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Summer Reads for Rising First Graders

Summer Reads for Rising First Graders

With summer starting I thought I would make a list of some of our favorite book series to read over the summer. I just graduated my third kindergartener and a lot of the other moms in my youngest’s class have been asking me for book […]

May 2022 Final Grocery Spending

We are working on our grocery spending for 2022 and our goal for May was to do a low spend month. Unfortunately we ended up a little bit swamped during the middle of the month and we both spent too much money and I did […]

June 2022 Spending Goals and Mid-Year Check In

June 2022 Spending Goals and Mid-Year Check In

Our 2022 spending goals have already gone a little bit sideways with me leaving the workforce in March. I left my job for both health and family reasons and it has thrown our budget into a hurricane of uncertainty. For now our goal is to spend as little as possible across the board so I can continue to not work through at least the end of the year. I read over our 2022 Spending Goals and for the most part we have been sticking to them except for me bumping up my 401k. June is a good time for us to review and revise our goals and this year is no exception.

Below are our goals for the year with a new recap:

  1. Max out IRAs – Mine is done. My husband still needs to max his out but we may have to wait until we get his bonus next year.
  2. Increase our 401k contributions – We increased my husband’s by 1% in March and hope to keep it there until the end of the year. I no longer have a 401k since I am not working.
  3. Save, save save. We reinstated our automatic savings, upped our investment amounts and increased our kids’ college savings amounts. Now that I am not working we may have to reduce our regular savings BUT we do have a nice chunk in our cash emergency fund already so it should be ok.
  4. Decrease our grocery spendingWe have been working on this all year. We did both a pantry and freezer clean out, tried a no spend month and meal planning. This is still a work in progress but we are doing another freezer clean out for June and are making progress.
  5. Be more mindful of our spending – We continue to work on our mindful spending. I have been resisting the urge to buy clothes for the kids and trying to do laundry more often but they are growing so fast it is hard to keep up. We are also not shopping as often which greatly reduces the temptation to pick things up randomly.
Free Lunches.
Free Lunches.

We are also taking advantage of the last couple of months of free universal lunches and breakfasts. I linked our latest video below and here.  This program ends in June but I firmly believe that all kids should be receiving lunch at schools for free without the stigma that is attached to it when only low income kids receive it. Getting lunches from the school has helped our budget out tremendously and as I discovered this week, they are giving tons of extra food to help families out over the summer when the program is no longer available. I am really hoping another bill passes so that all kids can have free meals again. Grocery prices have increased significantly over the past year and a lot of families that do not qualify for assistance are struggling.

 

Our budget resets every July since we pay tuition for the kids only 10 months out of the year. We usually don’t get a tuition statement with the exact amount of the payments until mid-June. I put an estimate of the amount when we get the tuition amounts in February and look at our spending for the rest of the year. This year since I am not working we do qualify for a little bit of financial aid but we are still going to have a very tight budget. We knew this though when we decided that I would leave my job and have cut our spending on vacations and activities with the kids (not their regular sports yet). We also did not sign up for summer camp every week of the summer which saved us nearly $5,000. Summer camp is super expensive and this year the prices definitely went up.

Camping at Whidbey.
Camping at Whidbey.

Instead of taking a bunch of expensive trips we are going to be doing day trips and camping out at my dad’s house on Whidbey. Camping out there is nearly free and I absolutely love that the kids are growing up helping my dad build his cabin and develop a place for family to hang out for years to come. We are putting them to work helping with clearing the land and planting some crops for my dad to harvest later. My oldest is also starting her cabin building out there this summer so the kids will help with that as well.

Beach
Beach view.

Some of our day trip ideas so far include hiking, the beach and visiting local parks. Mr. Oscoey has a bunch of PTO to use up so he is going to take some time off as well this summer so we can do some trips as a family during the week when everything is less crowded. I may break down and find a couple of days down in Oregon later this summer but it will depend on how we do for our spending in June and July. For now we are planning on staying local and as frugal as possible.

 

How are you cutting back your spending this year?

 

2022 Goals

 

Garden Update 04.30.22

Free School Lunches

Free School Lunches

The past couple of months I have been trying to raise awareness that the funding for free lunch and breakfast for all kids in the United States was not renewed in March and the program will end in June of 2022. This program has helped […]

May 2022 Spending Check In

May 2022 Spending Check In

Our goal for May of 2022 was to spend as little money as possible on groceries for the month. We are using our local free lunches and breakfasts for the community as well as eating through our pantry items and just supplementing with items from […]

April 2022 Spending Wrap Up

April 2022 Spending Wrap Up

April 2022 was an interesting month for our grocery spending. We started out the month strong staying within our $600 budget but then life happened and we ended up going over it by quite a bit. We ended up spending close to what we normally spend every month but we did have some extenuating circumstances such as switching too healthier eating, Easter and our son changing up his preferred foods mid way through the month.

