A blog about family, food and fun!

Tag: financial planning

August 2022 Grocery Spending Wrap Up

August 2022 Grocery Spending Wrap Up

We continued to work on our grocery budget for August 2022 with a goal of $600. I wasn’t sure if we could make it this month but we came closer than last month at $709.79. We definitely ate better this month and a large chunk […]

July 2022 Final Grocery Spending

July 2022 Final Grocery Spending

We were out of a lot of staples for July so I knew we would have an expensive month for groceries. We are still working hard at keeping our food budget well under $1,000 by watching prices more carefully, eating up what we have and […]

June 2022 Final Grocery Spending

June 2022 Final Grocery Spending

Our June grocery goal was to eat through our fridge and freezer as much as possible and for the most part we reached this goal. I am super proud of our progress! Up until the last week of June we kept our spending under $300 but we did end up taking a couple of trips to the store the last week to bring our total up to $$470.26. We could have held off another week to make the numbers look amazing but our budget for July would have just been super high so I went the last week because I had the time. My kids were super grateful for the fresh produce and new choices for snack and it helped our son try some new things so I am pretty happy with my decision.

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.

Our first and only grocery trip to Costco was pretty small for us and included a refresh for staples in our house. We mostly bought fresh vegetables, eggs and some meat. Our freezer is still pretty well stocked with meat from earlier this year so we aren’t buying too much right now. Our kids eat salami and lunch meat when they are at school and camp so we buy them pretty much every month. We kept this Costco haul to $219.70 for groceries which is really good for our only Costco haul in June. We did end up going back later in the month for dog food but that comes out of a separate budget so it isn’t included in our grocery total.

Freezer Cleanout
Freezer Cleanout

We focused on our freezer for June. I was shocked when I did the first freezer check in video (Here) and found that we had tons of free lunch items in there. We spent the month eating through what we could and I donated a couple of gallon Ziploc bags worth to the seniors this month. The top freezer drawer is still pretty full but only because we continued to get free lunch meal packs every week until they were done. We are struggling to participate in free lunches this summer since kids have to eat in person but starting next week they have opened up new sites so we will try to go to a couple of those. Access to free lunches in the summer is difficult for working families and kids in camp. I am hoping the funding for this will be reupped this fall and we will continue to be able to pick up 5 day meal kits again. This really helped our budget the past few months.

Free Lunch Boxes
Free Lunch Boxes

We got a bunch of extra food in the free lunch packs this month, including three whole cheese pizzas. We still have one and a third left from this pickup in the middle of June. It is crazy to me how much the school district we go to is doing for the community on their own. Tons of people rely on these free meal kits that do not qualify for the traditional free and reduced lunch options. We are grateful that they stepped up to help the community out.

Fridge clean out.
Fridge Clean Out

In June I also tried to keep us on track by filming where we were at every Monday with the fridge and freezer. Our latest one can be found here.  It was really helpful to take stock every week and see what we needed to eat up. I highly recommend doing at least a thorough look through weekly to check on the state of your produce and leftovers. This week I will do another on 7/4 and I am going to do a deep clean as well. I wipe down our fridge all the time but we are in and out of it a lot and the cleaning is just never ending. I swear my kids wait until their hands are the stickiest and then try to open it because I have to wipe the handles down multiple times a day.

Target and Grocery Outlet Haul
Target and Grocery Outlet Haul

I ended up going to both Target and Grocery Outlet the last week of the month. Link is here. I had to go to Target for some shorts for my son and I ended up picking up items I had been waiting on buying and stocking up on snacks. One thing I have noticed with not getting the free lunches is that we don’t have as many snacks hanging around the house as we used to. They used to include a few snacks in there and we never had to buy them. My kids definitely need them for summer camp and we were getting low so I stocked up a bunch this week. I probably won’t do another snack run until school starts in the fall, but I can’t always predict how quickly my kids will eat through things. Grocery Outlet is my favorite and I bought some staples such as apples, tortillas and onions there but we also picked up a baking kit for $1.00 that the kids really enjoyed baking. This was my cheap entertainment for a colder day last week and they loved it.

