We try to live very frugally so that if an emergency arises we aren't put in a bad financial situation. I was never very good with money, so when I first married M I was introduced to some basic but important ideas about saving and debt. When we bought a new house last year we used a lot of our rainy day fund to make some needed remodels and changes so that it would be a healthier and cleaner environment for the kids. New flooring and some repairs in and around the place added up. On top of that, we paid two mortgages while we were getting ready to sell our old house, so it was a year of expenses. Of course, just when you think that you can get a handle on things, the oven breaks. (No, really, our oven broke.) Property taxes are due, we found out last night that our medical insurance costs will be going up almost $300 per month, and we need a new garbage disposal along with some plumbing work. When it rains it pours, right? When I think of it all it overwhelms me. Since we send our kids to Montessori school our childcare expenses are high, too. That's not a complaint, just a fact, and we gladly pay it because we feel that they are really thriving in that environment. However, that takes up a good chunk of my salary, so I have to be creative with money.
I am in no way trying to compare us to people that truly struggle. We have plenty of food and never worry that we won't be able to pay the water bill, but when we have months that are tight financially, I have to wonder of we just have a lot of waste in our life. I throw away too much food. We aren't organized so I end up buying something that we already have. Do the kids really need more clothes? (The answer is NO). Getting organized and budgeting resources as well as money is something that we will have to do to make real headway. We have all of the expenses that I mentioned, but we would also like the freedom to get a new TV or take the kids to Sea World one weekend. So, I am going to concentrate on organizing and reducing waste in January and February.
Here are some of my ideas:
Strict meal planning - no getting lazy and ordering out Sort through toys - Some of our toys can be put into the garage sale box Starbucks habit - I really need to cut down on my visits. I'm thinking of reducing it to once a day on weekends only. No more clothes for the kids unless it is an urgent need - they have so many clothes. Organize the pantry - I know I could make meals out of there for a week, but it's too messy for me to see everything we have
We'll see how this works. I would love to hear any more ideas if you have them. I am hoping that baby steps become big steps as the year progresses.