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mommyoffive

~~April Frugalistas~~

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Started the month off spendy.  Went to the store yesterday and bought some little items needed for upcoming projects.  Geez those little bitty items were $$.    

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So far, so good.
Easter baskets are nearly done.  I decided this year we're going to do a little bit of candy, a little bit of goodies, some cascarones, and I'm going to make them each a bag of iced sugar cookies.  I bought the candy (minus the Cadbury eggs - those won't lasts long here!), I got the goodies earlier in the year when I hit up some clearance sales, and I'm working on the cascarones.  All that's left are the sugar cookies.

Everyone in the house is (mostly) well again which means meals are being eaten.  The oldest and I had a running chart of which cold medicines were a total flop.  The only thing that actually worked was motrin.  None of us can taste anything still, but food is being ingested.

Ds doesn't have p.e. for most of this month.  That saves me $20/week.

I'm waiting to see if dh finds pants on sale and we are debating a date night before he leaves for his class, but I can't think of any other expenses coming up.

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New house=new expenses.  I took March and most of Feb off because we were in a particularly spendy situation and I just didn't want to follow our spending at all.  But now that it is April we are buckling down again and trying to come up with a new budget.  Major changes in the money department, we have a mortgage and utilities again, but we are also making $600/month more in rent from my parents (that doesn't actually start until they move in which will likely be at the start of May.

My goal for this month is for dh and I to both become familiarized with our new expenses and to reassess our financial goals from here on out.  We'll be sitting down on Friday to go over the budget.  Prior to that I am going to look over our food budget and see if I can start grocery shopping biweekly.

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I feel like such an on-again, off-again frugalista.  LOL.  I am always "trying" but not really making progress, KWIM? 

Anyway.  Today is our baby boy's sixth birthday, so we've spent a good bit already for the month of April. 

The positive so far for the month is that I made $60 on homeschool curriculum and books I sold today at co-op. That's going back into the school fund.

My BIG goal for the month is to do well with groceries. I'm using cash only for these purchases, and we're trying out ordering online at Walmart instead of buying the majority of our groceries at Publix. I'm really curious to see if this makes a difference. Also, we're attempting to eat up a lot of the snack foods we have in the pantry before buying more.  

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9 hours ago, hopeistheword said:

I feel like such an on-again, off-again frugalista.  LOL.  I am always "trying" but not really making progress, KWIM? 

Anyway.  Today is our baby boy's sixth birthday, so we've spent a good bit already for the month of April. 

The positive so far for the month is that I made $60 on homeschool curriculum and books I sold today at co-op. That's going back into the school fund.

My BIG goal for the month is to do well with groceries. I'm using cash only for these purchases, and we're trying out ordering online at Walmart instead of buying the majority of our groceries at Publix. I'm really curious to see if this makes a difference. Also, we're attempting to eat up a lot of the snack foods we have in the pantry before buying more.  

It hit me this morning that I CAN’T use only cash if I’m ordering online. 🙄. Back to the mental drawing board. 😑

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One more thing to add to the positive column: yesterday I took a $10 coupon back to the locally-owned shoe store where I bought myself two new pairs of sandals last week (not frugal, but needed).  They gave me a $10.xx refund for bringing the coupon in! That might make me a customer for life. Lol. 

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Goals for this month: 

- Very little grocery spending while we try to eat the stuff we already have before vacation.
- Look for used items or sales for the stuff we have to buy this month.
- Finish up shows on Netflix so we can cancel it.

Frugal wins lately:  

- Found some unused binders on the library freebie shelf, and a copy of a book I wanted for $0.25.
- Used a coupon to take the kids to a fun but expensive place they enjoy.
- Budget line-item for non-consumable purchases in March was $0.00 (just don't ask me how much I spent on kids' activities).

Upcoming planned expenses:

- Luggage and clothes and shoes
- Curriculum
- Avengers: Endgame (might have to go twice with scheduled/staggered bathroom breaks, it's going to be over three hours!)

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Paid off two medical bills that were looming over us. Used tax refund money. I have two smaller things to square away (the flex spending card had an over swipe twice. One was my fault when I paid off the dr and didn’t realize it included a fee from the previous cycle and one wasn’t really my fault because the dr’s office over charged and now I have a credit with them) and then we’ll be good. A chunk of the tax refund will cover the car tag and dhmade a large payment on our cc bill. 

His student loan went into deferment again so he’s going to use the money that was for student loan payments to pay for his current doctorate classes. 

