Tuesday, July 19, 2011
A Good Day's Work
John warned me last week that the overtime we've enjoyed this year may soon be coming to an end. With that warning, I knew it was time to look over our budget sheet and adjust my figures to our usual take home pay. It's been nice having the overtime, no kidding, but I'm happy to say that if we are careful we should be able to manage just fine and be able to continue our current rate of savings. Of course the variable areas of the budget are the ones we'll have to keep an eye upon: Electricity, gasoline and groceries. Everything else is 'fixed'.
One item I didn't remove from the budget is the amount we normally set aside for our car insurance. We've been paying our car insurance in monthly installments for quite a few years now, but this renewal we were offered a substantial 20% incentive to pay in full. Savings of $150 a year plus the $36 we've been paying as a surcharge to divide the amount into monthly payments pretty much means we've halved the cost of our insurance for six months. We agreed after looking over the savings that we'd rather take the full amount out of our savings in a lump sum, but we'd continue to set aside a monthly amount, just as though we were making payments. Then when the bill comes due again in six months we'll have the money already set aside in our account. I'm curious to see if we're offered the same incentive when we renew our house insurance later this year.
This method of setting money aside monthly even if the bill isn't due for six to twelve months works well for us because we are very disciplined. That money doesn't get touched at all for anything else. We have literally trained ourselves to see it as money already spent. If you don't have this dedicated discipline where money is concerned you might find it a better solution to have an auto deposit to a savings account you cannot easily access.
Satisfied that we'd be doing well enough financially, I thought I'd get the rest of my Home Keeping Notebook in order. I checked the calendar for upcoming birthdays, appointments, events... Nothing else this month. I made out new Zone cleaning sheets. I wanted to add quarterly jobs to be done to further offset the need to do seasonal cleaning. I'm satisfied if I work per my worksheets each week I'll never again have to do a major Spring/Fall cleaning. The time saved on spring fall cleaning will save time and energy which I plan to use in yard/garden work. Occasionally there are a few extra days in each month. I'm going to use the 'extra' time to work on my shed, getting it cleaned, organized, prettified.
I worked on goals for August. I'm not completely through with that task yet, but I have at least begun it. I really want to think about what I hope to accomplish and I hope that I find it as productive as April, May and June were. July has been a wasted month I'm afraid.
I sorted out the assortment of pages torn from magazines I'd shoved into my notebook. Recipes were dated with July 2012 so I'll know to discard them if they have not been attempted by that time next year. I filed those in my recipes notebook. Then I started an Inspiration notebook. It's very revealing. I have a good many photos of brown, green and natural decor for both garden and living/dining areas. Obviously a direction I would like to go in... So the Home keeping notebook was sorted and arranged. My Inspiration notebook suits me very well (a sketchbook, really in which I've glued photos from magazines much like a scrapbook).
I made Sloppy Joes for our lunch today. We laughed as we dished up our meal. "It's the first time in our history as a couple we've had Sloppy Joes without an outcry of 'Ewwwww'," I told John. "I never understood why they disliked them so," he said as he took his plate. Nor have I. But it was nice to eat a meal we like without groans in the background.
I'd thawed just a pound of ground sirloin but made two burgers for his lunch for tomorrow and then added a bevy of vegetables to the remaining meat: carrots, onions, celery, red bell pepper, diced tomato as well as Worcestershire sauce and catsup. There were plenty of vegetables in the Sloppy Joe mix so I didn't feel we needed anything more than French fries for a side dish. I had a pint of the meat mixture leftover and used some of it tonight on pita breads topped with the last slices of the deli Provolone I bought at the beginning of the All You challenge. That made a nice little individual pizza for each of us.
I start the beginning of this work week with some idea of what work lunches and meals will be. I've got leftover Deviled Eggs I'll make into egg salad. There's a bit of tuna salad leftovers that will make a nice salad plate for John's lunch on Thursday. I plan to cook a roast in the crock pot and then slice it with my meat slicer. I'll set some aside for this week but package the rest as sandwich meat and freeze. There's a chicken breast to turn into Chicken Fried Rice and the last of the Sloppy Joe mixture will make a nice individual Shepherd's Pie topped with Mashed potatoes.
I am on my toes, because that V (www.thebonbonclub.blogspot.com) is cooking up a storm and using up every last little bit of her leftovers. That girl is a dynamo in the kitchen and I am not above using a little healthy competition to make my budget stretch a little further, lol. Blogger has been a real pain and not allowed me to leave a comment as I've read her blog. I wonder how many are having the same trouble with my blog? Anyway, V is inspiring me. I've got four nectarines on the counter that I definitely need to get creative in using. On my toes, on my toes. I shall not let food go to waste!
I plan to make bread and yogurt tomorrow. I found a recipe here for pita bread I want to try:
http://www.thefreshloaf.com/recipes/pitabread and since I just bought oatmeal, this recipe for granola:
http://www.thefrugalgirl.com/2011/07/a-granola-recipe-and-a-giveaway/ but I may have to wait on making those until later in this week.
Guess I'll go work on my August goals and round out this day of work finishing off that last task. What are you doing this week?