Category Archives: Get Organized!

Sunday Funday ~ Weekly Menu, Meal Plan

lasagna roll ups

Sunday Funday…. And what a FUN day it was FINALLY! So beautiful out… we hit 64 degrees! We opened every window, we played outside…. I hung clothes on the line! Who knew I would ever be so excited to hang clothes out!

The kids are starting baseball/softball tomorrow, so life as we know it is now OVER… every single night is practice and games will start before we know it! My wallet knew it when I bought all my groceries at once today (since I won’t have another chance to stop) and focused on mostly fresh fruits and veggies as the kids need snacks they can take with them and have before practice! I got melons, berries, apples, cuties and bananas and I bought a mixed bag of small sweet peppers, carrots, cukes, and grape tomatoes.

We always have granola bars and peanuts and I bought a few large bags of pretzels and then I divided them up between snack baggies so they are all ready for the week.

I also did all my prep work for the week’s meals… it is so important that I have everything ready to go when we are this CRAZY busy – or we will end up eating junk! I baked bacon, burger and chicken then I started a full crock of sauce…. I made a delicious new recipe of Lasagna Roll Ups (and froze 2 quarts of sauce for next time) for our “SUNDAY DINNER” (will share the recipe this week) and precooked my tortellini, rice and gnocchi along with chopping veggies and making dressing for tomorrow’s salad! I feel GREAT about this week’s meal plan…. Check it out!

Here is our ~ WEEKLY Meal Plan ~

Monday – “Meat-Less Mondays”

Greek Tortellini Salad – found this recipe HERE and can’t wait to try it!   Not sure if my family will AGREE this is a full meal or not, but I am trying to convert them!!



Dorito Taco Casserole – giving it a try…. My taco meat is all ready so I will assemble the casserole the night before and K can throw it in the oven!


Wednesday –

Creamy Chicken and Rice Bake – found this recipe HERE


Thursday – PASTA NIGHT

Loaded Chicken Alfredo Gnocchi Bake – found this recipe HERE


Friday – PIZZA or other FUN Family Favorite

Dogs on the Grill with CONEY Island Sauce


Saturday – To cook or not to cook…

Leftovers, Breakfast (cereal), Something New, or eating out – it all depends on what the weekend plans end up being AND whether or not the week’s plan stayed on track… Fill in as needed or have wine for dinner and make the masses fend for themselves – my favorite plan!!


Sunday –

Roast Beef Dinner – got a couple beautiful roasts at the B1G1 FREE sale at TOPS this week!


SO – what are you making this week??





Sunday Funday, The deals to do and our weekly menu (meal plan)

~ WEEKLY Meal Plan ~


I planned a Rite-aid deal: HERE

I planned my TOPS deals: HERE

Main purchases are the beef roast, sausage and the fish and veggies on sale this week… all to be used as part of this meal plan! Plus I am grabbing $1.25 Oreos, FREE pretzels and cheap sausage and OJ!!


Then I got back to the menu for this week – I usually use my Sundays to prep for the week, you know after my morning of THE FOOD NETWORK and I essentially prepare all the main components of each of the night’s meals…. BUT I am going to GARTH today (and hoping to have Trisha invite me to their home for some cooking fun!!) …so not a lot of prep time for me; all the meals have to be something I can easily pull together each night (or K can if I am at Garth and Trishas!!).


Monday – “Meat-Less Mondays” (Gonna try this….)

BAKED CHEESE RAVIOLI – recipe found HERE, looks like a Disney feature…?? Sounds yummy and I am going to try it without any meat though… will let you know!


Tuesday – AKA TACO TUESDAY or “As foreign as we get” night

Ranch Chicken Enchiladas – recipe found HERE… this is a new one I saw on facebook and I wanted to try the combo of the salsa and ranch! I’ll let you know how it all turns out!


Wednesday –

Chicken and Biscuits – Actually using the last of the turkey combined with the last of the soup I made and just serving over cooked Pillsbury biscuits. Quick, easy, hearty and delicious!!


