Where's Margie's Money?

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The following is a list of all entries from the Menu Plan Monday category.

Weekly Money Check-Up and Meal Plan Monday

My weekly money check-up is brought to you by My Pretty Pennies!

1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on chiropractic treatment.

2. Today I am thankful for being a “glass is half full” type of person.  Maybe I am sometimes “too nice”,  “too trusting” and “too positive” but I belive that my optimism and faith in people and the world at large and served me really well.  In fact, I’m going to venture to say that it takes a certain inner strength to be a positive person even in the midst of challenging and difficult times – but my ability to see a glimmer of light in the darkness and home in on it has served me well on countless occasions.

 3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free thing I did last week that made me happy video chat with my dad and step-mom last night.  I was able to show them how my little miss is JUST on the verge of crawling! 

4. I will consider this week a success if I do not spend any money today through Friday.  There is definitely a lot more month at the end of my paycheck than the other way around.  I need to focus.



5. My favorite spring flower is the tulip – they are just so cheerful!

Now, on to my Meal Plan for the week:

Monday: Taco Lasagna – sub out ground beef for tofu crumbles (new recipe)

Tuesday: Spaghetti

Wednesday: Left-over buffet

Thursday: Guacamole Grilled Cheese (new recipe)

Friday: Take-Out

It feels good to have a plan!


I’m 38 weeks! Weekly Money Check-Up and Meal Plan Monday

Ahhh!  I’m 38 weeks – exactly 14 days away from my due date of August 8.  This is my last FULL week of work which is a really strange feeling.  Next Tuesday is my last day and that happens to be a division retreat day (and by “retreat” they mean a full day of strategic planning meetings which is completely the OPPOSITE of what the word retreat really  means to me – i.e. a spa day and lots of pampering on the company’s dime. . .  a girl can dream right?)

I had my weekly doctor’s appointment and all is well with the baby.  My midwife doesn’t conduct cervical exams until week 40 (which is A-OK with me!  I’ve heard those don’t exactly feel great!) so I have no idea  if I’m dilating/effacing.  Probably not.  I have ZERO symptoms . . .  I will say that all of my efforts to monitor my caloric intake have gone out the window.  That’s not to say that I’m bingeing  on mac ‘n cheese and cheese burgers but I figure that, at this point, if I want an extra-large bowl of mint chocolate chip ice cream after dinner then I’ve earned it! 

Now . . . on to the my Weekly Money Check-Up

This update brought to you by My Pretty Pennies.

1. The most I’ve spent this last week was on groceries.

And since MPP had a sub question on electric bills and what temperature setting our A/C is set to I will just add that on average our bill is about $60 a month for a two-story, 2 bedroom, 1 bath townhouse.  We live on the coast (1 block from the ocean) and as our building is older (probably built in the 70s) we actually don’t have air conditioning.  This isn’t a problem 51 weeks of the year as the early morning and evening fog rolls in and cools everything off.  We sleep with the windows open and get a very pleasant cross breeze.  But for about one week a year, it gets super hot and there is no relief.  Days like that we do what we can to keep cool by using fans, keeping the oven off, taking night showers, etc.

2. Today I am thankful for a new office chair!  My work had some left over money in the budget at the end of the fiscal year and upgraded a few people who had been using some very sorry looking 90s era chairs.  My fancy new chair is SO comfortable and it reclines! 

3. Money can’t buy happiness. One free thing I did last week that made me happy was spend Saturday afternoon just hanging out with DH.  He was playing his guitar (which I LOVE – a man with a guitar is super sexy!).  I was knitting on a baby project.  We just sat together doing our own thing and it was so pleasant – completely unplugged.

4. I will consider this week a success if I stick to another $20 challenge for Monday – Friday. I did really well last week and only spent $5.01 on snacks at work.  I want to close out the month on a positive note since lately it’s felt like money has been going through my fingers so I’m doing it again.  Also, I want to drink LOTS of water to keep my swelling to a minimum, so I’m going to try to drink 3 liters every day.

