Friday, December 30, 2016

December grocery budget recap

I started keeping track this past February. When I begin to feel down about how much my monthly total is, I just look back at February and feel better...haha! 
So here are all the previous month's totals along with December!
Here it is: The previous monthly recaps: This is for, on average, a family of 4 adults.

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 (All I know it went to food). Cash left-$48. So all this equals $600.
May: Groceries= $640.56 Eating out=$211.71. Total-$852.27
June: Groceries=$776.41 Eating out=$509.77 Total-$1276.18
July: Groceries=$779.57 Eating out=$381.53 Total-$1161.10
August: Groceries - $691.43 Eating out - $93.27 Total=$784.70
September:Groceries - $470.49 Eating out - $29.92 = $500.41
October: Groceries - $626.06 Eating out - $220.00 = $846.06
November: Groceries - $506.78 Eating out - $96.70 = $603.48 

Now for December:
We had a harder month. Since I am the main person who cooks and buys the food, when I am down, the budget suffers because we get take out more often. I got sick with some head cold exactly on December 1st. It is the 30th and I still have an occasional cough but I feel so much better. I was down and out for almost 2 weeks though. In addition to that, our fridge broke. It was about 13-14 years old and original to the house. The freezer works great and I thought that the man had fixed it, but it broke again. It is probably something as simple as the fan, but he really is not mechanically inclined and our friends were selling a newer one super cheap so we went ahead and bought that one. I will say though I am super glad we have a garage fridge! That saved our food from spoiling! I thought about stocking up on baking supplies, but by the time I was feeling better most of the sales were done with so no stocking up was really done. I did do some baking and we did splurge on holiday snacks and that brought up the grocery amount. Anyway, on to the totals:
December: Groceries - $612.12 Eating out - $213.47 = $825.59
Overall, much better than I thought it would be....and I think that is partly due to my MIL living with us and buying some stuff and my daughter living back home and buying stuff too. Still not as bad as it was when I first started keeping track!

End of the year 2016 update of goals

A Dozen Goals For 2016

1. Pay off two car payments
I REALLY did not expect this to happen but it did!! Well, kinda, almost. So, we did pay off one car in August, I believe. Then, we decided to trade in the one jeep that had several thousands of dollars of equity. The man took that equity and turned around and got me a another car to drive. This happened about 10 days ago. We still owe about $2000 on the "new" car, but I will have that paid off in two to three months!

2. Cut spending and figure out ways to cut spending even more
This we accomplished as well! We switched our cell phone carrier and saved about $100 a month! We also signed one car over to one of our girls and made her get her own car insurance. This dropped our monthly insurance bill around $100 too!  
3. Lower the grocery bill and reduce our eating out substantially
This we have really worked on over the course of the year. We have made much improvement but we could always improve!
4. Turn our junk into money
We have sold some items but there is so much more we could sell! I hope to have a yard sale this coming spring to sell some items.
5. 12 house projects in 12 months
Well....this one we could really have done better on...there is always next year!
6. Vacation on the cheap
We did not go on any vacations this year so this was not accomplished. HOWEVER, I am going to Finland next summer with my dad, stepmom, and sister. Dad started looking at plane tickets back in August. They dropped a few hundred dollars this past week and we snagged them. What I thought was going to cost $1300 ended up being about $1050. Now we did end up spending extra to get from where we live to JFK in NYC, and we probably could have gotten a better deal on those tickets, BUT since we saved quite a bit on the main flight, we chose just to book and get it all done and paid for. The whole flight to and from Finland still came under $1300. 
7. Have Christmas gifts made or paid for before December
Most of the gifts were bought before December. I did not get a chance to make gifts before December but I did get them done and I save money! Most of all, the gifts were very well received! Yay! I am already thinking of Christmas 2017!
8. Lose 50 pounds in 2016
Next...
9. Declutter, organize, and decorate the house
Ok, so I was able to declutter and organize some parts of the house. Decorate, not really. 2017, I hope, is the year we really declutter and organize...fingers crossed!
10. Learn more about blogging and keep up with this one
There is always next year...
11. Learn new one new thing a month
Ya know...not sure if I did this or not. Forgot about this goal....
12. Put forth more time for family and friends
More time for family, yes. Friends, not so much. I am such a homebody that to spend time with friends is hard to do because I would much rather tinker around my house. I think I am going to try to do better in the coming year.

How did you all do with your goals? Have you made goals for the new year yet?? I am working on mine!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Nana's nisu

Nana used to have nisu and coffee, at the ready for when visitors came over. She would spend a day making a batch and then freeze most of it to be able to pull out when guests arrived. As I grew, I would help her during different stages of the process and remember how the smell of cardamon would fill the kitchen....mmmm. When I became an adult, I visited one day and had her show me from start to finish how to make a batch of nisu. I brought with me that day a blank (well, almost blank) recipe book that she had given to my dad and sisters (which we had never really used until that day) and wrote out the ingredients and directions for how to make this family favorite. That is one memory I will always cherish, spending the day with my nana making nisu! Enjoy the recipe below and maybe you will make some cherished memories while making a new family favorite, Nana's nisu!