Mommy Mondays: Bills and Budgets

Bills and Budgets

I admit that I like to go shopping. Who doesn’t? Whatever it might be: clothes, cars, home decor, pets, tattoos, coffee mugs; everyone has their thing.

Having a family means cutting down on unecessary shopping and beginning to use money and time in a more strategic spending pattern. I honestly don’t know how any family survives without a budget. If we didn’t do it here at the Rockstar household, we would have some serious problems on our hands.

With just a few simple steps you can create a budget, become more aware regarding your spending and possibly free up some cash to hit the mall, farmers market, boutique, tattoo parlor, pet store, etc.

Bills and Budgets 101

biils budgets 2

1. Write it down: Keep a “bill book” so you can look at trends from one month to the next. Keeping a log book of what you are spending makes you even more accountable for every dollar coming in and going out.

2.Know what you make: This can be as easy as sneaking a peak at your pay-stub or it can be a little more tricky (i.e. self employment). Do you need to work a little overtime to reach your goals or can you skip the extra hours and relax this month?

3. Know your bills and other necessary costs: Make sure you don’t forget gas, groceries and other necessary purchases that you make multiple times throughout the month.

4. What’s the difference? Subtract the “bills and necessities” from the “what you make”. What will you do with what’s left over? This amount may vary from month to month so use it wisely.

5. Let’s get visual: We keep the “bill book” open to the current month so every time we pass the desk, we have a reminder. It is easily accessible just in case we need to make some quick spending decisions.

6. *BONUS* Save: Spend a little and save a little. Make savings one of you monthly “necessities”.  Set a goal and a timeline for your savings and spending cycles. Enjoy.

 

*** Talk to me. What are you saving for? ***

 

Posted in Mommy Mondays | Leave a comment

Chopped Veggie and Cheese Quinoa Salad

DSC_0023

As you have probably noticed, I don’t turn the oven on too often. I am more of a stove-top chef. Call it lazy if you like, but I am perfectly happy with it. I may do some baking next month, but for right now I’ll stick to what I know well.

One of the Rockstar’s favorite meals is Italian Pasta Salad, but he’s been on a “kinowa, or however the heck you say it” kick lately. I thought I’d combine his long time love with his new-found enigma.

As usual, I try to stick with the fewest amount of ingredients to cut down on prep time. This recipe can totally be adapted to fit your specific tastes. This is a hand feature if you have picky eaters.

DSC_0012

DSC_0032DSC_0020

 

DSC_0029 DSC_0026DSC_0032DSC_0020DSC_0022
DSC_0018

Chopped Veggie and Cheese Quinoa Salad
(makes 4 lunch servings)

1 cup of quinoa
1.5 cups chopped cucumber
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup small chunks of mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup italian salad dressing (We love Annie’s Tuscany Italian)

1. Prepare the quinoa as directed on box. Let cool for 10 to 15 minutes.
2. Chop the tomatoes, cucumbers and cheese. Place in large bowl.
3. Add in the cooled quinoa and dressing.
4. Toss and serve.

 

*** What would you add into your Quinoa Salad mix to make it your own?***

Posted in D.R. Recipes | Leave a comment

Mommy Mondays: Grocery Store Survival

Grocery Store

Confession: I love grocery shopping. I often think about making a career out of it. Like maybe find a few wealthy clients that don’t have the time and then they pay me to grocery shop for them each week. I could do some meal prep for them and meal planning if needed, but I’d really love to get my hands on someone’s grocery list, reorganize it by aisle (yes I am one of those ladies), clip a few coupons and check circulars and then head to the store with a cart or two (I have no shame).

I do prefer to fly solo when grocery shopping, but sometimes I drag along the Rockstar or the kiddos. I always end up with more in the cart at the end of one of these adventures. The extra help is always nice…. as long as it doesn’t mess up my grocery shopping groove. Yes, I have a grocery shopping groove!

I am not one of the majority when it comes to grocery shopping. In fact, there are a rare few who look forward to grocery shopping, so I hope that these few tips can help make the task easier on the rest of you!

…and for those that love grocery shopping, ROCK ON!

Beat the Grocery Shopping Blues*

1. Take Inventory: There is nothing worse than arriving home with items, only to find you already have a stockpile of them at the back of the pantry. Take a look around your kitchen and see what you already have. Do you already have enough items to make dinner for three nights this week? Do you really need 6 jars of jelly even though they are on sale? Can you grab just a few things to make some complete meals using items you already have?

Grocery Store Survival Blank 2

2. Have a list: Write down everything you need for snacks, meals and drinks for the upcoming week. Then cross off the items you already have. I also like to make notes of quantities of the items that I may need. Bonus Challenge: write down the approximate cost of each item (this is easier after you do it a few times). This really helps if you have set a limit on your spending. You can tally up your approximate costs so you can anticipate the over or under for your trip.

Grocery Store Budget

3. Have a budget: Keep in mind just how much you want to spend. We were spending around $200 per week on groceries, but now I have us spending closer to $125 per week. It really adds up. Keep with your budget by sticking to your list and doing a little leg work to get the best possible price you can manage. Extra splurges here and there can really add up, so keep them to a minimum.

Grocery Store CouponsGrocery Store Shoppers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Coupons and Shopper Cards: I’m not talking extreme couponing here (although I do admire their dedication). Glance through your local paper for the coupons and circulars if that’s your thing. If not, I know our two local groceries stores have apps with digital coupons and a copy of the most recent circular. Twenty minutes per week before you hit the store could really add to your savings.

Grocery Store Distraction

5. Come with distractions/supplies (if needed): Bringing the kids along can be tricky. I don’t leave the house without snacks, wipes, shopping cart cover, toys and drinks for the little one. If I bring the ladies with me, I try to involve them in the shopping process so they don’t get bored. It’s also good for them to see how it works.

Taking 30 minutes or even an hour to prepare for your shopping trip can really help minimize your stress and maximize your savings. Good luck and let me know how it goes!

 

* All of this can be avoided, if you just contact me. I will do your grocery planning and shopping for a fee. Leave a comment if you are interested and we can get started!

*** Okay grocery shoppers, what is your favorite item you grab every week at the grocery store? I’ve been on a Larabar kick lately!***

Posted in Mommy Mondays | Leave a comment