Budget Buster: Family Trip to the Circus

by SPF on March 27, 2012

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I guess it was only a matter of time, being that my child is getting older.  I knew eventually, we would start venturing out of the house, to events targeted for children.  I had performed the calculations in my head, as to how much it costs to partake in children’s entertainment events.  Boy oh boy did I get a wake-up call when we went to the circus a couple of weekends ago.  Similar to an unplanned work lunch, not budgeting for “fun with the kids” can potentially bust your budget.  Take a look at what it could cost you to go to the circus:

  • Tickets were roughly $30/person.
  • A box of popcorn, similar in size to a small box of cereal, was $8.
  • Cotton candy, yeah, that’ll run you $12.
  • Various light-up toys…anywhere from $10 to $25.
  • Flavored, shaved ice in a “collector’s cup”, $10 friggin dollars!

Now, I only have one child and, even though she may want every toy she sees, it doesn’t work that way.  We did get her one light up toy.  The three of us munched off of one box of popcorn and a bag of cotton candy (I wanted to see how she reacted to cotton candy).

Seeing as how the circus was held in the arena where our basketball team plays, the regular concession menu is available as well (hot dogs, nachos, etc).  I have no idea how much other items cost (like shirts or pictures) b/c I was quick to avoid those booths.  But, can you imagine the total if you had say, 2 kids?  How about 3?  And, what if these were older kids that could put a dent into some popcorn, or a hot dog?  Jeez!

I think in the end, it’s okay to have a good time and partake in some of the extras but, it makes sense to plan for these ahead of time.  I plan on making a “children’s entertainment” fund/jar, where I’ll throw a few dollars into and let it build up.  We don’t go out a lot (her first time going to the movies was to see The Lorax…I think I had more fun than she did) so, I have time to build this up before she really starts getting interested in going places.  Right now, she’s content to go outside in the backyard and run around while I do yard work!

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Weekly Meal Plan: 3/26 – 4/1

by SPF on March 26, 2012

Here’s last week’s meal plan and how I did:

Wednesday

  • Lunch:  Salad and a Healthy Choice meal.  Done.  I ended up taking off from work this day so, I still kept with my microwave dinner and made the salad.
  • Dinner:  Not sure, going to MILs house.  Not Exactly.  We didn’t end up going to my MIL’s house.  One of the grandkids had a stomach bug so, we decided not to chance it.  We took advantage of the Dominoes pizza special and Pizza Hut wing special instead.

Thursday

  • Lunch: frozen (the steam variety) and a Healthy Choice meal. Done
  • Dinner: Rotisserie chicken, stuffing, green beans.  Fail.  I keep going back and forth with “Do I want to cook the chicken, which requires sitting in the refrigerator for a few days or…should I just go and buy a $7 rotisserie chicken, ready to eat, from the grocery store?”  You see I haven’t made a decision yet on this.

Friday

  • Lunch:  Salad and a Healthy Choice meal.  Fail.  Didn’t bring the dinner.  Instead, went to Subway and got a ham and turkey sub.
  • Dinner:  Salmon, yellow rice.  Done.  I had a really good workout during lunch at work.  When this happens, I usually want to continue eating light for the rest of the day.  Salmon and yellow rice made for a good “end of the day meal”, especially after putting in a few hours worth of yard work when I came home.  Raking up dead grass and leaves is hard work (but I secretly love it)!

Saturday

  • Lunch:  I ended up making a pork chop sandwich (throwing the last pork chop between two slices of bread) to fuel me while I cooked dinner for the weekend and upcoming week.
  • Dinner:  Fried chicken wings, macaroni and cheese, collard greens.

Sunday

  • Lunch:  We have started doing a big breakfast after church, so big that it usually turns into brunch (followed by a nice afternoon nap).  Pancakes, hash browns, scrambled eggs w/ cheese, and bacon.
  • Dinner:  Pot roast, complete with potatoes, carrots, and celery…mmm, mmm good!

