Weekly Budget Bites 2

This week is all about soups, casseroles, and sweet potatoes! I’m bringing in a lot of Mexican flavors and a lot of ‘clean out the fridge’ type meals as we actually clean out the freezer and fridge 🙂 .

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We spent a total of $45.64 at Meijer this week and here’s our meal plan:

Chicken Tortilla Soup- from the Pioneer Woman, adapted (because who needs a recipe) and made in the slow cooker.

Mexican Risotto- from Feed Your Soul Too, a relaxing at home meal for the night I’m home to cook this week.

Calzones- from King Arthur Flour, the filling is the clean out the fridge type made of whatever veggies/meat/cheese we need to use up.

Cauliflower Sweet Potato Bisque- from Yes I Want Cake, because when something is this good we tend to make it again and again 🙂

Mexican Lasagna- from Gimme Some Oven, sort of. This is a close approximation to the casserole I usually make, though if we’re being honest this is usually a “use up the veggies and meat” kind of dinner for when I don’t fully plan.

FEND- most of these meals make leftovers for lunch, but sometimes we end up with too many and we end up eating them for a second dinner too. No complaints here as long as there’s some of that cauliflower sweet potato soup left!

Brinner- from Clean Eats Fast Feets, we make a crustless version of this quiche all the time. It’s easy and it’s delicious, do yourself a favor and make one for dinner this week.

What’s on your menu this week? Comment below or share a snap at #weeklybudgetbites on Instagram.

Weekly Budget Bites 1

This week we’re loading up on fall flavors and soups in hope of some cooler weather. We have a small meal prep mixed with some easy to make dinners throughout the week.

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This week we spent $53.90 at Meijer and $13.74 at Target. Here’s how that breaks down into meals:

Pasta: Pesto Penne with Roasted Butternut Squash and Kale– Peas and Crayons

Soup: Cauliflower Sweet Potato Bisque– Yes I Want Cake

Chicken Chili:  A #loabhousehold original (meaning there’s no recipe)

Brinner: Eggs and Roasted Potatoes – Clean Eats Fast Feets

Pizza Night: classic pizza (your dough of choice topped with veggies, sausage, and #allthecheese)

FEND: A weekly tradition, usually saved for a busy night, where we “fend for ourselves” by eating up leftovers out of the fridge. I think we stole the name from a neighbor friend growing up, but you gotta admit the concept sounds adventurous 😉

What’s on your menu this week? Comment below or share at #weeklybudgetbites on Instagram.

Budget Breakdown: October 2016

Accountability is an essential part of keeping a budget on track. That’s why I’m committed to sharing my monthly budget breakdown here. I’m counting on the interwebs (and Mr. LOAB) to keep me focused on my budget goals.

Screen Shot 2016-10-29 at 7.55.31 PM.pngNo big changes to our overall budget this month, but we’re right on track, plugging along towards our goals (with25-30% of our downpayment is funded depending on how much we decide to borrow).  There were a few extra trips to Target and a few extra coffee runs this month and but I was able to use extra hours at my Home Health position to still exceed our savings goal. That’s the beauty of budgeting, when you know where your money is going you can take action to increase your earning/spending in order to hit your goals.

Food (my half of our monthly total): 3.88%

Cell Phone: 1%

Gas: 1.19%

Cash Fun: 0%

Car insurance: 1.23%

Everything Else: 3.75%

Food: 2.75%

Retirement Savings: 3.4%

House Savings: 86.66%

Watching the numbers creep up in our savings (and knowing there were  a lot of impulsive buys that I could have avoided) has prompted me to commit to a No-Spend November. When I recap next month my goal is to have all extraneous spending at $0.

How do your monthly expenses breakdown? Share your experiences below or with #BudgetBreakdown on Instagram.

Budget Bites: October 2016

Bringing the food into the house isn’t enough, you’ve got to cook and eat it. That’s where the monthly Budget Bites series comes in. Real food on a real budget.

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This month we spent a total of $348. We rotated through a fairly consistent lineup of chili, risotto, casseroles, pizza, stir fry, and salads (with a few drinks and cupcakes thrown in for good measure). We managed to meal prep at least a little bit each week and avoided eating out all month (except for a planned date night).

I’m going to be making a few changes to the format of this series. Based on a few Instagram requests for recipes when I post our meals/meal preps I’m going to switch this to a weekly series (#weeklybudgetbites) where I do just that. Every Sunday (starting next week) I’ll give you the rundown of our budget, our menu, and the recipes so you can play along at home.

Want to see what we’re eating throughout the month? Follow along with #BudgetBites and share your healthy, whole-food, eats.

 

5 money saving apps we use each week

Our budget has its own folder on my phone. Yes, I’m one of those people who keep all their apps in little folders,  so this really shouldn’t come as a surprise. But in case you’re new here I figure it’s important to be upfront about my OCD tendencies.

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Even if the whole folder thing is too much organization for you I’m sharing the 5 money saving apps we use each week in hopes that in the very least I can inspire you to clean up some financial clutter.

Chase Mobile

We bank with Chase so for us, this one was a no-brainer. I use this almost daily to deposit paychecks, pay bills, check in on our spending, and move money between accounts. If you’re like me and always heading somewhere I highly recommend checking out the mobile app associated with your bank (or looking into a bank that has a mobile app). Seriously having all my accounts at my fingertips has been a game changer in letting me move money into the proper account (hello downpayment) as soon as it’s deposited.

