Monday: meals and money

A new week is upon us.  It’s sunshiney, breezy, perfect summer weather.  We got the grill going last week for some simple barbecue chicken and corn on the cob, and we’ve been enjoying reading in lounge chairs by our little bitty apartment pool.  We don’t get in it, though — it’s really cold.

This new week is upon me.  Here I am reminded to stop feeling guilty, stop doing things if they are irritating, work hard, and take breaks throughout the day.  This is so much easier on days like today when I place myself under living water, letting it pour around me. I am the servant of the Lord;  may it be to me according to your word.

Today so far, I have accomplished waking up, reading from The Disciplines of Grace, journaling, and reading my Bible, helping a friend jump start her car, running at Gabriel Park, and toasting a bagel, which I am now eating with Good Earth White Tea. (Not the best tea, but I don’t want to waste it and it has lots of antioxidants….)  My running goal was 30 minutes but it was more like 22, partly because I was in unfamiliar park-trail territory and it was difficult to do a true out-and-back.  I really need a new BIG goal — otherwise I think my body defaults to, “You wanted me to do 30.  I did it.  Leave me alone.”

Left on the agenda today?  Lots of logistical things to keep our little home running smoothly:  I need to call and inquire about a health savings account I might start, talk to someone about self-employed tax preparation, go to the bank, plan meals for this week, and go grocery shopping.  Here’s a little glimpse into my Monday….

Meal Plan

Monday.
-Pasta with chicken, tomato, basil, and asiago cheese
-Salad

Tuesday.
-Pork shoulder ribs
-Coleslaw

Wednesday.
-Mahi Mahi tacos

Thursday.
-Shrimp and broccoli fried rice

Weekend.
(We’re possibly going out of town, but I’m planning some quick options just in case)
-B.L.T.’s
-Chicken quesadillas
-Pizza

Usually if I make a meal plan, I’m pretty good about sticking with it.  Ironically, though, I discovered this last week when I just didn’t go grocery shopping that I had enough food in my pantry and freezer to make a number of perfectly decent meals.  I probably need to learn how to pay better attention to what I already have so I can use it! :) Not shopping also forces me to make things from scratch, like deliciously unhealthy buttery lemony pasta sauces.  In addition to the meals this week, I plan on making my very first batch of homemade crock pot yogurt, and possibly making frozen yogurt with it.  I just recently realized how good frozen yogurt is!

Money
I spent a good deal of time this weekend researching Dave Ramsey’s financial advice, and joined his My Total Money Makeover website for a 7-day free trial to see what he and his cronies would suggest for our finances.  Our goals right now are to save money and pay off student loans.  We have a budget, but it’s far from perfect, and our spending habits seem to fluctuate a lot.  This month, we’re going to try the envelope system Dave suggests for our more easily-overspent categories. We’re also going to use the system to give each of us an “allowance.”  We’ve been confused about categories that seem to overlap — how, for instance, should a happy hour out with friends count? It could be food, alcohol, or entertainment, not to mention those wily “personal” and “blow money” categories.   We’re hoping to tackle these issues by making our categories more specific.  “Restaurant” means planning to eat out at a specific place instead of eating a meal at home.  Eric and I both must be present.  “Alcohol” is bought at a store to drink at home.  Drinks bought out are either part of a restaurant meal or count as “Entertainment,” along with things like happy hours, movies, and other outings with friends.  Coffee or unnecessary lunch out by ourselves will come out of our allowance money.  If we run out of entertainment money, that also spills over into our allowances.

I haven’t used cash in….years… other than taking out a $20 for a fair or other cash-only event.  My debit card serves me nicely, and I don’t go crazy with it.  At the same time, though, it is easy to justify an extra $0.50 here and there because it’s “close.”  The envelope system doesn’t allow for borrowing from other categories.  Tricky!  We’ll see how this goes.

Does anyone else follow Ramsey or use the envelope budgeting system?  We also use Mint.com to track our finances, which works very well most of the time but is occasionally glitchy in pretty important areas….

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2 Comments to “Monday: meals and money”

  1. I love the second paragraph.

    The debit card does make it easy to overspend… cash always requires a little more discipline. That sounds like a good idea.

  2. Oh, and I love your meal ideas. I’m in kind of a rut.

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