Being on a plan....and sacrificing to win....definitely means cutting back, cutting corners, and cutting out some expenditures. That's just what needs to be done. If you're not willing to change the way you live, you will never completely CHANGE your life.
Living by a written plan and debt free is a lifestyle shift, not just a "debt diet". I think that's definitely where we went wayward before....the lifestyle change didn't stick...and we got knocked back right to the beginning like a game of Chutes and Ladders.
So, in an attempt to commit more to this lifestyle shift, I bring you "Adventures in Frugality"
OR.....how we saved money this month.
It's amazing what we'll do to win, sometimes : )
1. VALENTINES DAY: We have 2 kids....2 schools....+ 19 classmates per class, give or take. That's an expense. Thankfully, paper Valentine's from Walgreens are relatively cheap and we built the expense of 2 boxes into our "Gifts" cash envelope. Cost? About $6.00 total for both girls.
The candy? Whole other story. Bags of candy regularly go uneaten around these parts. My kids aren't much on candy (they're weird). So, SCORE...we snagged a bag of candy that we had in our pantry. No idea where it was from, but we had just enough suckers to fill all the Valentines.
Savings? Probably a good $7-$8
We decided to forego gifts for one another this year, but I did take advantage of leftover gift cash and get my husband an $8 16 oz. jug of yucky yucky sauce from JMP Nippons. Because I'm the best wife ever.
2. HAIR: I'm not much of a hair and makeup gal anyway. Pretty low maintenance where that's concerned. I typically would get my hair done professionally about 2-3 times a year, if that.
I'm a natural blonde. I swear ; )
But, I'm also pretty well-versed in at home dye treatments. I've been dying my own hair since 1995. Only screwed it up royally maybe twice. So, I'm willing to take the risk.
It was root city up in this crib. Seriously. It was a two-tone army on my head.
So, I broke down and got me a box (don't hate, hairdressers, desperate times!).....Cost: $7 with a coupon.
Savings: About $60-70
The husband has his haircuts budgeted for in cash. $15 every 4-6 weeks.
3. SAVVY MEAL PLANNING: Found a recipe for a KNOCKOUT Tomato Basil Parmesan soup on Pinterest. It's a bit of a chore but yields enough soup for lunch and dinner for at least 3-4 days. Total cost of the soup: About $3 since I had most of the stuff to make it already.
Recipe is HERE: http://www.the-girl-who-ate-everything.com/2012/10/slow-cooker-tomato-basil-parmesan-soup.html
4. MAJOR SACRIFICES:
David Tennant is coming to Wizard World Expo the weekend of April 9th in Madison. DAVID. TENNANT. PEOPLE. Yeah, he's like....my guy. We like him. Lots.
But at $535 to meet and greet with David, it just ain't happenin'. So, I'm sacrificing. Big time.
All the sads. Someone tell me it'll be totally worth it, because it's times like these that living by a budget and scratching and clawing to be debt free totally sucks.
SPENT: Lots of tears
5. GIFT CARDS!: Needed a new notebook (I go through notebooks like some people go through toilet paper. This is no joke. I can fill a notebook full of randomness in no time flat). But, I hadn't budgeted for one. So, SCORE AGAIN...found a Barnes and Noble gift card in a drawer in my kitchen. We have a Barnes and Noble in Beloit! Scored a relatively FREE notebook (oh...and staples. And new pens. Because Lord knows I can't help myself in an office supply aisle)
Savings: About $10
Just because we SAVED some money doesn't mean we were perfect this month. Here's some ways we could probably improve:
1. TAXES: Our taxes are kinda complicated. We have W-2 jobs, 1099 jobs, 2 businesses, 1 which we sold this year, subcontractors I have to pay, a corporation I had to dissolve. It's a hot mess, honestly. Least that's what the new accountant had to say.
We were not-so-bright last year and hired an accountant who had NO FRIGGIN CLUE what he was doing, made obvious by the giant mess he made of our tax return. A lot of hair pulling and money spent later, we got the return fixed, but had to move to a new accountant.
So, doing our taxes wasn't cheap this year. $650 not cheap. I miss the days of being young with 1 job and simple Turbo Tax returns. Oh, and refunds. I know, deep down, refunds aren't really a good thing....but man, it's been years since we haven't had to pay in. A refund every once in awhile would be kinda nice : )
Just chalk it up to one of the pains of self-employment.
2. CAR DEBACLE: I locked my stupid keys in my stupid car. It's a car I just purchased a few months ago. We needed a 3rd row seat to hold all the gingers and it was a money savings over my old Type A Mobile. Problem is, I was SO used to my old car....a Dodge Journey....which would not LET you lock the car doors if the key was inside.
The Ford Flex does, apparently. Car was running. I was in the DRIVE THRU LINE AT THE BANK. You wanna talk hella embarrassing?!?! Yeah. $50.00 to have the locksmith come and let me in.
SPENT: $50.00 and a crap-load of shame.
3. WILLPOWER FAIL: I was sick all week this week. When you're pregnant and sick it's just a bit of a double whammy. I was wallowing in self-pity. All I wanted to do was put myself into a Nyquil induced stupor for 3-4 days until I improved. But, you know, baby and stuff. So I tried my best to stick it out. But, by day 2 I was so over eating pasta (our version of beans and rice). So, I bought a sandwich. From a restaurant. Got the husband one too.
SPENT: $14 from the food budget. Grrr.
So, I find it helps to take a little inventory of how you killed it in a month....or how you could improve.
For the month of FEBRUARY we PAID OFF: $1406.62
Note: Right now we are in what's called "Storm Cloud" mode. Because the baby is coming in 10 weeks, we will be socking away ALL money that WOULD have been going towards the debt repayment into savings. Once the baby comes and all is fine and dandy, we will take that savings and apply it back on to the debt in May. So, debt repayment amounts will not be terribly impressive at this time : )