A Simple Christmas Season

A don’t use all of the Brave Writer curriculum; we just use what works for us.  But I feel like the Brave Writer/Bravelearner Philosophy has given me “permission” to truly do what works for us… no matter what that is… … Continue reading

Figuring This Thing Out

All I can say is wow. I have come a LONG way in our homeschool.  I don’t really even recognize it. I have tried all the ways of homeschooling and struggled to fit into any of them. Thanks to Brave … Continue reading

Being Simply Me

So… I couldn’t decide which pic to represent ME and I decided to show both because I enjoy makeup, and I enjoy makeup-free as well!  I find that there is beauty in both, and my husband and kids prefer me … Continue reading

Compulsive Buying, Cash Budgeting, and 31 Days of “Living Well and Spending Zero” (Yes, Again)

So… I’m not sure if my anxiety last week was medication after all.  I have been anxious about one thing in particular and I made some decisions and have been feeling better.  Only time will tell.

This is a very honest post.  I’m hoping there will be others who can relate and join me in this!

One of the biggest things that causes me anxiety is money.

You see, I’m learning that I am a compulsive spender.  It can be due to my obsessive/compulsive nature, part of my addictive nature, part of my bipolar, or I’m just a plain old spender.  Regardless of what the reason is, I get a rush out of spending.  I have never been able to save, and I spend every cent I have.  I often go negative in my account because I don’t think about the little things that come out of my checking account like Netflix.  So I will have spent every cent, then Netflix will come out and I am negative.  I have been spending every cent on books and curriculum, or online groceries (walmart.com and boxed.com).  Often, I have spent so much money on credit.  When I was homeschooling all of the kids I would constantly buy curriculum on credit, sell it, and buy again.

Poor Robert has been trying to pay off debt, and I remembered last week that our credit card on my account on Math U See’s website.  So, I bought her math for next year on credit, once again.  The interesting thing about that purchase is that I was feeling very anxious.  I had laid down to rest because of it and I remembered that we still had our credit card on our account (this is one that I had paid off with out income tax refund but not closed).  I got a rush and felt no anxiety for a little bit while I purchased it.  I was very excited about it.  Then once that excitement wore off, I felt guilty and anxious again.  If Robert wasn’t the one to pay the bills, I would have hidden it from him.  But since I know he will see the statement I confessed to him what I had done.  He reminded me that paying that off will take a few months, and it has set us behind again.  He wasn’t mad, just confused.  I ended up closing that account and have no more ways to buy on credit.

I also spent all of the money that Robert gives me for groceries and gas on books (good old Amazon, used curriculum groups, Rainbow Resource, and our writing website), and online groceries (not all was needed).  Hundreds of dollars.  Some things that I bought we needed.  We bought groceries at HEB and spent almost $100 (not bad, really).  Gas was necessary.  I bought some t-shirts at our camp store here so that I had some clothes that fit better (I guess this wasn’t completely necessary).  I paid for counseling for Karis and me.  Etc.  But I spent a lot of money on things that either we didn’t need or I could have saved up for.

Now what?

Time and time again I have proven that I cannot be trusted with any kind of card.  Credit or debit.  If I have it in my account, I will spend it online.  If I have any credit line open, I will spend it online.  Do you see a pattern here?  Online shopping does it every time.  This coming week I have 5 packages coming!  And that doesn’t include how many packages that came in last week!

The only way we can solve this is to take away my ability to buy online, which means going to cash only.

We had the opportunity to learn a lot about managing money a few years ago.  Our friends here at camp taught a Dave Ramsey class.  We bought the materials and only went a few times.  In fact, Robert went, not me.  I’m the one that should have gone.  Today I pulled out those materials, and I’m currently listening to the CD’s.

I also dusted off the envelope system.

We don’t have a house to pay off (part of Robert’s income is a free house!), and we don’t care about building wealth, but the rest is applicable.

I also pulled out another book that I’ve had called Living Well Spending Less.  I did some reading in it yesterday and came across a section that talked about doing a zero spend month to kick start things.

So, that’s what I’m going to do.  31 Days of Living Well and Spending Zero.  Well, it won’t necessarily be ZERO spending, but only essentials.  I bought the kindle book (I thought it was $0, but turns out that’s only for kindle unlimited, oops).  It’s a day-to-day plan for how to live this out.

What does that look like for me?

I’ve tried this no spend month many times and quickly failed.  Obviously I wasn’t committed, but more importantly, I was too tempted by being able to buy things online.  This is part of my pattern.

What am I allowed to spend money on?  Perishable food (as little as possible), gas, counseling, doctor appointment, and medicine (my medical and counseling is the most expensive part of our month).  Anything else will be saved.  I’m planning to be able to buy the rest of the curriculum that I need by the end plus have money saved up.  To buy this curriculum, I will hand Robert the cash and he’ll make the online purchase.  I think this is going to work nicely.