Thursday –

Crock Pot Slop – Everything in the crock, no stirring, 4-6 hours on high; green beans, potatoes, kielbasa, water , bouillon… Deliciousness!!


Friday – Usually PIZZA Night

Pizza – making some homemade “Just like Pizza Hut” Pan pizzas that I found HERE


Saturday – To cook or not to cook…

Leftovers, Breakfast (cereal), Something New, or eating out – it all depends on what the weekend plans end up being AND whether or not the week’s plan stayed on track… Fill in as needed or have wine for dinner and make the masses fend for themselves – my favorite plan!!


Sunday –

BEEF ROAST – Buying a large Top Round Roast from the TOPS sale this week and I will do in the crock with my typical onion soup mix… and we like to add horseradish! I am also going to do roasted potatoes and carrots!


SO – what are you making this week??




Monday Matchups ~ TOPS deals this week


Some crazy, just for FUN from last week on THOUGHTFUL THURSDAY HERE

 Angel Chicken - MY Kicken' Chicken!!

MOST VIEWED recipe from last week – My all new “Kicken’ Chicken” HERE


Meal Plan for the week happened HERE


Rite Aid Deals and rolling the UPS – HERE


~ And after careful review and much coupon sorting…


BELOW are MY favorite TOPS deals for this week – Take a look at the ad!!


General GREAT Deals ~

Ground Beef @ $2.99/lb (Best price I have seen on decent burger in a while…sad but true!)

Whole Boneless Pork Loin @ $1.99/lb *Personally I cut this in 1/3’s and make 3 separate roasts BUT did you know you can ask the butcher at the store to cut this for you… all chops… whatever you want! This is a delicious cut of meat and a GREAT price!!!

Butter @ $1.99 (STOCK UP!!)

Eggs – 2/$3


10 for $10 sale – Buy 10 and get the 11th item free (so .90 each – great deal on 2 liters to start stocking up for camping season!)

  • Pepsi 2 Liter
  • Gatorade
  • Propell
  • Snapple
  • Upstate Intense milk
  • Tops Pasta
  • Del Monte Tomatoes
  • Green Giant canned Veg
  • Rotel Tomatoes use the $1/3 Rotel coupon from the 1/18 Smartsource
  • Chef boyardee cans and Micro cups
  • Starkist Albacore Canned
  • Manwich
  • Quaker Popped rice cakes use the $1/2 Quaker Popped coupon from the 1/4 Redplum pay $.50
  • Nabisco Go Packs
  • Keebler Mini Cups


Nabisco Snack crackers – 3 / $6 ( $2 each ONLY when you buy 3)

– the $1/3 Nabisco coupon from the 1/18 Smartsource

= $1.67


Sugardale Hot Dogs – $1.25 (We hoard these for fish food – fishing at camp!)

– the $.50/1 Sugardale coupon from the 2/1 Smartsource

= $.25


My reason for shopping this week ~

BONUS 200 GAS POINTS WHEN YOU BUY 5 CEREAL – LOVE the cereal stock up option!! All cereal (as listed in ad) is $2.50/box!

Buy 5, deduct your coupons and still get 200 BONUS gas points worth $6! That is an additional savings of $1.20 off each box… so for example, I have $1 of Post Honey Bunches of Oats Q’s… so my cereal will be only $1.50 ($2.50-$1 coupon) BUT I will get $1.20 value in free gas, so cereal is only $.30/box!!

BUT WAIT… I also have “buy 2 cereal get a FREE gallon of milk coupons”…

AND would you believe I also have “buy 2 cereal and save $2 on coffee coupons”… and there is a super deal on a small canister of Maxwell House for only $1.99… so FREE coffee as well!

THIS is my favorite coupon deal ever – LOL!!!!