5. A good friend is someone who “gets” you and doesn’t attach strings to your relationship.  A good friend is someone you can laugh with, cry with, and who you respect and who respects you!  I’m really lucky to have several very good friends!

As for meal planning this week – I’ll admit I sort of half-assed it.  I could only think up 3 good things to make so for our 4th I may just resort to raiding the pantry or freezer.  I’m hoping inspiration will hit.

Monday – Breakfast for dinner

Tuesday – Tuna Casserole (1/2 of the batch will go into the freezer for post-baby meals)

Wednesday – fish, rice, and veggies

Thursday – ??? 

Friday – Take-out

Happy Monday, Internet!  Let’s get this week over with!

I’m 37 weeks! Weekend Recap! Meal Plan Monday!

Peeps, I only have 21 days to go until my due date.  I’m 37 weeks today! This morning, I considered calling out sick – kinda feeling achy and my digestive system has been having some, um, issues.  But I decided to suck it up and go in (where I am now writing this post: model employee = me).  I didn’t want to waste a sick day and my dr. appointment this afternoon is right across the street from my office so I’d have to drive up here anyway. 

Lucky me, I only have 12 more working days left until I go on my maternity leave.  All my paperwork is turned in to HR and it looks like I’m good to go.  I’m incredibly lucky because the entire 3 month leave will be paid in full thanks to the crazy amount of vacation/sick time I have on the books plus I get 30 days paid leave from my employer.  I know the leave won’t be a holiday (Blogging Away Debt is giving me a sneak preview as to what to expect) but I can’t help but feel excited.  I know I’ll miss work but I’ve been working since the age of 14!  It’ll be nice not to have looming deadlines, office politics, or projects to worry about . . . it’ll just be all about taking care of me and the baby. 

The weekend went WAY too fast.  I did get in my nap as well as accomplish most of the things on my to-do list.  The best thing we did all weekend was rent a Rug Doctor and clean our carpets.  Seriously, it was the best $40 we’ve spent in a long time and we have vowed to do this more regularly from here on out.  I can’t wait for the day when we live in a house with hardwood flooring . . . carpets + 1 dog + 2 indoor/outdoor cats = total grossness. 

Also this weekend I took the dog to the vet and paid a nearly $300 vet bill.  :-/  Of course I’m happy to pay it because my dog is my fur baby, but from here on out I’ve GOT to start planning for these annual expenses.  This is definitely going to hurt some of my monthly savings goals.

Sunday I did a lot of running arround – mostly grocery shopping.  Here’s my meal plan for the week – going simple!

Monday – Tortillini with pesto

Tuesday – Homemade burritos

Wednesday (yoga night) – grilled cheese/tuna melts

Thursday – Black bean burgers and fries

Friday – Take-out

Thanks to the vet bill and the fact that my dining out/entertainment expenses are already up there for the month, I’m giving myself a mini-challenge.  I’m going to keep my expenses down to $20 for Monday – Friday.  I have everything I need in terms of gas for my car, food for meals . . . there’s nothing that I NEED. So that $20 should be more than enough to cover the cereal and bread that I forgot to buy and my morning cups of tea (25 cents each).

Hope everyone has a good start to their week!

Meal Plan Monday

Another hectic weekend means that I’m scrambling to do my menu planning this morning . . . and I’ll have to do my grocery shopping after work tonight!

Monday – Deli sandwiches (kind of a cheat since I hate to eat out more than once a week, but since I’ll be running around after work, I won’t have much time/energy to cook.)

Tuesday – Home made chile and side salad  (makes a big pot so freezing half for August)

Wednesday (Yoga night) –  Goat cheese and arugula over penne – recipe from Stacking Pennies!  I used to do something similar only with spinach and feta so I’m looking forward to trying a slight variation!

