auxiliary position and she tested them out.  She let out a whoop!  They work!!  She was so excited.

All done!

Everything works too!  That's always good!

We took the opportunity since the shroud was off to do some much needed housekeeping in that area before putting it back onto the column.  Then I showed her how to replace the wiper blades.  I did one side and she did the other.  After another test she was even more excited.  And super proud of herself as she well should be.

New wipers installed
I feel so much better about her safety driving in the rain now

You'll love this part.  To have the repair done at the dealership would run $249.00.  To purchase a new switch would be $149.oo to $179.00 depending on where you bought it.  To pick up a used one off eBay was running between $19.00 + shipping upwards to $99.00.  To go to the junkyard was $1 admission per person and $11.oo for the part.

We saved a gob of $$ on this project

The wiper blades were $5.87 each so her total for this project = $24.74.  That is a 90% savings over having the repair done plus she included new wipers.  Now that is a HUGE savings!  Learning how to do some things yourself and being resourceful = priceless!

Monday, July 29, 2019

Last Week's Thrifty Moves

Sunday morning the oldest and I loaded up her car with all of the stuff she purged from her room the prior three days and it was a lot!  I was very proud of her for all that she was able to get rid of.  I added a bag of miscellaneous items as well as our toaster oven, one of our bread machines and my designer suit.  Hadn't worn it in over five years so obviously that suit wasn't a key piece to my wardrobe.  Then we hauled it all over to the thrift store and donated everything.  We both agreed it felt really good to have all of that stuff out of our house.

Shopping for next month already!

After our quick trip to the thrift store we headed off to Wal-Mart as she needed to pick up a gift item.  I took advantage of that and picked up quite a few  grocery items on my shopping list which allowed me to get a jumpstart on my August groceries.  I had some extra $$ and looking ahead at our schedule decided it might be a really good idea to get this out of the way early.

Salmon fillets & burger patties for the freezer

We went home and put away groceries and spent a good deal of time sorting, organizing and packing up my daughter's things for college and storage.  There was a little bit of emotion as we worked and she realized her room would be no longer.  It made me a little sad for her as well, but she knows she will always have a place here no matter what.

We got a good jumpstart on August shopping and stocking up the freezer!

Later in the afternoon all three of us girls headed over to Winco and picked up the last items on my grocery list.  The two trips to the store amounted to quite a big grocery haul and now I not only have a good start on restocking the chest freezer but also my pantry is looking much better too.

I sorted & reorganized our plastic food storage containers
These are ready for packing school lunches

Monday my daughter left for a two week trip to the Oregon coast with her boyfriend and his family and wasn't able to finish up in her bedroom.  After work I spent a couple hours working upstairs doing more sorting, organizing and packing in her room.  I took all of her bedding and pillows downstairs to the laundry room and started washing everything.  The mattress cover and pillows got washed with bleach and then dried in the dryer.  I washed her comforter, throw blankets and sheets after that in two additional loads.  She has acquired a lot of throw blankets and of course she loves them all.

Oh my goodness gracious what a job this was!!

Tuesday was another evening spent upstairs getting the last of her things packed up.  I decided while I was at it to take her bed apart and moved it out of there as well.  The whole room could use a good cleaning and some love.

The clothes she is taking relocated to the laundry room

Wednesday was our day to set out trash and recycling for curb pick up.  We set out a very full trash bin as well as a very full recycling bin that day.  I was very happy to see all of that crap go!

Temporary holding area in the upstairs hallway
I hate it! 😓

Both Wednesday and Thursday was spent working upstairs for a couple hours each night after work.  Friday, however was a different story.  I only worked a few hours and took the rest of the day off to spend some fun time with my youngest.  She and I drove over to the Canyon County Fair and we had a really good time.  It was Family Day so we were able to get wristbands for unlimited rides at $15 each.  We did some rides, watched a couple shows and indulged in a little fair food.  Then off to see the exhibits before calling it a day and heading for home.

Saturday morning we were up to get some errands run ahead of the summer heat.  We did a little bit of school clothes shopping at the Outlet Mall.  I had received a $5 coupon in the mail to the Vanity Fair store so we were able to use that on some new bras for my youngest.  We also found her a cute pair of jeans she liked on clearance for $12.97!  Yay!