  • General Mills – $1/3 General Mills coupon from the 2/22 Smartsource (I have received 2 catalinas for $2.50 off of 5 boxes recently so check your stash and check your printables!)
  • Quaker (look for peelies!)
  • Post (I ordered some good coupons for these!)


…and FINALLY ~


(100 Pts WYB $10, 200 Pts WYB $15 and 300 Pts WYB $20) * be safe, scan the” in ad coupon FIRST

There is also THIS pdf printable from Tops for $5/$20 HERE

AND this $2/$10 in Health and Beauty coupon HERE

AND click-to-card just issued 3 coupons for TopCare Children’s Suspension ($3), Omeprazole ($3) and Ibuprofen ($2)… add them HERE

… I need to check for more coupons…. But liking:

  • SOFTSOAP hand soap – B1G1
  • DOVE (bar soap) 2 pk – B1G1
  • IRISH SPRING or SOFTSOAP Body Wash or Speed Stick GEAR Deodorant – 2/$7
  • SUAVE Shampoo – $1
  • HALLS – $1.25 (use the $1/2 Halls coupon from the 2/8 or 1/11 SS)


SO – what is your favorite MEAL and/or DEAL this week?  Do tell!!

Thoughtful Thursday


Thoughtful Thursday used to be a favorite column of mine – random thoughts amongst some craziness…. And I have started keeping track of tidbits I read on the internet so I figured you may be interested too… I also found a KILLER deal on a BJs Membership, so check that out too!!


Favorite ONLINE deal:


Get a BJs Membership for ONLY $10!! Buy for $35 and get the membership and a $25 gift card!! Click HERE!!!!  


Deal(s) to watch for:


  1. This weekend’s 3 day sale at SAVE-A-LOT shows b/s chicken breasts for $1.79/lb.


  1. Next week there is a HUGE cereal sale that is part of the bonus gas point deal at TOPS – find your Qs now!!


Crazy Tips I learned this week – all from the internet, so they MUST BE TRUE!!!


  1. Stale, hard baguette bread? Run it under water – completely, then wrap tightly in foil, place in a cold oven, turn it on to 350 and let bread set for 15 minutes. Remove bread from oven and foil – it will be very soft now – so put it back in oven, unwrapped for 5 minutes and it will lightly crisp up…. JUST LIKE NEW!!! Check out the video: HERE


  1. Wrinkled shirt, pants or dress? No time or desire to iron? Throw it in your dryer – on highest setting with 3 ice cubes – for 15 minutes… melting ice will ‘steam’ the wrinkles… pull out and wear… warm, fresh and wrinkle free!! Check out the video: HERE


  1. Bell Peppers have a ‘gender’… naturally the female are sweeter! Flip the pepper over, ones with 4 bumps are female (have more seeds – I think it is because women are more complex) and are sweeter and are better raw, while the ones with 3 are male and are better for cooking with… say what?? Hahaha   I think I need to get one of each and cut them up and taste them!!


  1. Hard”boiling” Eggs just got a whole lot easier! Bake eggs in muffin tins at 325 for 30 minutes… shock in ice water, peel and you have PERFECT hard ‘boiled’ eggs… bam, make fabulous deviled eggs!!!


  1. You can MAKE a candle melt the wax all the way to the outer ring by wrapping the outside of the candle in foil… The foil will hold the heat and melt the wax from the outside too… Check out the video: HERE


Some PERSONAL thoughts:

  • I actually like pepperoncini… who knew?!!
  • I wish I could take a class that would help me learn what to do with herbs… it is hard for me to determine what taste each one gives… but I am learning to use them!!
  • I have had enough of winter… My feet are permanently frozen, I have every blanket in the house on my bed and my skin is very, very dry from taking HOT baths just to thaw.
  • I do think Everything bagels are AMAZING!!!
  • I don’t think I am very good at making macaroons – or any baking for that matter – it is always a struggle for me… WHY?? This is going to be such a problem when I open my bakery… hahaha
  • It is BEYOND time to do another FREEZER MEAL workshop…. When can we all get together?


