Fourth load of laundry in the wash.
Full pot of stock simmered and jarred.
Green bean casserole in the crock pot for tonight’s dinner.
A batch of potpie filling cooling, waiting to be frozen for future dinner use.
And a batch of TJ’s pumpkin muffins with a best buy date from March 2017 ready to go into the oven.
This Monday is shaping up to quite productive. Hell yeah! I initially wanted to go for a hike because the leaves are starting to turn up north, but this weather (90 degrees) isn’t appealing. So, I’m making the most of my last personal day with my current employer and getting stuff done around the house. If you didn’t see my post last week on Facebook, I’ve accepted a new position with a local non-profit. More to come as I transition but I am pretty damn excited! And nervous to be honest. Seven more working days until this much welcomed change.
With that change, will come a shift in our budget and debt free goals. My salary will increase and I’ll no longer be responsible for paying for my health care insurance plan. Can I get a whoop whoop?! Seriously, beyond thankful for this opportunity. But with these changes, we aren’t going to increase our monthly budget. Instead, we are going to put all extra income toward our debt snowball. AND we are going to kick it up a notch budget wise and try to spend even less than we did during the month of September.
Why? Because I have some big expenses this month that I don’t normally have and would still like to contribute the maximum. Some of these expenses include a hotel room for an upcoming half marathon and a mini (probably 5 pieces) wardrobe update for the new job. I can’t get away with jeans and t-shirts like I have been the last four years or so. I do hope the Loft has some good sales!
What may you ask are we going to do? For starters, in October we are eliminating our alcohol envelope completely. With the changes we’ve made over the last couple of months, we’ve cut back significantly on the number of meals that we eat outside of our home. One maybe two meals total. The beau has also cut back on his daily DD large unsweetened iced tea and is now brewing tea at home (c’mon cooler weather, help us out here!). We’ve consistently had money leftover in the dining out envelope and have been spending that on alcohol, which is totally unnecessary. So, we’re cutting back and using one envelope for the two categories (without changing the amount). Maybe this will change around the holidays, maybe it won’t.
I’m also going to implement a new meal plan system. The beau already leaves it up to me to plan our dinners and I do this every two weeks. I do ask for his input and he does print off recipes for us to try and makes requests for repeat meals that he’s enjoyed / hasn’t had in a while. I love this task: making a list for the market, sticking to the plan and paying cash. No better feeling. P.s… you tend to spend less if you bring say only $100 to the market and use a calculator. No surprises at the checkout AND no poor snack decisions.
When meal planning I try to stick to similar themes each week: a taco Tuesday, typically at least one pasta dish, one rice dish and Fridays I try to incorporate the crock pot because it’s easy to come home and have a meal ready. For the month of October however, I’m going to stick with the same meal with each day of the week, excluding Saturdays and Sundays. So for example, every XXX of the month, we will eat:
Monday: veggie stir fry
Wednesday: pasta and red “meat” sauce
These aren’t set in stone, just an example. My thought behind this system is that I’ll be saving a lot of time planning and making lists. If I make one list for the first two weeks, I can reuse that list half-way thru the month. I’ll also be saving money by purchasing items in bulk. I’m starting to plan the five day meals around what I can buy at the co-op. Did I mention that the co-op is within walking distance from my new job? It is! Hello grocery shopping on your lunch break and saving gas money!
I was shocked when the beau agreed to this simple meal plan and I can’t wait to give it a-go. We’ll probably be sick of the five meals we choose but hey, we’ll just switch it up in November. Gotta live like no one else now in order to live like no one else later.
Are you a meal planner? How do you choose what meals you’ll be cooking? Is it on a weekly rotation? I prefer to eat with the season, so I’m going to keep that into consideration as I plan. More to come on this subject when I recap the month!