I realize I've been kind of absent from the blog for a while. I was home with little man for the summer and that kept me super busy. In addition, we're expecting baby #2 (yay!), so I haven't felt up to doing much beyond the necessary. Now that school has started back and I'm almost at the end of the 1st trimester, I'm feeling more normal and have a little more quiet time to do some blogging.
Budget updates: We've been really enjoying our new tenants. We have one downstairs in the apartment and one in the upstairs bedroom. They're both great fits for our family, and we're hoping that our upstairs tenant will get into grad school in the spring so she'll be able to stay on longer with us. Having both of them has really allowed us to pay down some of the home equity line this summer, as well as having Benny back at work full time for the summer.
We're looking into replacing the Jetta, which would be a hit to the budget. While we love the Jetta, it's almost 15 years old and in need of some major repairs, which we're having trouble rationalizing when we feel like we'd like a slightly bigger vehicle now that we're going to have two kiddos. Thankfully, we have a friend who has a car for sale that looks like a perfect fit for us, so if it all works out, we'll be able to purchase that for about $5,000 out of pocket, after the sale of the Jetta. Doing all this certainly means more debt to pay, but we feel like it's worth it in the long run. And every little bit of extra cash we earn (from Mary Kay, tutoring, extra hours at the store, eBay sales, gifts) will go toward this, so hopefully we'll have it paid within a year.
Little man got into preschool! He starts next week, and we're hoping he'll love it, although it will certainly be an adjustment. We're only doing one morning a week, but it will give him some much needed time with other kids and will allow Benny some time to pick up more hours at work (which will allow us to pay down debt a little faster). He already has some friends from church who are in this class, so we're hoping it will be a relatively smooth transition.
We had a new water filter and water softener installed for the whole house this summer, which we used our tax return to pay for. This will definitely save wear and tear on our appliances and will mean that they will last longer, so it's a worthwhile expense. We're also going to have the guttering on the front of the house replaced, as it was only a patch job when we did the new roof a few summers ago. We're also paying to have leaf guard installed, which will save us some money on having gutters cleaned. (Since we live in a 2-3 story house (two on the back, three on the front), we're not comfortable having Benny doing that job.)
Our plan for September includes a no-spend month, so except for regular bills and absolutely essential groceries, we're going to try to not spend any extra cash. I stocked up this month, especially during Harris Teeter's super doubles event, so we shouldn't have to spend much on groceries. We're also moving into fall when soup is more appealing, and that definitely stretches the budget. We'll continue not eating out and will take advantage of leftovers, gifts of food, the abundance of garden tomatoes and herbs etc. to make the budget stretch. So, without further ado, here's the plan:
September Menu Plan
Breakfasts: egg and cheese sandwiches, oatmeal with dried fruit and nuts, homemade yogurt with frozen fruit, smoothies, "big boy breakfast" for the boys which includes bacon, eggs, and homemade hash browns/toast, muffins/sticky buns on the weekends
Lunches: leftovers, egg salad sandwiches, tuna salad w/ crackers, BLTs
Dinners: loaded baked potatoes, black bean tacos w/ rice, beans and rice with chopped tomatoes, cheese and homemade peach salsa, vegetarian chili with cheese, plain yogurt, and salsa, crockpot pesto chicken with noodles or rice, roasted root veggies with barley or brown rice, breakfast casserole with eggs, cheese, and veggies, winter squash pancakes with hash browns and smoothies, crockpot cabbage, tomato, beans and sausage soup, pesto pizza with veggies (x4 we do this almost every Friday), homemade mac and cheese with some veggies, tomato basil soup with garlic toast, meatball sandwiches with steamed veggies or fruit, lentil sloppy joes with steamed/roasted veggies and peach & blackberry crisp
Things to bake/make: loaf of bread x 4-5 (I think we have one loaf in the freezer), muffins x 4, sticky buns x 1, homemade yogurt x 2-3 batches, peach salsa to can x 1
How're your budget and menu plans shaping up? I'd love to hear from you!