Cartwheel 

If you’re like me (or anyone who has ever been to Target) you know what a blow this store can be to the budget. This has led to me planning our trips there and limiting them to a 1x a month deal and even still needing to use all my willpower to come out ahead. Enter Cartwheel, Target’s app which lets me browse all available deals before I head to the store. We mostly go to Target for paper goods, personal care products, gluten free items, and so I can hit up the dollar spot for therapy supplies. With the exception of the dollar spot Cartwheel lets me browse all those categories, check out what brand is on sale at the time, and save the items I need into a list. Then when it’s time to checkout you scan the barcode at the register and BOOM the coupons from your list are automatically applied. Combined with the 5% off I get for using my RedCard and this app saves us an average of $20 per trip.

EveryDollar

This is a new app I’m trying out this month, created by our guy Dave. It’s a free budget tracker designed to help with zero balance budgeting. I like that you have to enter your transactions, which helps me keep track of where our money is moving and that you can easily split transactions across categories (i.e. $100 at Target can be separated into $30 for medicine and $70 for food) so you have a clear picture of your exact expenses. I also love that you can access your account online, which will be great for our Budget Breakdown. It won’t replace my beloved spreadsheets for looking at our financial big picture, but for keeping track of our daily budgeting it’s the best app I’ve tried yet.

Meijer M-Perks

In case you missed it I’m just a teensy bit obsessed with our food budget, I blame the former food network addict in me. Lucky for me Meijer (our grocery store of choice) lets me maintain that control without being a total time suck. M-Perks is a reward system linked to your phone number. Just like with Cartwheel I can view the sales/coupons and use them to make my list right in the app. M-Perks also comes with the added bonus of giving me cash off my purchase if I buy enough in my specified categories. An app that fits my list making tendencies and rewards my love of cheese, you know I’m in!

Calculator

Now, this may seem like a cop-out, especially since I use the basic calculator pre-loaded on my iPhone, but hear me out on this one. For a self-professed math nerd, I happen to be incredibly bad at mental math. But give me a calculator and I can tell you almost instantly if a “deal” is actually a deal or if I can afford the second bottle of wine I’m eyeing. My calculator calculations may only save us a few dollars per grocery trip but when you’re chasing goals every dollar counts.

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Surprise, surprise there was nothing fancy in my app folder, you all know fancy isn’t really my style (unless we’re talking lists of course!). But I really do swear by each of those apps in terms of keeping our money moving in the right direction.

What money apps do you swear by?

Currently: October 2016

I talk a lot about where and how we make and spend our money because the “budget” is a big part of our current life. That doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten love, the other half of the equation, so as a reminder I’m sharing a bit about the current loves in our life.

Current Schedule: Busy as usual. We’re still clocking 55+ hour weeks each between our mix of jobs with not much of a slowdown in sight. Though there might be some exciting changes on the job front in the next few months… more on that as we get details ourselves.
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Current Book: Neither of us has done much fun reading recently. After tearing through the Clockwork series last month I’ve been on the same book (and if I’m being honest the same page…) and Mr. LOAB has still been spending his free time on screens.

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Current Triumphs: We both finished the Light the Torch 5k with my school with decent times (despite me falling on my face). We’re both working to bring our speed down a little bit for the annual turkey trot we run with my family.

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Current Excitement: Pumpkin carving! We’ve set a date and gathered the tools (and the drinks). You can bet we’ll be documenting our annual face off this Friday on  Instagram and SnapChat 

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Current Thankfulness: Family and friends.  We got to spend some time with Mr. LOAB’s family this weekend for his godson’s birthday which was awesome since we haven’t seen all the littles in a few months.  Throw in the extra time with my cousin while we were dog sitting, a night out with our friends up north, and a girls night with my college besties and it’s been a great month of love and laughs all around.

What makes you #LoveYourLife these days?

 

Budget Bites: September 2016 The WIAW Edition

Bringing the food into the house isn’t enough, you’ve got to cook and eat it. That’s where the monthly Budget Bites series comes in. Real food on a real budget.

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This month we spent $325, officially accepting that if we’re going to enjoy the occasional bottle of wine the budget would have to be adjusted accordingly 😉 But as I was making those changes to the numbers I thought of another change that might be useful to see around here… usually I chronicle our monthly dinners (and leftovers for lunch) since that’s where the bulk of our food goes, but this month I decided to share a full day of my eats (maybe next month I’ll make Mr. LOAB play foodie photographer).  And what better way to do that than by linking up with the What I Ate Wednesday crowd.

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Breakfast was the usual coffee with almond milk (my second cup of the day) with a side of homemade granola (TJ’s gluten free oats, dried fruit, and walnuts), and a side of yogurt. Usually, I go for plain greek yogurt but I couldn’t resist the pumpkin greek yogurt at the store this week.

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Lunch was a mix of carrots, chips (munched down before I got a picture), salsa, and cheese stick eaten a la desk. I usually have snack foods for lunch during the week because some days are too crazy to sit down and eat anything fancy. The apple ended up being my road snack between school and my tutoring client.

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Dinner was a big bowl (okay two big bowls) of broccoli mac and cheese from my weekend meal prep. You’ll have to forgive the poor lighting in our kitchen at 7 pm, I may have been too hungry to try for a better picture.

Want to see what we’re eating throughout the month? Follow along with #BudgetBites and share your healthy, whole-food, eats.