No feedback on my job interview yet. 

I could pick up a couple tutoring shifts not I do t know if it’s worth it. They changed tutoring days in Lent which means I could probably work Mondays. That’s $30 minus gas (1 hr round trip). 

I’m struggling to get the family to eat leftovers but I’m also telling myself not to nit pick because Dh has been sick and dd has been super picky so I kinda get their frozen pizza and picking up food when I wasn’t with them. I managed to freeze some leftovers but not sure if chicken spaghetti can be saved when you already had baked it. 

Couldnt get the lawn mower to start. Gas was old. Dh hasn’t changed it and that wasn’t something I felt comfortable tackling. I bought some fuel stabilizer for next time. We paid someone with a riding mower to tackle our overgrown yard. Should be much more manageable now. Money well spent. 

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Of course we have the most random medical bills. Dh probably had flu recently but then he had this awful pain in his foot and leg and decided to go to the dr last night and cancel his night class. I told him that was fine but we’d need to likely need an after hours clinic. We went but they referred him to the ER. They were unsure if it was a blood clot. Turned out to be this bizarre thing called infectious myositis. Bacteria eating at his muscle. I couldn’t believe he was worried about the dr bills last night, which just goes to show we obviously view dr visits differently. I assured him it was fine and we might even have one ER visit for him covered. 

I had to go to two pharmacies today just to get all his prescriptions. I’m saving the receipts I charged to our debit card to hopefully cancel out the overswipes we had recently. 

He’ll have a follow up in a couple days. This is very painful. I hope he gets some relief and hope the antibiotics work. 

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Frugalish win:  used Kohl’s Cash for  both dds strapless bras which they’ve been wanting/needing for a while.  Dd14 is going to our homeschool co op formal and needed one for her dress (just sleeveless but with a weird cut that shows more shoulder) and dd13 has wanted/needed one for a while for a few “cold shoulder” type tops

I still have a bit of Kohl’s cash left 🎉

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I mostly just stalk for ideas, lol.  But I wanted to share that I’ve enjoyed getting my “free” stuff from Kohl’s after dh needed to revamp his wardrobe for his new job title last month. (We hit the men’s sale event when Kohl’s cash was $15 on $50, plus points.) I just spent the last of it on replenishing little boy socks!

 

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That's horrible, Heart!  I'm glad they caught the infection!

We may get to turn off the heat here soon.  I tried the other day but the temps dropped to 29 degrees overnight.  Brr!  Dh did manage to find pants in his approximate size.  Still spent $120 on three pairs, but that was better than his other option of $70-90 a pair.  And it only took us 2 days and 6 hours' worth of shopping to find them. 😄

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2 hours ago, Carrie12345 said:

I mostly just stalk for ideas, lol.  But I wanted to share that I’ve enjoyed getting my “free” stuff from Kohl’s after dh needed to revamp his wardrobe for his new job title last month. (We hit the men’s sale event when Kohl’s cash was $15 on $50, plus points.) I just spent the last of it on replenishing little boy socks!

 

THIS is why I love Kohl’s!  Sure, it’s not really free, but I find their sale prices as good as or better than most of my other local options.  

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‘Tis the season to spend all my money on allergy meds, fa la la la laaaa la la la *achoo*

I really need to track allergy meds as a single budget item.  It would be painfully enlightening.

Edited by BarbecueMom
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14 hours ago, heartlikealion said:

Of course we have the most random medical bills. Dh probably had flu recently but then he had this awful pain in his foot and leg and decided to go to the dr last night and cancel his night class. I told him that was fine but we’d need to likely need an after hours clinic. We went but they referred him to the ER. They were unsure if it was a blood clot. Turned out to be this bizarre thing called infectious myositis. Bacteria eating at his muscle. I couldn’t believe he was worried about the dr bills last night, which just goes to show we obviously view dr visits differently. I assured him it was fine and we might even have one ER visit for him covered. 

I had to go to two pharmacies today just to get all his prescriptions. I’m saving the receipts I charged to our debit card to hopefully cancel out the overswipes we had recently. 

He’ll have a follow up in a couple days. This is very painful. I hope he gets some relief and hope the antibiotics work. 

 

Wow, how scary.  I am so glad that he went in to get it checked out. 

