January 25, 2015

Food Waste and meal Plan for the Week

We totally didn't follow the meal plan last week.  The Baked Chicken, Chicken and Dumplings and Lasagna that I made last weekend were used for many lunches and dinners and I didn't really cook much else.  Mr. R did the grocery shopping on Friday and bought a take and bake pizza for dinner.

Our food waste for the week:

A whole bag of mandarin oranges the Mr. R bought on Friday.  He opened the bag today and they were mushy and shriveled.  I told him we could take them back to Aldi but he threw them away.  Cost: $2.99
Mr. R uses this rice when he makes burritos with chicken.
I'm going to estimate the cost of this waste as $.10.

Chocolate Cookies that my Dad sent me for Christmas.
We ate all the good ones and these sat for a while. These were a gift
so the cost for us was $0.

Total Food Waste for the Week: $3.09.
Total Food Waste in 2015: $3.48

Mr. R spent $93.  We have $35 left in the food budget until Friday which is good since I need to go back and pick up a few things that he forgot.

Meal Plan for this week:
  • Sunday - We have a 3 lb. chub of ground turkey thawed in the refrigerator.  I'll be making hamburgers for dinner tonight and cooking up the remaining 2 pounds for use later in the week.  Mr. R loves hamburger helper meals and bought a couple boxes at the store.
  • Monday - Hamburger Helper
  • Tuesday - Chicken Parmesan and pasta
  • Wednesday - Baked Chicken
  • Thursday - Hamburger Helper
  • Friday - Leftovers

New to us Car

I was wanting to trade in my van.  There's been lots of little problems with it lately.  One thing Mr. R and I have come to realize is that since neither of us knows much about cars, we like the peace of mind we have from having newer cars shouldn't require many repairs and are under warranty if anything does need done. My father-in-law is a car sales man so when we decide it's time to buy a car we just let him know and he'll keep an eye out for a nice trade in or good lease deal.

So the call came in on Monday that his dad had a car he thought would work for us.  It's a 2014 Chevy Captiva with only 22,000 miles on it.  I really like it.  It's fun to drive and comfortable.  We definitely don't have as much space as the van but the trunk is a good size so we'll manage. Plus I got an extended warranty: 5 years bumper to bumper.  My van payment had been $187 per month, my new payment is $232.  I plan to pay more than that though to get it paid off quicker.  Out car insurance did go down $68 per year.  Since I've already paid for the year, I will be getting a refund check for $49.

Mr. R has agreed that buying out his lease is the best plan for his car.  Especially since we'll probably both be driving the new car instead.  We work opposite shifts so it works out really well that when he gets home from work, I drive whatever car he had been driving.  That way it's already warmed up and not covered in snow or ice.  If we ever had to really cut our expenses, we could probably make it work just having one car.

Once we buy out Mr. R's lease and I have a better idea of what the payments will be, I'll need to rework our budget and make some changes to our goals for the year.

January 21, 2015

Preparing for Vacation

I'm a planner.  It's one of my strengths and one of my weaknesses.  I over think things and over plan. Next month is our family vacation.  I love getting away from the cold Ohio weather.  We are taking a cruise leaving out of New York.  Nothing like leaving cold Ohio to go North.  But then we'll be heading South to Florida and the Bahamas.

I also just reviewed our vacation budget and we have saved the money to pay for or pre-paid everything we needed to for our trip.  This vacation is already 100% paid for.

Vacation To Do List:
  • Go Shopping for Snacks, Drinks and Wine - Budget $50
    • Snacks - I always pack a gallon sized Ziploc bag of many different types of snacks. Sometimes I pack two.  It always helps to have drinks and snacks on hand for the kids.  And it saves us money by not buying snacks along the way.  You would think there would be enough food on the cruise ship but we always end up eating through almost everything I pack. Sometimes you just don't want to leave the cabin for food.
    • Drinks - We'll take a cooler with bottled water, juice boxes and pop for the car ride and 1 night hotel stay.  I haven't decided how much pop to take on the cruise.  Mr. R is the only one that will not be happy without pop for the week.  But right now I can't pre-buy a pop card for just him.  NCL will charge us for a pop card for everyone in the cabin.   $177 for pop for 7 days is not in our vacation budget.  Maybe they will have a deal when we get on the boat or we can always buy it by the glass if Mr. R really wants it.  I'll probably pack a 12 pk to carry on and see how it goes from there.
    • Wine - We can take as many bottles on the ship as we want.  From reviews I've read, it seems some people are charged $15 per bottle corkage fee and some aren't.  I'll have to think about this more and do some research to see if it really saves much by carrying on the wine.
  • Transportation
    • Shuttle Service - We are driving to New Jersey the day before the cruise and hiring a shuttle service to pick us up at the hotel and drive us to the cruise port.  Our car will stay at the hotel for the week.  We'll also need transportation back to the hotel when the cruise is over.  I have 2 shuttle services that I've narrowed my choice down too.  I just need to make some calls, ask some questions and get it booked.
  • First Round of Packing - I typically pack and repack 3 times before a vacation.  What can I say, I LOVE packing.  The first round is everything I want to take and then realize its way too much and won't all fit.  This is going to be a hard trip finding a balance between taking extra to save money and over packing and being bogged down with luggage.
    • One issue with packing is that this cruise ship doesn't have washers and dryers to do laundry. They have a ridiculously overpriced laundry service that we won't be using.  On our last cruise I did laundry twice during the 7 day trip.  It's going to be hard to go 7 days without doing laundry.
    • I'm also responsible for packing for myself and the girls plus all the toiletries our whole family needs. Mr. R will pack the day we leave in 15 minutes, just throwing his clothes into a suitcase.
  • Contact our tenants and provide them with contact information in case any emergencies arise while we are gone and aren't able to get cell phone service.  
  • Let my parents know I'm giving our tenants their name and number in case of any emergencies. :)
  • Call NCl and get my credit card rewards points transferred over to our on board spending account. So far we have enough for $150 in rewards that will apply to our spending account.