As I mentioned in my last post, we had to find some ways to adjust to the reality of our lost income when I stayed home to provide care and education for our youngest adopted daughter. I have to admit that I had some pie-in-the-sky ideas about how my days would go and how I would be working part-time from home doing what SAHMs do when they need to bring in money. Soooooooo naive.
The reality is that I had no idea how much time therapy was going to take and that my daughter’s complete hatred of education was not limited to mainstream classrooms, that I had so little extra time, and I had to make some tough choices.
We went back to paying the minimums on the cards in most cases. When extra $ showed up, we threw it at bills as soon as we could.
We set up a fund-raising website. In the state of California, homeschool requires the parent to set up a private school. So we did and we did something that is really hard for me – we asked people for money. Now, I only did that for about a month until I just got too embarrassed and I stopped, but we did net $400 from the effort, which really helped with school supplies and field trips.
We cancelled and cleaned out our storage unit…kind of. We’re still working through all of the boxes, but we decided not to pay any extra and to really look at the things that we have. I think it is safe to say that we have gotten rid of over 1/2 of it.
We planted and grew vegetables. It was 40% effective. We had some fresh veggies, and we got time in the sunshine and “fresh” air (we do live in L.A. after all).
We started shopping 1x/week. Which is directly related to #6
We planned every single meal and snack. It really helped to keep costs down, which is something we had struggled with for a long time.
We stopped drinking soda. I haven’t done a real analysis of this, but I am confident that we saved several hundred dollars with this choice. It was tough, but I am really glad we did it.
We went gluten-free. Now, I know this is a little controversial and it is WAY trendy, which we are not, but…we had done a 10-day fast from gluten, and wouldn’t you know it, 3 of our 4 family members dropped major weight and lost puffiness. So, that also means that we can’t eat out very often, and if we do, it is generally a place with fresher/non-processed food. Which is good for our health and our budget.
I got a part-time job. This was not originally the plan, and if fact, when I was approached with the position, I said ‘no’ because I didn’t want to take the time away from my family when we were trying to do some important therapy. But, we pondered and realized that 1 evening and 1 weekend-day each week should be do-able and would really help out with the finances. And it has!
So, there you go – some of the things we did to counteract our shrinking income!
Yes. It is difficult to watch that total go up. But we really did our best to get every last mile out of my old car (yay for getting past 190K miles!) and it was time. So, now I have a safe car, with good gas mileage to get us around. This is life.
Guess which category we struggled with? Yup. Food. Sigh…
We also had a lot of pre-summer camp fees to pay for registration, so there was a bit of spending there, but we’ve got that budgeted, so it isn’t like we weren’t prepared.
Where we landed at the end of March:
Regular Savings :: $ 165 Emergency :: $ 00
Total Savings :: $ 165
That’s $25 less than we wanted and a lot less than we wanted for the Emergency Fund, but the new car purchase impacted quite a bit of that.
Yesterday, after getting caught up on my numbers, I noticed something that bears mentioning…
We are at 51% paid-off!
Wait, what?!? We rolled right past the 50% celebration! Oh, no!
Well, the great news is that we’ve reached this milestone. I’m a little “sad” that it has taken us 4 years to reach this point, but I’m still thankful. It isn’t like we haven’t had some set backs during this time and there was that whole year where we were just in survival mode as we were adjusting to our new family reality. That being said, my spreadsheet and Quicken seem to think we can knock the rest of this out in 20 months, so LET’S DO THIS THING!!!