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Well I put together the new budget with all the new house expenses and changes and man am I nervous. Things will be pretty tight until my parents start paying rent, which won't be for a few months.  My brother is planning on moving into my parents' house while they get their house sold and because of that my dad and I agreed not to start rent until my brother is mortgage free and can take over the bills for my parents' house.  While my dad could pay rent and a mortgage I don't want him to feel that squeeze since he let us live basically rent free since last April. We can manage a few months without their rent.  And if any huge expense does come up my dad assured me that the rent can start whenever it needs to.

So, because of that the rest of April is bare bones spending. I have a few things to get  at Home Depot for our garden today but that shouldn't be over $50,  then after that we are sticking to groceries, gas, and $200 for misc purchases

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3 hours ago, BarbecueMom said:

‘Tis the season to spend all my money on allergy meds, fa la la la laaaa la la la *achoo*

I really need to track allergy meds as a single budget item.  It would be painfully enlightening.

Oh, so true.

4 of the 5 of us use OTC claritin (subscribe and save from Amazon); the last one uses a prescription. 2 of the 5 use Flonase. 1 has to also do the nasal rinse. The allergist wants to add in an eye med too. I get Puffs for the season as well (subscribe and save from Amazon)

It's depressing how much we spend in medicines. 

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4 hours ago, beckyjo said:

Oh, so true.

4 of the 5 of us use OTC claritin (subscribe and save from Amazon); the last one uses a prescription. 2 of the 5 use Flonase. 1 has to also do the nasal rinse. The allergist wants to add in an eye med too. I get Puffs for the season as well (subscribe and save from Amazon)

It's depressing how much we spend in medicines. 

Yes!  That’s just it, no one takes the same combination of meds, because everyone’s “super bad allergen” and reaction is different, so I’m buying one of everything.  I feel like pre-dead Eleanor on The Good Place, sticking her arm out and dragging a whole shelf of chips into the shopping cart.  Except in the allergy meds aisle.

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Ugh.  But I am posting to hopefully help someone else.   I had been buying all new shower stuff that didn't have parabeans and sulfates.   I spent lots of money at Walmart doing that.   We were getting low and I went and spent another 20 on stuff.  This was about a week ago. 

Yesterday I was at the dollar store to waste time, looking at the shower stuff.  They carry some bodywash and shampoos that were parabean and sulfate free.  AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

But I am going to stock up.  Since you just never know with the dollar store if it is going to be there next time. 

And I am mad because one of the kids had a birthday.  We get them balloons.  I always tell dh to get them at the dollar store.   Did he you ask.  Nope.    Little things like that bug me. 

 

Got all the kids to the dentist.   Put that dental insurance to work.  I got in today too.  No cavities.   2 are being sent to the ortho.  Holy cow.  I am getting another one checked while we are there.  

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11 hours ago, mommyoffive said:

Yesterday I was at the dollar store to waste time, looking at the shower stuff.  They carry some bodywash and shampoos that were parabean and sulfate free.  AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

But I am going to stock up.  Since you just never know with the dollar store if it is going to be there next

Was this at Dollar Tree? Otherwise I find the products often aren’t cheaper then Walmart. I paid more at Dollar General than WM for shampoo before. 

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We've decided that cash-only just doesn't work for us.  I don't know why. It's so difficult for us to manage to keep the money dispersed between us as needed. That, and we have a hard time getting by the bank to restock our money, etc. 

So our new plan is to use debit but track it better.

I don't know. Sometimes it feels like the "new" habits (that we try over and over and over again to implement) will never stick.

On the upside, we're in better financial shape than we've been in many years thanks to simply paying more attention.  

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8 hours ago, heartlikealion said:

Was this at Dollar Tree? Otherwise I find the products often aren’t cheaper then Walmart. I paid more at Dollar General than WM for shampoo before. 

 

Yes, at the Dollar Tree.    Sorry I didn't say that. 

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4 hours ago, hopeistheword said:

We've decided that cash-only just doesn't work for us.  I don't know why. It's so difficult for us to manage to keep the money dispersed between us as needed. That, and we have a hard time getting by the bank to restock our money, etc. 

So our new plan is to use debit but track it better.

I don't know. Sometimes it feels like the "new" habits (that we try over and over and over again to implement) will never stick.

On the upside, we're in better financial shape than we've been in many years thanks to simply paying more attention.  

I just read the book You Need a Budget, and I cruised the site to see what they offer. Apparently, it is free for a year for students. DH took a break this semester, but he is signed up for next semester, so I guess I'll give it a try.

It might work for you too; it connects to the app on your phone, so you could both see it to track the categories.

