Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Cutbacks

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?

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on the road to financial freedom! We have been making cutbacks for years(Well Jessica is a battle axe)! It's hard in the beginning, but it does get easier. We are paying around $2.54 for gas.

Danny

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on the road to financial freedom! We have been making cutbacks for years(Well Jessica is a battle axe)! It's hard in the beginning, but it does get easier. We are paying around $2.54 for gas.

Danny

Waynel said...

Yes, good for you guys!! And, best wishes to your financial advisor. This too, shall pass. . .everyone is experiencing difficulties. . .gasoline at Costco is $2.46.

Anonymous said...

My take on cell phones.
I always say I don't believe in cell phones. This does not mean I deny the existence of cell phones (even though since my marriage I have been in a permanent state of "DeNeuial". Ha. And you thought I lived in California). It means I don't believe I need one. Gregg has to have one for work, but they give him one, and give him upgrades, like the "borg implants" people have sticking around their ears. It's only fair. He has to be able to mess with the software of all the execs in the company that have them. ("Press this button here to turn the cell phone ON!")
People think I'm crazy or silly or tempting fate not to have one. "Aren't you scared?" "What if your car breaks down?" "What if you get carjacked?" "What if one of your kids gets sick or hurt?" What if somebody needs to talk to you and you aren't at home?
It's funny. I was listening to the ladies in my weaving class scold me for not having at least a disposable cell phone (which seems even more wasteful!). So I thought, what if this were a discussion about needing Jesus in your life? That's what people really mean when they say they don't believe in Jesus. They don't really mean that Jesus doesn't exist. They mean they don't believe they need Him.
The same objections apply. "No Jesus?" "Aren't you scared?" "What if you get hurt or stranded?" "What if your kids get hurt?" What if you get carjacked? What if your car breaks down?
I have Jesus. You have a cell phone. I can borrow your cell phone. I can even pay you back for the call. You can't borrow my Jesus. You can't repay Him. You can lose your cell phone. I can't lose my Jesus. An evildoer can throw your cell phone out the window of your car. Jesus won't leave me, and no one can take Him away.
I could get a cell phone. But a cell phone ends up owning you. Eventually, you can't live without it. It costs money every month.
You could get Jesus. But you have to believe He is God. You have to believe you need Him in your life. But Jesus ends up owning you, and once you have Him, you can't live without Him. Having Jesus cost Him his life.

Audrey

the good, the bad & the ugly said...

Good for you. It all does sound hard, but I'm sure it will pay big! We are paying around the same for gas. Isn't is great??

Qtpies7 said...

For us it would cost a ton to get rid of our cell phones in fees for terminating our contracts. I can't even imagine that. But it may happen to us. Tomorrow is the big, huge lay off day at Donnie's work. That will cut off a lot of our stuff, lol. Dish network and 5 cell phones, plus our game sites. I think Donnie already cancelled netflicks. He used the online movies instead of ordering them.

Qtpies7 said...

Yeppers! We are going to cut back, too. Donnie got laid off today. We are starting with health, dental and vision insurance. LOL Not our choice.
We are actually excited about what God has in store for us! And, for the first time in our marraige, I am employed and Donnie isn't, hehe.
He isn't going to like being Mr. Mom next week when I work all 5 days! I bet he declares we are going to Texas to see Drew graduate so he doesn't get stuck with the little two.

Holly said...

I'm sorry your husband got laid off, qtpies7.

We have a pay-as-you-go emergency phone that sits in a drawer. I've never liked cell phones. It's nice to be unavailable sometimes! You know what I mean? And I'm allergic to monthly payments.

Our gas is about $2.19 but just south of the border (South Carolina) we can get it for $1.95. Yippee!

Qtpies7 said...

How are the cutbacks coming along? We are not looking forward to all that we are going to be cutting back, but it must be done.

Waynel said...

Loved those comments from Audrey. blessings on you and your family - you've got it right!!! We can talk about Jesus on our cell phones or on our land phones, or over the backyard fence, or on walks, in church, while putting the kids to bed, on the way home from school, from work, etc. etc. One of the wonderful repercussions relating to the financial crises, is that more people will want to talk about Jeuus. Let's celebrate!! Let's be lighthouses!! No Jesus, No peace. . .KNOW JESUS, KNOW PEACE. Blessings on you all. Waynel