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Archive for October, 2009

Winterizing the vehicles...

October 17th, 2009 at 02:41 pm

Well this was an expensive spending week on the vehicles. All planned mostly but not completely. $900 later both vehicles are ready to run for much longer.

Wifes car- Originial qoute $420.00 final bill $345

The wifes car got a transmission tune up, oil change, radiator flush and fill, swerpentine belt replacement. Also the parts came in $100 under cost but he found a broken sway bar link and replaced it as it needed done $17 and parts were much less then expected. Her car runs better than when we bought it last year.

My Truck- Original qoute $179 final bill $550!

My truck got a manual transmission tune up, oil change, coolant flush and fill, adjust e-brake (more on this), fixed exhaust. Well everything went smoothly except the e-brake adjustment turned into a full rebuild of my back breaks. Never heard and moise from them but after a call and the rear breaks were metal on metal and the reason my brakes didn't work. $300 in parts and extra labor, mostly all parts as everything had to be replaced, he said its been this way for some time and may have been this way before I bought the truck late last year. Oh well atleast its all done. Truck is quiet, stops well, and the e-brake works wonders.

I still have to replace my windshield but that will have to wait as the brakes spent up the maintence budget this month plus a bit extra. The entire exhaust on my truck will need replaced next spring or early summer to a tune of $400 but the mehcanic said it would be fine till then and maybe abit longer.

We also got 5% off parts and Labor for both vehicles which was great. Having a great mechanic that is willing to look ahead at upcoming stuff to consider is priceless.

Well off to go collect this months Angel Food Ministries packages.

Craig

Updated savings and upcoming spending.

October 14th, 2009 at 10:32 am

Well I've managed to put some more money away. Our total is not $4300! We also added a bit of cash to cash on hand. I would like to hit around $5000 in the savings as a cushion but may not get that much with some upcoming spending.

Upcoming spending includes:

Car Maintence- Automatic Transmission Flush, Coolant Flush, Oil Change, overall inspection of under car parts.

Truck Maintence- Coolant Flush, Manual Transmission Flush, Oil Change, Replace Exhaust, Fix Emergency Break, Replace Windshield, General under truck inspection.

We have a good mechanic that has worked on the car in the past and charges a reasonable price and is extremely honest. The car needs mostly general maintence to make sure it is on the up and up this winter. My truck on the other hand needs a bit more as the exhaust broke a couple months back and the windshield has a crack in it. I work construction so the truck takes a small beating from tiem to time.

Both vehicles are from 93 and 94 but I would like to get atleast another 2 years out of each of them before having to consider another purchase, longer would be great. I'm also hoping to keep all these costs under $1000; $750 would be my ideal target. Maintence will probably be what I would have put away in savings next month but keeping the vehicles in top shape is more important.

Craig

My spendorific weekend....

October 12th, 2009 at 01:13 am

Well this weekend was full of little purchases. Some will come out of our monthly allotment a couple are items purchased for the baby from SILs gift of cash.

Expenses from our monthly allotment:

$77 groceries - Stocked up on several items like sausage, bacon, bicuits, canned fruit, Sparkling Grape Cocktail NA (note this was $30 of hte total as I bought a whole case 12 of them as the price is great at Aldis, Oats, Snacks for my lunch, cheese, eggs, etc...

$26 New Air Pedal for my wifes Singer Imerial Princess machine - She has needed a new pedal for ~10 years after one of her pets chewed into it and she has just had it taped and retaped. Picked this up off ebay from an authorized distributor

$5 Rings for the baby sling she is sewing. Had to order these as we weren't able to source them locally unless we wanted to spend $20.

Purcahses for the baby with gift cash:

$24 Snow suit from a consignment site still has original tags with $68 price on it.

$16 Maple Teething ring from Novanatural.com - sorry no cheap plastic for our babys mouth or toys.

$10 Sleepers for the baby wife wil lgrab them tomorrow.

We will have to deposit the money to cover the baby purchases tomorrow am. the wife also will be picking up some thread and needles tomorrow with a coupon at the columbus day sale at the local Hancock Fabrics, not sure on total cost but she needs these items to finish some sewing projects.

Once I get my check tomorrow I should be able to top the $4000 mark in the savings account. We also have around $50 for us to last the rest of the month.

