Sunday, August 31, 2014

30 things in 30 days. I made it and we got it!!

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Since it's the last day of the month, it's time for an update on this August challenge. You might remember that I started with a plan of purging 30 things in 30 days. Because I was more determined (and physically capable!) than I thought I would, I doubled my goal as I mentioned here. I was also pretty successful with selling stuff, so I made another goal to make at least $100 or, even better, to have enough to buy a new car seat without spending any money above what I got from selling.

I have to say, I kind of cheated this week... This week was so crazy busy and it literally flew by. But since I only had to find 4 things to reach my goal, I just rummaged around the house challenging every little thing we might or might not need. It was quite easy to reach my goal, actually... I also made $105 total from sales. Should've made more but I didn't list anything new this week because I was busy and exhausted. And we got a car seat - this one from Walmart:


 It has good reviews and matches the one we got from a friend (not a priority but still nice). It ended up being $106.83 with taxes so I was just slightly short but since I will be taking advantage of a $25 rebate, it will end up being a stellar deal, so I'm very happy. I really enjoyed challenging myself this month and our house is a lot more organized right now. There is still plenty to declutter but it will take a little more time.

And how did you do with the challenge?? I plan on slowing down a bit in September but I will keep (unofficially) going. What about you?

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Frugal Fridays. The money talk...

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Since it's the end of the month, it's only appropriate to start talking budgets and balances, right? :) I mentioned a few times before that August was a complete bust for us. But the whole summer was very expensive. In fact, with things popping here and there, we hardly put anything into savings in the past three months and not a dime in August. Well, we even dipped into savings this month... But I hope to bump it back very soon.

Today I got a very pleasant surprise. I don't know how I miscalculated it before but for some reason I thought that our 3-paycheck month will be in December. I'm due at the end of November (technically, December but I will be induced earlier if I even make it that far). We were going back and forth about getting a month of FMLA so my husband can be with us for the first few weeks after the twins are born. We won't get much help from anywhere else, and I'm not sure how I would take care of 4 kids completely on my own in the first weeks. But since FMLA is unpaid it will put quite a burden on our family, especially because I won't be able to work for a few months and because our savings will take a huge hit when all the medical bills will start rolling in...

And that's why a 3-pay check OCTOBER was such a pleasant surprise! I have no idea how I counted before but that's so awesome!! I really didn't want to lose that money and now we can beef our savings and put it towards weeks at home. My goal (or at least a desire) is to add another $1000 to it before the babies are here to be able to afford FMLA. Of course, at this stage, I cannot really plan anything. Nobody knows what next week will bring. But it doesn't mean we won't try to do our part and leave the rest in the hands of the Lord...

The next three months will bring tremendous changes to our lives, emotionally, financially and even physically. I'm trying to prepare myself and all of our family mentally but I realize that some things you just can't be prepared for (I wish, I could stock up on sleep, among other things...). It's kind of weird because usually these are the months when I try to get all the ducks in a row, make Christmas shopping one of the priorities and prepare for next year. This time everything but my family will be on the back burner. And I'm fine with that but it WILL be and is an adjustment that is very foreign for me. What can I say? I do love to have everything under control? :) Maybe, that's why God is sending me four kids to put me back into my place, lol? :)

So what does your fall looks like? Do you plan your finances month to month or do you work with longer periods of time in mind? Have you started planning for Christmas yet?


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Getting ready...

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I mentioned before that we are trying to clear our our freezer as much as possible so I can stock up on freezer meals for the first few weeks after the babies arrive. I did the same thing when our second son was born, and it was literally life-saving. I've never even thought of doing it with my first (I wish somebody would have taught me a few tricks before I became a Mom...), and when I ended up having surgery ten days after the delivery, our fridge was BARE. Thank goodness for some Church ladies who helped out my Mom who basically replaced me for a week while I was recovering. They cooked for her, shopped for groceries, brought diapers and anything she could've needed since they didn't speak each others languages. I will be forever grateful for their kindness...

But it pays to be prepared... So over the weekend I created a list of meals I want to try and a grocery shopping list. I'm not going to share with you my shopping list because I don't have a fancy spreadsheet. It's more of a homemade, let's-do-it-now kind. But I thought some of you might enjoy some of these great meal ideas even if you are not pregnant :)


Stuffed bell peppers - http://www.lovingmynest.com/food-love/stuffed-bell-peppers/
  
 

















Chicken Veggie Soup - http://www.recipe4living.com/article/freezer_ready_chicken_veggie_soup_and_more_freezeable_soup_recipes.html

Mini meatloaves - http://thebetterbaker.blogspot.com/2011/04/mini-meatloaves-from-make-ahead-meals.html

 

We will be increasing our grocery budget for September to accommodate some of these meals and other ones (like basic tomato meat pasta sauce, pesto sauce, muffins, waffles etc). I'm not sure how many of these ideas I will use, but I can see some of them becoming part of our regular menu rotation. Yum!! I would love to be done with most of it by the end of September if possible or my husband will have to learn how to cook, lol!! :) I'm already getting uncomfortably big and I still have 13 more weeks to go. Yikes!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Where did the time go???

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In the past two weeks both of my boys have started school. The Little One had his first day of preschool last Tuesday:

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And yesterday the Kid started his first day of 2nd grade (don't mind the hair...it's his signature look...):

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Where did the time go? I swear, just yesterday I was rocking them to sleep tightly swaddled.... They do grow too fast. Before long, they will be talking proms, cars and girlfriends. What a scary thought...

It's kind of weird to have a couple of hours all for myself a few times a week. I'm going to enjoy it while it lasts :) Today I went to Walmart and then chit-chatted with my sister over the phone :) Not much productivity but I'm OK with that :) Once in a while... I will be working a lot for the rest of the week, so a little break means a lot... I do miss their little faces already... When the older one is not here, the little guy seems so lonely... He only has preschool three times a week for two hours and in between he just waits for his brother to come home... I'm grateful that my boys are such good friends... Even though there is almost a 7 year difference between me and my sister, we were always extremely close, and I'm happy to see that both hers and my kids are following the same trend. I hope they will stay friends for the rest of their lives...

So are you excited or sad about kids being back to school (whether you send them to public or private schools or home-school and even away to college)?

Saturday, August 23, 2014

30 things in 30 days, update #3.

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Hello, hello, my lovelies!

How have you been? How is your Saturday? Ours was busy. We painted the baby room (almost)! It still needs some touch ups but I'm so glad to scratch it off my list. We want to deep-clean the carpets there too and then I can start decorating :) I'm pretty excited about it!! We are trying to tackle quite a few projects here in the next few weeks while I'm still capable and useful...

I mentioned in my last update that I have already reached my goal of getting rid of 30 things. I also challenged myself to make $100 before the end of the month. A week ago I did not have a set plan on what I was going to do with this money but after crunching the numbers yesterday, we decided that we will use it to buy a second car seat. It would be nice not to spend anything extra out of pocket for it. I sold a few more things this week and so far "the car seat fund" sits nicely at $94. I'm very close to my goal :) There is also a $25 rebate for Graco car seats out there, and I looked at Target, and it seems like I can easily stay within the budget if I reach my goal. The other car seat that my friend gave me is a Graco too. I used this company for both of my boys' seats and was pretty pleased with their products.

I also got another bag of donations ready to go which brings my total so far this month to 56!! Now I just have to double my original goal, no excuses. I feel very accomplished this week :)

Update #3: 56 instead of 30

And how did you do on your decluttering goals?


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