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Family Pictures from a Quick Trip to Virginia


As I mentioned, we traveled up to Virginia this past weekend to pick Sea Cadet up from his summer job at the summer camp. And we got to spend a day with History Buff.

We stayed with my uncle and ate at his house with the exception of a meal out to Chic Fil A (less than $30.) It was a pretty inexpensive trip, a quick trip. We drove up Friday and drove back Sunday.

BUT…my wonderful friend and barter buddy did take some new family photos for me! No cost! Yeah!

Hope's Family Pic, 2018

Well, there was one cost…we all got matching shirts for the picture. I found them on the Walmart clearance rack for $11 each. And I think everyone but maybe Princess will wear it again. I know all the boys will.

This picture is an example of how far I’ve come. In the past, I’ve made sure all the shoes matched, the jeans were the right shade and often times had silly props for our pictures. While I did want a coordinated picture, I think I did a pretty good job of getting this priceless momento (and lots of others including individual shots) for the $55 shirt cost.

I will print a few on my home printer, frame them with Dollar General frames and love them forever. It was SO good to all be together even if it was just one day. (We hadn’t all been together since History Buff moved out in December, 2016.)

I feel like this should be one of those commercials as I write it…$35 fast food family meal, $55 for 5 matching shirts, family photos…PRICELESS!  This sentimental mom is so grateful for this quick trip and the smiles and camaraderie I saw between my kids.

No Spend Week


This week, I have officially declared a No Spend Week!

I get paid on Friday and, although it’s a 3-paycheck month (woohoo!!!), I’m really trying to tighten the purse-strings, in general. Also, the recent A/C outage made it painfully clear how close to the edge we’re living in terms of our finances and I am really craving the financial security of having a little Emergency Fund.

I just got back into town after being gone at a work conference. Luckily, all my major expenses were paid by work (lodging, transportation, conference fees, and breakfast/lunch were provided by the conference). But I still had to pay for my own dinners for 3 nights in a row and though I kept my spending pretty minimal, I was really hoping/trying to cut my eating out budget this month. Being gone and forced to eat out for 3 nights (plus airport lunches during travel days) puts a wrench in that whole plan.

Thus…..the impetus for a No Spend Week.

No Spend Week Rules

I am allowed to spend money to pay for our normal bills (e.g., electricity, water, etc).

I am also allowed to spend money to pay for our scheduled debts (e.g., our due dates are this week for the IRS, 1 credit card, and Navient).

I am allowed to spend money for required transportation-related expenses (e.g., I’m almost out of gasoline and will need to refill before the week is up).

I am NOT allowed to spend money on anything else. Period.

That’s easier said than done. Especially given that I’ve been out of town for 4 days now, and we could desperately use a trip to the grocery store. Even so, we have a lot of food in our pantry and freezer and I know that if I get creative I can piece together some yummy meals for the family.

Looking Ahead

This month is projected to be pretty good on the financial front. Not only have we gotten some of our spending in check, but we should even be able to save up a decent amount for an EF. The third paycheck certainly helps, too, but I’ve got specific plans for it.

I put together a budget for the immediate future/moving forward. I know it’s desperately overdue. But I’ll leave you in suspense for another day (or two) and just tell you to check back. It will be up soon!