Will be bringing my lunch again this week so I shouldn't have many spend days next week as I have gas in the truck and car, lots of food with a delivery from angel food ministires on saturday, and some quarters to do a load of baby diapers mid week as they need to be washed every 3rd day or so.

Craig

Some small spending...

October 7th, 2009 at 11:52 pm

Not much going on the home front. Slept from 6:30-8:30 last night then went back to bed at 9:30 till 4:55 when my alarm went off. Worked a little bit extra this week so far but they are calliong for rain tomorrow and a small chance on Friday.

Spent $18.41 at the grocery store on the way home. Bought 4 bags of cat litter at $2.99 each for 25 lb bags should last us about a month or so, the wife changes there litter once a day with about 4-6 cups of fresh litter at change time. $1.33 for a couple of tomatoes 3/4 lb worth (much cheaper at Aldis as they are $1.29 for 1.25 lbs) but tidn't think they had cat litter and this grocery store is directly on my way home. Lastly I splurged on 2 caramel apples, one for each of us.

I will have to get gas tomorrow and the wife filled up her car yesterday. Should be about $65 left after that but all the bills are paid, ccs are paid in full, and the house if full of food.

We will go pick up food on the 17th from Angel Food Ministries which should last us the rest of the month atleast. I need to have the wife contact the drop off location to verifiy everything and time to pick up.

Hoping to put another $1200 this month in savings for my winter layoff as my unemployment will only cover 90% of the household expenses. The wife gets to keep her unemployment till the begining/ middle of Janurary after that I will be the sole income.

Checked out the local news and our town has the worst unemployment in the state at 6.5%, not as bad as some but there are 2 more large companies shutting down this year. Been perusing for a part time job but its been hard lately as I don't have tiem with my long hours at my main job. Maybe in a couple of weeks I can see whats out there once we go back to 40 hour weeks.

Craig

Updates!

October 5th, 2009 at 10:52 pm

Well I updated my side bar. Got paid today and the boss gave me an additional $150 that I added to our cash on hand. Placed $300 into checking which leaves us with $211 for hte rest of the month, atleast that is my goal. May need some extra but I'm going to try. Lastly deposited $283.92 into the savings account to bring us up to $3500 which is about 2 montsh worth of living expenses.

Depostis expected for the month yet:

Wife $226+25 weekly for unemployment benefits

Me ~$583.92 weekly (This is approximated as I work construction and my week cna vary depending on weather and work.)

I still have 8 or so items on craigslist but may delete and relist them at this point.

Craig

A slight detour...

October 4th, 2009 at 10:23 pm

We'll I have a slight detour in my plans. In the long run my purchase should save me over $100 a month in the short run cost me $200.

I installed a large 1000 watt power inverter into my truck today and a Microwave so I can be more efficient with taking my lunch. I work construction and not always a place to plug things in with the busy job sites. Took a couple of hours of wokring in really tight places to run the cables into the cab of my truck to hardwire the inverter but its there. I have to have my truck on when I use it but with the cold weather coming not having to eat cold lunches will be pleasing.

I will take this out of my check tomorrow and deposit slightly less into savings. I should also be getting an additional $150 from my boss as a bomus that I will cash and add to the cash on hand fund. Now htat we have the little one I hate to be without some cash on hand incase of a major power outage. We had one 3 years ago and the side of town I'm on lost power for 3 weeks due to a terrible ice storm.

Wow 2 posts in one day, but I msut get back to the big pot of chili on the stove. Wife offered to make corn bread from scratch once the little one calms down. He has started teething and not quite 4 months old.

Craig

My October Challenge, and my other thoughts.

October 4th, 2009 at 01:21 pm

I'm trying to challenge myself this month as to try and live on the $300 left in the bank. I've successfully paid all the bills except car/ renters insurancea s it comes out on the 28th, though moneyt is set aside for it. CCs are paid in full, rents paid, and all utilities. I have to say this is the first time I have ever been able to accomplish this feat.

My wife nad I still get a weekly check. She gets her unemployment and I get my regualar check. If we can avoid using the incoming funds this will allow us to put away what we make this month in prep for next months bills and savings.

I would really like to repay my grandparents the last $900 I owe them but hate to take money from the bank at this time. If I get a good month this month at work I may jsut do it though as it will be one last bill on my shoulders.