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Midweek check in:
So far, so good.  I did stop and pick up ant bait at the hardware store, and picked up a pack of strawberries, too. Those will go in the strawberry planter I found in the shed and live under the skylight.
Our meal plan is doing okay.  We deviated yesterday to frozen chicken and Rice-a-roni.  I still can't smell and neither can my oldest, so eating is joyless.  Breakfasts have been free: I am taking turns watching our neighbors' chickens and they told us to take as many eggs as we like.  I brought home a dozen multicolored and speckled ones, which thrilled the youngest. He was delighted at eating "blue" eggs for breakfast.
DH is staying well under the per diem he was given for his trip.  The rate was $55/day for food.  He eats breakfast at the hotel and grocery shopped for easy quick lunches: premade salads, sandwiches, fruit, yogurts..Dinners he's mostly staying in, too, but will eat out on the weekends.  He wants to lose about 10lbs before coming home and he's filling his off time with the free gym.
EveryDollar has really helped us keep track of what we're spending and where.  I can tag all his expenses in the per diem category and see if we break even or come under.
 

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2 hours ago, HomeAgain said:

Midweek check in:
So far, so good.  I did stop and pick up ant bait at the hardware store, and picked up a pack of strawberries, too. Those will go in the strawberry planter I found in the shed and live under the skylight.
Our meal plan is doing okay.  We deviated yesterday to frozen chicken and Rice-a-roni.  I still can't smell and neither can my oldest, so eating is joyless.  Breakfasts have been free: I am taking turns watching our neighbors' chickens and they told us to take as many eggs as we like.  I brought home a dozen multicolored and speckled ones, which thrilled the youngest. He was delighted at eating "blue" eggs for breakfast.
DH is staying well under the per diem he was given for his trip.  The rate was $55/day for food.  He eats breakfast at the hotel and grocery shopped for easy quick lunches: premade salads, sandwiches, fruit, yogurts..Dinners he's mostly staying in, too, but will eat out on the weekends.  He wants to lose about 10lbs before coming home and he's filling his off time with the free gym.
EveryDollar has really helped us keep track of what we're spending and where.  I can tag all his expenses in the per diem category and see if we break even or come under.
 

 

I hope you guys feel better soon. 

When is your dh coming home?   It sounds like a long time. 

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7 hours ago, hopeistheword said:

We've decided that cash-only just doesn't work for us.  I don't know why. It's so difficult for us to manage to keep the money dispersed between us as needed. That, and we have a hard time getting by the bank to restock our money, etc. 

So our new plan is to use debit but track it better.

I don't know. Sometimes it feels like the "new" habits (that we try over and over and over again to implement) will never stick.

On the upside, we're in better financial shape than we've been in many years thanks to simply paying more attention.  

 

Good job doing well.  Sometimes I don't think we look at the progress that we are making in give ourselves credit for however big or small.    Be proud of yourself. 

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My kids are proving children grow more in the spring. I have to get new summer clothes for them. Dd is between the girls and womens dept. and I can't find shorts that aren't super short in either. 

Dh has been itching all over. It turns out the shampoo I got him has Sodium Laurel Sulfate as the 2nd ingredient. At least the kids can use it. We thought it was spring allergies, which could still be part of it, but SLS also gives him canker sores, so it wouldn't surprise me if the shampoo did that. 

The new dermatologist I took the boys to yesterday signed us back up to the free pharmacy. We had serious problems with consistency last time around, but I guess that's because they were moving inventory to a new location and everything is in stock and ready to be shipped. Anyway, they are getting all of their acne prescriptions for free now. That saves me $50/month on antibiotics and more on the Adalpene and BP that I was buying OTC. Yay!  

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2 hours ago, mommyoffive said:

 

I hope you guys feel better soon. 

When is your dh coming home?   It sounds like a long time. 

It'll be a while.  Long enough for me to get tired of it. 😄  But not as long as the time before.

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1 hour ago, HomeAgain said:

It'll be a while.  Long enough for me to get tired of it. 😄  But not as long as the time before.

 

Sending you some good thoughts.  I hate when my dh travels.  Except getting control of the tv every night. 

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Serious win yesterday.  I stopped by the library to drop off an overdue book (which I then found out I left at home. Doh!)  But I checked out their shelf of free books, things they don't think would sell well and they don't want to add to their personal collection.  I found a whole stack of Science Court Investigations!  Do you remember that show?  It was on in the 90s.  Youtube still has episodes.  Well, the books are written in the same comical style, and include experiments in the case file at the back.  I ended up with about 3/4 of what they published.

