Archive | September, 2013

Italian Wonderpot Pasta

23 Sep

In an effort to keep my budget in check, I’m trying to do hefty amounts of cooking so I will always have leftovers for lunch. No excuses to eat out! This week has been pretty exhausting so the idea of a single pot pasta dish was PERFECT. Recipe for “Italian Wonderpot” here; thanks Pinterest! It turned out pretty good! It was nice to throw everything in the pot and not have to worry about it.

My only mistake was that I wrote my shopping list wrong, so I only had half the amount of diced tomato the recipe called for. Instead, I ended up throwing in a chunk of butter, some extra water, and a splash of milk. Butter fixes everything. 🙂


Black & White Chili

6 Sep

The year is definitely changing and I’m finding myself in the mood to cook huge batches of soups and chili. Made this recipe from A Beautiful Mess for veggie chili last night and it turned out pretty good. It was my first time cooking with jalapeno. FUN FACT: Jalapeno juice stays on your hands even after you wash with soap and water. Learned that one the hard way when I couldn’t figure out why my face felt like it was on fire.

Spending Trends and New Budget Rules

3 Sep

Okay, so this post isn’t really going to be interesting to anyone, but I wanted to recap how I’m coming along this year with with getting my debt paid off. I wanted to put it on the blog so I could get it all out of my brain and laid all out in front of me. Also, even though I doubt anyone reads this posts about my debt, it does still make me feel like I’m accountable for my spending by acknowledging how I’m really doing. Without further ado, here are my updates and thoughts on the progress and spending areas that I need to address.


  • I’ve shifted around balances and paid off a couple of my previous credit cards. As of this month, I am down to 2 (phew!) cards, so this will be easier to manage. I have most of the balance on the card that is still 0% APR for another year or so, meanwhile the rest of my balances on to a Visa with a low 8% APR.
  • I can actually see some progress on the car loan. It’s amazing how much that interest adds up to. By paying about $275-280 every month (about $60-65 extra), I’m now several months of payments ahead on the principle. Good thing, because I’ve put some serious miles on that little car of mine and the blue book is already about half the value of my loan!


“Groceries” spending is invalid, I pull out cash for envelope budgeting which freaks out Mint.

  • No more Starbucks. I have spend a couple hundred dollars here and probably more if you count the Safeway Starbuck stores that don’t factor into this report. I will finally invest in a good coffee maker and pack my afternoon iced coffees instead of allowing myself to be tempted by the pick-me-up of a $3-4 treat. I will limit my coffee shop interactions to 1 weekend treat at a local place we like to spend a few hours hanging out and reading.
  • I am getting really spoiled and lazy. I eat out way too much. New rule – only spend $10-15 per week outside of grocery money to spend on fast food and restaurants. That would put my 6 month spending around $240-360 max versus the $607.84 I shelled out the last 6-months.


My doofy inspiration board.

  • I’ve still got my tax return sitting in my account, so I will take $200 to chunk to savings and put the rest towards my credit card. Will need to also put the upcoming tax return towards these cards.
  • According to this “Credit Card Pay Off Calculator” I can actually get my first card paid off in 6-months if I put $400/month towards it. Sounds insane and I’m extremely nervous to lose that much per month towards it, but ultimately this should be able to get all my credit debt paid off within a year.
  • Now that I’ll have an envelope dedicated towards eating out, anything that is unused at the end of the month will get moved to savings. I need to beef it up hardcore since I haven’t deposited anything to this account for most of the year.
  • Any money earned from babysitting is a freebie and can go towards road-trips or random shopping. No paycheck money is to go to shopping.
  • This year, I need to stay low key for Christmas. Last year, I spent so much money that it really affected my credit balance. This year, 99% of people will get baked goods only. I will make a Facebook post apologizing in advance for lack of presents and will also announce I don’t expect presents in return. I want to ideally keep Xmas shopping to under $300 and will probably need to start shopping right now so I don’t procrastinate then overspend. I think last year I was around $500-600 with all the gift cards and eBay shopping.

o_O Wish me luck!!