It’s been busy in my household. The kids activities keep me running. Boy am I glad I’ve never loaded them up with activities! They each just have one major one. My son’s trips to Lowe’s and Home Depot to build don’t really count as I don’t have to pay for them and can attend as our schedule permits.
I need to make myself get busy with projects while DH and I watch tv after the kids go to bed. I have two straight sheets which I got on clearance a couple of years ago and I want to turn them into a duvet for an aging comforter. My plan is to use french knots to put a pattern on the top sheet, using thread which I used on our quilt to give the quilt and duvet a commonality. I’ve looked at comforters but haven’t seen one that just screamed to be in our bedroom, and the price tags are awful. The two sheets cost a total of $8, so I think the time and investment will be worth it to stretch the life of the current comforter.
Earlier this year I bought yarn to make new ponchos for my girls for Christmas, and that’s another project which can be done in front of the tv, if I can motivate myself to get started. I’m normally pretty whipped out by the time evening rolls around.
The new taxes being taken out have lopped $200 off of our spendable monthly income, so I’m working on getting back into the habit of making and keeping a menu for dinners. I did it years ago, and it helped in taking advantage of specials at the store (knowing what I planned to make within the upcoming 4 weeks). I want to make even more items from scratch and work to stay home to eat a bit more. As it stands now, we only go out about once a week, including pizza, but it would be nice to get it down to once or twice a month. We’ve done that before. I love to let someone else cook, but the bills add up quickly. We order water to drink and rarely get dessert, but it still doesn’t take long to rack up a bill. Fast food costs us a minimum of $20, most often being $25-$30.
Finances can be frustrating. We aren’t hurting, but we’re far from rolling in dough. We’ve been thoughtful with expenditures, waiting for bigger things so that we can pay for the purchase rather than incur large amounts of debt. Then we look at the credit which homes with both spouses working can take for child care. Are you kidding me? What about the income I gave up in order to raise my children? I’m not trying to put moms who work down, just saying that child care is part of that cost and should not be a tax credit.
Basically, with the new taxes taking more out of DH’s check, and the higher costs of health care to us, I need to find ways to trim the budget more. I already buy most of the kid’s clothes at a reasonably priced store – not the mall – and a lot of that on clearance, so I guess the next step is to look more to Salvation Army. The kids won’t care and I can make repairs and modifications as needed. Our SA tends to get some pretty good items as well. I haven’t looked much at the clothes up until now, but I guess it’s time to start if I want to be serious about helping to keep more cash for savings.
I’m thankful that I started to get in the habit of clearance shopping a while back, and that Christmas shopping was added to that a couple of years ago. We don’t dread the bills in January and don’t feel the crush to shop in December. I’ve got a decent start on next year’s Christmas, and will continue to keep my eyes open. The kids still get brand new items, and we save a ton. Last year, the savings was about $400. We’ve always kept the budgeted amount for the kids reasonable. I’ve heard of more than one family which spends about the same on each of their kids as we spend on all three combined. I stay pretty quiet in those conversations. Our kids are always pretty happy with what they get, so I don’t plan to change just to fit the norm.
We’ve gotten a good amount of snow recently, and may see more in the next two days. I don’t enjoy the shoveling, but the plants which are dormant are much better protected when a thick layer of snow covers the ground. The moisture is much needed as well, so I’m trying not to complain about the shoveling. I need to get my strawberry plants ordered. I’m excited about the trash can strawberry pots I have planned. I hope it works out as well as I think it will.
I realized that I planted 85 tulips right next to the rabbit home under our deck. All I was thinking about was the beautiful sight out our living room window. I’ll have to figure out how to keep the blossoms from becoming the late night snack!