I have been struggling with what to do for science next year.  I thought about using a public school textbook but that presented its own problems.  I had offers for my kid to continue science elsewhere, but I really want to do a program at home.  I think he'll love these.  Each one will be about two weeks' worth, which will give us time to extend with units from Ellen McHenry or possibly go back to Mystery Science.

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I just realized that we met our savings goal for the year last month.  

Still waiting on dh's bonus.   Hopefully at the end of the month. 

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I'm having trouble staying logged in, so I've been reading along but not posting lately.

Food budget this month is turning out okay.  We're doing a good job of eating up all the open packages (darn, these chocolate chips and butter sticks need to go... oh hey, look, cookies) and sticking to milk and produce at the store.  We are in full-force allergy-driven, "I can't remember my own name," meltdown season, so I did buy some ice cream to smooth over difficult days.

I made the very not-frugal decision to go clothes shopping last weekend and not worry about trying Goodwill or sticking to the clearance rack.  Since I'm quite short with a short-everything build, I can easily hit 4-5 resale shops or clearance racks and not find a single thing that actually fits.  I now have short sleeve tops that aren't freebie t-shirts, dresses and skirts that aren't part of Halloween event attire, an outfit for music recitals that doesn't also double as funeral clothes, and actual women's athletic pants, not just sweatpants from the boys' department.  It was possibly more than I've ever spent on clothes in one day.  The upside is that I ended up with enough Kohl's Cash so DH can buy the few things he needs from there with little-to-no out of pocket expense.

We also finished up our yearly sports equipment purchase binge.  I wanted to get tennis rackets to take to park days, but the used ones were the same price as new... and way more than I expected.  I'm going to keep an eye out at garage sales.

Still need to buy curriculum but I may wait until next month.  I haven't 100% settled on a couple things.

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Not doing so great here.  

Ds1 bday is this month (presents, cake, ice cream & bday meal out),  bought both dss some new clothes, had to buy meat (been mostly eating out of freezer),  ordered some graduation stuff for ds2, ordered some graduation proofs, needed gas in the car (holy cow).   Will need to order graduation invitations and stuff and ds2 birthday is coming up too.  Oh and car tags and dr bill all coming up.  Geez.

Good news -- the clothes I bought, I had a coupon and this store is cheaper than most.     The meat I bought was on sale and I got the photo proofs 1/2 off.  Everything still added up but at least I got some deals.   

Going to be taking some stuff to a curriculum sale.  Hope to sell a lot.   Won't make much as most is marked cheap but anything will help.

 

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UGH forgot about Easter.  My guys are really to big for a basket but I like to get them something to go in their reusable baskets.   

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I think I may have a proposition for the kids regarding Easter.  We're not religious, so that helps, but I'm going to ask them if they would like to delay it for a week.  DH should be home by then and we can celebrate together.
DS(9yo) had a competition this weekend about 2 hours away.  He did well, at least enough to be proud of himself. 🙂 I ended up buying lunch there to support the organization.  For under $10, the two of us had full meals including dessert.  Afterwards we visited a couple historical sites in a nearby town and made it home just in time to cook dinner.
Our only town grocery stores are on strike, which means I find myself planning a lot more for grocery shopping.  Last week we drove 20 minutes in one direction and the store there was packed.  Tomorrow I'll drive 20 minutes in the other direction and hopefully get shopping done without too much trouble. 
And, it's finally spring here!  Our gas bill went down and I'm hoping electric will follow next month.  Plus, when dh and I signed up for cell service we did a payment plan for our phones.  I cannot remember why, but next month is the last month with those payments. It will be nice to see the bill go down!

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Going well here.  The end of March and beginning of April were extra spendy because my brother got married, so we had travel expenses, wedding clothes expenses, and gift expenses, but all that was planned for in advance.

We are working on paying back some money my parents helped us with a couple of years ago, and in three months that will be payed off.  We’re also nearly back up to the $5000 in our emergency fund that was depleted last year first by moving, then by car trouble, and then by my emergency gallbladder surgery.  After the loan to my parents, I’m hoping we can pay off dh’s car by the end of the year, and then the only thing left is the last of our law school debt.

Our state is looking like changing their public employees pension plan to classify public prosecutors as law enforcement personnel, which would mean that dh would be eligible to retire with full benefits five years sooner.  This would be great—anything to get him out of his soul-crushing line of work sooner.  (He specializes in sex crimes and minor victims).