Winco Grocery Haul
Winco Grocery Haul

I also went to Winco last week for some canned goods, fresh produce and basics we were running out of. Link is here. I love Winco and they have excellent prices. I don’t get to go very often because it is just far enough and out of the way that stopping in for a quick trip costs more in gas than I would save on a few grocery items. My daughter had camp about five minutes away though this week and it was on my way home so I made a trip while we were in the area. All of these items could have waited until July but the timing worked out this week so I went. I am trying to consolidate my trips as much as possible since my car does not get very good gas mileage.

 

We also stocked up on some canned goods this trip since Winco has the cheapest canned vegetable prices I have found. It is always good to have a couple of weeks worth of canned goods on hand in case of emergencies and as I have discovered recently I am not good at keeping canned veggies and fruit on hand since we really don’t eat much of it. I do a whole pantry clean out every fall before school starts and in January. I donate anything nearing an expiration date and use up expired foods. It is a great way to be prepared for a long term power outage but also help out the community. I keep all of my cans in one spot so it is easy to go through them in a few minutes. It usually takes me longer to donate them since it is slightly out of my way.

Using up leftovers
Using up leftovers.

Overall we did well at eating up some of our freezer items. I made a couple of recipes that I will link below and we all got sick of green beans. There are still about 7 pounds of green beans left in my freezer but we are taking a break from them for now…

 

Gluten-free Egg Bake

Tater Tot Casserole (GF)

 

Looking at this picture I realized I forgot to pick up a couple of oranges from the store. We have plenty of other fruit but I may pick some up later this month when we run low. Tortillas have been a great way to use up leftovers. I love having quesadillas for lunch! They are easy to make and don’t make a huge mess.

 

How are you doing on your grocery spending? We are already spending more in July with our first Costco haul linked here. I was hoping we can stay out of the store for a few more weeks but we do need to get more rice since we are out of the kind we like. Costco was out when we went so I am going to make a trip to Business Costco this week on my way to somewhere.

 

 

May 2022 Final Grocery Spending

 

June 2022 Spending Goals and Mid-Year Check In

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 […]

5 Year Blogiversary

5 Year Blogiversary

I started my blog in late March about five years ago so I thought I would write a little bit about it for my 5 year blogiversary. I started Oscoey as something to do while I was home with my kids as sort of a mommy blog but along the way I discovered the FIRE movement, went back to work and then sort of lost the ability to work on my blog. I have always wanted to do it full-time but like many other people work and life got in the way.

budget planner
Pesky puppy ate my budget planner.

We are still making most of our own food but our budgeting has drastically changed in the last five years and although we are still focused on saving as much as we can our expenses are much higher and we have moved more in the direction of Slow FIRE. Slow FIRE is basically stretching out your timeline for retirement. My husband does not have plans to retire any time soon but I am toying with the idea of not going back to work after my leave ends in a couple of weeks so I can focus on my blog and my new YouTube channel. I would love for my husband to retire when we are done paying for college in about 15 years which is still technically early since we will be right about 60 but I feel like we could probably do better than that.

Garlic
Lots of garlic planted this year.

We have increased our urban homestead quite a bit in the past five years and this year we are hoping to add some chickens as well. I am installing several large garden beds this week as well as removing some grass in our yard so we can plant some trees. This year our yard was very wet and adding a tree or two will help with that and provide some much needed shade in the summer. I love gardening and will start putting more gardening content up on my channel in the next few weeks.

Luna
Luna 7 months

When I first started blogging George was a puppy but now he is 5 1/2 and has definitely slowed down. We got a puppy named Luna last year after a couple of years of debate and looking for a good fit. She has been a huge change for our family but we love her so much and George is so happy to have someone to play with. Zoey our dachshund is still around but is now very much a senior dog that really just wants to sleep all day. George sleeps with his “dog mom” Zoey every night and Luna tries very unsuccessfully to play with her every chance she can.

Tea time
Tea time.

I am continuing to post mostly on Instagram about our food and how we are working on meal planning. One of my favorite things that came out of the isolation of Covid was our Sunday afternoon tea times. The kids really get into it and we have a bunch of fun with a more formal lunch. Over the summer we turn it into a picnic on the lawn with a pitcher of juice or sparkling water and the kids love that as well.

