Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Helping Your Kid Get a Handle on Money

I guess I've done a pretty good job of teaching my kids about how to handle their finances well.

Eldest son is almost 26(next month)and self-sufficient and on his own as far as money goes and has been since graduating college.

Daughter use to be self-sufficient and on her own but does live here now. But we don't pay for her car and insurance, her college costs, her dog or her "fun" so she is on her way to being self-sufficient once again once she earns her degree.

College Boy is a whole other story however. ;-)

Last year I sat him down and had a money talk with him, just the latest of many I have had over the years with this boy.

He needed to work his Summer job and save his money for college that Fall.  Well even though he made Thousands that Summer he carried something like $400 back to school with him. 8-(
Not wanting to strong arm him or nag him I took a hands off approach after we had our little sit-down.
Things obviously didn't work out well.
The main reason is this.........

College Boy has a checking account with a debit card.
Like most millennials he doesn't know the PAIN of spending "real" Money.
Nor does he write checks, withdraw cash(usually) or keep a register and know exactly how much and when he is spending his money.

When he went away to school the only bank/credit union available to him was this one.  Our local banks/CUs weren't in that town so I couldn't be on his account and access it to check up on his money habits once he wasn't living here fulltime.

Taking out a piece of plastic and swiping it just isn't the same as having to wrench cold hard cash out of your hand to pay for something.
Add in that he doesn't even keep a running tab on his balance of what he spent and as a result money just poured through his fingers like water.

So I started telling him back in March on his Spring Break, while we were in the car together for 2+ hours with no distractions that this Summer was going to be different because I was going to MAKE him save his money!

I sat him down a few weeks ago, after I got home from Virginia, and I told him how this was going to work--

He was to come up with a budget to include the amounts he required to pay for his "needs".
Needs vs. Wants discussion ensued.

He needs gas money weekly to get to job and to see friends.
He needs vape juice money every third week.
He needs haircut money before returning to school.
Basically that covers his needs.

Then there are the Wants.
He wants to buy food, drinks whenever he is out.
He wants to go to the movies/bar/restaurant with his friends.
He "wants" to the point of spending every penny. sigh.

So we roughed out a budget finally that included all his need money and some WAM(walking around money)or Blow money for his wants.
This budget cuts down substantially on what he gets to "blow" every week.

Figuring out his take home pay per week and then deducting his expense budget he also came up with a target to save this Summer of $2,100.
This savings amount will be divvied up thus--
He needs a new computer(specialized for his music recording)which will cost about $600 and he wants $1500 to take back to school in the Fall for incidentals.

So I took away his debit card(ouch!)and the plan was for him to withdraw all his pay each week, give me all that cash which I place in a bank's safe deposit box.
I give him back his expense $ for the week and tuck away everything else to save it and he can't get to it to spend.

Except where he works won't let you direct deposit your paycheck into your account until 30 days after you begin working there.
They load a debit card with your pay, so he's having to go to an ATM and withdraw from this loaded debit card to give me his cash.  We leave his expense money on that special debit card for him to use each week.
Once he's been there 30 days he can get direct deposit and we'll go fully cash for expenses.

We are three weeks in and it's going well.  We have two weeks of pay tucked away....

And next pay deposit he'll have enough to buy the components to build that computer plus some.

He's not spending every penny like previous Summers and we've had some talks about handling finances too in the last few weeks and he's expressed his thanks at learning these lessons.
He's paying closer attention to what and how he is spending now too and he's making better choices(though forced to at this point lolz).
Once he gets the direct deposit he'll get his weekly money in cash and we'll see how that goes.

I hope this Summer is long enough to get him out of his bad money habits and help him develop better ones before he is fully on his own.


Monday, June 26, 2017

This Week on the Dining Table

The  "Kids Do the Darndest Things" Edition--

Took Hubs out for Father's Day to one of his brew pub favs.  This was also the first time we could take College Boy and he could drink as well.
Had my glasses off and took a photo and didn't notice until I downloaded the photo from my camera that Daughter had given me the finger.
Do they EVER grow up?!? lolz

Moving On....

Onward to the meal planning!

Here's what was planned last week--

1. Sunday--Enchiladas, Rice, Beans
2. Monday--Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches, Potato Salad
3. Tuesday--Leftover Tacos
4. Wednesday--Caesar Salad w/Chicken
5. Thursday--Kielbasa on Rolls
6. Friday--Roast Chicken and Veggies
7. Saturday-Rigatoni w/Meat Sauce, Garlic Bread, Caesar Salad

And this is what actually happened--

1. Sunday--Enchiladas, Rice, Beans
2. Monday--Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches, Potato Salad
3. Tuesday--Leftover Tacos
4. Wednesday--Leftovers(Chicken n' Dumplings?)
5. Thursday--Kielbasa on Rolls, Beans
6. Friday--Steak, Brussels Sprouts, Mashed Potatoes
7. Saturday-Roast Chicken w/Roasted Sweet Potatoes, Carrots and Onions

Last week saw 7 nights of home cooked dinners....2 nights of Leftovers and 5 nights of new meals.
The Rigatoni w/Meat Sauce moves to this week and the Romaine will get used for a Caesar Salad sans chicken to accompany steak instead.