I’m trying to decide how many extracurriculars to allow the kids to continue through the summer.  Our charter pays for them all during the school year, but during the summer we pay.  It’s tempting to take the summer off and save the money, but for their instruments and dd’s gymnastics, that would mean backsliding and loss of skills they’ve worked hard to acquire.  The boys are doing baseball in June, because that’s the only time it’s offered.  And if older dd and the boys are doing sports, I don’t think I can have second dd be the only one who has to take a break from her horseback riding.  Maybe the three youngers could take off of sports for July and August.  Does that seem unfair, to let just the oldest continue for those months?

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1 hour ago, Michelle Conde said:

Going well here.  The end of March and beginning of April were extra spendy because my brother got married, so we had travel expenses, wedding clothes expenses, and gift expenses, but all that was planned for in advance.

We are working on paying back some money my parents helped us with a couple of years ago, and in three months that will be payed off.  We’re also nearly back up to the $5000 in our emergency fund that was depleted last year first by moving, then by car trouble, and then by my emergency gallbladder surgery.  After the loan to my parents, I’m hoping we can pay off dh’s car by the end of the year, and then the only thing left is the last of our law school debt.

Our state is looking like changing their public employees pension plan to classify public prosecutors as law enforcement personnel, which would mean that dh would be eligible to retire with full benefits five years sooner.  This would be great—anything to get him out of his soul-crushing line of work sooner.  (He specializes in sex crimes and minor victims).

I’m trying to decide how many extracurriculars to allow the kids to continue through the summer.  Our charter pays for them all during the school year, but during the summer we pay.  It’s tempting to take the summer off and save the money, but for their instruments and dd’s gymnastics, that would mean backsliding and loss of skills they’ve worked hard to acquire.  The boys are doing baseball in June, because that’s the only time it’s offered.  And if older dd and the boys are doing sports, I don’t think I can have second dd be the only one who has to take a break from her horseback riding.  Maybe the three youngers could take off of sports for July and August.  Does that seem unfair, to let just the oldest continue for those months?

 

It sounds like you are on a great plan to pay off debt.  Keep it going. 

I hope that your dh does get to retire sooner.  That would be amazing.  

How old are your kids?    My kids belong to a charter that pays for things too.  What a great help it is.   I would think of what your goals are financially.  How much you want to spend on the summer lessons.  Maybe have each kid pick their most important thing that they want to keep doing lessons in.   But yeah I think the older you are, you would have a need to keep doing the activities to build on skills like most other kids are doing over the summer.  I would probably let the older kids keep doing things and let the younger ones take a break if I wanted to save some $.

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1 hour ago, mommyoffive said:

 

It sounds like you are on a great plan to pay off debt.  Keep it going. 

I hope that your dh does get to retire sooner.  That would be amazing.  

How old are your kids?    My kids belong to a charter that pays for things too.  What a great help it is.   I would think of what your goals are financially.  How much you want to spend on the summer lessons.  Maybe have each kid pick their most important thing that they want to keep doing lessons in.   But yeah I think the older you are, you would have a need to keep doing the activities to build on skills like most other kids are doing over the summer.  I would probably let the older kids keep doing things and let the younger ones take a break if I wanted to save some $.

 

Yes, I love our charter!  At first the reporting requirements were annoying, until I started thinking of them as my "job" I do to fund our homeschooling.  And it is sure an easier job and more compatible with homeschooling than the preschool and violin lessons I did before we got in to the charter.  Pays a whole lot better, too.

My kids are 10, 8, almost 7, and 5, so pretty young still.  Oldest dd does competition team for gymnastics.

 It just occurred to me that we will be paying the rental fee for ds's cello anyways, so I guess we'd still be paying half the cost without any benefit if he took the summer off lessons.

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16 hours ago, Michelle Conde said:

 

Yes, I love our charter!  At first the reporting requirements were annoying, until I started thinking of them as my "job" I do to fund our homeschooling.  And it is sure an easier job and more compatible with homeschooling than the preschool and violin lessons I did before we got in to the charter.  Pays a whole lot better, too.

My kids are 10, 8, almost 7, and 5, so pretty young still.  Oldest dd does competition team for gymnastics.

 It just occurred to me that we will be paying the rental fee for ds's cello anyways, so I guess we'd still be paying half the cost without any benefit if he took the summer off lessons.

 

I totally agree with you on the Charter.   It took a bit to get used to it, but it is useful. 