Happy Weekend upon us! What great plans do you have??




Kicken’ Chicken ~ My version of ANGEL Chicken

Angel Chicken - MY Kicken' Chicken!!

Kick’en Chicken (Slow Cooker Angel Chicken)

Okay I started with your standard Angel Chicken recipe… it was really kind of bland – even for me… I am learning to love the red pepper flakes and garlic powder, but that still wasn’t enough… AND my sauce was so thick that even with my addition of milk, it still needed something… BAM (I said to myself – on the cooking show in my head)…. ZESTY Italian Dressing!! The ZESTY took it right where it needed to be… creating a sauce I could have drank (drunk? – maybe with some VODKA… OMG – why didn’t I try that??) right from the pot and saved myself the carbs of the pasta… but I used Angel hair pasta and there is no room for carbs in those tiny, thin noodles – right? RIGHT??!!

So at this point – starting with the original recipe and all of my additions, I ended up with enough sauce for 4 complete meals… I quickly bagged up chicken breasts in 2lb bags and added 2 heaping cups of sauce to each one… NICE – 3 extra freezer meals ready to go!

Then with pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard as it may be… GAWD why aren’t a poet??) I “fixed” the recipe to make it ‘normal’ meal size. AND I renamed the recipe – because now it is a “KICKED UP” version of Angel Chicken!

BUT – This is still a BIG meal – using 4lbs (or 1 big pack of breasts) so either serve it for company, or know you will have left-overs, or plan and set aside ½ the chicken making yourself a complete freezer meal – ready to go for another day! *Truthfully you could ½ all the ingredients, but who wants a ½ packet of dressing or ½ can of soup left laying around…


Here are the Ingredients ~

  • 1/4 cup Butter (1/2 stick)
  • 1 packet Italian Dressing Mix Powder (0.7 ounces each)
  • 1 Cup Chicken Broth (I made mine with a bouillon cube)
  • 1 cans golden mushroom soup
  • 4 ounces cream cheese (1/2 brick)
  • 1/2 Bottle ZESTY Italian Dressing
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 Tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 TBSP Red Pepper Flakes


  • 4 lbs (+) chicken breast


  • 16 ounce box angel hair pasta (or 2 if you are making this all now, or another box for later when you pull the freezer meal out) Some have even mentioned preferring RICE

Angel Chicken

Instructions ~


  • Okay – if you are making all of the chicken at once, simply place the chicken (I cut my breasts in ½ width wise then again length wise… creating ‘chicken strips’) in your crockpot.

(If you are making 1 meal now and 1 for the freezer, place ½ the chicken in the crock and ½ in a freezer bag… If you are spontaneous or just CRAZY like me, you can then eyeball all of the sauce ingredients and place ½ of each on each chicken meal… or you can mix the sauce ingredients all in a bowl and then put ½ on each… your call… your circus! – Oh wait, that’s a whole ‘nother show in my head!!)

Angel Chicken Freezer Meal

  • Add all of the sauce ingredients on top of the chicken, give it a good stir…
  • Turn crock pot on low for 6-8 hours
  • When ready for dinner, prepare the pasta according to box, stir the chicken mixture again – shredding up some of the larger chunks if you prefer…. And serve it over a heaping plate of pasta!


SERIOUSLY – this may have become my new all-time favorite meal… give it a try!!




Monday Matchups ~ Including this week’s TOPS deals

pork loin

Meal Plan for the week happened HERE


My Favorite EASY Pork Roast was Sunday Supper HERE


Tried this dessert – Tollhouse Pie…. OMG, seriously! It tastes like a pecan pie but with chocolate chips instead of nuts –HERE


Rite Aid Deals and rolling the UPS – HERE


And after careful review and much coupon sorting… below are my favorite TOPS deals for this week!!


Chicken Breast – $1.99/lb. STOCK UP PRICE!!

