Friday, July 8, 2011

Didn't make my wallet fatter but...

at least the stress level went a bit down.

My wallet...

See, when you share your troubles with your loved ones they seem to take responsibility for whatever is troubling you if it affects them. So I am thankful that I at least was heard and since I asked for help, I was open to solutions. I can't say our problems are fixed but at least I feel we are more of a team now than we were before I reached out for help.

We still have to get caught up and I don't know how long that will take, with a baby on the way and a toddler to be 11 and a half month old at home. See I know we can trim more fat from our monthly expenses, but imagine if we didn't already try to conserve as much as we can? We do all this:
  • We hardly ever eat out, which means 98% of our meals are at home,
  • we cloth diaper, we line dry most of our clothes,
  • we've been driving less,
  • we bring our own coffe/tea to work,
  • we sack our lunches,
  • we put the gym on hold,
  • we're selling one of the cars (If you're interested in the Jetta, let me know!),
  • we have a vegetable garden (which I hope will give us good veggies this year, if the rabbit stops eating my broccoli),
  • we live in a very modest small house, which means our mortgage payment is rather low,
  • I made the baby's food when she started solids, and all she eats now are homemade meals and snacks, but she stopped nursing at 10 months so we compensate with formula, so that added an expense
  • we shop at Sam's for some things and other things at the grocery store with shopping lists, and an awareness of how much money we have available for food-grocery items,
  • we recycle and get reward points for it, then I trade some points for baby food items or "green" house cleaning supplies,
  • we are mindful of our energy, water, and gas use, and monitor how much it increases or decreases month to month and the factors that lead to these fluctuations
  • we don't shop, window shop, or internet shop, unless it's for necessary items (i.e. diaper soap or diaper covers, which we'll keep using with next baby, so expense pays for itself after the first 7 or 9 days of not using disposable diapers)
We've concluded that what takes most of our money away are the "second class necessary" payments, such as:
  • student loan,
  • cell phones (we don't have a land line and we do have one of the lowest rate family plans,
  • I've been considering switching to Magic Jack and shut the cell phone out or use a pay as yo go phone but I'm not convinced yet),
  • credit card 'pay-down',
  • an old hospital bill,
  • internet (again we carry the lowest rate service),
  • Dish (we hate it and we're in the process of downgrading the plan until we can cancel the service without shelling out the $200 fee if cancelled before the contract expires).
These are the most significant mone busters in our life. And we're working on eliminating them or at least reducing some of their costs.

We still are commited to our emergency fund and put money in it every month, and at work we automatically contribute to our retirement accounts, but I'd like to do more since my contribution was cut 50% when I went part time without the possibility to contribute the difference to my IRA Roth outside work due to our other expenses.

I still worry a bit about our money situation, but I know now that I'm not alone, I just hope we keep talking about this and not fall into the 'ignoring is better pattern' we were in up until a few weeks ago.

What do you all do to "save money" or better said "not spend more than you need"?

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