For once I’m hopeful.  It’s going to take a lot of work, but I think it’ll teach me to be more content.  That’s my goal.  Hopefully with this kick start I will be better with money.  We’ll see!

 

Grati-Tuesday, January 3rd

My start to the new year has been amazing!!!  I feel like I have so much to be thankful for.  I’ve already shared some of these pictures, but I’ll share again!

Some important things that I’m learning:

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The ability to buy plenty of food for multiple weeks (besides produce and other items that spoil, we’ll be able to make this stretch for 3-4 weeks).  This is a huge blessing because we have had years in which this was difficult to do.  We are blessed. (some of this we bought to cook for 8 summer staff, but we ended up not having to do that so we have more food for us!)

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New, amazing music thanks to a gift card!

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Game playing time with my best friend.

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A new found confidence.

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Organization that makes my days easier (and a notebook cover with my chips in it!).

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My hubby who loves me for who I am (I don’t think I look great in this pic, but Robert always thinks I look great).  The photo bomber cracks me up.

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Hubby bonding with his kids over our new Wii U (he has never had a video game console before, so this is new).  He has also been playing Nerf gun wars with them :-).

My hubby and kids in general.  I am so incredibly blessed by them.  They are all a person could ask for.  Robert is the most patient, supportive, loving, caring, and honest man a wife could ask for.  He loves with all that’s with-in him.  Karis is creative, caring, loves Jesus, and is loving towards others.  Ethan is passionate, so helpful, and organized.  Levi is a silly guy, loving, caring, and loves Jesus.  I am so excited to see them grow up!  They are amazing people.

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AA Twenty Four Hours a Day, the Big Book, and AA step work.

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A candle that smells like a fresh, new year!

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A new Bible study to dig deep into God’s word.

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  • My mental health is the best it has ever been.  THIS IS HUGE.  My medications make a huge difference, and the work I do on a daily basis also makes a huge difference!
  • Coffee
  • Coke Zero
  • I am beginning to be content with my body the way it is, knowing that my body doesn’t let go of weight due to medications, and I’m ready to just live life and not try to lose weight.
  • The fact that the kids are now in school… which means I have less to be anxious about.  I miss homeschooling a lot, but I know that this is what we all need.
  • Healthy food
  • Unhealthy food that makes me happy

I could probably go on and on, but I’ll stop for now :-).  What are you grateful for on this Grati-Tuesday?

Grocery Geek, Part 2, Updated

Well. I ended up doing some more grocery shopping.

I was worried about what I spent today, then I came home and crunched the numbers.  It all evens out :-).

Yesterday I got a few things that I knew we needed while we were at Walmart (I switched a meal from this week with a meal next week so I can use some produce that I already have).  The kids were shopping using their Christmas money.

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  • 2 boxes whole wheat pasta
  • 1 bag whole wheat egg noodles (for chicken noodle soup that we had yesterday)
  • Newman’s Own pasta sauce (I usually make my own, but this is actually cheaper!)
  • Ivory body wash
  • Neutrogena face wash
  • Puff
  • Candle (this was misc)

Then today I decided to get everything for next week except the produce.  I will buy the produce Wednesday or Thursday.  Next week I won’t need to buy anything until Friday!

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  • 4.5lbs ground chuck (I split it into 4 bags when I got home… it was super cheap this way)
  • 3lb chuck shoulder roast
  • 2lbs pacific whiting filets
  • 3lbs Bone in pork chops

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  • 2 boxes Pop Tarts (this is a treat)
  • 2 boxes family size Triscuits (one original and one cracked black pepper and olive oil)
  • 11oz bag of Unmomento breakfast blend coffee
  • 11oz bag of Unmomento decaf coffee (these are half the price of the HEB coffees that I have been buying!)
  • Nature’s Seasons (we use this on almost everything)
  • Coarse sea salt

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  • Quart size freezer bags
  • Gallon size freezer bags
  • LOTS of toilet paper (Charmin basic… had a coupon for it)
  • 14pk of Goodnights
  • 2 dozen eggs
  • 1 gallon whole milk (to make homemade yogurt)
  • Natural bliss coffee creamer
  • 16oz roasted red pepper hummus

This leaves us with $34.30 to buy produce for next week (I won’t spend that… all I’ll need is a few broccoli crowns, a few avocados, cabbage, and a few tomatoes).  Whatever is leftover will be moved to my savings account.

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I had to get Levi HEB brand Zaditor and Zyrtec because the cedar has been killing his allergies!  This came out of our health and wellness budget.  There won’t be anything left in this budget once I pay for my $180 doctor appointment and $30 for prescriptions next week.

