Monday, July 12, 2010

Budget Crisis

So we all know that in these tough economic times it's great to budget and be frugal.  Well our household is no different....but is it just me or is it EXTREMELY hard for anyone else?  I mean, we are not extravagant people, we have put house projects on hold, we rarely go out to eat anymore, and we use coupons extensively at the grocery store?  What more can we do?  I don't really know, but since our account seems to keep depleting...we'd better do something!!!
So, this past weekend, along with hosting a bday party for a 2 year old, we (meaning ME) have tweaked some things in hopes to start building back up our bank account.  I'm hoping to save around $500 a's a lofty goal...but I figure that if I aim for high...I'll wind up in a pretty good spot.  Here's some of my money saving ideas!!  I hope they work....
1) Food - Like I said, I'm already a coupon diva, so I don't have to worry about learning how to do that.  I also have taken to making my own pizza dough, so I save about $100 a month just by making my own pizza instead of ordering.  We do it pizza once a week, cuz it's easy, and I can pack tons of veggies into one for Hunter.  But I also love love love to change up my meals.  Like all the time.  I'm always trying new recipes, I only have about 3 meals that I repeat (like turkey meatloaf, chicken tortilla soup, and of course pizza).  So, my new money saving strategy is to plan my meals for the month, but repeating them week to week.  Like Monday is chicken, Tuesday is meatloaf...blah blah blah.  This seems incredibly boring to me, but I can see the benefits.  One is I can buy in bulk and I'll be sure to have all the ingredients on hand.  No last minute runs to the grocery store and then impulse buying.  Also, I won't buy things I won't need.  I can also change it a sloppy joes instead of meatloaf, or chicken tenders instead of a baked chicken.  So it still gives me flexibility, but with keeping the bones the same.  They used to do this in the 50's and our country was booming!  It's pork chop night everyone!
2) Become a DIY-er - Ok...I'm all about DIY. But with Sonny working 6 days a week and me with the 2's not easy.  Sometimes it just seems worth the money to have someone else do the work for you.  But no more my friends!  Sonny and I have gotten the bug to start making this home our own and making it really personal.  So instead of buying new furniture, we are going to thrift, to restore, and re-do.  We plan to try and re-tile our bathroom ourselves (Merry Christmas's a wet saw) and thought that we may just paint our kitchen cabinets instead of replacing.  Although we'd like more storage...what we have is adequate and prevents us from accumulating more junk.  We're realistic people, and know that painting the cabs and getting organized will save us a ton.
3) Entertainment - We already don't really go out to eat....but we have to limit that even more!  We'll allow ourselves one going out a month, be it breakfast or dinner, cuz we all really like that...even Hunter.  We're also going to do Saturday night movie nights with our netflix.  I've also spent $100 for a yearly membership for the gym that Hunter goes to.  It's a family membership which means that Jagger can go too, and it's good for the whole year.  This means super hot days and snow days they will have a place to keep them active and entertained. Also...I saved us alot of money on Hunter's b-day party (post to come later) by making his invites, much of his decor, his cake, and all the food.  Sonny says no....but I really plan on doing the same for Jagger's christening.
4) Gifts - There is never a month where somebody doesn't have a birthday, or a christening, or SOMETHING.  I'm tired of saying "well, we wouldn't have spent that much if it wasn't for my dad's b-day/ Suzy's daughter's baptism/ Burt and Sherry's anniversary/ father's day mother's day kids day everyday."  So we've thought to be a little bit more frugal with gifts and TRY to hand make them.  There are many advantages I can see to this.  One is....well....we save money.  Number 2 is that since many homemade gifts are edible....others won't have junk that piles up in their house.  Number 3.....I'm not a cheap I'm never going to make something silly and will still be from the heart. 
5) Utilities - oh utilities.  How I despise thee.  I don't know why...but it bugs me to pay for things like electricity and water.  I feel like I have to sweat my cohones off to save a few extra buck on my electric bill.  But...small changes.  I shall use my programmable thermostat to it's full advantage, be diligent about turning off lights and such, and invest in curtains to keep the house insulated (spend money to save money...blah).  I don't have to worry about shortening my shower time, as I have already mastered the 4 minute shower (Heather and I timed it...serio....4 minutes).
This is my starting point, and I'm hoping it produces the results that I'm looking for.  I'm all about instant gratification, so it's hard for my to do these and not see immediate results...but I'll try!  Any other money saving tips out there?  Oh...but I'm not about to make my own soap ala the Duggers...there are just some things I'll pay the money for....

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