Apples – B1G1

Tops Extra large eggs – B1G1 @ $2.99

Tops Bagels 5 ct – $1 (LOVE the EVERYTHINGs)

Many options on pg 1 and pg 4 – ALL ARE $1 and SAVE $2 OFF INSTANTLY WYB 10 (so .80 each wyb 10) HERE are my favorites where I feel .80 is a stock up price:

  • Tops Spaghetti sauce
  • Ronzoni Pasta
  • Kraft Mac N Cheese
  • Spice Classics
  • Tops Mini Marshmallows
  • Tops Snack Cakes
  • College Inn Broth cans 14.5 oz


  • Quaker Life or Captain Crunch Cereal BOGO @?? (counts as 2 items toward gas pts)
  • Tropicana 50 $3.33- Use the $1/1 Tropicana 50 coupon from the 1/11 Smartsource and pay $2.33
  • Quaker chewy bars $2.50

Motts 6 packs or Bigger Jars $2 use the $1/1 Motts coupon from the 1/11 Smartsource pay just $1


  • Chex mix or Bugles $2.00 use the $1/2 Chex mix or Bugles coupons from the 1/4 or 1/25 Smartsources pay $1.50
  • Frito Lay Party Size bags $3.99
  • Gatorade or Propel fitness water 6 ct $3
  • Schwepps Seltzer 12ct $2.50


  • Sargento Shredded Cheese $2.50 use the $1/2 Sargento Shredded cheese coupon from the 1/25 Smartsource pay $2 before instant savings
  • Tastings cheese $2 use the $1/1 Tastings Cheese coupon from the 1/25 Smartsource pay $1 before instant savings DEAL BELOW

Wishbone Dressing $2 use the $1/2 Wishbone dressing coupon from the 1/11 Smartsource and pay $1.50


NEXT week will be a BIG – HUGE – GIANT cereal stock up week so get ready!!!!

Sunday Funday ~ Weekly Meal Plan

bread machine

It’s a SUNDAY FUNDAY up here at Chez Kelsey and as usual, I am prepping to start cooking/baking up a storm!

I started the day by watching the Food Network (just me, my Romeo and Coffee) – which was a complete chocolate paluzza today… oh my!

K prepped the Sunday brunch and we had French bread French toast and maple bacon…. So delicious! I had him make an extra package of bacon because I need chopped bacon for two of my dishes planned for this week. *Did everyone take advantage of the bacon sale last week at Tops – B2G3 FREE… I ordered a few coupons using my Savingstar $ and bought 20 packs of bacon for about $50… GREAT stock up for us!

I got a “new to me” bread maker (virtual garage sales anyone??!!) and I was perusing recipes for an English muffin bread, came across this one and am going to give it a go: HERE

But I also came across a Red Lobster ‘copycat’ type cheddar biscuit bread (not for the bread maker) that I decided to make for dinner tonight: HERE

Also planning a dessert and opted to try these ‘copycat’ Entenmann’s Chocolate Chip Cookies: HERE

And then I realized I have exactly one cup of flour in this house…. How sad!  So I need to hit the store – even though I just went yesterday – aghhhhh…. Story of my life and perfect example where if it is not on my list it does not get purchased….. GGGRRRRR…. It is ON the list now!

I took a gander at the Tops ad and planned out a few deals and saw this $5/$50 coupon on their site so make sure you use that this week too!!! HERE

Then CK wanted to work on his Valentines box and we made a CREEPER: HERE

Now on to the WEEKLY MEAL PLAN and prepping for today ~

Today / Sunday –

Strip Steak… marinated in good ole’ Chiavettas. Also a baked potato bar with broccoli, bacon and a “morney sauce”…. Hahaha – that means CHEESE SAUCE but sounds so much fancier – I just learned it today!! I am making double the cheese sauce to use on Mac’n’cheese later this week.

