Our family is living on a budget for the first time…..since 8 years ago when we read that Dave Ramsey book.
This year was a huge change. We went from paying about $3,000/year in school tuitions to Classical Conversations and preschool to paying about $15,000/year total in private school tuitions. That’s two full school tuitions plus a partial one for my kindergartener, who has a partial scholarship. It was a big jump. We realized we were going to have to make major changes in how we live to pay for all of this.
I want to share what we are doing to make this work:
#1. We down-sized our house.
We went from a 5-bedroom home in luxurious Monterey, California to a 3-bedroom home in Georgia. The difference is so vast, but I’ve actually enjoyed this change! No more stairs to go up and down. Hmmm Maybe that’s why I’ve gained weight….Plus, our new house still comfortably fits us. It has everything we need, and it came with a way better backyard, so this was not a hardship. This was a win. We only lost about 500 square feet. We ditched a room or two worth of furniture, and all is well.
We do have four kids in a 3-bedroom house, but only one of them complained, and I think it’s good for them.
#2. I took on a part-time writing gig with MontereyPremier.com in September, and I resumed product reviews and sponsored posts here on Stories of Our Boys.
Every little bit helps, and I’m still spoiled because I’m working from home. I still get to be with my three-year-old all day long. I can still cook dinner by 12 pm, and I’m able to pick up the boys from school every day. The only hitch is that I literally get paid by how much I work, so if I spend my day jumping on the trampoline with JD, baking, and sweeping, I don’t actually make any money at all. Ha….yeah, that happens a lot..
#3. We cut the bi-weekly cleaning lady, the gym, the pest control service, and the lawn care service.
Yes, we would like to have ALL of those services, but they are a luxury, not a necessity.
#4. We are “making do” with things that we’d like to replace, and saving up money to replace them later, rather than spending all we have or taking on a car payment.
My minivan? It’s a 2007. One of the doors has taken on a mind of its own, so you now have to do these special maneuvers to get it to close, and if you do it wrong it will go “Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding!” Only it won’t start all that dinging until AFTER the car is driving, so then you have to find a place to pull over and shut that door to save your sanity. Also, the defroster is having issues. I guess that’s what paper towels are for.
The minivan is paid for, and the engine runs perfectly. Just don’t stand in the trunk putting away groceries too long because it will randomly start to close the trunk door on your head. Nice little adrenaline rush as you quickly remove all body parts and small children out of the way!!!
However, we are thankful that we have two cars that run. That van has never broken down, and it has 4 good tires. We’ll make do another year.
It’s 14 years old, and my hips were starting to hate, hate, hate my flattened out old mattress. It wasn’t giving much anymore. Soooo…we bought a $25 quilted mattress cover. That didn’t help much. Then we bought a $15 egg crate and put that on top of the quilted mattress cover, and we’re good again! That’ll buy us another year, I’m hoping.
Well….we’ve only had it for 3 years, but it got ripped in a few places with the move. I don’t even know how because it was all wrapped and padded. I have no idea why we didn’t put in a claim on it while we had the chance, but we didn’t, so now we are stuck with a sofa that’s all hurt looking and sad.
It’s on my list to get replaced first, but not until Christmas is taken care of. Here’s hoping for a new sofa in January or February!
#5. My favorite part: Yard Sale-ing!!!
You might recall that my parents had a house fire this year, so when we moved down here I started going to yard sales with my folks. It is so addictive!!!
Here’s a list of some of my amazing finds:
I brought this bench home seriously muddy, but I spent an hour scrubbing it down, and it’s lookin’ good!
My fall porch–Time to re-decorate again! Oh, and that ‘Welcome’ pumpkin door sign? It was only $15 at Big Lots.
-2 benches for $10 each
$1 wall art. I love this, and I sometimes remember to pray before I hit the sales that I will find things we need at good prices.
Look how pretty!!! Excuse the background. If I cleaned up all these photos, I’d never finish a blog post!
-Large Coach bag in PERFECT condition–for only $25!!!
-5 pairs of boys size 14 blue jeans for $2 a pair! Wow!
ladies shirts $1/shirt
-yoga pants $1
-Mom got a computer chair for $5!
-Baseball themed ceiling fan for half of what you’d pay in the store–I can’t remember how much! But it’s in one of the bedrooms at my parents’ new house now!
-Countless costumes, toys, books, and games
This is my new hobby. I’m all about it. Now I do realize that many people are into the Facebook yard sales now, the perpetual bargain fares. But have you noticed how over-priced they are? I can rarely save much over what I’d pay retail on those sites. Yard sales are still my favorite.
Thrift stores can be good too. I recently bought a nice set of shelves for only $15, plus a bag of AR books, all at Goodwill.
I love Aldi.
#6. Buying groceries at Aldi
I’m not a coupon-er, so I have to find the absolute most affordable place to go grocery shopping. Aldi is the cheapest store near me. The commissary is usually a great deal too, if you are military. But the best way to find out what place has the most affordable food is to shop a different store each week and make a comparison chart. When we lived in Texas, I was surprised to realize that Walmart actually was the cheapest, even better than the commissary!
I hope I’ve given you some ideas here for ways to stretch your budget. We are constantly looking for more ideas! Please share in the comments or email if you have more ideas for how you save money! How do you “make do” and find discounts?
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