Tuesday, July 7

Pantry Challenge #2

Focusing on our food budget this month has been a eye opener.  That is where most of our money seems to flow out of the bank account.  Even though we are only about a week into the pantry challenge it looks like it will not be enough of a change to ensure that our budget does not hit the red.

This month so far we have had a ton of unexpected items come up that must be paid for:

Daycare - $1700, a far cry from our normal 190, but when school is out the kiddos need someone to watch them when hubby and I are both at work.
Car break pads, callipers, ect- $170, our breaks seized last week, so hubby is working on them (bonus of a mechanically inclined hubby)
Baby Shower- Love my sis and the gecko she is incubating J
Pictures- All I will say
Camper Van- Still a possibility.. not quite finalized yet.
Company golf tournament, our contribution.

So far this month we are looking at about 2000 more then planned.  With an additional 4000 if the van purchase comes through.

We have decided to carry on with the pantry challenge, but focus on using August to grow back the account, this month is a bust and sometimes you have to just enjoy the ride and not stress.


How is your pantry challenge going?


We picked 6 lbs of strawberries from the garden yesterday so that counts as pantry I believe.  Time for some yummy jam and cakes I think.

Good luck with the coming week.

Monday, June 29

Pantry Challenge Part 1


fresh ground heaven...

Once I convinced Q to join me in the pantry challenge (like he had a choice ;)  we got started right away.

On Saturday we ate only what we had in the house.  We just had to buy milk at the store, because you cannot have coffee without milk!

We have 2 small boys so coffee is essential to life.

I love this print!  Can be found at this Etsy Shop: Doodlegraphics

We headed to the city to pick up a new tire for Q's bike.  Then we headed to a splash park.  It was awesome!  Spending the afternoon watching the kids run around and form a band of little boys with water guns attacking all other kids and parents is the best way to spend a plus 30 degree day.

Unfortunately we had to buy Wendy's on the way home because the kids were trying to eat us while we drove.  None of us were going to make it home alive...

We also went to the grocery store tonight because we needed fruit, coffee, (see above), and some more milk, just the basics.  Since we normally spend about $160 at the grocery store a week in addition to extra food on the side and random stops at the store for a few things that turn into a $60 trip.  You all know what I mean.

So for the first 4 days this is what we spent on food:

Milk- $4.50
Wendy's-:(- $22.58
Groceries-$103.93

June 27-Wendy's :(
June 28-meatballs (fridge), rice (pantry), veg (freezer)
June 29- Hot dogs (fridge), and mac and cheese (pantry).

Good night all and good luck in the pantry challenge!

Friday, June 26

Budget Wake Up

Last night I took stock of our budget.  We had not been keeping track of it for some time so I wanted to see where we stood.  Knowing that groceries are a huge part of our budget I added up what we spent for the month of June so far.







We have spent over $1000! for a family of 4! in less then a Month!  Also Q's mom bought a bunch of groceries when she was here too!

I cannot believe that we had spent that much!  On top of that because school is out our daycare bill is more then double its regular amount.  In order for us to not be completely negative when we reach the end of the month we will have to do a Pantry Challenge!



If you read my Tips for Cutting the Housing Cost Post you know that we try to stock up on food when its on sale.  Well our freezer, and pantry are stocked full of food already.  \we even have tomatoes in the freezer from our garden last year!

I first created a list of all the food that we have in the pantry and freezer.  

Then I will create our meals for the next two weeks (at least) using only the food on hand.  We will still be able to buy milk, coffee, and the few things that are needed to pull the meals together.
Over the next 2 weeks I will post and take pics about the meals we made and record how much money is actually spent on food.   Hoefully the amount will be very little so we can save some dough and save the budget!

Join me!  Take stock of your pantry and freezer, save some money , and get creative!

Day 1:  Home made Tomato Soup, find the recipe here:  Garden Fresh Tomato Soup

          : bread to dip, pb sandwiches for boys (they do not like tom soup )

          Notes:I used frozen tomatoes and doubled the recipe, also I had no onion so I added a                          package of onion soup mix I already had
             Money Spent: None



Wednesday, June 24

Tips for Cutting the Housing Costs

Living with kids these days can make the wallet empty pretty fast.  Add in a very expensive mountain town that has less then stellar wages and you are going to count every penny.  You will even start counting the penny's in your Son's piggy bank.  Take it from me, to survive you must be frugal with a belt full of tricks.

Below are my top tricks to save money and still live a little.

1. Cut the Cable/ Satellite- These days when you can get Netflix for less then a quarter of what we were paying for cable its just makes sense to say no to the over priced providers.  When we feel like a movie, we save up and go to the theatre or rent one.  Mind you this only happens once every couple of months.

2. Stop Paying for Literature- We used to buy books all the time.  I love to read, always have a book on the go, a stack of books on the table waiting for their turn.  Since my boys have gotten bigger, they are starting (and loving) reading!  I grew up in a family of avid readers.  We used to have shelves of books in our house that would rival the library.  We loved to buy books.  Book stores still feel like candy stores for me.  Them when our budget was super tight I started going to the library.  Our library is connected to a province wide program. We can order books, and movies from all over!  i have not bought a book for over 7 years!  Now the library feels like the candy store... I just needed to change my perspective.  For a small yearly fee, your whole family can read as many books as they like.

3. DIY heat- We had a plumber in a few years ago to take a look at our ancient furnace that came with the house.  He said he was surprised that the furnace worked at all.  Our furnace is over 40 years old, and runs at about 40% efficient.  Our money was getting flushed away with the gas we were using to heat our house.  We bought and installed a wood burning stove in our living room.  Now during the winter the house stays at 15 C, and we have a fire started the moment we get home.  In the summer the furnace is completely turned off.  In the first month we saved over 50% on our gas bill!  I recommend getting a building permit and inspection done to ensure that the stove is safe and installed correctly.  Nothing says romantic like a fireside cuddle.

4. Stock Pile to Save-  In our area groceries are always expensive.  My sister was selling a chest freezer a few years ago.  We now stock up when the food is on sale and freeze for the future.  I love going to the freezer instead of the store to see what we should make for dinner.  It just takes a bit of planning.

5. Barter- A friend of mine is a hunter.  He usually has a freezer stocked with elk and deer.  I make jam and salsa myself so we trade.  I once even make a dozen muffins and traded for some elk.

6. DIY Repair-  My husband is a carpenter/ mechanic/ handyman.  All of these come in handy when something in the house or car breaks.  Our stove which is about 16 years old blew the fuse that runs the oven.  I love to bake and cook.  Without that oven we were looking at a new stove, and the price tag that comes along with it.  I did some online searching and found a company that supplied the part, and they even had a video on how to install it!  I paid less then $10 (including shipping) once the fuse was put in we had a brand new stove!  We have also fixed our cars this way.  Do not be shy to give something a try.  Usually someone else has had the problem and fixed it!

7.  Brand New is Overrated- We try very hard not to buy anything brand new.  Especially larger house hold items.  When we bought our house it was a complete gut.  Everything must go right down to the studs.  A friend of mine was renovating their house and upgrading their kitchen.  We scored a fridge, stove,and dishwasher all for under $600.  We still have that stove too!  When our fridge was dying another happened to be selling theirs.  A $1600 fridge for less then half!  Our current dishwasher cost us $30 from another family upgrading their kitchen.  Now you can look all over Kijiji and Facebook for bargains.  The time it takes t locate what you need is well worth the money you will save.

These are just a few of the ways that we are able to cut costs and save money.  We would rather save the money for our annual road trip then on any overpriced item.

What are your favourite ways to save?