I’m kind of excited because it looks like I’m going to come in under budget for gas!  I added up how much I will be spending this week and next week and it’s less than what I have budgeted for.  Whatever is leftover between gas and groceries will be moved over to my savings account.  Every little bit counts.

I think I can do this.  It’s tough because I always end up spending more than I planned… but I guess budgeting takes some time to get used to.

*Update*

I bought produce today (and 2 sneaky bags of popcorn that they were selling 2 for $1.79 at the register…).  It was $25 for all of it (that big bag of carrots was only $3!).  And I am done shopping for this pay period!

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Also, I was able to stretch dinners for most of the month of January between what I have on hand and dinners in the dining hall!

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All I will need to buy later this month:

  • Coffee
  • Half and Half or creamer
  • Eggs
  • Milk (for drinking and making yogurt)
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Lunch meat
  • Cottage cheese
  • Butter
  • Hummus
  • Produce
  • Sodas (ha!)
  • Whole chicken
  • Goodnights
  • Maybe a few other things…

Preparation for the Week and New Years!

Having a stress-free and successful week for me means a lot of preparation on the weekends.  Since self care is my number one goal each day (well, sobriety, including self care), I have to work really hard to make that work.

Thursday I meal planned (Meal Planning Sundays post was written about this).  Friday I grocery shopped and budgeted (Grocery Geek post was written about this).

The boys made a fruit salad Friday night with the fresh fruits I just bought :-).

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I finished my yogurt.  I only have 8 jars this time because Karis and her friends had some while I was putting it into jars :-).

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I also made some Elderberry Syrup in the Instant Pot (loosely based off a recipe from Azure Standard).  It smelled so good!

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Saturday was New Year’s Eve.  I desperately wanted to start the new year off right, so we spent the day focusing on getting the house in order.  We took down our Christmas tree.

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We cleaned bathrooms, floors, the kitchen, got caught up on laundry, and the kids all cleaned their rooms.

Then I went to work prepping.

I cut up veggies and fruits for the week.

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Then I packed lunches and snacks for the days I go into town for AA.  This is cottage cheese, veggies (bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, orange grape tomatoes, and celery), fruit (grapes, oranges, and strawberries), Triscuits, and mixed nuts for a snack.

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Then I baked some Banana Chocolate Chip Power Cake Muffins for the week (and for the freezer).  I use Lily’s chocolate chips and sucanat for sweetener.  Next time I will add a little more sweetener.  They aren’t very sweet.  They are good, though!

I’m excited about these because they are full of protein and whole grains!

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Karis enjoyed some time with her friend building things out of modeling clay while the boys played outside with their friends.

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We spent several hours with our neighbors and had a fantastic dinner of homemade tamales!

We ended NYE early so that we could get up early to go to church!

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We got up yesterday morning and went to church… which was a fantastic way to start the new year!

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We went to Walmart and the kids spent their Christmas money :-).

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The kids had a blast playing the Wii U with their daddy.

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We ate roast and veggies for dinner, and ended the night with reading, singing, and praying!

I’m so excited about the new year!

Meal Planning Sunday, January 1st! (Two Weeks)

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Breakfasts

Lunches

  • Sandwiches on sprouted bread with Hormel natural deli meat and Tillamook cheddar, veggies and hummus, fruit
  • Cottage cheese, boiled eggs, veggies and hummus, fruit, Triscuits
  • Leftovers

Dinners

Week of January 2-8

  • Monday- Chicken and Dumplings in the Instant Pot
  • Tuesday- Pulled pork using our homemade BBQ sauce (for our summer staff that will be here)
  • Wednesday- Dining hall
  • Thursday- Dining hall
  • Friday- Pizza
  • Saturday- Pasta and homemade meat sauce (recipe coming!) and steamed broccoli
  • Sunday- Creamy cauliflower and potato soup

Week of January 9-15

  • Monday- Burrito bowls (brown rice, Instant pot pinto beans, avocado, tomato, cheese, and sour cream)
  • Tuesday- Cheese enchilada stacks (corn tortillas with shredded cheese and canned enchilada sauce) and brown rice
  • Wednesday- Easy Chili and corn bread
  • Thursday- Fish tacos
  • Friday- Pork chops (grilled) and roasted veggies
  • Saturday- Hot Dogs
  • Sunday- Roast, potatoes, and carrots in the instant pot

Snacks

  • Breakfast cookies 
  • Fruit salad
  • Veggies
  • Cheese sticks
  • Homemade Greek yogurt
  • Austin cracker sandwiches (treat!)
  • Organic cheddar “frogeez”
  • Organic animal cookies

Weekly Prep

  • Bake breakfast recipes
  • Cut veggies for lunches and snacks
  • Make fruit salad for the week
  • Bag up veggies and fruit for lunches
  • Make yogurt