We've started paring down our stuff for the working budget. It's things that we've talked about but haven't been willing to do until now. Still, in the long run, I think we'll be glad we did it:
1) Good-bye cell phones, except for Keith's because he needs it for work. This means we're going to have to communicate better about where we are during the day, particularly me with all of the schools I go to. This also means that kids can't call me on my cell phone with their after-school horror stories, "Mom, there's nothing to eat!" "Mom, Kylie hit me!" "Mom, I'm stuck on my homework." They usually have to wait a whole 45 minutes before I get home. Poor dears.
2) Good-bye TV. Yes, it's true. For the first time in 14 years, we will be TV-free. This will be a very good thing. Keith and I watch way too much senseless TV. We were down to just regular channels anyway and still had to pay $12/month for them. It's not going to be a huge savings in money, but will be a HUMONGOUS savings in precious time.
3) Good-bye Netflix. We had to face it. $17 a month is just too much right now. I'm hoping we'll get this little item back, though. I love me my Netflix movies! We've been so busy, though, that we haven't really even watched anything lately. We've had the same movies for weeks. What a waste!
4) And the Big Kahuna, the Mighty Dog of All Things Expensive, Good-bye to fast food. Not completely and utterly, mind you, but mostly good-bye to burgers, burritos, pizza and all things delicious. I'm feeling shaky just thinking of it. However, once again, I think we can save literally thousands of dollars a year on this item alone. Seriously! We are terrible fast food junkies! I got a Burger King combo just today in memorial. Sniff. And yes, I know, it will be a good for our health, too. Yada, yada, yada.
Keith and I did decide that we will use Keith's rewards card (a Visa gift card that he earns money on monthly) for occasional dinners out together. I don't know if we'll be able to do our usual weekly date. Hal, our financial counselor, told us that picnicking is a "marvelous" way to go out without spending a lot of money. Keith and I both tried not to look green around the gills. Cutting out our dinners out together is a hard pill to swallow.
When we met with our financial counselor last night, he gave us Quicken. Last time we'd met, he actually told us, "Well, in the time that I've been doing this, I've never done this for anyone, but I'm going to buy you Quicken. I think you can really use it." He's been counseling for 20 years! Um, we were a little blown away by his kindness to us, and also a little anxious because he knows more than anyone else what we need to do to climb out of our money pit!
So now we're supposed to save all of our receipts and continue to track our expenditures as we create a working budget. I'm so very thankful that we have the accountability of a financial counselor. It's made a big difference for us. We've been encouraged.
Tomorrow, I'll be babysitting Molly, a neighbor friend's daughter. This is the first time I've babysat in a very long time! Oh, wait! I'm a substitute teacher! That is DEFINITELY babysitting! (Parenting does not count at all. It just makes you a lot more impatient with other people's kids!) So really, this is the first time I will have babysat a pre-schooler in a very long time! And it will be just me and Molly because the kids will be in school. I think we'll take a trip to Target and to Dollar Tree. I have errands to do!
I filled up the entire van gas tank for $63 today! I am still walking around on clouds because of that experience. A few years ago, I would have never imagined being so excited to pay $1.94 per gallon for gas. What are you all paying?