Check Yo Self

Wake up wake up wake up..it’s the first of the month..so get up get up get up..cash your checks and get up (in just a few days anyways). I feel like it’s a good time to chickety check yo self before you wreck yo self.

I know that January wreaked havoc on my finances with a new furnace, car repair, and a sweet little Frenchie puppy “making us” take her in. 😬🐶

But January was more good towards my goals than anything..started a blog, started reading a great financial freedom book, listened to several podcasts about real estate investing, finally did our living trust, only ate out twice, avoided Target, still honoring my No Spend Year, and paid another good chunk towards our student loan debt. Wow..I DID all of that in the last 30 days?! I didn’t talk about or think about it..I DID IT.

How was your January? Did you keep track of your spending? Do you have any amazing accomplishments to celebrate or defeats to shake off? What goals do you have going into February? I have sticky notes on my fridge to remind me of my next goals. How do you hold yourself accountable?

My biggest Food Prep Secret

I am imagining all of my readers frantically clicking the full blog post in hopes of getting access to my deepest darkest most complex food prepping tips. You are about to get this very detailed document that tells you step by step what ingredients you need and these fancy but easy recipes to use said ingredients.

I hate to disappoint, but please note my blog is titled “my semi basic life” and my tag line is in regards to my imperfect journey. That being said, I do still think what I’m about to tell you is going to change your life, or at least change how you think about food prep and meals.

It’s one basic word..and you are probably familiar with it..SNACKS. I literally make it rain with snacks at my house and at work. I keep both a dry snacks bowl and a “snack drawer” in my home and work fridge. I keep a list of healthyish snacks I like and try to rotate here and there. Sometimes I surprise my coworkers with a fruit smiley face on my desk.

I try and make sure on Monday that I bring enough snacks to get me through the week (along with lunches). A glimpse into a typical day of snack life includes usually a protein, a fruit, a veggie, and sometimes a crunchy afternoon “I’m still hungry don’t want to take it out on my family and can’t make it until dinner snack”.

If I don’t have snacks, I am 10x more likely to eat out for lunch or overeat, or potentially snap at my coworker Rodney for absolutely no reason. (Made up stat, but you get what I’m saying) So my snack game is strong and it makes life easier for us all. It’s also better for us to eat every few hours instead of 3 ginormous meals.

Also, stop getting so tied up in “meal prepping” and focus more on “snacks prepping”. Pro tip: Snacks can double as meals when combined in many random combinations. Pro Pro tip: Snacks often pair nicely with wine. Pro Pro Pro tip: The kids can help at pretty much any age with snack prepping.

Snacks got your back, and have saved my a$$ several times when everyone had somewhere to be and I didn’t want to end up in a drive thru window. One of my kids favorite dinners is literally random snacks thrown into an ice cube tray. Seriously..nobody cares about meals, or at least my kids don’t. 🤷‍♀️

So go get you some snacks..put them everywhere. Your home, car, work, purse (but don’t forget about purse snacks and end up with crumbled cereal bars, or a smashed kiwi or moldy string cheese like I’ve done). Build your own snack city that you are the president of the snack pack. Pack yo snacks.

Food Prep for the lazy

I wake up bright and early on Saturday, put on an apron and a smile on my face and get to cooking (just kidding..I don’t really cook unless my husband leaves me to keep myself and the children alive due to work or football, and even then the extent is scrambled eggs and toast). I also loathe people that enjoy spending their whole Saturday cooking 30 freezer crock pot meals (happy for you with your food prep game being that strong, but that is definitely NOT my idea of fun or easy).

I will be honest..wintertime is the lamest season ever, and I’m too tired and unmotivated to food prep. But apparently our bodies still require food. So..I continue to do it. I also do it for the sake of my moneys, and I guess our health is also up there as a major reason why I food prep.

I usually try to avoid prepackaged and processed items because of health and motha earth, but sometimes I just have to do what gets us by. It’s busy for us right now, with both of us working and both kids in activities that consume all of our waking hours. This will NOT work for us if there’s too much involved, and we will end up in line at Chipotle ready to shove our faces with 1,000 calorie bowls of goodness that cost us $9 a pop.

So stay with me from the beginning. I have been prepping for years now and just know now how much we go through, what makes my children literally throw up at the dinner table (RIP crab cakes), and what is going to die a slow, moldy death before even being consumed. I’ve also gotten pretty quick with weekend prepping now and usually even get a little help from the family. I do have to plan for meat eaters, a pescatarian and a vegetarian, which can get complicated at times, but we always figure it out.

