June 9, 2012

A Day out with Thomas, and why this was so significant for us.

When it comes to family activities, we are all for the free/cheap fun. I have discovered that my kids typically will have just as much, if not more fun without costing us much or any money. So when I saw the price tag on the Day out with Thomas tickets, I was more than a little hesitant. The tickets would cost a little more than $60 for the family, not to mention that gas money for the two hour car trip. And while that may not seem like a lot for some, for this frugal momma, it was enough to make me more than a little uncomfortable!

After a lot of discussion with the hubby, going back and forth about it several times, we realized that events like this are why we wanted to get our budget under control. My son, Jameson, is absolutely nuts about Thomas the Train. There is not a day that goes by when he doesn't play with his trains, heck, the kid has a Thomas the Train bed! This was not something that would just be a fun outing for the family- it would truly be a dream come true for my little boy.

A year or so ago, something like this would have resulted in one of two scenarios:

1. We would decide not to go because we couldn't afford it since we had no money in savings and be bummed that we couldn't get this experience for my kiddos.
2. We would go anyway, put it on a credit card, and I would feel guilty about it the whole time.

But this time, the money was there. We have been saving for a mini-vacation for our family this summer. Based on our preliminary figuring, it is going to be a pretty inexpensive vacation that we had over-saved for, which meant that we had plenty that we could pull from that budget column to pay for the tickets. Also, we have been really good at conserving our gas this week, so we would have plenty in the gas budget to cover the extra gas for the trip.

Since we have gotten such a grasp on our finances, we were able to easily pay cash for the whole thing. Again, I realize that while $60 isn't much to some of you, others might actually think we are crazy for dropping that kind of money on a 20 minute train ride (since the other activities were all free). But you know what? We had the money because we have worked hard to save it, and we created family memories that we all, especially Jameson, will not soon forget. Want more convincing? Let these pictures do the job:

Posing in front of Thomas- and of course I took my own pictures instead of buying theirs! Duh! You couldn't have expected me to go totally crazy :)

Crazy girl coloring.

Chugging along the track!

Showing off their tattoos!

Waiting for the bouncy slide


We met Sir Topam Hatt!

Crazy drivers!

More posting with Thomas!

Petting zoo 

Showing me his ticket for the train ride

Sassy girl

So excited to be walking up this train aisle!

I love her "cheese" face

This smile made it ALL worth it!

Me and my little train nut

So silly!

Amazing family memories- worth every penny!

June 2, 2012

Shopping trips

There were two things that pleased me greatly about my shopping trips this week:

1. Because I have been finding some awesome deals lately and have gotten more proficient at basing my meal plans on what I have, I had very minimal amount of shopping to do.
2. Shaun came home from work early, so I got to go grocery shopping BY MYSELF!!!! Pretty much the best gift that man can give me.

Anyway, here are the deals:


10 packs of shredded cheese: $.98 each (no, we have not gone through my major cheese stock up from a few weeks ago, but cheese has a pretty long shelf life and when you catch it for under $1.00 and it fits in your budget, you stock up!)
2 packs of boneless, skinless chicken breasts: $1.68/lb


Ground turkey: $1.49 each
Tortillas $.99
Cantalope: $1.29
Pineapple: $1.29
Blueberries: $1.49
Tortilla chips: $.99
Crackers: $1.69
Graham crackers: $1.49
Pinto beans: $.99
Kidney beans: $.59
Butter: $2.29


Brown rice: $.70
Black beans: $1.59
3 ears corn: 3/$1
2 containers sour cream: $1.25 each

In total I kept all my groceries under $50 for two weeks of meals! I will have to make other stops for produce and milk, of course, but building that stockpile really helps!

June 1, 2012

Menu plan

Leftovers x5
Snacky lunch x2
PB Sandwiches x2
Homemade mac and cheese
Cheese quesadillas
Eat out one day
Pasta and sauce

Friend's wedding
Lasagna casserole (from the freezer)
Pork chops
Italian chicken (from the freezer)
Breakfast for dinner
Chicken and noodles (from the freezer)
Build your own haystacks 
Beans and rice
Crispy chicken wraps
Crockpot chicken tacos
Pizza x2