Oh they are young.  I would have no qualms about them taking breaks over the summer.  Honestly I think sometimes it is good to take a break so you don't get sick of things.  Maybe you could do a shorter session?  Open gyms for the gymnastics?  A few privates?   

You could return the cello for summer?  Or just have your ds practice to keep up his skills.   I think all my kids took off violin last summer.  It was fine.  That being said it isn't their passion any more.  Dance is and they don't want to take the summer off of dance.  So that is where we will be spending our $$ this summer. 

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20 hours ago, mommyoffive said:

 

 

You could return the cello for summer?  Or just have your ds practice to keep up his skills.   I think all my kids took off violin last summer.  It was fine.  That being said it isn't their passion any more.  Dance is and they don't want to take the summer off of dance.  So that is where we will be spending our $$ this summer. 


You just hit the nail on the head on one of my concerns.  Youngest ds plays violin.  He's always had year-round teachers, but I considered moving him to a different teacher next year for a lot of minor reasons.  Only problem is, the only teacher that does year round is the one he currently has.  I'm a little worried that taking 3 months off each year would be a poor choice in his case.

We are in for a dark and stormy weekend here.  The kids agreed to postpone Easter once they saw the weather, so I'll hit up Target on Monday morning to see what they have clearanced.  I braved the grocery store this week, though, and picked up a ham that was on sale so we will still have a somewhat traditional meal before our real one next week.  I'm not super thrilled about going to the store again this week.  Our own town's stores are on strike, so the two neighboring towns are getting slammed.  Even at 7:30 am, it was next to impossible to get a cart.  My Blue Apron box comes today, though.  Yay!  It has kept the kids and I from going out to eat, especially since baseball practice runs right into dinnertime.  I plan a heavy snack before and we get home to a recipe that takes me 20 minutes to put together and have on the table.  It would take me longer to run to the nearest McDonald's drive-thru.

Oh!  And I had a neighbor text me late the other night.  She wanted to know my shoe size. 😄  Turned out she was helping a friend get their home ready to put on the market and was storing stuff at her house before taking it to the thrift store.  In the pile were two pairs of boots my size- almost brand new and in styles I had been considering (a muck/rain boot and and waterproof work boot).  I have a hard to fit size that a lot of stores don't carry so I could have cried when I saw these.  They are absolutely perfect for the area I live in and working outdoors.  I'm so excited.  I can't wait to get a chance to wear them - and I probably will this weekend!

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3 hours ago, HomeAgain said:


You just hit the nail on the head on one of my concerns.  Youngest ds plays violin.  He's always had year-round teachers, but I considered moving him to a different teacher next year for a lot of minor reasons.  Only problem is, the only teacher that does year round is the one he currently has.  I'm a little worried that taking 3 months off each year would be a poor choice in his case.

We are in for a dark and stormy weekend here.  The kids agreed to postpone Easter once they saw the weather, so I'll hit up Target on Monday morning to see what they have clearanced.  I braved the grocery store this week, though, and picked up a ham that was on sale so we will still have a somewhat traditional meal before our real one next week.  I'm not super thrilled about going to the store again this week.  Our own town's stores are on strike, so the two neighboring towns are getting slammed.  Even at 7:30 am, it was next to impossible to get a cart.  My Blue Apron box comes today, though.  Yay!  It has kept the kids and I from going out to eat, especially since baseball practice runs right into dinnertime.  I plan a heavy snack before and we get home to a recipe that takes me 20 minutes to put together and have on the table.  It would take me longer to run to the nearest McDonald's drive-thru.

Oh!  And I had a neighbor text me late the other night.  She wanted to know my shoe size. 😄  Turned out she was helping a friend get their home ready to put on the market and was storing stuff at her house before taking it to the thrift store.  In the pile were two pairs of boots my size- almost brand new and in styles I had been considering (a muck/rain boot and and waterproof work boot).  I have a hard to fit size that a lot of stores don't carry so I could have cried when I saw these.  They are absolutely perfect for the area I live in and working outdoors.  I'm so excited.  I can't wait to get a chance to wear them - and I probably will this weekend!

 

Huge score on the boots!  I have size 11 now post kids, so I get trying to find shoes.  It is hard.  

Is violin your son's passion?   Could you switch to the other teacher in fall and continue with the current teacher for the summer? 

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24 minutes ago, mommyoffive said:

 

 

Is violin your son's passion?   Could you switch to the other teacher in fall and continue with the current teacher for the summer? 