Light in the woods
Light filled backyard.

I have really enjoyed the friends I have met through my blog and writing to my readers over the past five years. I am really excited for my channel on YouTube to grow and I hope to be able to write more here this year. Below are my links for social media and some of my favorite posts throughout the years. Happy blogging!

 

Links:

YouTube

Twitter

Instagram

Facebook

 

Victoria Part 1: Butchart Gardens

 

Garden Update 06.08.19

 

April 2022 Low Spend Month Goals

 

Dried Banana Chips

 

April 2022 Low Spend Month Goals

April 2022 Low Spend Month Goals

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 […]

March 2022 Spending

March 2022 Spending

For 2022 we are focusing on our grocery spending and trying to find ways to reduce it despite all of the price increases. In January we completed a pantry cleanout challenge and in February I focused on eating through the odds and ends in our […]

2022 Goals

2022 Goals

Setting goals for 2022 seems a little scary to me. I set high goals for myself for 2020 thinking “this would be my year” but then Covid happened and we ended up treading water for the entire year along with the rest of the world. I set no goals in 2021 except to keep our heads above water. This year however, instead of surviving I want to thrive!

Shelf Stable gluten-free food
Ramen for days.

2021 was a tough year for us financially. Our expenses for the kids increased dramatically, we ended up owing a chunk of a change in taxes, I took 6 weeks off for surgery, we had to replace a car, our oldest child moved out and our grocery budget doubled even with our cutting back methods and utilizing free school lunches over the summer when the kids were home. Having strict dietary needs and a child that only eats certain items really increases our budget, especially if those items are skyrocketing in price. We used to be able to keep our budget under $600 for our family of four plus helping our oldest daughter out but now we regularly spend $1000 in a month for groceries and we never eat out, and I mean never. My dining out budget for the entire year is probably $200 and we use gift cards if at all possible.

For 2022 we are setting some goals but only tentatively. We ended up refinancing our house at the end of 2021 to take advantage of the low interest rates. We did take a little bit of cash out to pay down some debt and fix a couple of things, but we are still hovering at around 40-50% equity which I am ok with. We most definitely did not max out our loan amount to pay for major remodels like some of my neighbors did. Hopefully their investments will pay off when they sell their houses in 5ish years like they plan to but it seems risky to me.

Financial Goals:

  1. Max out IRAs – Done. We did this last week with some of the Refi money. I do not recommend this at all but I am way behind on my retirement so for us the risk was worth it.
  2. Increase our 401k contributions – I haven’t increased this yet because the employer match goes up in April. Our goal is to narrow the gap between what we are contributing now and maxing it depending on mid-year promotions.
  3. Save, save save. I don’t have a savings number goal but I increased our investment amounts, reinstated my automatic contributions to our emergency fund and increased the kids’ college savings amounts.
  4. Decrease our grocery spending – This year I really want to focus on meal planning and eating through our pantry and freezer. I have been working on slowly building our food storage up to about 30-60 days worth but food goes bad and I wouldn’t want to waste any of it. We just completed our January pantry clean out and are worked on the freezer in February. I don’t feel comfortable letting the pantry get down to bare bones any more, not since February of 2020 when we last did this and then Covid hit and we were out of everything but we do need to regularly make an effort to eat through the odds and ends of what we have.
  5. Be more mindful of our spending – Last year I tried to greatly reduce plastic in our every day lives and this year I want to focus on mindful spending. Some questions we are asking are: Are we buying things just to shop or do we actually need them?

 

That’s it for 2022. Our focus will be on saving and trying not to let our expenses get away from us. What are your goals for 2022?

 

Meal Planning: January 2022 Week 1

 

Gardening Update 11.07.21

 

Stitching Update 07.20.21

 

January 2022 Spending

January 2022 Spending

In January we attempted to do meal planning for the entire month and complete a pantry cleanout and eat through items in our freezer. Whew. It was a lot to keep track of and I am pretty proud of our progress. I was planning on […]


Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Never miss a post on our blog! When you subscribe, we'll send our latest posts plus helpful tips related to our blog's topics.

You have Successfully Subscribed!