* This site participates in affiliate links and receives a small fee for affiliate recommendations at no cost to you. As always we only recommend products we have tried ourselves. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. *

Groceries

Groceries

Our first haul was pretty simple and full of necessities. We were out of basics like cheese and peanut butter. I also picked up a ham for Easter and vitamins we were out of. The jam and English muffins were purely for my husband and daughter. We still have three of the English muffin packages in the freezer but the jam is mostly gone. My husband loves strawberry jam! We ended up putting this ham in the freezer too since I found a couple of others for a cheaper price. Mother’s day is this weekend and we are celebrating on Saturday. I am not sure what we are having for lunch but it will be small since it will most likely only be my mom coming over.

Grocery Haul

Our second haul was a little bit larger. I went to Winco for the first time in a long time and found some fabulous deals on vegetables and some pantry basics. I also stopped at business Costco and found a better deal on a ham and chocolate milk. We don’t go to business Costco very often and I won’t be back for a while. I may start shopping at Winco for produce though since we got some awesome deals. Costco produce has gone way up in price over the last six months and sometimes we don’t eat it all since there are such large containers. I never buy grapes at Costco for example since we never eat them all. I have found that Target surprisingly has the best grapes in a container the size we will actually eat so I will pick them up if I am in there for something else.

Washable Reusable Grocery Bags (these have held up super well!)

We completed our third grocery haul in the middle of April. For this trip we went to Costco and Fred Meyer mostly for some Easter items. I found a fabulous deal on another ham, let the kids pick out some fruit and bought some items for the seniors we support through our Buy Nothing group. Although this was a smaller haul we still ended up spending quite a bit of money.

golden beet

Golden Beets

On April 20th I ended up going to Safeway for some healthier groceries and to fill in some holes with items for the kids. They also had a great deal on chocolate milk and beef. We got a gallon of chocolate milk but did not end up getting ground beef from them. We bought some chuck from Fred Meyer instead and ground it ourselves. With the frequent recalls on ground beef we feel much more comfortable buying meat and grinding it ourselves. We have done this for years and I only recently was buying ground beef from the store. This haul probably wasn’t all the way necessary and I think this is where our grocery spending got a little bit out of hand. I am proud that we ate much healthier for the next week or two but I might have been able to make do with what we had for some of it. We are almost done with the chocolate milk. Like I have said before we don’t drink a lot of milk and one of my kids will only drink chocolate sometimes. We take the approach of fed is best with our kids and if the only way we can get calcium in them is with chocolate milk so be it. I just reduce their sugar intake in other ways and it evens out.

Grocery Haul

We did another big Costco haul on 04.29.22 which also included some smaller trips to Grocery Outlet and Whole Foods. Costco was mostly to stock up on some items we were low on like eggs, chicken and produce. We also went to Grocery Outlet searching for fig bars and were not successful but did find some great deals on crackers and I was talked into Kool Aid by my son. I bought some produce at Whole Foods when I stopped their for gluten-free baked goods for the teachers during teacher appreciation week. Some of these items were definitely over the top and this Costco trip was shockingly expensive at over $400. We did buy dog food, TP and a new dog bed which was not included in our grocery total but for what we bought we really didn’t get a lot of food. Prices have gone up considerably and we have had to switch to non-organic produce for some of the items we are buying to reduce our costs. Sugar in particular was way more expensive than I remember. It was a good thing I bought both because we were almost out when I checked at home.

Grocery Haul

Grocery Haul

We snuck one last grocery haul under the wire on 04.30.22 when we stopped at Fred Meyer to once again look for fig bars for our son. We found fabulous deals on macaroni and cheese and Luna bars and some replacement rosemary plants for the ones that were damaged during our snowy winter. I also bought goldfish since Costco was out and sunflower seeds since I have been having a hard time finding these and I was getting low. I have been needing to go to multiple stores for snack items like fig bars and crackers since supply chains seem to be more inconsistent.

Cabbage and Peppers.

Cabbage and Peppers.

Our total ended up being over $1100 just for food items. I did not get everything we bought on camera but I was able to add them all to our total which ended up being close to what we have been spending the past six months or so. We have been consistently up from the $800 or so we were spending every month last spring and in 2020. Groceries have massively gone up in price and it is definitely affecting our budget.

Roasted vegetables.

Roasted vegetables.