We are looking at purchasing an elliptical. I currently have a basic weight bench and would also like to add a few more weight as mine just has six 15lb weights in the set. I used to have a gym membership but canceled it as all I was really using was the free weights and the elliptical as I wasn't using the other 90% of the gym I dropped the extra payment every month. I've been watching craigslist for an elliptical but everyone wants so much second hand for them and most are much older models. I'm looking for a specific one and may have to buy new but atleast I can get free shipping and delivery to the room of choice which will save me $150. Also this elliptical is $600 off and now only $999.00

I may consider it once November gets here as last month was expensize with suprising hte wife wiht her new serger that she is loving making baby clothes out of.

Craig

How we keep from eating out!

October 2nd, 2009 at 09:31 pm

Well this is how we keep food costs in check and keep from eating out.

Things you will need: (note this does require some up front investment if you don't have these items)

Deep Freeze - We purchased a 7 cu. ft. upright unit from Menards for $300 on sale for $100 off. We chose upright as things seem to get lost in chest styles

Pyrex Dishes - We got 10 for these sets (http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=11966166) and then extras of the medium and small sizes individually from wal mart as well. Total investment - ~$300 but these should out last any plastic storage container, better in the environment, and can go straight from freezer to oven.

We prep the following items and portion them out as to not have much left over maybe a serving at most.

Various Meats-

Ground Beef all ready browned and ready to go, usually about 5lbs at a time seperate into 1 lb servings

Taco Meat all ready cooked and ready to reheat, usually 5 lbs at a time and split into 1 lbs servings

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts seperated into 2 servings per container usually a 3 lb package worth

Steaks - I buy hte cheap petite cuts in large packages and split into servings, usually end up with about 7-8 servings

Pork chops - Usually buy a big package of chops not the expensive cut but you get hte idea. Usually about 7-8 servings worth

Triple batch of Lasagna split into 6 containers perfect size for a meal.

Triple batch of Tuna Casserole split into 6 servings

Single batch of Tater Tot casserole split into 2-3 servings

Couple servings of Chicken and wild rice

I go fishing and bring home Walleye, pike, bass in the spring and about to go out here for fall fishing again. I brought in about 15 lbs of fish this spring wiht some bags in the freezer yet.

Also splurge on shrimp as we get a company that delivers it fresh from the gulf coast, drives it up here over night in a huge refigerated truck packed in ice. It costs about $13 a lb but it is the best shrimp ever around here and being a seafood/ fish nut it is my treat every 6 months or so is to buy 5 lbs.

We also prep desserts in the form of Berry and/ or fruit coblers all ready to cook, Cookies, brownies, cakes all ready to cook and small size jsut big enough for the 2 of us.

I also do 10-15 lbs of potatoes with a large batch of mashed potatoes seasoned and frozen and a huge batch of Twice baked potatoes ready to be pulled out and reheated.

It costs us about $250 every 8-10 weeks to restock the freezer with all this food, we also eat out of hte cup boards as we keep soup mixs, some conveinece foods such as fish sticks and chick nuggets, frozen pizzas the cheap little ones.

We also keep staples such as mac and cheese, ramen noodles, frozen veggies, frozen hot dogs, etc on had for easy fix meals and what not. Alot of our noodles and such ceom from the Amish town 45 min south of us as everything is so cheap there.

We eat out about once or twice a month which isn't that bad IMO.

We send about $35 a week otherwise on essentials as bread, butter, milk, eggs. The wife makes her own yogurt for smoothies and eating.

Craig

Frugal Birthday evening.

October 1st, 2009 at 05:33 pm

Well yesterday was my birthday and the wife kept it frugal. She made me Beef and Barley soup. We get the mix at the Amish store about 45 min away. Super cheap and just add beef. Scallop Potates we had in the cupboard and some peanut butter chocolate chip oat bars. We then went out dancing for abit at the local Wednesday night Salsa joint while the MIL baby sat the little one. This was our first outing since he has been home that he didn't go along on.

Total Cost $4.50 for a drink at the club that turned out to be the worst Margarita I have ever tasted, didn't end up finishing it. All in all it was a blast to get out for a short date.

Rainy here today and cold so I got off early.

Will be running to Aldi's to get soem groceries as we haven't gotten anything and we are out of bread. We shop about every 1.5 weeks for milk, bread, eggs, etc. Our deep freeze is getting empty but that is good as I want to defrost it before winter arrives. We can then cook another large batch of food and stock our freezer back up.

All in all things are looking up.

Craig