Friday, February 27, 2009

Making Things Last...

Everyone knows that todays economy is about as stable as an underbaked cake... ready to sink at any time.... and being a StayAtHome, it makes me more nervous. Well, sure. I have job security and know that tomorrow is probably going to be just as busy as today. But at the same time, I know that things are guaranteed. I am so very grateful for my husbands job and the fact that I do get to stay home... in our house... and have no real problems in this world that are worth dwelling on.

But, we are also expecting another mouth to feed. And lots of diapers to change. And more and more dollars need to be spent to keep this ball rolling. But, as the Homemaker.. I am realizing that it is my job to keep those dollars a little longer and get us a little bit trimmer on the budget side. And I am trying! We have be able to pay off my car, and using Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace program, we have already paid off over $8K in debt since Christmas! But... we are still walking a fine wire.

Some little changes that have really helped this week... when we had a combined total of $114 dollars in our checking account and 10 days until payday.

- We aren't buying soda anymore. At over 40 cents a can... and 2-4 cans a day in this house.. we are drinking close to $50 worth of soda a month! Doesn't seem like much... but when you add in a $2 soda (each) when we eat out twice a week... that's another $30 a month... in worthless calories... it's just not necessary.

-We don't turn on lights during the day, and open the windows! It's gorgeous out now!! Let's get our power bills down while enjoying this weather!

-Fruit/Veggie Co-ops! I used to do this a while back, but stopped when the produce wasn't great. But we need fruit and veggies with a growing toddler and belly, and $16 gets me a whole laundry basket full of great produce!! This same stuff would cost us over $50 in the grocery store (not to mention I would just not buy it because I can't bring myself to pay that much).

-Eat from the freezer! I don't mean Eggos and popsicles! When times are good, I double up on favorite recipes... cooking a double batch on one night. Then I pack 1/2 of it up and put it in the freezer for later. When we don't have the money to eat out or grab groceries, I can still put a hot meal on the table that was made with lots of great ingrediants and we don't feel like we are down to pennies... no beans and rice! :o)

-Enjoy free activities... but stay close to home! This one is a double edged sword. We bought a zoo membership to take advantage of lots of "free" visits to the zoo. After 6 visits... it's pretty much paid for itself... but the catch is that I burn a lot of gas to get there... So, although this week would have been perfect for the zoo... we stayed home and colored, played games, and snuggled.

-Use Those Reward Points!!! I can't tell you how great of a thing this is!! Most of us save up those points so that we can go on an all expense paid trip to Fiji or something. Get Real. Right now your points are just sitting there... begging to be used. And, if you are like me... you have lots of things in mind that you'd love to spend money on! I'd love to get Bug a water/sand table for playing in the backyard, and I really want to finish painting our house so it feels more like a home. Welp, 20,000 points were cashed in for $200 in HomeDepot gift cards (that were sent priority mail... should be here by Tuesday!) and I'll be able to do both, and likely still have change!! Best thing of all... it cost me nothing! :o)

What are your tips for making things last or stretching that buck??


Courtney said...

I love this! I hadn't heard of that financial program you mentioned. That's been my biggest job- paying off debt. It's so stressful! I am totally stealing your idea on soda and I keep asking Tommy to install our RO system so I have good water. Where do you get your fruits and veggies?

I don't have many tips. I think the biggest thing I did this year was switch our electricty to the Time-of-Use plan with SRP. We are already seeing savings. I am also planning on taking advantage of the pools in our neighborhood when it gets warmer. Aidan loves swimming. And I use a website,, to get the best deals on groceries. It's a little bit of work, but it is starting to pay off. I am getting a lot of free grocery items and even more things for under $1!

LauraC said...

I an avid couponer but I think the best financial tip I have to consider every purchase before you spend the money. Is it something that you need? If not, then don't buy it. I don't go to Target unless I need something bc that is a place that is so easy to find a million things you "need."

Also we have always tracked every penny we spend. At the end of each month, we review what we spent and discuss what we need to do going forward. No fighting over money is a very good thing!

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