I made 1 trip to the Weis Markets for $61.84, a trip to the Surplus Outlet for $70.82 and a trip to the Bread Outlet for $11.00, which all totaled came to $143.66 OOP.  This brings my June food spending total to $396.28.  There are 5 days left in the month. 

My savings percentages last week was 52.63% which brings the month's percentage to-date to 60.67%. 

Leftovers going into this week.......Roast Chicken and Veggies.  Not much leftover this week.

Here is this week's "food plan"....
* Denotes "complicated" meals

1. Sunday--Lobster, Grilled Corn on Cob
2. Monday--Rigatoni w/Meat Sauce, Garlic Bread, Caesar Salad
3. Tuesday--Subway sandwiches using gift card
4. Wednesday--Steak, Fried Zuke, Corn Casserole
5. Thursday--Lemon Pepper Chicken with Zuke over Rice
6. Friday--Chicken Marsala over Noodles, Mixed Veggies(Daughter cooking)
7. Saturday-Fish and ?(Daughter cooking)

This week will see 6 new meals cooked, 0 nights of leftovers and 1 night of Take-Out/Eating-Out.  Daughter is cooking again this Friday.

What I need to buy for this menu? Well we hit Maine Source and Price Chopper yesterday/Sunday to stock up on fresh produce/veggies, steaks and lobster.  I only buy lobster when they hit $5.99 lb. here(which is only a couple times a year during the Summer). I found $4.99 lb. Sirloin strip steaks so bought 3 od those too.  These two trips put another $100 onto my food spending for June.  Yes, the total is quite ugly now. lolz
But then again, I'd rather spend it now and get it for cheap while the deals are to be had and be overstocked rather than have to spend it later and pay more.

The only item I need now for these meals is some rice as we are all out.  I think I need salad greens, a cuke and some feta cheese too for lunches but otherwise I won't be spending anything else on groceries until July.

What is getting fixed and served at your house this week?

Was last week's plan successful, did you go off plan or did you not even plan what was going to be eaten last week?

Any great deals on food at your stores this week?


Sunday, June 25, 2017

2016 Road Trip....Day 19 & 20, NC Part 2 to VA to Home

We arrived in Cherokee NC early afternoon and made a beeline to the Museum of the Cherokee Indian.

The museum was a bit pricey but this is something Hubs wanted to do.  Last time we went to Cherokee the kids were little.  While the museum was here then it was much smaller and more primitive and too much for our budget then.

Back in the 1990's when we took a family vacation here we hit the touristy spots the kids would like and they had their photo taken with a "real" Indian dressed up in traditional garb standing in front of a teepee.

I highly recommend the present incarnation of the Cherokee Museum, even if you have people in your party not interested in history or children with short attention spans.

Besides all the artifacts and descriptive plaques and displays, they now have an awesome show full of computer generated graphics and special effects.

And there are life-sized wax figures and dioramas too.

You get a full experience of the Cherokee culture and history from prehistoric times to the arrival of the first Europeans and beyond.

There is information on the structure of the Cherokee culture and how it relates to other native peoples cultures.
I've got some Creek blood in my family tree that I have been able to verify though I grew up hearing stories that we were related to the Cherokee tribe.
I have since found Pamunkey blood and relations to Algonquin speaking tribes too.

Once the Europeans arrived on the continent the story narrative turns quite sad.  If you are a fan of American history you know this doesn't end well for the Cherokee.

After I exited the museum exhibit area I sat in the lobby waiting for Hubs to finish his trip through.
They had at various times/days members of the Cherokee Nation giving demonstrations of various crafts.  That day/time there was a gentleman carving at atlatl or "throwing stick".  Before the bow, arrows for hunting were launching using this stick, which basically gave you a tremendous amount of leverage and sent your arrow flying swiftly.

I guess they get folks coming here with no clue about Cherokee culture because the gentleman seemed taken aback that I knew what he was making and what it was called. lolz  I could have feigned ignorance and let him fill me with information but that wouldn't have been very honest.

After Hubs finished we hit the gift shop for a few trinkets and items to tuck away for Xmas gifts.
I chose this simple little ornament to add to our Christmas Ornie collection.

Outside they also have an older gentleman demonstrating how to carve a musical instrument.

The museum is right beside a steam so we drove across the bridge to a parking area and walked along the stream.

It was the hot part of the day(I forget how warm it can get down here even in the middle of May!)and the river bank was shaded by large trees and there was a nice breeze.