Next we took a truck load of crap to the dump and on the way home we picked up some supplies at Lowes for an upcoming project that I may have started last week.  I know you will be as excited to hear about this particular project as I am to do it!  This one has been a long time coming.  Too long!

Some of the 15 Minute Chores I accomplished to keep my home in order:

Laundry Room & Half Bathroom - cleaned sink & counter.  Daily swish & swipe.

Dining Room - vacuumed floor.

Kitchen -  vacuumed floor, cleaned microwave, scrubbed & bleached the kitchen sink.

Bedrooms & Main Bathroom - vacuumed & dusted.  And packed, packed, packed one of them!.  Daily swish & swipe.

Other - five loads of laundry, vacuumed living room, hallway & entry.  Swept front porch.

How was your thrifty week?

Friday, July 26, 2019

She Donated Her Hair!

My youngest daughter decided she was ready for a change and wanted to cut her hair before school starts.  I figured she wanted a couple inches or so trimmed off as she has always loved her long, long locks.  But, I was wrong.  

She had been researching hair donation and had determined she wanted to give her hair away to a good cause rather than have it tossed in the trash.  I was completely on board.

This past Sunday afternoon was the time.  She filled out the form online and printed it out.  I grabbed a padded envelope from my stash and the hair cutting supplies.  My oldest got some rubberbands out and grabbed the camera.  It was a big deal!

Ready for the cut & style

I must have asked her a half a dozen times if she was sure about this and she never waivered.  Then we sectioned off her hair, tied the bands and I told her to go into the bathroom and check the length to make sure one more time she was okay to go this short.  Yep!  She said she was.  

That was a lot of length to come off

We carefully cut away each pony tail, then headed outdoors to complete her cut since it was a nice day, no wind and I could keep the mess out of my kitchen.

The back & sides after her cut

Ten minutes later I was done cutting her hair and told her to go inside and see what she thought.  I was a nervous wreck, afraid of her reaction.  It was pretty short.

Such a pretty girl!

But, she loves it!  She is so very happy with her new shorter haircut and how much lighter it feels.  She literally walks and bounces her hair, so cute!  She told me quite a few times how happy she is with the cut.

14 inches of hair!

She chose Wigs For Kids Foundation to send her hair to.  We placed it into a plastic Ziploc bag and tucked it into a padded envelope along with the paperwork.  Then off in the mail it went.

I think she looks absolutely adorable.  She made a great decision and I couldn't be any prouder of her.  

The only problem I have is that she looks way too grown up now (sniff).

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Achieving My Goals = An Improved Life

A small change can make a big improvement.  Not all changes need to be on a grand scale.  A lot of small changes can equal one big change.  A big change can make a HUGE improvement.  In order to make improvements I set goals.

I strongly believe in setting goals to accomplish the things that will enhance and improve my life and the lives of my children as well.  If I have the opportunity to do something to improve the life of someone else then to me that is a true bonus.  I firmly believe in a good quality of life and I strive for that in all aspects of how I live mine.

Setting goals gives me direction and something to work toward.  Without them I'm certain I wouldn't be able to accomplish the things that I do on a regular basis.  I've set some big goals for myself and sometimes they can feel a bit overwhelming.  If I break that goal down into a set of smaller goals it becomes much more manageable.

Achieving our goals should never be daunting or unattainable.  A good example of this is what I said in the first post about my daughter's car and the work she wants to do to it.  On the whole fixing up the car seemed to initially overwhelm her and she didn't know where to start.  We broke it up into smaller goals, eating the elephant on bite at a time rather than trying to consume it all at once.

First we simply cleaned the car inside and out, small change but it was a big improvement.  Then we moved onto the next goal.  Making a small change by buffing out the hood made a big change to the overall look of the car.  We made another small change by repairing the oxidized roof.  That small change made another big improvement.  Next we restored her headlights from foggy to clear.  Big improvement not only in appearance, but their function as well.  She has made more repairs and improvements that are making the car better, thereby improving her quality of life.  By the time she is done all of these changes will add up to one HUGE improvement.