Thursday – Tilapia, rice, and veggies (thinking corn and summer squash) – had this last week and it was really good – we buy the frozen filets from Trader Joe’s.

Friday – Take-out

Lunches this week will be similar to last week’s (except today since I had to raid the cupboards) – PB&J, fruit, cottage cheese, and trail mix with dried apricots or apples.

Meal Plan Monday – 4th of July edition!

I’m so happy to be back to meal planning!  Here’s what’s cookin’:

Monday (4th of July) – Homemade burritos (beans with tofu crumbles and all the fixins)

Tuesday – Pasta Primavera (since it makes so much I’m setting aside half for a post-baby freezer meal)

Wednesday (Yoga night) – salad wraps with hummus

Thursday – Tilapia with rice and veggies

Friday – Take out

For lunches this week I’m back to PB&J, fruit (strawberries or blueberries, apple, banana) with cottage cheese, trail mix with dried fruit (apricots or apples) and carrot sticks.


Meal Plan Monday

It’s clear that I’ve already blown my May grocery budget.  I’m starting to think that getting down to $250 is impossible for us.  I don’t know . . . at any rate, this week I challenged myself to use recipes based on ingredients that I already have to keep the damage under control! 

Monday – Baked Homemade Macaroni and Cheese with side salad (New recipe!  Using noodles and crackers I already have in the cupboard)

Tuesday – Stuffed Green Peppers with side salad (new recipe! Using black beans and rice I already have)

Wednesday – left overs from Monday and Tuesday or  Grilled Cheese/Tuna Melts (I can’t believe we haven’t gotten sick of these yet but I think we’re both addicted)

 Thursday – veggie pizza  (have some leftover sauce from when I made it last week to use up)

Friday – Take out

Total spent on groceries for the week: $26.16 at Smart & Final and $32.74 at Henry’s for a total of $58.90…but I forgot to swing by TJ’s for pizza dough . . . wonder if I could make pizza dough myself?  Hmmmm…..

Sort of related to meal planning is something I’ve been thinking about each week as I pack our weekday lunches:  We use a ton of plastic!  I’d really love to cut down on the number of sandwich baggies (at least four per person) we use.  I just love the blog Smiles Go With Everything because her weekly Bento Box Lunch posts look so good . . . and so environmentally friendly! I’m going to try to budget in two reusable lunch boxes into our budget for next month as well as bags to carry it in. In the meantime, I’ll try to use what Tupperware we have on hand for packing lunches to see how that works out – I’m hoping DH won’t throw them away!

Also, I used to be really great about taking reusable grocery bags to the store but over the last year have gotten SUPER lazy about it.  I’m going to step that up again!

Meal Plan Monday

This week I’m trying two new recipes.  Sunday morning I happened to turn on Food Network while preparing my shopping list and Paula Dean was preparing a super yummy looking southwest style salad.  It looked super easy so I decided to give it a try!

Monday – Creamy Broccoli Soup with french bread (I’ve never tried to make my own soup before so I hope it’s as easy as it seems! I’m a little nervous!)

Tuesday – Southwestern Avocado and Black bean Salad by Paula Dean

Wednesday – Veggie Burgers with baked fries

Thursday – Left overs or burgers again

Friday – Take out

This week I spent $32.53 at Smart & Final and $47.03 at Henry’s for a total of $79.56.  A little higher than I’d like but evens out because last week was lower than average. 

Meal Plan Monday


(Photo Credit)

Last week I fell off the meal planning wagon and learned a valuable lesson about why it’s so important (for us anyway) to figure out our meals in advance.  Getting home from work and not having, a) the energy or brain power to think about what to make, and b) enough groceries to make an appetizing dish, means that we’ll be picking up fast and convenient food instead (Subway sandwiches one night, pizza another . . . ).  Not to mention that lunches were a disaster (I ate out for lunch twice).

