Meal Planning and budgets

I like having a meal plan if only for the simplicity of it. I know what the week will bring and then it’s just simpler.

This week we’ll be having:

Monday: is usually fish or pasta / so we’re having cod from Costco, asparagus and spinach with a sprinkling of goat cheese

Tuesday: Taco Tuesday but we’re having Amy’s cheese enchiladas with beans or rice

Wednesday: pasta night so I think we’ll do spaghetti with sauce and a salad

Thursday: Crockpot Thursday, so I’m thinking a nice soup in the crock pot maybe lentil.

Friday: Friday night pizza, I’ll either do homemade or perhaps we’ll order. It depends on the mood. Usually, I prefer my pizza plus the price of ordering is fairly steep but sometimes it’s a nice change.

Saturday: I thought of grilling something as B got the gas grill ready to go, but I think it’s supposed to rain. Maybe some grilled chicken then or I still have a few cornish hens in the freezer and B bought a lentil loaf from a natural foods store he services in Nevada City.  I guess we’ll see how it goes.

B is gone most of the week traveling for work up to Eureka so he won’t be here. Dinner will just be my daughter and me. My son is at school late so doesn’t eat dinner with us.

Generally eating vegetarian and B has been one for over 50 years, we eat lower on the food chain. I think it’s healthier overall. I’m fairly skeptical of food fads like Paleo, keto, Vegan, whatever. Back in our youth, it was macrobiotics. I remember going to a cooking class in Macrobiotics back then… interesting… but later he died of some sort of cancer fairly young ( 40ish) so that didn’t help much.  I think all things in moderation.

I do like Michael Pollan’s take on using meat as a side, organic and harvested ethically.  I generally always buy organic meat( chicken, beef,) but sometimes bacon slips by and it’s not organic.  Well, I guess if one is trying.

Budget wise, food is still our biggest variable.  Although, total with animal food, Costco, nonfood, wine, we’re still averaging @ $800 for 4 people so I don’t think that’s too bad.

I finished the entryway zones and even washed the front door.

We went to the gym and it was nice to get back to the rhythm. It was closed yesterday for Easter.

 

Not a frugal week at all:(

It usually stems from a Costco trip and sure enough, it did.

I spent $375 on food and nonfood items. Nonfood added up to $165 and included Lysol wipes, toilet paper, and tons of other nonfood things. Food was lots of cheese, nuts and some other things. So about $200 in food. Since this will last about 6 weeks of basics it really isn’t that bad.

Overall that’s not bad.  The Arlo security was pricey since we’re not used to spending that kind of money.  But we had it on our list of things to buy for our small house to add security.

Today I -80 is closed due to snow all the way the to Nevada State line. My daughter attempted to get to Truckee but was turned back. Hopefully, it will be gone by tomorrow. Well, the snow won’t but the snowing.

Two movies we just watched I’d recommend.  ‘ The theory of Everything’ about Stephan Hawkin who just died. And then ‘ The Imitation Game’ which was superb. It was so well done. It’s on Netflix if you want to watch it. The other we bought from Amazon Prime.

Dinner is something as we had a pizza last night my son bought for us.141367066

 

 

Friday stuff

Well, I’m not sure where the week went but it’s Friday.

I did a proper house tidying session including vacuuming. I start getting a little crazy when I see things piling up or not put away.  So It took maybe an hour to sort it out.

Then I went to Safeway to get some food to prep some meals. I mostly wanted lots of veggies to go with the homemade hummus and for salads. So that was a success.

My new Cuisinart food processor showed up so I made the hummus and it’s a dream.

To make;

  • I use a can of organic garbanzos
  • juice of a lemon
  • 2 tablespoons or a glug of olive oil
  • a garlic clove
  • a couple of tablespoons of tahini
  • Just whiz together till creamy

My old food processor was I think over 25 years old and was kind an off-brand Oster maybe. So I plan on trying slicing some veggies and grating too.  It says you can make nut butter but I’ll have to see how that goes. It’s not a Vitamix but after thinking it over I decided to wait on that. We don’t drink smoothies and having jumped on the kale bandwagon.  I paid $65.00 for this from Amazon and it was normally $185.00. So that’s a pretty good deal, I think.  I make a lot of salsas too so you need a food processor for that.

No big frugal things this week, the budget is set for the month with a bi-annual bill coming for Allstate. Then I need to have my VW smogged and get the registration paid. All our registrations went up by about $30, I ‘m guessing it’s the California auto tax or something. It was quite noticeable. My VW is a 2000 and usually, the registration is just over $100, but this year it jumped to $130.

This Sunday is Daylight Saving and that will be interesting walking. It’ll be later time wise but the light will be about the same. I’m not sure what time I’ll get out there, but walking at 7:30 as opposed to 6:30 won’t work. It’s too late as I like to be done by 7am at the latest.

Tonight is pizza night. Nothing homemade just a take and bake thing.

 

March in like a lion!

Wow, we are in for quite the storm. Right now it’s really raining and there is wind. It’s supposed to be like this all day. There’s a blizzard warning for the Sierras, so my daughter is not driving to Truckee because it would probably take all day. Instead, she’ll go to another branch closer to home. I’m glad she has this option.

I’m staying home and not going to the gym. I’m going to make a minestrone soup and maybe some chicken. I have the soup in the crockpot so that’s done.

