Powering up as fuel comes under for the week

New? Start here …

Google Doc spreadsheet showing all 250 levels of the Money Game

Fuel came in under $30.72 for the week.

Level Completed: 142 out of 251
Amount Deposited this month: $703.88
Total Balance: $5,344.74
Our Money Game fund has increased 15.2% so far this month.

$13.72 is needed to reach the next level.

Have you started playing? If you’ve leveled up, consider dropping a comment sharing how you did it.

 

Powering up with a regular monthly savings deposit

New? Start here …

Google Doc spreadsheet showing all 250 levels of the Money Game

Several months ago we changed the budget to make a monthly deposit to our Money Game fund of $125. Today’s the day!

Level Completed: 142 out of 251
Amount Deposited this month: $673.16
Total Balance: $5,314.02
Our Money Game fund has increased 14.5% so far this month.

$44.44 is needed to reach the next level.

 

Using great sale days to earn money

We just got back from a week of camping on our favorite beach. I took advantage of a Black Friday sale to buy several Instant Pots. They were offered on Amazon for 43% less so I snapped up three of them.

I hope to sell them (new in box) for $100 each. I’ll report back on the results. They are offering the same sale again today so I need to wait a few days before offering these. My hope is it will help someone who missed the sale to avoid paying full price and it will help me earn some money using our Money Game funds.

I thought long and hard about how many to order. The plastic housing on mine cracked during our camping trip. The unit still works but that made me realize I could use a back up. I can also give these as gifts if they don’t sell. Hopefully that will lesson the risk so three seemed about right. I think you have to use common sense. It feels good to be in the position of trying to actually earn money using our fund and I hope this venture pays off.

The deal is still on Amazon if you think it might work for you.

New? Start here …

Google Doc spreadsheet showing all 250 levels of the Money Game

Level Completed: 142 out of 251
Amount Deposited this month: $548.16
Total Balance: $5,189.02
Our Money Game fund has increased 11.8% so far this month.

$169.44 is needed to reach the next level.

Our favorite ways to use leftover turkey

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you get to enjoy a blessed time with friends and family.

We love to make cornbread dressing and then we make it again after Thanksgiving adding leftover shredded turkey to the mix before it goes into the oven. It makes an easy yummy dinner with a vegetable on the side.

Cornbread “dressing”

We also make turkey chili using the Mayo clinic recipe subbing in leftover turkey for the canned chicken. This chili is different – it’s more like a soup – but it’s been a favorite in our family for years.

White chicken chili from the Mayo Clinic

Does anyone have any other good ideas?

New? Start here …

Google Doc spreadsheet showing all 250 levels of the Money Game

Level Completed: 142 out of 251
Amount Deposited this month: $548.16
Total Balance: $5,189.02
Our Money Game fund has increased 11.8% so far this month.

$169.44 is needed to reach the next level.

Living Beautifully

Part of the long range plans of growing our Money Game 5% at a time will probably involve buying and selling real estate.

As George and I talk about how to grow the money we have, we have also talked about taking care of the home we own. That’s evolved to us becoming more aware about maintaining our home, keeping it pretty and realizing we could decide to sell sooner rather than later.

As I’ve had the luxury of time as a SAHW, that’s grown to include taking time for my personal appearance as well. It feels good to get dressed for the day knowing I may meet someone for a Facebook sale or even to list our home on the market.

To me, this has been one of the benefits of playing the Money Game. It can be depressing to think that we can’t grow professionally, personally or even financially. When you know that you can and that you are (even if you are on on level 2 right now), you start getting ready for the opportunities that are coming. It’s inspiring and it’s fun to live like this.

New? Start here …

Google Doc spreadsheet showing all 250 levels of the Money Game

Level Completed: 142 out of 251
Amount Deposited this month: $548.16
Total Balance: $5,189.02
Our Money Game fund has increased 11.8% so far this month.

$169.44 is needed to reach the next level.

More thoughts on power ups

A part of me feels silly writing and posting about adding $1.72 to our Money Game fund.

Then I look at the total balance knowing I started with $5 just a few short months ago. It felt silly then too. I thought about just trying to do this in my IRA where I’d have more money to work with. I knew my hands would be tied with regulations about withdrawing, taxes, penalties and restrictions on what I could buy and invest in. I wanted to do this myself.

