Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Planning It Out

Well now that we're into October, we're starting to think about preparing for the holiday budget, and thinking about the increase of our heat bill, since we live in the lovely north. Now we don't spend a lot on each other or the kids, but it's nice to have a plan of action so we know how much we have to spend.

We don't really know what to expect for our heat bill, since it's our first winter here, and for two winters we were in a free utilities rental (which was nice). Some things we have saved on, some things we haven't, and some things we're looking into:

1. Our mortgage payment is pretty low for our neighborhood (rumor has it that the neighbors were trying to organize themselves to put an offer on it for rental use since it was such a steal). We tried to put as much of a downpayment as our budget would allow, since we paid $10000 a few months earlier for another car, and to fix our current one.

2. We shopped around for cheap(er) car, life, and home insurance. Wow. We should have done this much much sooner.

3. We tried to save by going to cell phones, since I "need" one for my job (and so our daycare worker can contact me at all times). Unfortunately, our service is less than stellar (actually it's terrible), so we ended up getting a landline anyway.

4. We're hoping to have an energy audit done.

5. Continuing to get our food bill in order. I feel like we have the most control over this area, but also the area we struggle with too.

6. We're taking advantage of craigslist as much as we can for appliances and furniture. I'm not sure we've ever bought a new appliance in our lives.

7. Staying away from debt. No money = no spending. Thankfully when one of us is ready to give in, the other is encouraging us to stay the course.

8. We do pay PMI, so after we do a bit more work to the house, we'd like to have another appraisal to get rid of it. I look forward to that day a lot.

9. Cutting down on our eating out. Seriously, why do we stink at this?!

10. One that I'm aiming for, but don't like: turning the thermostat down. Being cold is yucky.

What are some ways you guys have saved? Or need to work on saving?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Another Frugal Post

All right, it's time for another frugal food post. Mostly to remind myself to be more efficient with the money God has blessed us with. L and I do believe that food helps heal and keep our bodies healthy, so it's important to eat the proper food. Hence, we are willing to pay more for fruits and veggies, and some organic items.

This is the first time in five or six years that I have cooked a whole chicken. I am certainly going to do this more often - it is so cheap, and talk about efficient with time. My first attempt at doing this was when we first got married, and well, I grossed out. So grossed out that L had to eat the whole chicken himself.

Well, I found this recipe (thanks, Elizabeth!), and decided to give it another go, since we had two whole chickens sitting in our freezer, waiting to be eaten. It was good. L had to do much of the work, but it was worth it. We have enough chicken for the week! We can have chicken sandwiches, enchiladas, salads (my lunch today), chicken/rice/potatoes/veggies, stir fry... the possibilities are endless.

In addition, we even used the bones of the chicken to make a stock for soups and to flavor other dishes. Not bad for $5, right?

Friday, October 2, 2009

My List of 15

It's been a busy few weeks for us here, but I felt like we needed to update, so here's our life via list:

1. We all missed L greatly while he was gone. We survived despite two viruses hitting our house, and a baby getting his first tooth. He is now home safely, and had a great time visiting with family and friends.

2. E requested a giant red giraffe as her gift. Red giraffes do not exist, not even in South Africa, but seemed quite content with a regular ol' stuffed giraffe. She has slept with it and her lion from the family since L's been home.

3. R is sporting a rugby shirt as his gift... and staring at the monkey that he received.

4. R has been a rolling fanatic for about a month now. Seriously, R is the happiest baby I've ever seen. He and his big sister certainly get a kick out of each other. Hopefully that lasts.

5. E is potty trained, and has been for about a month. Totally worth the time and effort.

6. I've been approached by a local agency to be a "money mentor". It sounds super cool, but not sure about another commitment.

7. Is in love with our food coop.

8. We are splitting a meat order with some of the sibs. We're grateful for local, cleaner meat.

9. I've been reminded of some of the great things our God has done this week.

10. Our freezer is full of frozen fruits and veggies from our farmer's market, waiting for the winter and for R to get old enough to eat some homemade baby food.

11. Looking forward to apple picking... yay!!!

12. E and I have so much fun making silly faces at each other. We laugh so hard our neighbors probably think we're crazy.

13. Am wearing regular jean #3. You may now cheer.

14. Is amazed at how many people are pregnant - I swear our population is going to double by the end of the year.

15. It's nice to have my husband home.