As you may already know, I get my groceries online and spend about 30 minutes per week writing my list, filling in the dinner calendar, and sitting on the couch ordering. HyVee is great about saving all of my past purchases so I can quickly shop my frequent items. I spend $100ish dollars a week for my family of four, and have groceries delivered every Friday. I also spend roughly $40-$60 a month at Costco for our eggs, milk, almonds, etc. So a total of around $450 a month, and on good months, we will eat out maybe once and get ice cream another time, so that’s around $50ish additional. Remember my post about budgeting, where we used to spend around $400 a month just on eating out? We’ve come a LONG way from those days.

Here’s a glimpse into what we will be eating this week (this doesn’t include the dinner stuff). There will be more on the topic, but just wanted to share how much total I spend a month and a few of my winter busy prep ingredients. This may be a good way to ease yourself into food prep if you’ve been wanting to try it but not sure where to start. A lot of these items are just grab and go. I try not to waste my time with food that doesn’t have a lot to offer in the nutrition department, because these items usually don’t even fill you up, and have a higher price tag (I will ALWAYS love you Doritos and Oreos and such, we just can’t be together any longer).

Have you been keeping track of your receipts and how much you’re spending and on what? Curious how much others spend and any tips you have to share? I think the biggest tip I can give to get started..is literally that…JUST GET STARTED. Grab a paper and pen and come up with one meal a day, or one day a week or whatever you want, and come up with your plan. Don’t over complicate things by planning elaborate meals with a bazillion minutes needed to prep a ton of ingredients.

A sample day for me looks like this:

7 a.m. vegan protein shake mixed with almond milk

9 a.m. banana or apple

11 a.m. string cheese

1 p.m. cup of brown rice, 1/2 a smoked salmon packet and 1/2 a steamers bag of broccoli (I don’t even really like broccoli, but I eat it anyway 🥦)

3 p.m. quinoa crackers

6 p.m. tilapia, couscous and Caesar salad

8 p.m. wine or ice cream..or both

Your scale, overall health, and your wallet will thank you for getting started I promise!

(see below a sample super fancy grocery list and even fancier menu of dinners for the month)

My Makeup is FREE

Does anyone else have memories sitting cross legged on the floor in front of a mirror, and putting on layers and layers of makeup that were 3 shades off from your actual skin color?  Your friends would all lie right to your face and tell you how good you looked? (thanks friends)  Maybe your makeup game has stepped up a bit from the teen years, when most of us started wearing makeup on the daily.  With your new routine, maybe you now get the higher quality stuff, and that quality helps to justify the higher price tag from the cheap Wet N Wild stuff we started out with.

Well, I guess you are wondering why I am claiming to have free makeup.  Turns out, my new favorite makeup is water.  You read that right…high quality H2O.  So I guess if you want to get technical, I actually pay a monthly water bill.  But for the sake of this post, let’s not ruin the fun and get technical.  What I have decided is to start drinking more water in hopes that it makes my skin more hydrated and radiant looking.  I’ve never really been a fan of makeup, so it hasn’t been that big of an adjustment TBH.  It’s only been 2 weeks, but I have already noticed my face is softer and I have had a lot less breakouts.  I really stumbled across this idea as I was trying to deal with flaky, dry skin, and thought a makeup “detox” would help, which it did.  I have also not had one single person come up to me and be like “girl…where’s your makeup?  Your face is looking ratchet today.”  To be clear, I wouldn’t care if they did either. 

I honestly don’t see a difference between my makeup free face and the one that I spent 15 minutes prepping…can you?  Full Disclosure:  Matt isn’t wearing makeup in either picture. 

I am literally shooketh about this post and had to share with all you lovely folks what I found out.  Does anyone want to take a guess at what the average woman spends on makeup…and how much time they spend applying each day?  Go ahead…go google it now, or I can spare you the troubles.  The average woman spends roughly $8 a day and 20 minutes a day applying.  This adds up to around $200,000 in your lifetime and a gazillion hours of your time.  That’s more than double what the average person has saved for retirement, so maybe I just helped you plan for your own retirement…your welcome.  Holy Moly!!!  That’s a lot of cash and time!!