So this week I’m back with my weekly meal plan and I’m loving the fact that I won’t have the “What’s for dinner?” blahs.

Monday – Grilled Cheese/Tuna Melts and side salad (a special request from DH – he would eat these EVERY DAY if he could . . . I like to use artisan bread cut thick from the bakery and use my George Foreman grill – super fast and super yummy.)

Tuesday – Breakfast for dinner: cheese omelettes, skillet potatoes, and fruit salad (still need to purchase the fruit – likely berries and cantaloupe)

Wednesday – Salad wraps (Quick and easy – it’s yoga night)

Thursday – Pacific flounder, brown rice, corn on the cob, side salad

Friday – Take out

Saturday – Dinner hosted by our friends (still need to figure out what dessert I’ll bring over)

This week I spent $38.58 at Smart & Final and $39.34 at Trader Joe’s (but that purchase from TJ also included some hand lotion for my desk at work and tea tree oil face pads (a beauty routine staple – LOVE this product).

Meal Plan Monday

Last week’s meal planning went extremely smoothly.  We did a little switching around to meet our slightly adjusted schedules so we didn’t eat one of the dinners at all while another we moved to Saturday night (the Pacific Flounder from Trader Joe’s . . . which turned out REALLY good – it’s stuffed with crab meat and cheese so for a person who doesn’t like fish very much like me, there was a lot of other flavor).

This week is going to be a little different.  DH and I are only going to be eating at home together two of the seven nights of the week.  Between the two of us, we’ll need to pack only eight lunches.

Monday – Pasta Primavera (DH LOVED this when I made it two weeks ago and requested it again – it makes a lot for only two people so there are a ton of leftovers and I have most of the ingredients already. I like to add fresh veggies like squash or brocoli to it to make it more hearty/healthy.)

Tuesday – Soy tacos with side salad (a hold over from last week)

Wednesday – DH eats leftovers, I have dinner plans with a friend from out-of-town.

Thursday – I eat leftovers with side salad, DH travel day

Friday – I eat leftovers with side salad, DH travel day

This week I spent $17.65 at Smart & Final and $12.72 at Henry’s for a total of $30.37.  I didn’t use coupons (I tried but I couldn’t find anything that I actually would buy) but I did check out the weekly flyers to check store sales and probably saved a least a couple of bucks by purchasing my produce at Henry’s (which is a surprise – I would have thought that their stuff would have been more expensive because they are one of those crunchy organic local chain stores).

With a full week left in April (is it me or does this month seem especially long?  Must be the five weekends…) and only $10 left in my grocery budget it’s safe to say that I’m definitely going to go over.  I knew that $200 would be tight but I was hoping I could do it.  Bummer.  My revised budget is $220 – I think I can still make that.

Meal Plan Monday

My first week of meal planning was a success.  My Monday and Tuesday meals created so many leftovers that I ended up not even making Thursday night’s meal as planned. Plus, it’s nice to get home at the end of the day and not have to think about what to make or what ingredients I have on hand – I just get straight to cooking!  Here’s this week’s menu:

Monday – Baked spaghetti (w/out the ground beef) with side of broccoli and bread sticks

Tuesday – Pacific Flounder with stuffing (frozen from Trader Joe’s), corn on the cob, and brown rice

Wednesday – Grilled Cheese with tomato  for me/Tuna Melt for DH with side salad

Thursday – Soy tacos with side salad

Friday – Take-out

This week I spent $64.56 (shopped at Smart & Final, Henry’s and Trader Joe’s) which isn’t much of an improvement from last week’s $77.19 (plus a couple of small side trips during the week for things we ran out of . . . milk, bananas . . .) but it’s slightly better.  Oh, I did buy a non-essential and unplanned bouquet of flowers for $3.99.  I couldn’t help myself, they were so pretty and spring-like!

I didn’t even try to use coupons this week or compare deals via the weekly flyers –  next week I’ll be more vigilant and see if it makes a difference!