Goals for August: Really?


Honestly in reading my July goals and then my weekly to do posts, I wonder why on earth I even bothered.  I thought I was doing well but in actuality I got little done of all the items listed.  I managed the new zone work in two areas but failed utterly with the other two.  I got mulch spread at the house in town in the one section of flower bed and laid out the whole new roll of weed mat but need more.   I did nothing in my own yard and my only accomplishment was potting up all the bits of plants I'd rooted from cuttings.

The pantry freezer challenge was a bit of a bust. I spent the full grocery budget at the start of the month and I've made little progress on my proposed plan to stock the pantry and freezer afresh while eating the older items.  I spent small sums here and there and when I added them up the total was shocking.

As for the quarterly financial planning I did  at the beginning of last month, I smugly wrote down what we ought to have had to put into savings these next three months and then watched as July's finances took a serious death blow.   We went into debt this month and it seemed we just couldn't help but to go deeper and deeper than we'd even thought we might.  There's one bill that still remains untouched and I must make time to make arrangements to tackle that one but I'm not sure where that money shall come from.  But as I said, not a bit of it could be helped.  It was just one of those things that happen  and so we now scrabble about and try to pay it off best as we can.  It changed not only this month but all the rest of the year I'd semi-planned out, as well.  Ho hum.  

Thank goodness I know how to make do, get by, stretch a penny and food to go further than it seems it reasonably might.  I might hate where I am at the moment but by the same token, it's not all that unfamiliar a place.  A lifetime of experience meeting such crises will see us through this one, as well.  I'm pretty much over the gnashing my teeth and wailing about it.  At some point you just have to calm yourself, straighten your clothing (i.e. Pull up those big girl pants), and get on with it all over again.

About the only goal I seem to have accomplished at all was spending time with the Grandchildren and that was a default thing, lol.  I'm keeping Caleb for an undetermined amount of time.  I'd forgotten how time consuming child care is at this stage.  When he takes a nap in the mid afternoon, Gramma tends to sort of fall off the edge of the world and sleep as well.  So not even during his rest time do I get very much accomplished.  I'm philosophical about it as the truth is, one must do what is needed in the season in which it is needed.  And this is the season where I find myself at present.

So I don't know what the heck happened to our lives in July.  It felt like chaos and upheaval and confusion and I'm still dazed thinking back upon it all.

For August, I'll be extending my pantry/freezer challenge.   I'm going to try and compromise.  I'm not going to do a big shop.  I'm going to watch weekly sales and see what comes up at best prices and use those items to restock the pantry and freezer, but we will mostly rely on what is on hand for our meals this month.   It's not as though we will starve.  I'm pretty sure we've plenty to get through this month  except for dairy and produce.  Thank goodness it's the season for cheap and well varied produce!   As for cutting the grocery budget I'm going to try.  But honestly if I spend ONLY what I have budgeted for the month even that will be a help!

I'll work out my August wardrobe.  I seem to keep culling things from my closet.  I've had so many of my things for several years now and the few 'new' items were also gently worn thrift store finds.  I shouldn't be shocked that some of these pieces are now looking shabby when I myself have worn them for two or three years after buying them used.  

If I'm super careful with my allotted allowance then I might be able to manage the next quarterly Stitch Fix box.  I set aside a portion in July for it and it is my hope to set some aside in August and September and manage it without a strain even if we do have to cut back allowances for a bit which is the other thing I mean to do: we have to trim allowances.

I'll be cutting the eating out/entertainment fund out of the budget entirely for the foreseeable future.  If we can't manage on our smaller allowance we just won't go out.  I do resolve however in future, I'm going to just purchase gift cards when we do have funds and then if we have to cut back, we won't have to give up our one luxury.

I know that August can be quite hot and the AC works hard to keep the house at temperature even though we keep our thermostat higher than most folks.  Often during the day, the machine struggles and that's going to mean we have to turn that thermostat higher in order to keep the motor from running for hours on end instead of cutting on and off as it should.   I'm usually the first to complain.   I'll just say now that I'll just bite my tongue and shush my mind from complaining.  I don't need my electric bill to go whacko this month because I am feeling a bit hot.  I'll sit down and drink more cold drinks and pull the curtains even if I do hate sitting in the dark.  

Honestly the electricity and grocery and allowances are about our only expenses that aren't set at a certain monthly rate, and this is where we will realize the additional savings room we need just now.

I will gather water from rain buckets, etc.  to water my plants with and keep them going in the event that August and September act as usual and become dry and overly warm.  I'll use my rinse water to water plants as well.   I'll move things to more shaded spots if need be in order to keep the soil from dehydrating so badly in the pots.

