Sunday, November 1, 2009

Learning to get by with less

With the crazy influx of medical bills that are steadily streaming in, it was high time to sit down and come up with a rather strict budget for November.

I sat down, listed all our expenses, figured out our estimated income and came close to a few tears when I saw that we weren't going to break even, and that was before we paid anyone for all of Kaylee's medical expenses.

I'm a firm believer that if you're smart with your money, you can make things work, and no matter how life gets, it seems like we'll never go without the essentials.

Right now, things are about as tight as they've ever been, and figuring out how to make things balance was nothing short of a monumental task, but I think we've managed to do it.

It started with a few cuts.

The home phone had to go.

Our monthly pest control had to go (and I'm just crossing my fingers that the cold weather keeps the nasty bugs out in the meantime!).

We downgraded to the lowest DirecTV package. And with it went CMT, GAC, TLC and Discovery Health...waaahhh!

The membership to the gym had to go.

The grocery budget is also a slim $150, but we already have enough food for dinner for the entire month (more on that Wednesday).

The allowance for eating out and "fun" stuff is at a big fat zero.

And, we're in the process of working with to try and negotiate a lower monthly rate on our mortgage.

We're down to just the essentials, folks, but we're going to break even, and if Craigslist is good to us and the lovely locals want to buy some of our unused crap, we might even be able to put some money in savings or pay extra toward the medical bills.

Times are tough for ALL of us. What have you had to cut back on, and what are you doing to save money?


Tina said...

We have cut back on going out to eat. It has been hard , b/c I love going out to eat. We have also cut back on spending on nonessential extras. It is hard but can be done. Good luck on you budget, God will provide.

Rachel McPhillips said...

UGH. I hate having to do that. Especially with Christmas coming up. I have had to quit buying expensive clothes and shop at Wal-mart and Target( which have really cute clothes and haven't minded as much) and our daughters don't have the amount of shoes that I would love for them too as well as a plethera of clothing that they probably don't need. But Still. I hate to feel like I am cutting back and my children might not have everything they ever dreamed of. We don't buy as much junk food and don't have any "fun" money. :(

katndylan said...

I found a product at called the PEST OFFENSE that has helped me eliminate all indoor pest control at my house...a savings of almost $500 a year!!! it is also safe for my son and our pets!!! I found out about it through an article from the City of Daytona Beach, Florida because they now use the product in all their leisure services buildings and eliminated costly spraying as well. I have used it for over a year and it has worked great!!!

Summer said...

oh no, sweet sera!!!

I know this sucks, but you guys are being really wise, and I'm incredibly proud.

When we moved from the house to the apartment, I was embarrassed, but now I feel like it was the best decision ever!!!

Anonymous said...

Sorry things are tight for you, Sera. We live very simply and thankfully our city really supports doing things for free. Two zoos, most of the museums, etc., are all free to visit. We don't have cable - we watch anything we're interested in online. We drive old cars (but they're paid for!), and we buy almost all of our clothes used.

One thing that we NEED to cut back on more is what we spend for food, which is astronomical. Between eating out too often and expensive food at the grocery store, I wish I could cut our food costs in half without sacrificing the good quality food I like to buy.

Have you heard of Dave Ramsey? I really like his system a LOT. I can promise you that we wouldn't have been able to afford for me to work as little as I do if we hadn't been on his plan for our entire 7.5 year marriage so far. If you check out his website ( you can find his philosophy and plan. It's not complicated at all and it's a very freeing way to live.

Hang in there! Ruth

Alicia said...

oh girl i know what you mean..its so hard to have to do that kind of stuff...but at the end of the day it makes you so grateful for the important things...for your loving hubs, your gorgeous daughter, and their health. i'm so proud of you for making such amazing decisions...i'm sure your family will be blessed for it!

Anonymous said...

We negotiated a lower monthly rate for our mortgage. A huge weight was lifted of our shoulders when they agreed.

Traci said...

I have always shopped the thrift stores for almost anything. It amazes me how much perfectly good stuff people will just give away. Sometimes I even find things with the tags still attached (clothes, toys, shoes etc.). I have even started to take my & my children's clothes to the local consignment store. That extra $40-60/ mo really helps.

Molly said...

Eating out is rare around here. I HATE spending so much money for food. That really cuts down on our food bill. We don't get to see our family like we would like to because it is so expensive. We wait for the hubs to get enough frequent flyer points to go for free!

You are being smart and not spending money that you will regret. There is a time and season for everything!


Melissa, Multi-Tasking Mama said...

We are downsizing our house (for my health, but it will be nice for our finances as well). Praying for your finances and your daughter! It sounds like you are making wise choices =)

Jenners said...

I feel for you ... I know it must be hard with all those medical bills. I guess that is why they want to reform health care and all. You can do it ... whenever I have tough times, I've always managed on way less than I thought I could. You'd be amazed at how much you actually waste on stuff that you don't really need. Hang in there! At least blogging is free!