Patience is another big part of the process when it comes to accomplishing my goals.  I don't always have a lot of money or time to spend on some of the goals I've set.  While a timeline is important, very important, to getting things done, I sometimes find I need to exercise patience while I wait for all the pieces to fall into place.

Flexibility comes into play when patience is required which is why I tend to have multiple goals set and it is not uncommon for me to be working on them at the same time.  While I prefer to set a goal, work on it, complete it and then move onto the next one it isn't always possible.  If I need to be patient and wait on one I move over and begin to work on another one.  I have a hard time being idle so sitting around just waiting isn't an option.  I need to be busy.

Tracking my goals allows me to adequately manage them.  Especially if I have more than one I am working on.  My preferred method to do this is simply to write it out on a piece of paper and keep it in my day planner.  I look at my lists daily and keep them fresh in my mind so these projects don't languish or get sidelined indefinitely.

Finding time to work on our goals can be a bit challenging as well.  I prefer to have set blocks of time where I plan to work and then get as much done as possible in that timeframe.  Sometimes that block of time may only be fifteen minutes or an hour and that is okay.  Any amount of progress you put into a goal is still progress.

I hope that by sharing how I manage my goals this helps you in some small way as well.  Let me know if you have any questions.  I'm always happy to hear from all of you.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Bike Trailer Update & A BIG Grocery Haul

This past Saturday I really wanted to take the bike cargo trailer, hook it up to my bicycle and do what I originally intended when I acquired said trailer.  We were blessed with some cooler temperatures for a few days so I decided I'd take advantage of that and go for groceries.  Lucky me, my youngest offered to join me and tag along.

Leftover bits & bobs

I used some slightly longer screws to make sure it was well attached

Before we left I used some of the remaining hardware to attach a black storage tote to the trailer along with some slightly longer screws to make sure it was well secured.  I reused the plastic washers to reinforce the attachment points.  

All secured into place

The tote has clips to securely hold the lid on.  I also tossed a couple of bungi cords inside the tote to strap items on top of the tote.

Ready to roll!

This cargo trailer holds a lot!

I had a pretty good sized list this time because Albertson's was having a heck of a good sale.  Most of what I purchased was fairly heavy too.  Normally this would've been a prime time to use the car or truck, but I'm one of these people that figures "go big or go home", ha, ha!

We didn't even squish the bread

My partner in crime
We used the bungee cords to strap two extra bags on top

We pedaled down to the grocery store and did our shopping.  Then we loaded up the trailer and managed to get it all on with no trouble at all.

We passed on this very enticing yard sale since we had ice cream

And we made it home!

We have a pretty good sized hill between the grocery store and home so once I got that far and couldn't pedal up anymore I hopped off and pushed it up to the top.  Then I hopped back on and made my way home.

That is a bunch of groceries!

My daughter took up the rear and reported that all went well.  Nothing fell off and our maiden voyage went off without a hitch.  I was super proud of myself for managing the trip and once we got home I felt great!

I was able to get quite a few back-to-school items for lunches too

We unloaded all of our groceries and got them put away.  I was able to get a lot of meat on sale including New York Strip steaks for $4.99 a pound and chicken thighs for 69¢ a pound.  85% lean ground beef was $2.39 a pound.

Here is all the meat I bought
I repackaged the steaks, chicken and ground beef for the freezer

I picked up salad mix 80¢ a bag, cucumbers and bell peppers 39¢ each, bananas 39¢ a pound, bread 80¢ a loaf and pasta for 69¢ each for the girls, loads and loads of great bargains.  Then I was able to use additional coupons to shave even more off the price as well as two coupons for $5 OFF a $50 Purchase and $8 OFF an $80 Purchase to save another $13 off the grand total.

Starting to refill the freezer

By the time all was said and done I had purchased over $230 worth of groceries for a final total of, are you ready for this?  $89.62!!!  I was sooooo excited.  And I didn't use any gas, got a great workout in and spent some quality time with my daughter.  Win, win, win!

I'm sure I'll be making more modifications and add-ons as time goes on
I am super happy with this trailer

The bike trailer performed beautifully and I am absolutely thrilled with it.  My daughter's bike is working really well for her too and she is super happy with it.  I know we are going to get a lot of great use out of this trailer.  I'm really looking forward to our next adventure with it too.

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