The family budget – July 2015

SimpleKids.net | The Family Budget

In this series I share our family budget, which includes the care and keeping for our household of seven (4 kids, 3 adults) as well as our debt free journey. This is what is working for us. Your mileage may vary.

I shared last budget update that we have travel coming up later in the summer so right now we’re keeping things extra simple and frugal, or what Christopher and I jokingly call “peanut butter and jelly” weeks, our take on Dave Ramsey’s “red beans and rice” budget saying.

The trip itself is paid for, but Christopher and I would like to have some extra money set aside, in addition to the kids’ normal allowance (which we’ve been encouraging them to save for the vacation).

julybudgetgirlsSIMPLEKIDSglowsticks at grandma’s for the 4th of July

Forecasting and Goals – Two Summer birthdays down and two left to go next month, so we are budgeting the Want, Need, Wear, and Read for Amelia, who will be turning four and for Aunt Angela (my special needs adult sister-in-law who lives with us).

Originally we were planning a special dinner for our anniversary, which we will celebrate during our trip in a few weeks, but after talking about it we both realized that it isn’t really that important to either of us and that we’d rather the money go toward something else. I’m so glad we communicated about this, otherwise we might have ended up paying for something that wasn’t really that worthwhile for us.

I’m also starting to think ahead to the kids autumn activities. If I’m honest, we probably overextneded ourselves money-wise and time-wise last spring, so I think I’m going to have the kids who are in activities outside of the home pick just one that they really love to enroll in this fall.

Believe it or not, I’m also starting to think about Christmas, too. And guess what? I’m not the only crazy one. Here’s a post from my friend The Queen of Free with some thoughts on Christmas in July: 5 Things You Need to Do NOW for a Happy Holiday.

Staying Motivated – right now the main thing motivating me to stay frugal is our trip and a few future trips we are planning. We learned last fall on our Flecks Go Big road trip that this is something important to us. Everyone has their own priorities, of course, and travel is something we’ve decided is a priority for us.

Kids and Money – on the other side of the travel coin, however, is our local roots. We love this small town we live in. We try and support local businesses whenever we can. This is something we’ve been talking about with the kids quite a bit this year: the idea that spending money locally, getting to know your neighborhood community businesses, has a positive impact.

Frugal Deeds (done dirt cheap) – I’m always pinning new things to try on the Frugal Deeds (Done Dirt Cheap) Pinterest board and this list of last month’s frugal deeds

  • speaking of local, this weekend we’ll be attending one of our favorite FREE local events: Indiana Bastille Day
  • cool, if rainy, weather that has meant we have not been running air conditioning this summer
  • sticking with simple, frugal meals
  • decluttering and organizing our supplies has shown me that we really don’t need that much in the way of back-to-school supplies this year – restocking the pencils, glue sticks, and notebook paper ought to cover it
  • lots of free and delicious fruits and veggies from my dad’s garden – thank you Grandpa Mike!
  • I scored Jillian’s 8th grade homeschool curriculum in an amazing deal on eBay (something that is rare for me these days)
  • leaving the minivan in the driveway and doing lots of walking (read about Why We Walk)

And now I’ll end with a question for all of you: what are some of your favorite frugal, kid-pleasing meals? We’ve been enjoying salads, sandwiches, and are just starting to enjoy garden fresh salsa with tortilla chips and seasoned ground beef (sort of like deconstructed tacos), but I’d LOVE some new ideas. Thanks!

 

About Kara

Kara Fleck is the editor of Simple Kids. She is a small town mama, writer, knitter, bookworm, and hooligan. Kara lives in Indiana with her husband Christopher and their four children Jillian, Max, Lucy, and Amelia. You can find more of her writing at KElizabethFleck.com.

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Comments

  1. We just had one pot spaghetti tonight and all the kids loved it and it always feels a little bit like a small miracle:

    http://www.apronstringsblog.com/one-pot-wonder-tomato-basil-pasta-recipe/

  2. Some mostly cool and frugal meals we enjoy:

    Pancakes (yes, for supper) w/ fresh fruit and scrambled eggs (we have chickens)

    Veggie slices and sticks with crackers/cheese/meat (we do this when crackers are on sale)

    Popcorn w/ fresh fruit and/or pb and applesauce on toast

    • Some great ideas here, thank you! And you know, we haven’t done breakfast for dinner in a while. Thanks for the reminder. :-)

  3. I’m so glad you talked about the anniversary dinner! More than once we opted out of an official celebration for a much simpler gift of time spent together. :)

    We do BBQ Chicken Nachos pretty frequently here and a grilled cheese bar where we pull out all sorts of meats, cheeses, and even fruits. It’s a great way to clear out the fridge and everyone gets their own unique sandwich. :)

    • Yeah, I think it is still habit for Christopher and I to first think of what the normal social expectation is (a big, fancy anniversary dinner) and we still need to work to make sure we’re living out OUR values and not just going along with the mainstream. I’m glad we check in with each other.

      BBQ Chicken nachos sound AMAZING! :-)

  4. Calliope says:

    This series in your blog is one of my favorites!
    We do a lot of frugal meals in this house. Everything comes from fresh produce, cheap cuts of meats and almost nothing packaged or precooked. It is just how the majority of people in Greece eats.
    We love homemade french fries with eggs, omelete style.
    Any pasta with various sauces. Esp bolognese.
    Whole chicken in various ways: caserole, in the oven, in soups etc. the bones afterwards are turned into broth.
    Pizza done frugally. Less cheece and delis, more sauce and veggies.
    In season vegetables cooked in caseroles, frittatas, pasta etc

    • Thank you, Calliope! I think that I would very much like it if we ate like what it sounds like your diet in Greece is. You’ve shared some delicious sounding ideas here – thank you! Omelets are one of my favorite things. I can’t believe I didn’t think of them for our current dinner rut before. :-)

  5. We like cheeseburger baked potatoes. We top baked potatoes or sweet potatoes with ground beef and onions, cheese, chopped fill pickles and I like dijon mustard.

    • Just when I thought I knew every way to top a baked potato – love this suggestion! Thank you! I think it will be a real family pleaser, too :-)

  6. Eliminating meat helps! We do whole wheat pasta with various sauces but put a can of Great Northern Beans (or any kind you enjoy) into the mix for protein and skip the meat. Peas are also an excellent source of protein & can go into pasta.We get Romaine lettuce, tortillas and chicken at Costco and do chicken Caesar wraps (the wrap uses less chicken than if chicken was a main dish). Also, I often stretch ground turkey for our taco filling by mixing in a can of l/f refrained beans with it. Look up recipes for sweet potato/black bean tacos or quinoa (buy a bag at Costco for best price) tacos.

    • Thank you, Erin! We are growing peas in our little patio container garden this year and I’m getting impatient for them :-) Fresh peas just add something special, don’t they?

      I see the wisdom of what you’re saying here about how wraps can help stretch meat by using less per serving. I like your tips about adding the beans, too. I knew that one, but I forget about it. Thanks for the reminder!

      Off to research sweet potato/black bean tacos :-)

      Thank you! I knew you guys would have some great ideas to get us out of this rut.

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