Welcome to our State of the Blog report for May 2017. In May we celebrated Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, a beach vacation, and track out. We had bonfires, went to the movies, and read a bunch.
What I didn’t do was write. I dragged my seven-year-old laptop to the beach fully intending to write, but it was so glitchy I couldn’t use it. I’ve known for a while it was on its last legs, but at home, I use a desktop. The glitchy laptop just hasn’t been a problem until last month.
Oh, and I also managed to drop my phone into a lake. It spent a couple of nights in a bag of rice and seems to work okay, but I’m glad I was planning on replacing it anyway. A new phone is on the way, and it should be a lot better than just good enough: A 5th Generation Prime Exclusive Moto G Plus. I’m excited to be going to a phone that won’t have me deleting apps just to check my email!
Thanks to those of you who answered my survey a couple of weeks ago! I’m getting a better feel for what you like and I’m hoping to turn some of those ideas into posts. Which would be good, because I’ve struggled for ideas. Most of the ones I’ve come up don’t really fit in with the types of posts that you guys say resonates with you.
Which is evidently the State of the Blog. It’s probably my easiest post to write each month because I just ramble on about what we’ve done. A few of you have mentioned wanting to see a bit more about financial literacy lessons for Little Bit. That’s on tap, as soon as I can get her to unplug from Minecraft and YouTube long enough to answer some questions.
As expected, in a month we didn’t post much, our numbers have dropped considerably. On the other hand, I got to sort out some incredibly misogynistic spam comments. Never had that before! But since it was the same comment 6 times, I figured I shouldn’t take it personally.
Since not much happened on the blog, here’s the rest of our month:
Little Bit tracked out of school mid-month, so we headed to our favorite NC beach, Holden Beach, for a week to enjoy the warm weather and preseason rates. This year, we split the cost with my inlaws, who joined us for much of the week.
Needless to say, it was a heck of a lot cheaper than our Disneyworld trip last year.
While we got a bit more stormy weather and rough water than we’d enjoyed in previous years, we still managed to get in walks and swim time every day. I even managed to find a whole sand dollar on the beach and a small intact conch, two things I’ve never managed to find before.
Besides having our vacation before the summer rates kick in, we do a few things to save money.
- Since we had a full kitchen, we mostly fixed our own food and snacks. We brought food from home and also bought some at a grocery store before hitting the cottage. I won’t say we never went out to eat (of course we did!) but we limited the eating out to two dinners and an ice cream.
- We picked up boogie boards at Five Below before we went rather than at the souvenir shops, and brought sand buckets from home. Of course, the old sand buckets broke, and we ended up buying inexpensive ones at the souvenir shop anyway. But we brought all our chairs, beach towels, kites, etc with us.
- It’s the beach. We were happy to just enjoy it rather than spending extra for other entertainment.
And Other Cheap Activities
At four weeks, the May-June track-out is Little Bit’s longest of the year. Essentially, we’re on summer break. So we’ve had a fair amount of fun stuff going on, both planned and unplanned.
Jon took Little Bit to the Wake County Library Sale to load up on books. They spent $6 and brought home 2 large boxes of books on the last day of the sale. While there weren’t a ton of kids books left, Jon found a fair amount of reading material and even brought me a few things home.
Little Bit got us to go to the LetterLand event down at Pullen Park. (LetterLand is a phonics program Little Bit uses at school.) It was a full day scavenger hunt event, and we managed to meet up with one of her best buds. We made it to two other parks last month, too.
On the way to and from the beach, we met up with different family members to eat lunch and break up the trip. Jon and I got to visit, and Little Bit got to play with cousins and get some good activity in on a day that otherwise would have been mostly riding in the car.
We’ve also gone to the library, went to a matinee of Guardians of the Galaxy, and went boogie board shopping.
How Does Our Garden Grow?
Ever since we moved to our current home, we’ve tried to grow at least a little food on the back porch.
We’ve tried to grow things in our back yard before, as well. Unfortunately, anything planted in the back yard has gone to feed the deer rather than us. (They even ate our apple trees!) So, mostly we’ve managed to grow herbs, and mostly in pots on our patio. In April, we broke out our pots and potting soil and launched our container garden.
Lo and behold, this year, we’re having some success. Not only did we actually get a few blueberries from our blueberry bush (though not as many as the birds got), I see some tomatoes forming on the tomato plants, and our carrot plants seem to be doing pretty well. The zucchini grew so well it threatens to take over the entire patio.
So far, only our pepper plants seem to be struggling, and that mainly because some caterpillars got into them. Meanwhile, we have already enjoyed of fresh basil for pasta and salad, and mint for mint water.
So while in previous years, our gardening attempts have cost us money, this year we might just break even.
If you’re curious, you can read more about my gardening efforts and see more pictures in my Tales of a Wannabe Gardener post.
Yep, one of my favorite summer beverages is mint water. Take a pitcher of water, and throw in a handful of mint leaves. Leave it in the fridge for a couple of hours, and you should have a nice refreshing cheap no-cal summer beverage.
Even Little Bit likes it. So if you have a mint plant (and they tend to grow like crazy for me) and a pitcher, you’re all set.
The To-Do List
To recap, my goals for the year were to:
- Live Healthier
- Increase Financial Health
- Improve the Blog
- Do Good Things
- Get Rid of Excess Stuff
I still ate too much sugar. I need to get back to my no sugar during the week routine.
Beach week was terrific for exercise, with great walks and swimming every day. Admittedly, some days swimming meant “Stand in the water and let the waves knock me around while I play lifeguard for Little Bit and her newfound beach buddy.”
And I’ve gotten more exercise at home, but less than I would have wanted. Little Bit has pushed me to do some dancing, but not to daily exercise. I guess I need to sign up for a class.
Increase Financial Health
I let my advisor know I’d be moving my money but decided (after I’d procrastinated most of the month) to wait until after June 1 to do it due to some pending payments. On the agenda for this week!
Grocery expenses seem to be back on track. Since we paid for our vacation earlier in the year and didn’t spend too much during it, our actual expenses stayed low.
Improve the Blog
Do Good Things
I worked the school store before Little Bit’s track out and volunteered for Bible School at our church. I’ll be back to the school store when Little Bit goes back to school at the end of the week.
Get Rid of Excess Stuff
We didn’t go through the toy totes, but I did get through my sock and accessories drawers. I cut up a few t-shirts for cleaning rags and gave one away to a friend who really loved the band, even if the shirt itself was pretty worn.
Toy totes are still on the agenda.
I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. While I’m never going to fold items perfectly, it had some good lessons on letting go of gifts and sentimental items and dealing with non-minimalist family members I needed to hear.
Jon and I discussed getting a storage unit for a month or so to help him clear out the garage and basement. I called around, and it was way more than he bargained on. We both feared that we might need it for more than a month. We also discussed getting a storage shed or turning our carport into a garage.
Wrapping Up May 2017
Looking back, May was a month of rest and restoration for us.
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How did May go for you?
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*Part of Financially Savvy Saturdays on brokeGIRLrich.*