It seems as though the most common question I get asked is about finances. Just last night, when someone found out how many children we have at home, I got the comment, “Well, as long as you can feed all of them, I suppose.”
I bit my tongue, hard. The temptation to respond, “They take turns.” or, “Feed them ALL? I’m supposed to feed them ALL? Not, like, every day, RIGHT?” was almost overwhelming, but sometimes you have to bite your tongue…and in the middle of a small town gathering is probably a good place to do so. I’m fairly certain I’ve got a reputation around here anyways, as a homeschooling parent of a large family, I don’t need to enhance it by pointing out the ignorance and rudeness of questioning someone’s financial situation.
Plus, it was hot. And the woman making the comment had my shaved ice. And I really wanted my shaved ice. Til I tasted it. Blech. Wasn’t worth the whole, ‘discretion is the better part of valour’ moment.
There are a lot of things we *used* to do, that we’ve gotten careless about as our budget increased. Wolf and I were talking last night, and have decided to go into ‘deprivation’ mode on our budget. What does that mean for us? It means slashing things, hard. Little details that add up along the way.
Groceries: We’re eating down our freezer this month. We purchased a stand up freezer last fall, and it’s my first experience with a freezer that needs defrosting. And it needs defrosting, like…a long time ago. Unfortunately, I don’t have anywhere near the room needed to be able to put what’s in the freezer into the one over the fridge, so my goal is to clear out the freezer this month. This is going to take serious dedication and planning, because it’s been dang hot around here, and means cooking first thing in the morning, so that we don’t die from the oven being on. I’m a food hoarder, I admit it. Too many years of too much month at the end of the money. I stock up like a mad woman. Budget Bytes (see review here, and interview with Beth here) is a massive help. So is Plan To Eat. This Tuesday is ‘10% Tuesday’ at our grocery store, where not only do we get 10% off our grocery bill, but we also get up to $.20 a litre off of gas, based on our grocery receipt. Then, our gas receipt earns us money off our grocery bill. So, we’ll stock up on ‘non’ foods this Tuesday. Diapers, toiletries, all that good kind of stuff. Groceries are a big place where ‘extras’ sneak in and add up at an alarming rate. Junk food is a huge problem, and Wolf does love his junk. I’ll admit, his bad habits have rubbed off on me too, and it shows in my weight, and budget. So, slash that. Between eating down the freezer, slashing the unnecessary junk, I think we could likely cut our grocery bill this month by half.
Bills: I’m going to be calling our service provider, and seeing if they can lower some pricing for us. If they can’t, or won’t, I’ll be calling the competitor. We’re paying more than I think is reasonable for phone, internet, and cable. Yes, cable and internet are considered luxuries, but when you’re running a blog, and trying to get a writing career going, you need internet. Cable I could happily live without, but the rest of my family would eat me.
Clothing: Honestly, we’re good in this department…at least, for the moment. Everyone has enough clothes that fit, and aren’t tattered and torn. I shouldn’t need to buy anyone more clothes until the cooler weather hits.
Basically, I’m going to do my best to make this a ‘no buy month’. By only buying fresh produce and other essentials (milk, diapers, bread, etc) at the grocery store, by not buying clothes, etc, I *should* be able to slash my spending by half over all. I think. That’s my goal, anyways.
I know there are a few unavoidable things coming up though. Back to School sales are when I stock up on consumables for our homeschool. May as well get $.05 notebooks when I can. Even still, it should be absorbed by our cutting the grocery budget.
I’ll let you know how this ‘no buy’ month goes.