Then I spied a mother duck and her babies taking a swim..........

I sat for awhile while the ducklings paddled about and played in the water.

As it was approaching 2 pm we hit the road again for Asheville to find somewhere to eat lunch/dinner.

We considered eating at "Tortilleria Mr. Suave".  After all, they had fresh corn tortilias, right?  ;-)

We ended up at an IHOP inside of a hotel(Ramada I think).  I had a $25 gift card from years ago that I really wanted to use finally.  We don't have IHOPs in NEPA to I try to use it when we got elsewhere on a trip.
Well, so much for my plan because we drew the short straw there with a brand new waitress that the manager was actively training that evening.  The manager got busy with other crises and the waitress floundered so that our food was both very late and not correct.  As a result the manager said she was comping our meals.
So much for trying to use that gift card! lolz  We just paid the tip that meal so I kept that gift card in my purse to attempt to use another day.

Hubs wasn't interested in hitting a brewery tasting room(of which there are TONS in Asheville)so we left the area after eating and headed North into Western VA and back onto I-81.

Back in the Hills of Virginia we stopped for the night at at motel outside of Wytheville.
$115+ for a crappy Comfort Inn motel that had seen much better days.  We probably could have gotten a cheaper room at the Sleep Inn on the northern side of Wytheville we stayed in in 2013(the one where the road was closed to the reserved motel off the interstate for night roadwork and the desk clerk couldn't tell us an alternative route to the motel)but we didn't want to change a repeat of that scenario.

The next morning after an equally crappy breakfast at that motel we went into town in  Wytheville before heading home.

When going by Wytheville this stop is a requirement for me.
It's an awesome fabric store that specializes in batiks....and they even carry rayon ones!
Outside of flying to Bali, THIS PLACE is my idea of fabric heaven on earth.

Oh Look!
Caverns which I will never EVER go inside.  Long story, childhood trauma.

Two hours after leaving "Fabric Valhalla" we decided to stop for gas and food/drink.

The sign for Smiley's Fuel City caught our eye.  It advertised that they had the "Best Dang BBQ in VA".
Well I went in while Hubs pumped the gas to scope it out.  Maybe they DO have the Best Dang BBQ in VA but......the place was filthy with flies buzzing inside everywhere.
And it smelled bad in there so I made an executive decision and quickly left.

We went across the Interstate exit to the Petro truck stop instead to find something to eat.

Oh Look! Pigs Feet AND Knuckles!!!
I'll pass....

We ended up in the dining room and ordered something I can't even remember.....a sandwich?, a chef salad?  I do know we did NOT do the lunch buffet. blech.

I hit the ladies room before we left.
This is the sight that greeted me as I walked into the bathroom.....

Big sign in the restroom about contacting the manager if the bathroom was less than "satisifactory".
Yah, overflowing garbage cans are a bit unsatisfactory, aren't they?  I took a card and emailed the manager the day and time and this photo.
Never heard a word back from them.  Ask me if I am surprised? lolz

Back on the highway up I-81.
We passed this cute trailer Retro travel trailer from Riverside RV.  Might have to get me one of those. ;-)

Passing the landmark apple basket water tower in Mount Jackson VA......

We hit Pennsyltucky after 4 hours of driving.

We stopped in Carlisle PA to our favorite diner there for a cheap and leisurely dinner.
Then it was back on the interstate for another 2 hours and we were finally home.

No furniture in the wrong rooms when we arrived homes this trip but......

My prized ceramic hand thrown chicken did have an accident at the hands of two of College Boy's friends while we were gone.
I noticed the next morning that something wasn't right in the kitchen and finally figured out the lid to my chicken was gone!

 I found it on the dining room table, on a paper plate, in about 32 pieces......
Seems College Boy's friends decided to accost her one evening and the lid crashed to the floor, the porcelain tile floor.

 I pieced the lid together as best I could with the pieces left.  This was a one of a kind piece I purchased at the Virginia Beach Boardwalk Art Show back in the early 1990's.  I am still upset over this......

And this is now why none of College Boy's friends are allowed inside our house if we are away.

Thus ended our third Road Trip to Louisiana to visit the Daughter.
The following month, June 2016, she and the BF packed their stuff and their dog up and moved in with us here in PA.
The Dog and the Daughter are still here(BF went back to LA in January)and plan to be for another 2 years.
And our Louisiana Road Tripping Days are now behind us.
That doesn't mean our Road Tripping Days are past as there are so many other places to go and see in this vast country!
Stay tuned for more travels.  8-)))


Saturday, June 24, 2017

Grocery Shopping This Week.....Weis, Surplus Outlet & Bread Outlet

Here are the best deals this past grocery shopping week.

