It’s almost September, summer is more or less over for me, and it’s time to get back to reality and stop living in vacationland. This means:
Tracking the budget. I just went back and finished out July’s, and I was a little bit ahead, on top of the money that was automatically transferred to savings. That felt good. Now I have to get August caught up. I also need to stop using cash. I find I am a lot more disciplined when I only use my debit card, because I know eventually I’ll have to track that transaction in the budget.
Cooking as much as possible and not wasting food I’ve already bought. This week I did pretty good with that, except I ordered pizza Tuesday night because I got in a minor fender bender and it wrecked (haha) my evening. Thursday, I stopped at Whole Foods and bought some organic chicken to use in quesadillas, but then I forgot about it and left it in the car for three hours. Stupid brain! Plan B: cut up leftover pork chop and use it instead. I thought that was pretty clever. I didn’t tell my husband it wasn’t chicken. Later, I asked him how it tasted.
He and the kids can always sniff out stuff like that, damn it.
Yesterday I used tomatoes from my cousin’s garden (and the sole one I’ve gotten out of mine) to make my spaghetti gravy. Mmmm, it came out delicious. My cousin’s garden, btw, is amazing. Here are a few pics:
On the slightly weirder side, I’ve been trying to pick clover from our yard for the guinea pigs to eat, since they love it and we have it in abundance, to save on the cost of their food. I also try to use water from the slide-pool when I’m watering the garden.
Stop buying crap. Why is this so hard to do? I give so much credit to the people who really truly follow the Compact. The devil on my shoulder is always telling me to buy stuff, in sneaky ways. Yesterday I decided to take the kids to Toys R Us. I had been looking around our playroom and realizing that a lot of the toys were baby toys or broken, and certain toys that I saw at my cousin’s house over the weekend had caught my fancy. So I rationalized that since my daughter’s birthday is approaching, I could buy her a present, and the boys could use their own money to buy Legos, which they have been wanting to do for a while. So far so good. I kicked in $20 to the boys just to be nice, and they helped me clear some junk out of the playroom before we left. When we got to the store, though, things got out of control, and the bill was painful. My daughter didn’t want any of the stuff I thought would be nice additions to the playroom (dress-up clothes, anything Frozen). Naturally, she wanted a Barbie Big Wheel. We already have a slew of bikes in the yard that she can ride — just not a Barbie one with its own cell phone, music-playing radio, etc. So I caved. Worse, I bought these magnetic blocks that I just always thought were cool, and I bought my middle son a Lego watch that he wanted simply because it came with a Lego Darth Vader and I felt bad that he hadn’t actually gotten to pick something out (because he didn’t have any money, it was really all the oldest’s). Didn’t bother to look at the price, didn’t realize how much it was til I got home…
Lesson: Just never do that again. It was totally unnecessary. Ugh. The only good part was having my oldest do some math and get an idea of what things cost, but I could have taken him alone.
In addition to whipping myself into shape on these fronts, I’ve been trying to think what my big project should be for the fall. Of course there are all the usual things — buying school supplies, putting together the kids’ fall wardrobes, finding soccer gear, Halloween stuff. But besides that, I think I might focus on energy-efficiency. There must be things I can teach myself to do as far as insulation and whatnot. I also need to attack the cellar in terms of dampness. The heavy rains of last week reminded me how much a damp cellar can stink up the house. I need to figure out whatever it is I need to do to get the repairs done down there, even if it means a loan. Finally, I want to get a TV hooked up in the garage so that I can use the elliptical machine in there in the winter in the mornings while the kids watch TV (or, move the elliptical into the house).
And somewhere in the middle of all this, I have to remember to chill out, have fun with the kids, write, and exercise…