I will diligently harvest from my yard the few things I might harvest.  I'll look for pretty bouquet materials from the plants I have on hand.  I'll root more cuttings and pot those up.  In other words, I'm going into full 'make do' mode.

Those are my plans for August...Do you have any plans made?


Lana said...

For the last 12 months we spent $30K on repairs and the stair lift here. We have already started on more out of pocket because we are on the tree service list for whenever he can get here. Hopefully the dead tree will not fall on the shed before then. We really need to get some outside painting done and we have bees living in the screen porch roof that we have to call an exterminator for. It just never ends. We really need no food but I want some ice cream treats! That eat out budget goes less and less far with the spike in prices at restaurants everywhere. Last week we went for Mexican and a sign on the door said to add a dollar to every price on the menu. Our favorite chicken place also went up a dollar on the meal we order. My husband always says we don't have to use coupons but we do if we want to continue to eat out.

My alternative practitioner told me about this lymph massage for the face. Maybe it will help your TMJ? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0KQYXVjjpio&ab_channel=Testimonies%2CTeachings%26Tools

Liz from new york said...

We just have a beach week coming up mid august that was already planned and paid for. We’ve been staying home and just using the backyard pool for entertainment. My one luxury is eating out. I hate sounding spoiled, but I feel like I cut back so much in my life it’s the one thing I splurge on. I color my own hair, do my own nails ( unless I’m gifted a certificate to my favorite nail place). I have my hair cut quarterly, and I usually go longer than that. I don’t wear much makeup, and when I do it’s mostly drugstore stuff like cover girl, etc. But now that it seems like COVID cases are on the uptick again, who knows, I may be saving even my eating out money again!

Anne said...

Our July was like yours, Terri, one thing after another. I even "borrowed" a bit against August. I'm hoping and planning for a better month starting today.

We have been saints about eating all foodstuffs, though. I'm not as clever a cook as you and when I make a dinner, we pretty much just eat it for several days until it's gone. So I don't usually have to figure out how to incorporate leftovers into a soup or something, which my husband wouldn't eat anyway.

I live in the hot as he!! southwest, so we have summer all the way through September and into October, so it's not ending soon. But I want to do a couple more summery things to feel like we took advantage of the season. We'll drive down to La Jolla on Tuesday to try a restaurant we heard about and to look at the beach. It's over an hour away, but I really want to eat outdoors.

Also, next weekend we are having our son and his girlfriend up for a barbecue. Now, I have to laugh when I use the term "barbecue" because it is WELL over 100 here everyday, and NO ONE will be cooking or eating outside. We'll have a barbecue menu but everything will be done inside. It's the best we can do.

terricheney said...

Lana, Anne, Liz, I guess it's all just a season of pinching pennies a little more for all of us.
Lana, Thank you for sharing the video.

Liz, I'd love to have a pool, but it's apparently not meant to be.

Anne, our weather might look like fall is beginning but it isn't. It will be hot here until October or November as well. November 15 is our first frost date.

Tammy said...

Hi Terri - I just got caught up on the past few weeks of your blog posts. It certainly is a big job to take care of that little guy, but you will treasure your time with him later. I don't get much time with any of my three at the moment, but that's our season right now. Summer visitations are winding down, and I have a couple of "Grammy" days planned before school starts. The other day Layla asked me if I wanted to "use your kitchen skills" and bake up a cake mix, so we'll definitely need to do that. One day we're all going to the zoo, including Grampy and Uncle Nick, hopefully.
I am going to watch a little boy a couple of afternoons a week for the school year. I've kept him and his siblings now and again when their regular daycare provider wasn't available, so he knows me and enjoys coming here.
Greg's parents are in a tough season, and need help more and more often, so I try to keep tabs on them.
Around here, I have a few house projects to work on. Greg built me a closet out of that small desk area at the end of the dining room, so this week will be full of sorting and setting up toys/games/craft supplies in there. I plan to be brutal in deciding what to keep.
We just got through a week of heat advisories, with heat indexes of 110°, but it has cooled off nicely now and I look forward to being outside more. There are several tomatoes set on the plants, and I've picked a few peppers. I need to cut herbs and get them frozen in olive oil as well. A few posts back, you talked about lemon thyme. I used some in chicken salad last week. The recipe called for a little lemon juice, so I added the lemon thyme as well as regular thyme, and it was pretty good. Otherwise, I grow it because I like the smell. Lol.
I try to make a couple of new cups each week as well. It's a great creative outlet and we've sold a few.
Time for bed. It was nice to catch up with you this evening!

Stephanie said...