No, it is merely something he enjoys and is rather good at.  He's 9.  Right now his passions are Pokemon and Nerf wars. 😄 

Our thought is to email the various teachers in the area that look like they would be a good fit and ask for an introductory lesson with them to observe their teaching style.  But if he did switch I would definitely have him do Practice Monkeys over the summer and possibly year round to enhance the in-teacher lessons on the off days.  However, the main reasons to stay with his teacher are these:
-flexible hours.  They're private lessons and she's willing to work with him when he is most attentive, in the mornings.
-extreme patience
-year round.

Reasons to leave:
-I'd like him, as he gets older, to not always have moms as teachers
-higher expectations in technique and care.  He knows exactly how much she's willing to push him and that she will move him on even if he is sloppy.
-a studio, rather than a living room.

 

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On 4/19/2019 at 7:50 AM, mommyoffive said:

You could return the cello for summer?  

 

This isn't an option.  The rental contract is technically a rent-to-own, so it has a 30 month term until we own it.  Ds just barely fit the 1/4 size when we got it over a year ago and still has plenty of room to grow in it, so we are hoping he will fit this instrument until we own it, and then we can sell it and put the cost towards getting him the next size up.

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3 hours ago, HomeAgain said:

No, it is merely something he enjoys and is rather good at.  He's 9.  Right now his passions are Pokemon and Nerf wars. 😄 

Our thought is to email the various teachers in the area that look like they would be a good fit and ask for an introductory lesson with them to observe their teaching style.  But if he did switch I would definitely have him do Practice Monkeys over the summer and possibly year round to enhance the in-teacher lessons on the off days.  However, the main reasons to stay with his teacher are these:
-flexible hours.  They're private lessons and she's willing to work with him when he is most attentive, in the mornings.
-extreme patience
-year round.

Reasons to leave:
-I'd like him, as he gets older, to not always have moms as teachers
-higher expectations in technique and care.  He knows exactly how much she's willing to push him and that she will move him on even if he is sloppy.
-a studio, rather than a living room.

 

The last time we moved, I put a lot of effort into finding new music teachers for my kids who were really excellent, professional, experienced teachers with high expectations who knew how to handle my particular kids' personalities well, rather than going with who was most convenient/comfortable as I had done in the past.  It does mean that I have to drive 40 minutes each way to get them to lessons when we could have had them in our own home, but it has been so worth it.  I have been so impressed with their progress this year, which has been far more rapid since the change.

Of course, these three really excellent teachers are all moms who teach out of their own homes.  In my experience, working from a studio vs. a home does not really seem to correlate with the quality of the instruction.

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15 minutes ago, Michelle Conde said:

 

 

Of course, these three really excellent teachers are all moms who teach out of their own homes.  In my experience, working from a studio vs. a home does not really seem to correlate with the quality of the instruction.

I am glad.  I just know that for my own kid, the setting makes as much of a difference for him as anything else.  It's a mindset thing.  In a studio, he treats the time more carefully and is ready to work.  It is a workplace, sparsely furnished and dedicated to music.  In the home, he has the distractions of a dog, his friend (teacher's kid), toys in the next room..and towards the end of the lesson she struggles to keep him on task.  Given that nearly ALL of his teachers are currently moms, I'd like him to branch out as he hits his tweens and find adult males to connect with who can be mentors to him in his teens and help him see beyond the scope of the mom bubble.

After I typed my last, an advert for summer classes at the local conservatory came in the mail.  I caught him looking through the pamphlet at the various camps/short classes they offer, so that might be an option if he wants to try there in July.

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On 4/20/2019 at 1:41 PM, HomeAgain said:

I am glad.  I just know that for my own kid, the setting makes as much of a difference for him as anything else.  It's a mindset thing.  In a studio, he treats the time more carefully and is ready to work.  It is a workplace, sparsely furnished and dedicated to music.  In the home, he has the distractions of a dog, his friend (teacher's kid), toys in the next room..and towards the end of the lesson she struggles to keep him on task.  Given that nearly ALL of his teachers are currently moms, I'd like him to branch out as he hits his tweens and find adult males to connect with who can be mentors to him in his teens and help him see beyond the scope of the mom bubble.

After I typed my last, an advert for summer classes at the local conservatory came in the mail.  I caught him looking through the pamphlet at the various camps/short classes they offer, so that might be an option if he wants to try there in July.

 

That sounds like a really neat option!

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