The good thing about this past week is that I made the decision (followed by action) to cook dinner for the week ahead of time.  So, this should provide some really good results for the upcoming week’s meal plan.

This week’s meal plan:

Monday

  • Lunch:  Healthy Choice meal, frozen vegetable (steam variety).
  • Dinner:  Either pot roast or white chicken chili that was cooked this weekend.

Tuesday

  • Lunch:  Healthy Choice meal, frozen vegetable (steam variety)
  • Dinner:  Either pot roast or white chicken chili that was cooked this weekend.

Wednesday

  • Lunch:  Healthy Choice meal, frozen vegetable (steam variety).
  • Dinner:  Chinese food..it’s been a while and this will be a nice change up.

Thursday

  • Lunch:   Healthy Choice meal, frozen vegetable (steam variety)
  • Dinner:  Rotisserie chicken from the grocery store to accompany the macaroni n cheese and collard greens cooked that weekend.

Friday

  • Lunch:  We’ll be on a marriage retreat with our church so, I’m off the hook for lunch and dinner today!
  • Dinner:  See above!

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Weekly Meal Plan 3/19-3/25

March 20, 2012

Oh the shame!  I can’t even front.  My results this week are nothing like my first meal plan recap.  Here’s last week’s meal plan and how I did: This week’s meal plan: Monday/Tuesday Late again with the post, starting on Wednesday.  We ended up having Olive Garden on Tuesday night for dinner. Wednesday Lunch: Subway [...]

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Budget Buster: Unplanned Work Lunches

March 15, 2012

Source Late last week, my manager invited me and my co-worker to join him for lunch this week.  Now, this wasn’t an invitation to go to Subway for a $5 Footlong, nor was it going to be on his dime.  Nah buddy.  He invited us to dine at Fogo de Chao and he made sure [...]

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Weekly Meal Plan 3/12-3/18

March 14, 2012

A little late with the recap and plan but, better late than never.  Here’s last week’s meal plan and how I did: Monday Since this post is a day late, this week’s plan will start with Tuesday. Tuesday Lunch: Healthy Choice frozen dinner Done! Dinner: Tilapia, rice, broccoli Done! Wednesday Lunch:  Working from home so, [...]

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B.U.D.G.E.T.

March 9, 2012

Source This week, I have read a number of posts about budgeting. As a bit of a newbie to the world of successful, and consistent, budgeting, I’m all about finding tips on starting (and maintaining) a budget. Here’s my attempt at keeping it simple, so as not to encourage discouragement: Basic. If this is your [...]

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Women and Money: What Your Purse Says About You

March 7, 2012

Source I recently read an article in Black Enterprise magazine entitled Peek In Your Purse.  The article claimed that the contents in your purse may reveal how you manage your money.  Because money is both personal and emotional, what you carry around everyday in your purse more than likely says something about your relationship with [...]

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Weekly Meal Plan: 3/5-3/11

March 6, 2012

I don’t know about you but, as a working mother/wife, I find myself asking my husband some variation of the following questions: what do you want for dinner…do you have a taste for anything specific this week…what are you cooking for dinner.  Sometimes, it just feels like a huge challenge being able to come up [...]

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I’ve Joined the Yakezie Challenge

February 28, 2012

“Networking is simply the cultivating of mutually beneficial, give and take, win-win relationships. It works best, however, when emphasizing the ‘give’ part.” – Bob Burg I have decided to enter the Yakezie Challenge.  I never quite understood what Yakezie was all about.  All I knew is that whenever I would visit a PF blog/site, more [...]

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How I’m Tracking Debt Paid Off

February 28, 2012

Source About a year ago, I was reading on a forum and I saw how one person used a pie chart to display his debt payoff progress.  It was cool seeing the progression of his debt taking up more space in the beginning, and then slowly the tide turning.  I became excited to see the [...]

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