Monday –

Chicken / Crazy Good Casserole – I found this recipe on facebook and I am planning it as a freezer meal for the next Meal Appeal workshop, so I have to make my family suffer through a trial! Stay tuned for recipe if I find it is as good as it looks!!

Tuesday –

Chili Dogs – I have chili in the freezer (that I can warm in the crock all afternoon) and love to serve it over a grilled dog with cheese and sour cream!

Wednesday –

Pulled Pork – made a full pork roast last week so this is leftovers but such a family favorite! Also will make some Mac ‘n’cheese using the extra sauce made on Sunday. Here is the EASY recipe I have started following and it is fantastic!!  HERE –

Thursday –

Heart Biscuit Pizzas – make your own! We have a Girl Scout Meeting and are making these for a food badge, so I will practice with my own kids first!! Check it out HERE

Friday –

Chicken Fried Rice – a freezer meal from last time… gotta use my time to make a special Valentine’s Day Dessert for family AND for Girl’s Night Out… maybe this: HERE

Saturday – Valentine’s Day

I am NOT cooking…. I say that now but either take-out or cheese and wine – either way I will be happy!!

Sunday –

Me and the Food Network! Home all day – I swear, if I have to leave the house… aghhhhh, LOL!! Making a frozen turkey – TURKEY DINNER and plenty of leftovers to make my favorite turkey/chicken meals next week!!

AND now…. Off to the grocery store for the forgotten flour…. Tell me what your plans are this week…. Meals or otherwise – nothing makes me happier than comments my friends!!




Weekly Meals and Menu Plan ~


MEAL APPEAL happened!

Wow – I am completely EXHAUSTED! But in a HAPPY, completely satisfied kind of way!

We just put in 2-12 hour days – running and chopping and running and chopping… on my feet! I am a ‘desk jockey’ and CLEARLY extremely out of shape so there is a BIG learning curve there!

BUT again – getting a group of friends (27 of them) together to make 340 meals – was INTENSE and EXCITING and I honestly can’t wait to do it again!

The feedback has been amazing so far… and really – who doesn’t want to have 10 meals in their freezer, all ready to go?!! We are going to do it again this coming Saturday for anyone else interested and then we scheduled 4/26 to make 10 NEW meals.

Great Example – Today we had the Cub Scout Blue and Gold Banquet and had an awesome spaghetti dinner so that covered today – but yet again another reason I love having these meals in the freezer…. Sunday’s WERE my cooking days and not being home all day would have ruined my meal plan for the week ~ NOT anymore!! I have 10 beauties right in my freezer!

Be sure to like the facebook page and stay tuned for the web site! (Click HERE to link)

So – I planned our weekly menu and of course, the shopping list! Using 5* of my FREEZER MEALS which is half of my stash and cost $62.50 (1/2 of the $125 for 10 meals), the following list is all I will need to buy to complete the meals below and to have AMAZING dinners for my family of 5! And truthfully – none of the add-ons are really needed…. You may eat just the dinner as prepared but I am trying to get more vegetables and fruits in my family! The bread sticks, rice and cheese just round it all out!!   LOL

* We are using 5 of the meals per week since I am assuming one night is generally leftovers or something you prefer – like CEREAL – and also if you are as busy as we are, there will be a 2nd night during the week that you have to order out, or in!



  • Taco shells
  • Melon and Grapes
  • Block of Cheese to slice
  • Garlic Bread Sticks
  • Minute Rice
  • Stir Fry Veggies
  • Asparagus – or other fresh veggie to go with Cordon Bleus




Monday: Scalloped Potatoes and Ham  – using up the left over ham from a meal we made last week. We have salad and bread left from the spaghetti dinner so comfort food all around on the dreaded Monday, back to reality day!  This is an alternate day.


Tuesday: Taco Casserole – the first of my FREEZER MEALS, this was the families universal choice! We have shells – hard and soft and I grabbed a musk melon today to go with it.