It’s been just over 3 months and most of the money found and made has been in dribbles. But today I have a pile of over $5,000 real live dollars that I could use for something serious around our home. It’s a LOT of money to me right now. It’s approaching the point that I’m keeping my ear to the ground. Someone I know is going to need a sell a great car that belongs to an aging parent or I’m going to find the right piece of land to sell. I’ll be ready right then with cash on hand to invest.

There are so many possibilities. For example, I’m starting to question owning the small Lexus convertible I drive. I found a great washer and dryer for sale but I didn’t have a way to pick it up. If I find the right car, I might get it for me, sell the Lexus and realize a huge gain in one go.

I think the most important thing I’m learning is to keep that goal of making 5% of your balance in my mind. It fills me with optimism and keeps me thinking of ways to make that money be productive. The task seems just as easy (and at times just as difficult) with $4,000 as it did with $5. Look at what you have and figure out a way to get 5% more as quickly as possible. Be legal. Be moral (you don’t really want to cheat your sister out of her ice cream money do you?) Have fun (taking on 2 or 3 jobs to level up when you have a day job and kids isn’t going to help anyone). You always have enough in your hand to come up with 5% more.

Don’t scoff at these small power ups. Take them, roll them in and keep thinking about to get more and more of them or how to make them bigger so you don’t have to do it as much. Either way works. Costco has done very well and they limit the percent markup on all of their merchandise to 15% or less. They just happen to sell a ton of merchandise.

Finally power ups mean that it will take less effort to actually level up. They give you a little boost that can make a big difference.

New? Start here …

Google Doc spreadsheet showing all 250 levels of the Money Game

Level Completed: 142 out of 251
Amount Deposited this month: $548.16
Total Balance: $5,189.02
Our Money Game fund has increased 11.8% so far this month.

$169.44 is needed to reach the next level.

Goals by Brian Tracy: Chapter 2

 “Goals” by Brian Tracy (a free PDF version)

Chapter 2 is named “Take Charge of Your Life”. At first, this chapter didn’t excite me as much. After time, I realized it’s one of the most important chapters.

The Money Game has been so much fun for me. I love watching the fun(d) grow. I love dreaming about the possibilities and reading about ways to make a sum of money produce an income.

None of this would have happened if I hadn’t decided to take charge of my life. I love George with all my heart and he provides well for us. But I needed a challenge and I honestly worry about our retirement in the event the economy and the stock market tank again. This has given me an outlet that’s been life changing.

Consider reading it and see what you think.

New? Start here …

Google Doc spreadsheet showing all 250 levels of the Money Game

Level Completed: 142 out of 251
Amount Deposited this month: $548.16
Total Balance: $5,189.02
Our Money Game fund has increased 11.8% so far this month.

$169.44 is needed to reach the next level.

Costco rotisserie chickens: Part 2

If I’m out and have to get lunch, I try to pick up one of these instead.

I keep raw nuts and apples with me in the car to tide me over. If lunch can be a chicken leg and some veg once I get home, I have the rest of the chicken to use for at least one more meal (and usually 2 more + bone broth).

1 pound of lunch meat costs more than a Costco chicken and it doesn’t serve up dinner on the side.

These chickens rock!!

New? Start here …

Google Doc spreadsheet showing all 250 levels of the Money Game

This post ends with a small powerup of $28.03 having come in under budget for the week in fuel.

Level Completed: 142 out of 251
Amount Deposited this month: $548.16
Total Balance: $5,189.02
Our Money Game fund has increased 11.8% so far this month.

$169.44 is needed to reach the next level.

Costco rotisserie chickens

Since food is such a huge expense, let’s talk about ways to get your food budget down without sacrificing great meals.

My secret weapon is Costco and one of the best ongoing deals they offer is their rotisserie chickens. If you have only tried these from a grocery store, you may have been disappointed. Our Kroger offers them but I found them to be dry and over cooked with a cardboard like flavor.

Costco has an entire operation that cooks these to perfection. Their chickens are hormone and anti-biotic free. They are tender and flavorful and they only cost $4.99 each. I’ve read that if you use one a week, the savings will pay for your Costco membership each year.

I do buy one a week. We use one chicken breast warm from the store with vegetable sides for the first meal. I use the other breast for a second meal reheating it with some kind of gravy to add moisture and flavor. Alternatively, I’ll dice the breast meat and add it to spaghetti sauce or make a a white chicken chili. Green enchildas are another favorite of ourrs. For those, I shred the chicken breast and toss it with shredded cheese and green chilis to make a filling for corn tortillas.

