Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Time to have another look at this budget

No. I'm not getting political. I don't need anything else to piss me off. I mean my own household budget.

For the first time in my adult life, I am damn near broke. Paychecks are cutting it too close for comfort and the credit card is close to maxed out. One income for five people plus paying for my husband's college out of pocket (because we "make too much" for financial aid) has finally caught up with us. We aren't missing payments or anything like that. But it wouldn't take much to push us over the edge. Especially now that my husband's unemployment has run out.

Here are my solutions:
Go through our clothes, DVDs, CDs and toys for things to sell. This might not be the best time for a yard sale but there's always craigslist, right?
Stop buying every book that catches my eye. For the next year, I will only buy books that are part of a series I am already invested in. I will stop buying books in a series that has taken a turn for the worse in hopes that the author has somehow rescued the plot and characters from certain literary doom. Get a library card, too.
Stop eating out at work. No exceptions. If all we have is stale bread and peanut butter, then that's what's for dinner.
Start using coupons more frequently.
Ask myself "do we need this right now?" with every item that goes into the shopping cart. Now I only shop at two places: Costco and Kroger. Okay, three places. I go to Barnes & Noble maybe four times a year. If you people see me at any of those places, gazing longingly at something that isn't a necessity, call me out on it.
Freeze back food. We spend a ton on Dagan's gluten free food items. I will start cooking in the middle of the day and freeze back lunch stuff for him. I just have to drag out those gluten free cookbooks again.

So, dear folks...what are your best money saving tips?


Anonymous said...

I am a coupon clipper, and proud of it! I try to only buy stuff on sale, and I'm a big fan of used book stores and book swap websites (such as know there are others, but that's the only one that comes to mind right now...)

Sorry things are tight for you right now--I hope it will turn around soon! I think you have a solid plan, and that's always a good way to start [g]

S.P. Bowers said...

Sorry things are tight. Life sucks like that. Craigslist is a good idea,or ebay.

I make all our meals to save on food. Often I can make larger quantities and freeze them to pull out if there's a bad day with no time to cook. Specialty foods are so expensive.

Only other thing I can think of is gas money. Try to run all your errands at the same time so you only have to make one trip. This is difficult with kids and a crazy schedule so may or may not work.

Good luck

Zan Marie said...

Aven, I'm so sorry. We're on two fixed retirement incomes and understand all too well. I've stopped going to see my mother every week. I don't like it, but I can't afford the gas.

Hang in there.

Deniz Bevan said...

I hear you on not spending money eating out. I have *got* to start eating more PB&J.
And yea, book buying.
Selling stuff really works!
And isn't that ridiculous about making too much for financial aid? Our school loan dept is supposed to be linked to the tax dept - if they had checked with the tax dept, like they say they do, they never would have sent us a letter last year saying DH could no longer qualify for loans because I was earning 256K a year.
Hello?? If I was earning that much, why would we apply for loans?
I had some fun writing a reply letter and they reinstated the loans :-)

Aven said...

I have_got_to start couponing. And there is a great used book store here in Nashville called McKays. You can sell DVDs, CDs, games and books/textbooks for store credit or cash. I get about half my books from there. Costco saves me a lot on books since they're wholesale. But, I still need to cut way back...did you see the TBR post. I have more than enough books already.

I do pretty well clustering my errands, but saving on gas is always good. Especially nowadays with gas prices well over $3 a gallon. I need to check my tires, so thanks for reminding me *g*

Zan Marie,
I'm sorry you had to cut back on visits with your mother. But I understand. Gas prices are ridiculous right now.

I'd like to see that letter, lol. Yes, PB&J sandwiches may save us *g*

SheilaH said...

Hi Aven,
I can definitely relate to the broke part.
One of my money saving things is I always take lunch to work. Right now I'm dieting so I really have to but even without that it saves so much money. I even keep cereal and oatmeal and work so I don't have to buy breakfast.
The book thing is tough. I'm lucky to live where there's a great library system. I can request any book online and they send it to my local branch. It means wating and sometimes the timing really sucks and I end up with 3 books that I have to return in 14 days. But it means I only buy books that I know I want to keep and that I'm sure I'll love.

Aven said...

Hi Sheila,
One of the great money savers for me is the used book store I mentioned to Lara. It's the main reason I haven't bought a Kindle, because I can buy a book read it and, if I know I won't read it again, I can sell it to McKays and get more books from there with the store credit.
I've started bringing my lunch and snacks to work again. Healthier and cheaper to boot.

Me said...

Hi Aven,

You remind me of the very thing I need to be thinking of with your post.
As of next month I will be working less so tha tmeans less money as well. With my fiancee earning only half of what I earn we really need to of our budget. Especially since we want to buy a bigger house.

One of the things that helps me saving money is making lists of things we need before going to the supermarket. That way I only buy what is on the list and not a whole lot more that I really didn't need.
Also not going to the supermarket everyday, like we do, helps. You buy less...

Good luck with your budget.