Slow down over there…Nobody’s telling you that you have to be a crazy person like me and go all extreme (unless you want to, then all the crazies are welcome).  I found it to be an interesting topic, and just wanted to give you another thing to think about when considering how you are spending your time and money  😉

Grocery Getter

As I’m sitting here in my living room prepping for my afternoon nap (some outgrow nap time, but I’m not one of them), I’m contemplating the gazillion inches of snow outside and wondering what the aisles of the grocery store are looking like right about now. 🤔

Since everyone suddenly realizes they need bread, eggs, and milk because the roads are snow covered for a day, I’m imagining empty shelves and I’m sure there were some super fun lines leading up to this snow storm. I won’t know because I won’t go..to the grocery store that is. Not because I’m some sort of grocery store snob or some homesteader who’s growing all my own food (I wish I was, but nothing living has survived my care longer than 3 days..besides the kids and dogs..and that’s touch and go at times).

You won’t catch me at the store because I found a different way. It has literally changed my life in so many ways. Apparently there’s people out there who LIKE to shop for groceries and will do it for you. After they navigate the aisles and aisles of peanut butter and produce, they even LIKE to bring it to you. And they like to do it may be a strong word, but they’re doing it, and best part..it’s FREE. What?! Sign me up for that s&@!!

I use HyVee aisles online and as long as I spend $100, you heard me right..it’s free for someone else to get my groceries and deliver them right into my kitchen. This saves me about 2 hours per week that I can spend with my family that I didn’t have before. This saves me money because I don’t get the opportunity for my YOLO attitude to pop in and convince me I NEED Doritos. This improves my health because see above about Doritos not being put in the cart, not stressed about getting groceries, allows time for me to exercise, increases my mood, etc. This saves my sanity so you don’t see me and/or my kids crying in the cereal aisle because grocery shopping is “so much fun”.

If you don’t have HyVee around you, check out your other options. I have some friends using Aldi for delivery and I know several others will shop/deliver, or at least shop and let you pick up. Obviously I will have lots more to say on finances and food, but as I’m enjoying my lazy Saturday after food prepping this morning, I thought I would share this quick and easy tip. 😎

No Spend Challenge 2019

It always starts over a few drinks and a friend saying something like “yeah I am going to try not to buy any new clothes for the entire year of 2019”. Usually you would think in your head that your friend is a little crazy and that’s why you love them. But I’ve had a few drinks..so the idea seems like the best one ever, and I’m all like “hold my drink..let’s do this”. My competitive nature also kicks in to say..oh yeah..you are totally winning this challenge. Even though there is literally no prize because you can’t spend money. 💰

I guess the prize is keeping my decluttered closet decluttered and probably truck loads of time and money saved not going to Target for “batteries”. Why with another crazy challenge Mindy? Didn’t you JUST clean out your closet and don’t you really NEED new things now? Two simple answers 1) NO I don’t NEED anything new and TBH..I do NOT really enjoy shopping that much 2) I do enjoy being debt free and I’m so close to that finish 🏁 I can almost taste it, so I need some fuel to get me across that line.

So you heard it here first. I, Mindy Templeton, of sound mind and body, promise that for the entire 365 days of 2019, I will not buy any clothes or accessories, so no shoes, purses, jewelry, etc. I only have 355 days left right?! Wish me luck 😉

Closet chaos challenge update

I ended up taking my closet from 350ish items down to 115 and have had it cleared out for 10 days now. Of course I couldn’t part with any of the clutter I got out just yet..had to make sure I’m totally on board with this minimalism stuff. 🤷‍♀️

I have to say that I cleared out an entire section of my closet, and was expecting to feel my heart rip out of my chest for removing these items. I also thought my closet was going to be empty, lonely, sad, depressed and scared. Turns out it had the opposite effect on me. My heart is just fine, and I’m now looking in there and thinking I still have way more than I need. What the what?!

I have also noticed it’s way easier to find something to wear. I haven’t once said to Matt “I literally have nothing to wear”, which used to be kind of a staple statement in our marriage, where I tried on all these clothes that I usually don’t wear in an attempt to make use of all the stuff. Then he rolls his eyes and I make a comment about how I need to go shopping, to which he rolls his eyes again.

Now I just have my faves. My faves consist of a lot of basics that I can actually do a lot more things with less things. Everything is meant to go with everything. I even freed several items that were trapped behind other clothes. They may have been lost forever if I didn’t declutter my closet, and it was like a free shopping trip in my own closet.

I think I can easily cut my 115 items down to 75ish, but taking baby steps. If you haven’t seen a capsule wardrobe, GTS (google that s$&@). People doing this are living with around 30ish items. 😳

If you haven’t tried the closet chaos challenge, please look back at my other 2 posts and give it a try or pass it on to a friend that could use a more basic life.