Friday, May 6, 2016

Graduation money savings!

The boy is graduating high school this June and we are super duper excited. Also, he is my last to graduate so I am really really excited! 

Today we are talking graduation savings. This can be high school, college, whatever. I am specifically thinking high school though.

Graduation can get so expensive but it does not have to be. This post I am thinking the senior pictures and the announcements.

These darn pictures can get pretty expensive if you let it. I choose to not let it. With our oldest, we went early to take advantage of the specials the photographer place had. Since we were new to the area, we just used who the school suggested. We ended up spending a few hundred dollars.

With the middle girl, we pretty much procrastinated and never got them done. The plan was to have the man with his fancy camera take her pictures. Yeah, that never happened. I did get some pretty ones when we were getting her ready for prom so I just claim that as her senior picture.

With the boy, he had no interest in senior pictures and I was secretly thrilled. I had wanted family pictures to be taken and the man knew someone who takes them relatively cheap and then gives the pictures on a CD after she touches them up. We print them. We had her take several pictures of him alone and, voila!, senior pictures taken!  

On to the announcements. 

Back in the day, one had to order announcements from the school. And they were a bit pricey. And formal. Nowadays, you can order them from anywhere. And they can be as formal or as casual as you want them. They can be as expensive as you want them to be. I choose to be frugal...ok, cheap.  

What I did for each of the girls was make my own announcements. For the oldest, I had many wallet sized pics made and then bought a card/invitation kit and printed all our own announcements. Somewhat formal, very nice.

With my middle child, I found the most cost effective, casual way to make graduation announcements. I loved it so much that I also did it this way for the boy. So, what I did was take my favorite "senior" picture and then found a free "paint" program online (I cannot remember which one I used...I asked the kids..haha) and then I added the information for the graduation party. When all the information was placed on the picture where I wanted it, I sent it to a local Walgreens and printed the amount I needed. This year I only did 12. I opted to make an online announcement with the picture file and made a facebook party announcement for our family and friends. So, if I dont count the cost of the actual picture, the announcements cost me less than $5.  Win!!!

Sunday, May 1, 2016

April's grocery rundown

Here is April's run down. I took out $600 to use cash towards groceries and eating out. Not a good idea for us to use cash, I have realized. I mean, if I was the only one doing the shopping, it would work out perfect, but alas, I am not. The money that was left in the envelope was $48.00. Now there should be change, but I think the man took it for his coin jar. Argh! So, this month is just an estimate since there were rarely receipts saved and we ended up using the debit card a few times when we forgot to bring cash. The actual total may be a bit lower since I "think" I took money out of the envelope to "repay" when I used the debit card, but not sure at what times. Yeah, cash is not a good system for us. In May I am planning on sticking to debit cards with an index card that will subtract the amount as we use it. Even if the man forgets to save his receipt (which he will, he always does), I can just check online. A bonus this month is that my mother in law has come to live with us and she insists on buying some groceries every once in awhile so even though we may not have made any progress due to our experiment with cash, we have plenty of food and I should not have to do major grocery shopping for at least a week, maybe even two!
So here are the results:
February:Groceries=$1287.95. Eating=$51.67. Total-$1339.62
March: Groceries= $573.20 Eating out= $138.42. Total-$711.62
April: Groceries=$411.40 Eating out=$99.19. Unknown-$41.41. Cash left-$48. So all this equals $600.
April was a disaster. On to May!

April 2016 update of goals

A Dozen Goals For 2016

1. Pay off two car payments
I'm kinda tired of not making progress on this, but it is what it is.

2. Cut spending and figure out ways to cut spending even more
Yeah, this didnt get worked on either. 
3. Lower the grocery bill and reduce our eating out substantially
Well, April was a disaster for the grocery budget. Not that we spent more, but our tracking system SUCKED. Cash is NOT the way to go for us. We will go back to using debit cards and tracking online every few days. I will have an envelope for receipts and and index card to subtract what we spend from the budget. May will be better.
So here are the results:
February:Groceries=$1287.95. Eating=$51.67. Total-$1339.62
March: Groceries= $573.20 Eating out= $138.42. Total-$711.62
April: Groceries=$411.40 Eating out=$99.19. Unknown-$41.41. Cash left-$48. So all this equals $600.

4. Turn our junk into money
We are working on that. I am slowly going through things to get ready for a yard sale. I dont believe we sold anything of large value this past month. I did make some egg sales though. 
5. 12 house projects in 12 months
With the help of my mother in law, I installed the new showerhead! I also organized the man's den. It looks AMAZING!  Ive been working on the garage now!

6. Vacation on the cheap
So, it wasnt a vacation, but I traveled back north, again. This time was for the funeral of one of my uncles. I took my sister with me and we split the cost of gas. I also saved money by not eating out often while up there and minimally eating while on the road. Did you know you can use your own coffee cup and refill it very cheaply at gas stations? Much cheaper than using their own styofoam or paper cups, in fact. Win!
7. Have Christmas gifts made or paid for before December
None have been made but I did score a few items from a church yard sale for parts of a few gifts.
8. Lose 50 pounds in 2016
No clue if I have lost weight. The clothes still feel as they did last month so I dont think I gained any back. 
9. Declutter, organize, and decorate the house
So I am on a roll with this goal!  I organized the man's den and have started on the garage. The screened in porch is about done as well. Slowly but surely the house is getting done.
10. Learn more about blogging and keep up with this one
Yeah, not so great this month. 
11. Learn new one new thing a month
Installing the showerhead was so exciting! I never realized how much I depend on the man. 

12. Put forth more time for family and friends
Boy did I accomplish this goal!  I spent time with a friend but mostly it was reconnecting with family in April. My uncle died so my sister and I traveled north for the funeral. I got to spend 5 days with my dad and stepmom, my little sister since we traveled together, my baby sister, my nieces and nephew, and countless relatives from our mother's side. I started a family facebook group for us as well to keep in contact. The postings were so plentiful last week and, as predicted, have died down as we all have gone back to our lives, but we vow to have a family reunion next summer...we shall see.