Since we were in that town to take Hubs out for Father's Day last weekend, we hit the  Amish owned Surplus Outlet.
You never know what you are going to find and what price you will find something at.  Most of the items are dented or damaged packaging and out of the "use by" dates so you have to check each item carefully. That being said, I have never had to throw anything I bought there out due to it being spoiled.
Here is what I picked up last week there.....

Ken's Greek and Caesar salad dressing for .20¢ a bottle.
Panko crumbs for .50¢ a box.
Stove Top for .50¢ a box.
Velveeta Skillet dinners for $1.19 a box.
Jiffy corn bread mix for 3/$1.

The Skillet dinners are for College Boy to take back to school.  As he will be in an apartment with a kitchen this is something he just needs to add ground beef to, to have something approaching a home cooked meal. lol

College Boy's favorite flavor of coffee for $1.99 bag.
Massive jar of Spanish olives for $2.49(ShopRite brand).
No Sugar Added Vlasic B&B pickles for $1.29 a jar.
Contadina pizza sauce for .39¢ a can.
Massive bag of raisin bran for $2.99(Malt O'Meal brand $2 cheaper than Walmart price).
I love those no sugar added sweet pickles but the only place around here I can get them is at a Weis South of here(where I don't go very often).....and NEVER for $1.29 a jar!(At least $2.19 a jar at that Weis on sale.)  Needless to say I bought all that no added sugar variety they had on the shelf. 8-)

Bottles of Heinz caramelized onion & bacon flavor Ketchup for .50¢
Sometimes you can find different flavors of staple items if they are new, change packaging or are not popular with the grocery shopping general public.
I'll probably end up shipping these off with College Boy back to school in August as this is something he will love.  8-)

I also got a 42 oz. bag of frozen Hanover brand cauliflower, 3 large Enchilda TV Dinners, milk, 67 oz. jar of Prego sauce, flour, 2 jars of mandarin oranges, Totinos pizza rolls, Mtn. Dew, Little Debbie cakes, crispy M&M's(previous 4 things for CB), large jar of mustard seeds, Hubs got 3 packs of gum, and the family bought assorted lunch meats and cheese(about 2 lb. total)for sandwiches.

$70.82 OOP for all.
Loosely figured reg. retail would have been $136.20.

Then I did a Weis(PMITA)Markets shop on Wednesday.......

T-Bone Steaks for $5.98 lb.
3 lbs. of Smoke Sausage $8-$3 off Instant Discount Sticker
2 packages of Beef Sausage on sale $2.50-$1/1 IPQ
2 packages of Scrapple $3.49-$2 off Instant Discount Stickers
1 fresh made Mashed Potatoes $2.99-$2 off Instant Discount Sticker
2 bags of 8 oz. shredded Mozz. Cheese on sale $1.77 each.

8 boxes of GM cereals on sale $1.97(must buy at least 3)- .50¢/1 IPQs for each box that doubled to $1 off=.97¢ per box.
Again the Lucky Charms will go back to college with CB.

I also found this clearance Deal on large boxes of Kleenex facial tissues with the lotion in them.
Reg. $2.79 for half price of $1.39.  I used a .75¢/3 IPQ that doubled to $1 so these were $1.06 each.
I'll go back Friday evening to pick up 3 or 6 more if there are any left as CB goes through these lotion ones in the Winter at a rapid clip.

I also picked up some boxes of dried pasta for .67¢ each.  A good stock-up price but I don't need that much as I already have a good quantity and we've been eating less pasta lately.  But I did need some for my killer Macaroni Salad as it is Summer now. ;-)
I picked up this Lysol bathroom cleaner for CB too, on sale and using a doubled Q it was $1.50.
The clear bottle is a Weis brand daily shower spray which was $1.67 on sale.  I'll park that in the kids' bathroom and see if I can get them to spritz the shower/tub after using it so the cleaning of said shower/tub isn't such a chore(which they have to do, not me).  8-)

Rounding out this trip was a bag of salad mix(50% off sticker plus used a .50¢/1 Weis Q so $1.24 OOP), a box of mini croissants for 50% off, 2 boxes of dog biscuits for 50% off on clearance and a watermelon on sale.

$61.84 OOP
$126.27 reg. retail and a savings rate of 51%.

I also hit the Bread/Bakery Outlet again this month as College Boy is on a grilled cheese binge and between CB, Hubs and Daughter making lunch time sandwiches, bread is disappearing at an alarming rate in the house!  $11 OOP spent on 5 packages of assorted types of rolls/buns, 4 loaves of bread and 2 boxes of chocolate donut holes.  All this would have cost me $40.80, or a bit less if on sale, at the grocery store so I am good with paying $11 or $1 per item at the Bread Outlet.
Have I ever mentioned how much I "heart" my Bread Outlet? 8-)))

So with my Rite-Aid trip this is all the grocery/drug store/outlet shopping that's gone on around Chez Sluggy.
Almost at month's end and I've busted my $260 food budget.  Still under $400 though so it's all good.