Menu Plan Monday {7}

First! Moving day was just moved to Thursday night in hopes that we’ll get lots more help to move the furniture. Yippee!

Image

About a week ago, I decided I was going to try my best to go without grocery shopping before we moved. I made a list of all our food inventory, and I’ve been coming up with lots of creative new recipes! We’re down to moving week, and there’s not much left in the stockpile. I’ve got a very simple menu plan for this week. I go to school all day on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so I do my best to pack tons of snacks to take with me.

 

Monday

Breakfast: bisquick heart healthy pancakes with flaxseed & maple syrup, coffee

Lunch: salmon with asiago pesto

Snack: ramen

Dinner: soup (canned for me, ramen for husband)

Tuesday

Breakfast: bisquick heart healthy pancakes with flaxseed & maple syrup, coffee

Snack: squeeze applesauce, faux lime Greek yogurt cheesecake, pistachios

Lunch: salad with salmon, slivered almonds, wonton strips, mandarin oranges, & Asian dressing

Snack: chili lime almonds, orange, rice crackers and almond butter

Dinner: cafeteria food

Wednesday

Breakfast: bisquick heart healthy pancakes with flaxseed & maple syrup, coffee

Snack: orange, chili lime almonds

Lunch: salmon with asiago pesto

Snack: Orange Mango dreamsicle protein shake

Dinner: brown rice and lentil casserole, Maple bacon Brussels sprouts

Thursday

Breakfast: Honey Nut Cheerios with skim milk

Snack: squeeze applesauce, rice crackers and almond butter

Lunch: leftovers

Snack: pistachios, orange

Dinner: leftovers

Friday: Grocery shopping day!

Dinner: chicken parmesan with whole wheat pasta, Caesar salad

 

What are you planning for this week?

Budget Cuts

So, what’s the point of moving now, in the middle of a semester?

Well, I’m recently unemployed. It was completely unexpected. God has always provided for us, but most often in unexpected ways. For example, last May when our home was burglarized, every single thing that was stolen from us was replaced within a week. We had people from our church practically throwing their extra TVs, laptops, iPods, etc. at us. God works in His perfect timing in His perfect plan. That being said, there’s no way to tell when another job will come along.

We had been considering moving previously because our utilities are sky-high. Our current home is constructed out of cinder block. For those of you who’ve never lived in a cinder block house…

Cinder block = little to no insulation

Now, instead of moving because we wanted to pocket some extra cash, we’re moving out of necessity.

Image
(source)

Here’s where the budget cuts come into play.

Step 1: Rent & Utilities

We’ve been blessed to rent from the most wonderful landlords ever – my parents. They bought the property right before we got married, and they wanted to rent it out for under market value. I’m telling you people, you can hardly find a studio apartment in a complex for this price in our area, let alone a 3 bedroom house! The apartment triplex that we’re moving to is owned by people in our church, and they love to rent to young couples. The apartments are priced decently, especially considering the close proximity to the junior college and downtown.
Total monthly savings in rent = $50
With the previously mentioned utilities situation… Total monthly savings in utilities = $250

Step 2: “Necessities”

I put “necessities” in quotations because they are not essential to living life, but they certainly make life much more functional.

Our cell phone plan has been a money pit since day one. We have two smartphones with AT&T and we pay about $150 per month. I can’t believe how expensive cell phone service is! I had been looking into alternatives for the last two months before I finally stumbled upon Virgin Mobile through a comment on Facebook via Money Saving Mom. (I promise, it wasn’t my reader question!) After weighing the costs, we finally agreed on this new service for cell phones. Although there was an initial cost for new phones under a new provider, we will be cutting our bill almost in half (!!!) by making this switch. We also shopped around for the best prices on phones. We found out that Target carries Virgin Mobile phones, and with our Red Card, we were about to save an extra 5% on our initial costs. Another way we’re saving on our cell phones is with insurance. We were also paying $8 per phone for insurance through AT&T. There is no insurance option for my husband’s new phone, and we paid a one-time fee to insure my new phone when we bought it.

After our break-in occurred, we installed a home security system the next day. Our landlords paid for the install (Thanks, Mom and Dad!), and we have been paying the monthly fee. The place we are moving into does not have an alarm system, but it’s in a safe neighborhood. Our new landlord told us that if we did want to have one installed, it wouldn’t be a problem. For the time being, we’ve decided against this in order to cut back on our monthly expenses.

Without an alarm system, we will have no need for a home landline. To be honest, if I had had enough time to research and compare costs when we first had the alarm system installed, we never would have gotten a landline in the first place. Our home phone is bundled with our internet and costs about $30 per month. The ONLY calls that we get are: 1) from the security company if the alarm rings, or 2) telemarketers calling for people that we have no clue who they are. If we had signed up for the wireless option with the security system, it would have raised our monthly payment by $10. When you do the math, that means had we NOT had a landline, we could have been saving $20 a month. Sure, that’s not a lot, but every little bit counts. Without a security system in the new place, there will be no need for a landline, which will cut our internet bill by a fair chunk.

Total monthly savings on “necessities” = $146

Step 3: Get Help

A month or so ago, I saw an announcement in our church bulletin for a new class starting up: Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University! I’d been wanting to take a class for a few years, even though I’ve mostly stayed out of debt. I signed us up as quickly as I could, and we just had our first class today. At first, my husband wasn’t thrilled, but now we’re both completely on board and excited to begin to exercise biblical principles in how we handle our money!

Total savings by changing our living situation = $446 per month

Total savings by learning God’s way to handle money = priceless.

I’m sure there will be several more ways we will learn to cut our spending in the near future. There are a few other ways we’ve already begun to cut down on our expenses (using less heat, making simpler menus, etc.), but I just wanted to offer a quick glimpse into our plan for those inquiring minds out there. I think it also helps me to see it all written out as well.

Thanks for reading!

Purging

Moving day is less than a week away!

As we’re packing up all of our things, we’re realizing that we are not going fit everything we own into our new place. I mean, we knew that already. But you know what? We don’t need all that stuff either. I’m sentimental about a few things, but in general, I find it refreshing to PURGE. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always loved to organize and declutter.

We’re going from 1254 sq ft to 650 sq ft…

from 3 bedrooms to 1…

from 7 bookshelves to 3…

from 4 closets to 1…

from cluttered to organized.

Less stuff + less mess + less to clean = a happier me.

I’m excited.

Moving (two ways)

#1 I’m moving!

I’m giving wordpress another try. I’ve combined both of my old blogger blogs onto this one, and hopefully it will be easier to keep up with. I’ve already had some issues with it, but we shall see. I can always go back to my original blogs, right?

#2 We’re moving!

Yup, we’re moving out of our 3 bedroom 1 bathroom 1254 sq ft home to an apartment that’s half the size of our current place. This is actually the main reason I want to get back into blogging. I want to document how I will be able to make this tiny apartment our home!

Thanks for reading!