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Challenges

February 25th, 2015 at 05:47 pm

February was a month full of challenges, and March looks to be the same. This is my busy time at work, when I switch from four days and 30 hours a week to six days and 58 hours a week. I've been doing double-duty on the savings challenges, trying to finish up the mega challenge that I started late in 2014 while working on the regular challenge for 2015. I decided to give up buying lunches for Lent, which means I've had to challenge myself to be prepared every day and have something ready to take from home. In March I'll be increasing our 401(k) contributions and decreasing our withholdings, which will challenge our budget a little bit. I am trying to lose some weight for our upcoming trip to Napa at the end of April - S won the President's Club award at work and so we get a most-expenses-paid trip. (Actually the one couple who went last year said they didn't spend a dime of their own money, but I expect we'll have a few out-of-pocket expenses.)

Lent
It's only been a week, but so far, so good. I had leftovers from dinner all of last week. On Sunday I made a batch of egg muffins (basically scrambled eggs with ham, tomato, cheese, and mushrooms baked in a muffin tin; some recipes have you put hash browns on the bottom as a 'crust' but I didn't have any handy) and then cooked up a pot of rice, a couple of lean chuck steaks, and some peppers and mushrooms, so I've had stir-fry over rice all this week. (It ended up covering four lunches, but I'll have leftovers for the other two.)

The breakfast wasn't really part of the Lent challenge, but I often pop into the grocery store on the way to work to pick up breakfast and lunch, and figured there's no sense going just for breakfast. Cheaper and healthier to make it at home, anyway! I found a recipe for peanut butter pancake muffins with strawberry-cream cheese 'frosting' I want to try for next week. (I'm also testing these recipes; my sister and I decided instead of a present she didn't need, we were going to treat my mom to brunch once a month. We're having our "Family Financial Summit" in March so I figured we could do an in-house brunch on the same day. Muffins/cupcakes would be easy-peasy and they look cute, too!)

52-Week Mega Savings Challenge
My Weeks 48 & 49

Still waiting on my side gig payment, which will cover the last three weeks of the challenge. S's work revamped the way they figure insurance premiums for 2015 (they had four tiers and are now just using one), which means our premiums went up more than usual. Since we participate in the "extra-curricular wellness" activities, they gave us a 'benefit offset' payment to I guess ease the pinch a bit. (We'll get half of the amount next year, too.) It will hit on Friday, so I'm using a portion of it to round off this challenge. (The rest is 'holding' right now, I might need it if this side gig payment doesn't come through!) I also got a payment for a portion of the December rent that I thought was offset by some work they did on the house, but apparently not.

Snowflakes
Benefit Offset - $119
Rent - $246

Total Snowflakes: $365.00
Rounding (to reserve): $0.00

Beginning Balance: $5960
Deposit: $365
Ending Balance: $6325

Reserve: $2.07 + $0.00 = $2.07

52-Week Savings Challenge
Week 8

Smaller snowflakes here, which are much easier to come by! I save $2.99 at CVS the other day, and was paid $34.50 for some writing.

Snowflakes
CVS - $2.99
Writing - $34.50

Total Snowflakes: $37.49
Rounding (to reserve): $0.49

Beginning Balance: $137
Deposit: $37
Ending Balance: $174

Reserve: $0.06 + $0.49 = $0.55

This puts me at almost 92% of the Mega Challenge and just under 12.5% of the regular Challenge.

2 Responses to “Challenges”

  1. Kiki Says:

    Could you post the recipe or amlink to the egg muffin recipe? It sounds yummy, simple and quick.

  2. doingitallwrong Says:

    I kind of cobbled it together from a few different recipes and was very imprecise about measurements Smile , but I filled the muffin cups (regular size) almost to the top and cooked at 350 for 25 minutes. This is the basic recipe I used, but different meats and veggies; I used Lawry's seasoned salt instead of salt, garlic, and pepper, and I added a couple of tablespoons of milk to the egg mixture. It's really pretty versatile!

    http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/scrambled-egg-muffins

    Here are a couple recipes that use hash browns:

    http://allrecipes.com/recipe/amazing-muffin-cups/
    http://www.livingwellspendingless.com/2014/07/30/freezer-breakfast-cupcakes/

    (I mixed everything together with the eggs, rather than putting ingredients into each muffin cup.)

    There also versions using bacon around the edges of the muffin cup - yum! Smile

    Here's the peanut butter cupcake recipe, if anyone is interested in that one:

    http://weelicious.com/2010/08/11/breakfast-cupcakes/

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