The two thighs and drumsticks get shredded and tossed with BBQ sauce. Finally I take the carcass and toss it in a stock pot with 2 quarts of water to make bone broth in our Instant Pot.

If you like this idea, plan on buying one chicken for every 2 people in your home.

New? Start here …

Google Doc spreadsheet showing all 250 levels of the Money Game

This post ends with a small powerup of $28.03 having come in under budget for the week in fuel.

Level Completed: 142 out of 251
Amount Deposited this month: $548.16
Total Balance: $5,189.02
Our Money Game fund has increased 11.8% so far this month.

$169.44 is needed to reach the next level.

Planning Christmas

I used to start thinking about Christmas after Thanksgiving. There’s so much to think about during any normal week that the thought of planning a big event was honestly overwhelming. Event planning was never in my skill set anyway.

I heard about a Christmas planner and bought it. It was overpriced and not particularly helpful except that it taught me that Christmas is always 8 weeks after Halloween. As soon as you turn off the porch light and put the candy away, you can pull out a notebook that you have especially for Thanksgiving and Christmas. (Mine is in EverNote or I’d share it with you.)

What’s in this notebook?

  • a reminder to find and attend an event to donate frozen turkeys to the local food bank – this kicks off the holiday season for us in a way that has truly made even the Christmas preparations festive and fun
  • a reminder buy a big red bow for our mailbox (we try to get a new one each year as this is the one bit of decor that really gets beaten up as it’s out in the weather)
  • a reminder to put parties and events on a calendar
  • a reminder to schedule my hair cut/color to coincide with any holiday events that are important to me
  • a checklist for my tags, wrap, tape with a reminder to wrap a gift each day
  • My tried and true Thanksgiving menu – I’m free to change it but if it ends up being a crazy year, I can pull it out and go on auto pilot
  • A note to decorate for Christmas sometime during our Thanksgiving holiday weekend
  • Names and addresses of Christmas card recipients with a reminder to cozy up with the cards and some coffee the weekend after Thanksgiving
  • My Christmas budget spreadsheet including a list of gifts purchased (stored on a shelf in my closet)
  • A reminder to check out cyber Monday to purchase the remainding gifts
  • A reminder that the best office gift I gave was a simple handmade soap wrapped in a sleeve of brown kraft paper with a bit of greenery tucked in a ribbon
  • A note reminding me that I have an envelope in the top drawer of the buffet in our dining room to store Christmas receipts (when I used an actual physical planner, the receipt envelope was in the binder itself). I put all receipts in that envelope in case someone has a problem with a gift we bought for them.
  • A reminder to get some cash and  gift envelopes for our mail person and the trash pick up crew (scheduled for a few days before Christmas)
  • My go to Christmas baking list – it’s become easier and simpler each year with tasty (but simple) sugar cookies and a homemade “snow” cake
  • Christmas breakfast menu
  • Christmas dinner menu – we roast prime rib and serve it up with savory cheese cakes served on salad greens

We streamlined a few other things that has helped so much. All Christmas decorations are in the same closet.  We found simple lights on the stairs in the foyer, the hearth and the buffet with the same wreaths on the front door work well for us. The Christmas tree goes in the same corner and it takes one afternoon to get it all done. The decorating becomes a party with a fire going, something festive to drink and kids running around hanging ornaments.

I learned that if I follow my simple plans, it doesn’t get overwhelming. I have a shelf that is always for gifts. That way I can take advantage of any great sales (I bought my oldest son’s Christmas gift months ago when his favorite sporting goods store had an incredible sale.) My kids love Christmas stockings and that has gotten more challenging and expensive as they’ve grown into adults. I try to grab anything that would be fun for them to include in their stocking. If I tuck things away all year, it doesn’t become a huge burden. It’s fun to pick up little things during the year and it’s just one more way to realize how much I love them.

I know there isn’t any ground shaking new material in this post but I wish my younger self could have known that just decorating the tree and putting out some twinkle lights and a red ribbon on some greenery can make your home feel special. Doing less in a festive way without being stressed out feels more like Christmas to me. I also didn’t realize that people don’t expect elaborate gifts. My older self knows this now. Trust me on this one.

New? Start here …

Google Doc spreadsheet showing all 250 levels of the Money Game

This post ends with a small powerup of $28.03 having come in under budget for the week in fuel.

Level Completed: 142 out of 251
Amount Deposited this month: $548.16
Total Balance: $5,189.02
Our Money Game fund has increased 11.8% so far this month.

$169.44 is needed to reach the next level.