Wednesday: Chicken and Biscuits – I have a work meeting and “The Grands” are coming! This will be a perfect FREEZER MEAL because it feeds plenty AND there will be plenty of leftovers for lunches! The remaining melon along with a grape and cheese platter is the perfect addition!


Thursday: Home Style Ziti – Another FREEZER MEAL that can be popped in and baked the minute we get home – gotta be quick and easy so I can get “my TV time on” ~ SCANDAL!! This meal is so hearty that I will simply offer small garlic bread sticks with it.


Friday: Hawaiian Chicken – you guessed it, it’s in my FREEZER MEAL stash and since I will be prepping at the bakery until late at night, my family can still have an awesome meal! K can make some minute rice and we have some canned sweet and sour peppers that we are going to toss in the crock. Or maybe they will heat up some frozen stir fry veggies.


Saturday: Chicken Cordon Bleu – it is MEAL APPEAL workshop #2 day (Wish us luck), I will not be home until late but these babies, from the FREEZER MEAL stash will cook in under 30 minutes – K can pop them in when I am on my way home and I will walk into a delicious meal!! I hope to come across some good asparagus this week that can be broiled and served with these amazing chicken bundles.


Sunday:  TO BE DETERMINED – I will be practicing more new freezer meals!  Alternate day #2.




Rite-aid – especially because of the FREE mouth guard soaks! * Check out the deals HERE


So – there you have it… a run down on the Meal Appeal Freezer Meals we are having in our own Meal Plan, including the shopping list to make it all work. Rite-aid deals are also listed. Now make sure you LIKE the Meal Appeal facebook page and give us some feedback ~ Thank You!!!

Have a GREAT week friends!!

MONEY Monday, a third try at balancing and a visit to the Utilities….


It’s “MONEY MONDAY” again… if you are following this series, this is a step by step detail of how I am getting my budget under control – and how you can too!

Here was Step ONE

And Here was Step TWO

Both initial reviews had me realizing that my LEVEL 3 spending / “monthly, weekly, daily incidentals” are always WAY higher than I budget for… and in my case, I am talking WAY more!  I had to revamp my monthly budget to include a lot more items that I previously wasn’t counting (see the example in STEP 2) and even after  really trying to get a complete handle on it this week threw me for a curve yet again with a few little things adding up to BIG totals…  My daughter had not one – but 2 – field trips and each one cost a $20 spot and the kids had a school dance that was $10 each plus snack money… not to mention Lu needed something to wear cuz we all know you can’t wear something you already have….  I had to pay for our girl scout cookies and somehow my family managed to plow away 7 boxes in the past couple weeks… and my stupid key fob for my car quit working and I had to replace the battery, which mind you is NOT a $3 watch battery like I thought – and even though I completely redid my vehicle expense category, this was not something I ever thought of!  So $200 later, I am once again revisiting my budgeted expenses and revamping and realizing that the only answer is a sugar daddy I may also have to revisit my level 2 and even level 1 expenses to determine where I can draw the money from to make the Level 3 – monthly incidentals budget out.  This is where it gets very frustrating and I know for me, this is when I get sick of dealing with it and think if I ignore it will somehow fix itself…  WRONG!!! 

Because we have a very TIGHT budget (aka – live paycheck to paycheck) and I now can see why I am always “Robbing Peter to pay Paul”, I have to do one of 2 things:  either reduce my spending – somewhere… somehow…, or increase my income!  Increasing my income at this exact point in my life is not really possible so we definitely need to reduce our expenses! 

Looking at Level 2 expenses – all my monthly “BILLS”, I want to start with investigating all of my utility payments…  we have:

  • ·         Propane
  • ·         Electric
  • ·         Verizon (cellular and internet – UGH)
  • ·         Dish Network
  • ·         Also our vehicle Insurance

I am going to review each one of these expenses to see exactly what we are paying…  right off the bat I can tell you our VERIZON is outrageous and our DISH is useless….  I am thrilled with my insurance agent (HI MT) and I am more than happy that I locked in my propane this year.  So I will start with Verizon and Dish…  I’ll let you know how this goes!