I think all of us must be going through the same thing. I'm tightening my frugal belt because my husband has decided he will retire if he is mandated to get the vaxx. (Not up for debate, personal choice) Several of my friends who are also leaving healthcare and I have started sharing frugal ideas, cheerleading one another, even swapping items the other needs. Kind of like the old days of bartering.
I'm trying to be mindful of every item in my kitchen. I'm regrowing celery and lettuce from pieces I would have normally thrown away. All garden produce is being eaten immediately, stored for the winter, or supplementing my chickens' diet. I'm still stocking my pantry/freezers because I have this nudging feeling that I *need* to.
This week I will start my seeds for broccoli and collards for my fall garden. I think I will even start a few more tomatoes in pots. I can put them in my greenhouse and keep some going throughout the winter.

Donna said...

You certainly have plenty of company in the unexpected expenses world. We think we are skating along pretty good and then BAM, things break, wear out and usually at great expense. I call anything over a hundred bucks great expense.

We have beaucoup tomatoes which I would happily share if we lived closer. Will have to try lemon thyme in chicken salad like Miss Tammy added to hers.

Is budget billing for your utilities available in your area? I've thought about doing that so I know exactly what the monthly bill will be. Would you believe that it was in the upper 50's when I got up this morning? Bliss!

Plans for August will be keeping up with the gardens and continually pulling and hacking away at weeds. There are times when I just want to have everything tilled up and plant grass. The Urban Farmer goes to the eye specialist for another injection in his eye on Thursday and his birthday is the 14th. It is on the Sabbath so we will celebrate another day.

terricheney said...

Tammy, I know that this is a fleeting season. Isaac started school today and the opportunity to spend time with him is now forever dominated by school schedules and limited, just as it has been with Josh.
I really like the lemon thyme with the chicken. I did try it in a cake but I thought that tasted more medicinal than good.

Stephanie, I'm beginning to think it's just world wide at the moment, lol. Everyone seems to have experienced some sort of financial shock.

Donna, Budget billing is available but John refuses to do it. Really there's not a lot of leeway in our bills anyway. Typically we average around 150 year round and I tend to just budget it myself and keep a running total of my overage which comes in handy in summer.
If you lived closer, I'd happily take tomatoes!

Karen in WI said...

Terri, I usually start thinking of fall and school prep in August, while trying to enjoy the rest of summer! My youngest is a junior in high school this year and my last homeschool student. It is time for my husband to bring up the school book boxes so I can organize and see what books need to be ordered. I just finished a pantry clean out and organization, which feels wonderful! I hope Isaac had a good first few days of school! My kids still napped at four years old so I wonder how he is doing with a full day.

We have had workers outside putting new siding on our house and they will be here through next week. It is noisy and I greatly miss sitting out on my front porch every morning with coffee and Bible. I am excited to see it all finished though! I will finally get to window cleaning after the workmen leave.

My husband and I are going on vacation in Michigan for a week all by ourselves this month. We have started to try to do that, now that the kids are older. It is lovely to just focus on us.

Our 2nd oldest son will be leaving for college in Nebraska in the middle of the month. I am helping him gather everything he needs.

We are watering a lot and could sure use some rain here. I will putter in the flower gardens and help harvest vegetables with my husband. We will be deep cleaning and painting our youngest son’s room this month too.

Well, I am going to close my eyes for a few minutes and then bake the Brazilian cheese rolls I have in the fridge, and finish off some chicken tortilla soup. I hope you get some rest and a bit of relaxation on your weekends! It sounds quite necessary during this busy season!

terricheney said...

Rhonda, Medicare supplements are indeed tricky and expensive as well and no I don't think anyone can really save enough to be covered for every eventuality in their elder years. My best advice is to NOT sign paperwork for your family members. Signing may make you liable for debts. I don't say this meanly or unkindly but if your parents (or Jeff's or whomever's) is cognizant enough to sign their own admission papers LET THEM.
As for the cost, at some point even the facility/doctor/etc must know that it's gone far beyond what anyone could ever hope to think they might pay. John and I were discussing his former partner's uncle who needed a cancer drug that was over $650 for a week's dosage. They finally realized they could get it at Walmart for $35. I'm serious! I told John it seems mighty crooked to me that some people are stuck wtih a certain store because insurance insists upon it and that they charge so very much for it. I've experienced this with Katie's medications. ONE at CVS was over $900 but at Publix we got both filled for $62. It's CRAZY...
I know all about the two year old...Believe me I am running faster than I ever thought I might and tireder than I ever thought I could be, lol!

Karen, a vacation sounds about lovely right now....lol I can identify with missing the quiet of your usual mornings, but they will return soon and you'll be so proud of that new facade.