I worked on the budget and things look pretty good. We spent $130 at Home Depot yesterday on garden stuff. I really need to budget garden stuff because every year we have a garden and it’s not cheap with seeds, plants, soil etc.  I’d like to order a truckload of topsoil /manure for the gardens as they really need it. We will see.

We’re getting lots of eggs from the girls right now so my daughter can start selling eggs again. That gives her cash for a coffee or lunch at work. Her co-workers love the eggs.

 

That’s about it.  I’m rewatching Downton Abbey. It’s great for rainy afternoons.

 

Midweek stuff and a blood moon!

We went to Costco for our February shop. It was weirdly quiet in there. We were able to move about without threat of bodily harm. Nice!!

I spent $300 on food stuff which did include stocking up stuff like canned black beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, coffee, butter, bread, cheese, some frozen salmon, and cereal and more. Then we spent $150 on non-food such as beer, underwear, face cream, dishwasher stuff and more.

So, I’ll put the $300 towards my $500 food budget and $150 toward non-food. I haven’t put a number on this yet since I will need cat food and a few misc.

Our weather is getting beautiful and the next 2 weeks our highs will be @ 70. Yes!!

We were up early enough to catch the lunar eclipse and it was earrily red. Then we watched it come out of the eclipse as we walked. Very cool.  Stuff like this makes me realize that even a hundred years ago these things were like strange.  Can you imagine a thousand years ago seeing this . Okay , here’s the snarky me coming out. Gee, imagine 2,000 years ago and the phenomena of water into wine?? walking on water???? rising from the dead??? Gee, how to explain it??? Jesus who???  Okay enough.

I refused to listen to the misogynist in the White house last night. It’s all BS anyway. But I CANNOT stand his voice. I’m not sure what’s up with that but I have a theroy that he’s really an alien ( look at those hooded eyes) and that he’s programmed milllions by his voice except atheists like me.

wow, this has gone from Costco to atheism, I ‘d better quit now.

Just a reminder, this my blog, if you don’t like it, don’t read it!!!

Midweek

It’s Wednesday and B and my daughter are flying to Southern Ca for work(co-ops, and a library workshop). I’ll be taking care of the dogs and chickens and cats. It’s not so bad if I keep to a routine and schedule.

These dogs, rescued border collies, love routine so it makes it fairly easy. Breakfast 2 7:30 and the one dog gets an anti-seizure pill. Then they’re outside for a while. They come in till @ 11:30 am or so and then I feed them one cup of crunchies. After that, it’s either out if nice or they go in they’re crates. They are great dogs.  Then they do get a few evening walks.

The chickens are pretty easy. Just out for the day and then close them in, front and back around 5 pm since it’s getting darker later.  We’re also starting to get more eggs again, so that’s nice.

I’m reapplying to the Leukemia and Lymphoma co-pay assistance program as they shut it down in October due to lack of funds.  They really do great work and when they offer financial assistance for certain things it does help. Since I’m not in treatment right now, the only thing I can get assistance for my share of insurance costs. It’s not a lot but every little bit helps. So I was going to do it online but it’s actually not a very user-friendly website and I’ve been locked out a few times. So I’m just going to mail the forms in.

Then we had a check get lost in the mail somewhere, so I had to call the mortgage company and do an e-check. I had mailed the checked the beginning of the month and it still hadn’t cleared as of yesterday, which was really weird. Then I had to put a stop payment on the check so it didn’t go thru twice.  Anyway, a PITA>

The Frugalwoods frugal January is going sorta okay. We’re doing good on grocery shopping and I won’t probably shop till near the end of the month. We did need coffee and milk and avocados, so we got those.  There will be a few more things ,I’m sure , but for now, I’m holding off.

Dinner will be something easy, grilled tofu and mac and cheese and a salad.

Going back to YNAB

I decided to try another month free of YNAB to see if I wanted to use it again.

Originally, I bought the program when you could do that but now it is really all revamped and it’s a monthly subscription. Generally, I do all my budgeting with paper and pen, but I thought maybe I’d give this another try.

I started yesterday and the trial goes for a month. I like the visuals of the new program and it is very user-friendly. I put in all my line items for the month but one thing they want you to do is not put in future pay days as that is money not yet received. I always budget paychecks( several times actually) to see where the money is going.  But I put in the amounts and just not the check yet. I’ll have to wait and see if this gets confusing.

My main goal is to have enough money in our checking account to be one month ahead. That really has never happened so YNAB really promotes this idea and so I’m going to give their budgeting approach a try.

Right now toward the end of the year, our budget starts to include lots of annual bills, property tax, Allstate, house insurance, so that’s an area I want to change for next year and have all the money in accounts for that ahead of time. In the past, its always been we’ve relied on B’s bonuses to pay that stuff.

So, I’ll give an update in a week or so. ( Next payday is next week, so that’ll go into YNAB and we’ll see how it looks. Since I have the whole month of bills in already, that check won’t cover it all so I’m not sure if that will help or confuse me.  But I like trying new things or at least revisiting this again. BTW, I think it’s $5.00 for the monthly subscription. Also, right now I don’t have bank accounts linked but if I join I will.

Dinner is pumpkin pancakes, bacon and maybe scrambled eggs.