Family

Hi! Remember Me?

I haven’t posted since Nov 8th. Woops.

Here’s what’s been going on:

– Bossman and I moved into an office. It’s about a mile from my house, score! And, I get to bring Betsy Ross in with me. She’s lovin’ it. There’s other doggies here too and she gets lots of love from the office guys.

– I got a mini “promotion?” I took on some additional responsibilities at the new office. I still work with Bossman, but now I’m handeling all the scheduling and meeting appointments for the studio we’re working with. I spend lots of time sending emails and making event invites in gCal.

– We celebrated Thanksgiving with my family. We always celebrate Thanksgiving the Sunday before the official day. I made mini-pies! Apple and Pumpkin. Leftovers were enjoyed by my office-mates.

– I got the nasty winter cold that’s making its way through everyone’s home and work. It was icky. Glad it’s over.

– We enjoyed Thanksgiving with Merfman’s family. I made my first ever green-bean casserole. Recipe courtesy of Paula Deen the Butter Queen.

– Merfman and I went shopping on Black Friday! I know, I never thought I would do it. We waited until after lunch and ventured out with very specific items on our list and a budget. I’d been wanting a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer FOREVER and with the wedding gift cards, a rebate and the black friday deals we got one for $70! Merman got a new pair of shoes for $35 and we got my phone plan switched so we’re both on Verizon now.

– When I got my phone switched I got a new iPhone 4s. I didn’t see the need or want to spend the money for the iPhone 5. I love my 4s because I can talk to Siri and have her give me directions or makes calls/emails/texts for me when I’m driving. Now, if I could just get my bluetooth set back up in my car…

– Merfman hung our Christmas lights! It’s not even December and we’re ahead of the game! He’s been a busy bee around the house the past few weeks since he’s had some time off and I’ve been sick and useless. He even hung the rain gutters on the back of our house all by himself! I love that man. I LOVE having projects completed.

– We started our Christmas shopping. We’re keeping the budget small this year and trying to be really creative with out gifts. I site Dave Ramsey for this ;) It’ll be a Christmas Like No One Else!

So that’s what’s up. I’m so excited for Christmas, it’s my FAVORITE time of year. I love the extra time with family and friends and the cozy feeling of the holiday. We’re planning to decorate the house this weekend and buy our tree! I’ll be sure to take some photos to make up for the lack of images in this post.

Happy Friday!

Family, Health & Fitness

Meal Planning on a Budget

Living Like No One Else means you need to plan, shop and eat Like No One Else.

I love me some food. I will gladly throw down $XX for an amazing meal…Sushi, Mexican, Italian. Yes, and yes.

But, since Merfman and I are following Dave Ramsey’s Plan we’ve cut wayyy back on the fine dining. I don’t mean we were chowing down on steak and lobster every night. Just a few out to lunches/dinners/pizza delivery that were quickly adding up.

I like cooking, and Merfman is really only home for meals on the weekends so I can get it together for 2 days, yea? I’m partial to leftovers/solo meals when he’s working late so I try to plan our meals out on Thursday for grocery shopping on Fridays.

I know there’s a million MealPlannerWeeklyMenuShopping Printables out there on the interwebs, but I made one for myself.

You can download it here —> Menu Planner

I think the key to staying on track with your weekly grocery budget is planning ahead, making a list and no impulse buys! Seriously, if you look at what you already have in the kitchen, plan your meals and then make your list you should be set. I’m also a big fan of sticking to cash for grocery shopping. We have $80 – $100 a week for food. I know from shopping at the same stores that I can hit right around $80 each week, sometimes under if I use coupons ;)

So, do we eat rice and beans for every meal? No…but we do love our crock pot “refried” beans and Fried Rice dinners, yum. I don’t eat any meat besides fish so that cuts wayy back on the spending. If you have 1 – 2 meatless meals a week you’ll save money. Protein is the most expensive item on your shopping list…well, next to the vino, hehe. Scratch that, we drink $2 wine in our house…Fresh and Easy brand for the win!!!! Don’t judge, it’s actually really good.

Buy frozen veggies, they last longer and still hold their nutrition. I HATE wasting food, especially produce. Make your own beans, seriously. You’re like, wha – beans are dirt cheap anyway?! Think about it, you can buy a BAG of dried beans for a few bucks and make multiple servings vs that one CAN for a few dollars that’s 1 – 2 servings.

Steer clear of the JUNK food. For one, it’s not good for you. Two, it’s not going to make you feel full so you’ll eat more, therefore spending more to fill you up. Hard-boil an egg, or eat a piece of cheese. Protein is what fills you up, so if you’re snacking on those granola bars you’re getting nothing but sugar and carbs at $1 a pop.

Buy the store brand. I know, I know…but the name brand TASTES better, right? Sometimes, it does. There are a few things I will buy name brand for, like Pancake Mix. Bisquick has a million uses anyway. But almost everything “store brand” is made in the same place where the name brand is, it just has a different label. Try a blind taste test with your family by switching your oatmeal, or tortilla chips. It’s not a big difference, but it will save you moneyz.

Happy Cooking, and Happy Friday!

Family

But I WANT it!

Last week I shared how Merfman and I are Living Like No One Else. Part of that idea is separating the NEEDS from the WANTS.

Dang, that’s hard. My Dad calls it your “want-o-meter” when you just WANT something so bad!

I’ve never been a big shopper. I was never the girl that when someone asked what my hobbies were I listed Shopping at the top of the list. No thank you, I would much rather be on a bike ride or reading a book then combing through the department store clothing racks.  That’s my idea of torture.

But, I still have wants like anyone does. My “want-o-meter” really gets charged up when I enter TARGET. That store. I love it. But man, that places can take $50 bucks from you like nothin’!!

For example, this little guy:

I was at Target grabbing some items for my Bossman and I spotted this AMAZING lamp on an endcap. I didn’t NEED it, but man-oh-man I WANTED it. There wasn’t a price tag on the little fella so I carried it over to a scanner (while talking TO said lamp) and discovered that she priced at $68!!!!! That WANT very quickly dissolved. I said my goodbyes to her and went on my way.

Dave Ramsey often talks about how much money is spent on making you spend your money. Make sense?! Marketing and Advertising is a massive industry and they are sneaky little buggers. Don’t ever think that the store isn’t laid out that way just by chance, it’s all planned out. Every endcap, each clothing section, the layout it’s a trap! I’ve fallen victim to that trap many times. You know how it goes…you just need to make a quick stop at Target to grab toilet paper and you end up leaving with a new mascara, pair of shoes and a blender. And $50 seems to be missing from your wallet.

How to avoid the trap? Well, I’ve found what works for me:

– Make a LIST. I love lists, they make me happy, and calm. If it’s not on the list, it’s not in the cart!

– Bring your CASH. Buying with cash is obvious and finite. If you only have $XX to spend, that will keep you away from the doggie lamps.

-You can LOOK but don’t TOUCH. I heard once that when you touch a new item your percentage of purchasing goes way up.

– BROWSE. I really like Target, they have some really fun and cute things. I was there last week and I walked the store looking at all the fun Fall things. I saw some really cute Plaid shirts that were calling to me, but it wasn’t on the agenda. I think I’m going to hit up the thrift store and see if I can find a knockoff version for fraction of the price :)

Dial back the “want-o-meter” and focus on the NEEDS.