Thursday, December 17, 2009

My first savings

Well, #1 on my list of things to do was to save $5000 this year. I called and cut my cable from 100s of channels and a DVR to 24 channels. The bill went from $155 a month to $65 a month for TV, phone and internet. A savings of $90 per month. That's $1080 a year. The kids were a bit sad at first, but we are all adjusting. I am also finding other things to do (like up dating my blog!) because I am not watching T.V. I also did not review 2 newspaper subscriptions (a savings of $139).

Another thing I am trying to do this month is eat up what we have. I am only buying milk, produce and perishable items. I have a gluten free kid, so I do have to buy a few items in a pinch. For full disclosure, we belong to a meat CSA (community supported agriculture) and it is paid for until next October, so once a month I pick up a bag full of meat and 2 dozen eggs. Normally, by the 15th of the month I would have spent about $300 on groceries. This month I have spent $175. I am going to try and keep my food budget at about $500. That would save me another $1200 this year!

Kid #3 has a birthday coming up soon. I usually have an elborate party in a museum, petting farm, bounce house, etc. I have hired a hot dog vendor!!! We have bought expensive seats for a Major League Baseball game. This year when I asked kid #3 about what she wanted, her wish fits my new budget agenda perfectly. She wants friends over at our house for a tea party and to play in the dress up box. I have never (ever) spent less than $500 for one of my kids parties. My goal this time $200! We went to the library and got a tea party cookbook. I planned it for the middle of the afternoon, so providing a meal will not be required. I am not inviting family (or extended family). The menu planned by kid #3 for her 4th birthday is tiny hot dogs, veggies and dip, chocolate covered strawberries and pretzels, and pink cupcakeswith pink lemonade. The items will be homemade and cute. The girls will do a craft (items I already have), dip their own pretzels and strawberries and play in the dress up box, of course. This will also save me $300 if I do it right.

To recap, here are the savings I can actually count:
  1. Cable savings $1080
  2. Newspapers $139
  3. 15 days of food budget $125
Year To Date Total: $1344

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The New Challenge!!

So, clearly I have let this blog go...not posting for long periods of time, but I am hoping yet again to get it together. I have a lot of ideas, but never any time. I have realized (well, I knew all along) that I have spread myself too thin. I have felt compelled to justify my Stay At Homeness by volunteering for EVERYTHING. Here is a bit of my commitments (off the top of my head):

I am on the local school board. I am the treasurer of the school's PTO. I teach 2nd grade religious education. I work a flexible part time job. I offer babysitting for friends. I coordinate Special Olympics in our district. Etc., Etc.

In addition, I have signed my kids up for their share of extra classes and events. We are always busy, running, running, running around town. We never have time for the fun stuff or to just sit and play a game. We are rushed, tired, and overwhelmed. I barely have time to cook dinner, so we are eating late and fast...something has to give.

I also find that we a spending money for convenience. Late fees for library books, buying things for lost items then finding them, broken toys, and so on.

Here is my challenge: Downsize, plan, prepare, organize and spend less.

Here are a list of my plans:
  1. To save $5000 this year (by 12/10) by cutting back on current expenses.
  2. To create $$$ by selling, working, reselling items we have.
  3. To use this blog more. To document my progress, challenges, and triumphs.
  4. To create more family time. Spending time baking, playing games, reading and doing crafts.
  5. To organize this house. Declutter, organize, and put systems in place that keep it that way.
  6. To find things I enjoy and DO THEM! Mom's need their time too.
Well, only time will tell...I'll keep you posted!