Who’s playing along?  How are your LEVEL 2 expenses?


MONEY MONDAY ~ revisiting the budget!


New to this “oh so EXCITING” series?  No worries, we are just getting started…  You can catch up by reading the initial MONEY MONDAY post HERE – check it out, then come back… stick with me… misery LOVES company – right??!!  LOL – well we are going to fix that!!! 

AND by the way – I totally appreciate everyone’s concern about my financial self…  The calls and emails making sure we were okay…  * Hi Mom – hahaha!  I totally did not mean to make us sound completely destitute – even if that is how it really feels some days… especially the days you spend $350 to repair your furnace only to learn you need a new one NOW… so much for that tax return again this year – UGH!!!!

So – anyhow, did you detail out your budgeted expenses?  Did you learn anything about your spending?

I learned that my “Discretionary Funds/Spending” is HIGH…  OMG!!  Anyone else??  I knew it was high… I knew that I have issues with withdrawing funds at the ATM…  You know, need lunch money for a planned trip to the city – might as well grab a $100.  OR – Rite-aid has winter scarves on clearance for $3…  I absolutely need 13 of them!!! 

This is on top of:  All 3 kids need lunch money and are already in the hole $10 each…  Boy Scouts Dues  are due @ $35 AND we have to buy candy from the fundraiser (approx. $20 x 2 Boys), so they can request a campership for camp which consequently ~ the registration is due NOW ($40 x 2).  Then we needed a Dump pass ($20) and the dog license is due ($10) and there was a book fair at school ($10) and it is time to sign up for baseball ($50 x 2 – at least it is not all 3 anymore… high school does have it’s benefits!!) and basketball pictures are Friday ($30)… in addition to the Dr’s apt. co-pay ($20) and prescription cost ($10).  Need I go on?  This is in ONE week!!

So do you know what I learned?  SCREW the budget – I need to get rid of the kids! 

NO seriously – even though I think I was kind of serious….  What I really learned and want to point out is that YOU HAVE TO BUDGET FOR EVERYTHING!!!!  NOT budgeting everything you spend money on is only setting you up for failure…  The $415.00 I spent this week blew any discretionary fund right out of the water…  CRAZY??  YES!  But just goes to show that everything has to be budgeted at all times!!

Now go back to that budget again – Detail EVERYTHING!!!

  • ·         LEVEL 1 – Mortgage and home expenses * Have to be paid 1st no matter what!!  Taxes, Isurance… EVERYTHING!
  • ·         LEVEL 2 –  Monthly Payments, Utilities; gas (oil, propane, wood) electric, phone – cell, cable or dish, Internet, water, sewer – all Loans, Credit Payments
  • ·         Level 3 – Monthly Incidentals; groceries, gas, spending money

Here is a list of extra expenses you may not have thought of, but that absolutely need to be made part of your budget if they pertain to you:

  • ·         Food
  • ·         Clothing (Back to School shopping and sneakers for every sport X 3 – UGH)
  • ·         School / Office supplies
  • ·         Pet Care
  • ·         Medical expenses (copays and scripts, optical, dental)
  • ·         Household repairs
  • ·         Planned household purchases
  • ·         Home Maintenance (Lawn Mowing, Snow Plowing )
  • ·         Education costs
  • ·         Gifts
  • ·         Vehicle expenses (license and registration, inspections, maintenance, repairs),
  • ·         Dues / Subscriptions
  • ·         Clubs or Organizations
  • ·         Donations
  • ·         Christmas Club
  • ·         Vacation Fund

SO – what other categories did this make you think of?  It seems I come up with more daily – which is why I felt it was so important to re-visit the whole “MAKING THE BUDGET”.  So, detail it all… every little thing and we can see where we can improve upon the situation!

Okay – Next Money Monday:   How to view your BUDGET as a Profit and Loss Statement ~ Stay Tuned!!