I chronicled our spending on our YouTube channel and watching our grocery hauls over the course of the month was pretty eye opening for me. Our goal for May is to do as close to a no spend month as possible but we do have Mother’s Day and a family birthday to contend with. We are also trying to go camping over Memorial Day weekend and possibly have people over so I am not sure if we can do a true no spend month but if we can cut our spending down to the 600 goal for April I will be happy with it.

How has your grocery spending changed over the past year?

 

LINKS:

YouTube Videos:

04.01.22 Grocery Haul

04.04.22 Grocery Haul

04.14.22 Grocery Haul

04.20.22 Grocery Haul

04.29.22 Grocery Haul

04.30.22 Grocery Haul

 

* This site participates in affiliate links and receives a small fee for affiliate recommendations at no cost to you. As always we only recommend products we have tried ourselves. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. *

Luna Bars

 

Reusable Bags –  These have really lasted!

 

Gluten-Free Fig Bars – My favorite!

 

Garden Update 04.30.22

Garden Update 04.30.22

Welcome to the end of April when our garden starts to take off. We have been celebrating the emergence of our asparagus and planted many flowers and I am super excited for the summer when all of our plants start taking off. I am still […]

Thursday Mini-Channel Share Day

Thursday Mini-Channel Share Day

I thought I would share some of my favorite up and coming YouTube channels today. I am noticing a lot of Food Bank haul unboxing videos trending in my feed and I thought I would highlight a few. Many people rely on food banks temporarily […]

2022 Garden Supply Purchases

2022 Garden Supply Purchases

For 2022 we are really expanding our garden and possibly adding in some chickens later in the year. We are garden zone 8b in the Pacific Northwest located in the Seattle area. Our weather is wet a lot of the year and we have been effected by wild fire smoke in the summer. Our last frost date is mid-May so a lot of our summer crops are either planted around Mother’s Day or I baby them with some sort of covering if I get impatient. We did purchase some new supplies as part of our expansion so I thought I would list out what it is we are using. We are not affiliates with all of the companies listed below except for Amazon. Some items were bought at Costco but if I can find a similar one on Amazon I will link it. Enjoy!

 

This site participates in affiliate links and receives a small fee for affiliate recommendations at no cost to you. As always we only recommend products we have tried ourselves. We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

 

Seeds:

I get most of my seeds from Territorial Seeds. They are a PNW company located in Oregon which is close enough to Washington that a lot of their varieties are bred to grow in our climate. I also have bought some of my rarer seeds from Baker Creek.

 

Click the link below to go to their sites:

 

Territorial Seed

 

Baker Creek Seeds

 

Garden Supplies:

This year I bought several large Birdies beds from Epic Gardening as well as some netting, inoculant and frames from Amazon. We bought our fertilizer from Costco I believe a couple of years ago. Epic Gardening and Territorial Seed both have natural fertilizer listed on their sites but I have not tried them so I don’t know how well they work. The best thing to do for fertilizer is to test your soil and check with your local garden store (not a big box one) to see what they recommend.

 

Epic Gardening

 

Click the picture or the name of the product below:

 

Raised Garden Beds – These ones on Amazon are similar to the ones I bought from Epic.

 

 

Hardware Cloth – We bought this to line our beds with to prevent rodents from digging up from the bottom.

 

Row Cover – This is to help fight the cabbage butterflies that decimated our brassica plants last year.

 

Cloche – These are used to cover our summer crops I planted a little early and protect them on cold nights.

 

 

A-frame plant support – We are using these in the beds for our vining plants to extend the space.

 

 

Inoculant – This helps our beans get a head start on growing.

 

 

Craft Sticks – I use these to label plants. They are biodegradable and break down after about a year or so. The kids also use them for crafting.

 

Seed Starting Tray – I needed more of these. I put the pots or cups inside so I can water from the bottom.

 

Grow Bags – I use these as an inexpensive way to add extra garden space where I can’t necessarily put beds in year round.

 

 

Pruning Sheers – I needed another pair of these. I did buy them at Costco but here are the ones I bought at Amazon.

 

 

The only thing missing from this list is soil. We do a mixture of bags of soil from Costco and if we need more than enough to fill a few pots we will either go pick up a truck load or have some delivered. The best thing to do for soil is ask around maybe in your local gardening group on Facebook and see who has the best soil in your area.

 

We are very excited to see how our garden will do this year and look forward to showing everyone our progress. This week I am getting the large beds in and ready for soil hopefully over the weekend. How is your garden coming along this year?

 

Thank you for reading and happy gardening!

Low Spend April 2022 Grocery Spending Mid-Month Check In

Low Spend April 2022 Grocery Spending Mid-Month Check In

Our spending goal for April was to keep our grocery budget under $600. We have been spending between $1000 and $1300 for the past year so cutting our budget down to $600 was quite a stretch. Part of why I wanted to cut our bill […]


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