I can’t believe it has only been 19 days since our family began our year long spending fast. It feels like a journey we’ve been on longer than that! I must say though, it is going very well. God is blessing us with contentment, resolve, focus, & commitment. We are snowballing that nasty debt. This month we will pay off the last medical bill from my emergency ectopic surgery this summer. That was a $200 monthly payment that will be gone & now freed up to snowball onto the next medical bill. Yippee! We covet your prayers as we seek to be good stewards of everything the Lord provides us.
Here are some things we are doing to cut spending (some of these things I was already doing, but are worth mentioning):
*We already had stockpiles of toiletries so we will use those up before buying anything new. Previously, if I saw a new body wash, makeup, or lotion I wanted to try, I would buy it even if I had 4 others at home!
*We go grocery shopping together as a couple so we can hold each other accountable. I guess this could double as a date?
*Since I do a monthly order with Young Living (mandatory for commission check, but would want to order every month anyhow b/c I love their products!), I put things on my order that I have to buy anyways. For example, now we buy their laundry soap, dishwasher powder, dish liquid, hand soap, toothpaste, body wash, lotion, face wash, shave oil, beard oil, supplements, essential oils, etc. Their products are better than store-bought anyways! **Ask me how to use essential oils & get started with Young Living!**
*We don’t eat out anymore. This is easily the biggest change we’ve made. It has been easier than I thought it would be! I’m shocked at how well I personally have done since eating out is my kind of fun.
*I’m not making expensive salon visits. I LOVE my hair lady & will probably use her again later on, but for now I’ve reverted to using ultra cheap henna (light brown from Henna Color Lab) & am letting my hair grow so I don’t have to pay for cuts. I might look homeless by the end of the year. Oh well, vanity is chasing after the wind anyways.
*I’m not shopping for clothes. I doubt this will be that big of a deal because even after cleaning out my closet by the bagfuls, I still have plenty of clothes. I’m saving back a TJ Max gift card I got for Christmas, in case I end up needing anything this year. We will buy the boy’s clothes as needed, but their stuff won’t cost much because at this age (& being homeschooled helps) they don’t care if their clothes are from Wal-Mart or even Goodwill. Homeschoolers don’t seem to have the same peer pressure about clothes. Or maybe it’s just a boy thing?
*We got rid of cable. Our cable was costing over $100/month. That will free up an extra $100 for the debt snowball every month! The only thing I even watched on cable was Tiny House shows & Fox News. We kept Netflix since it is relatively cheap. Our family entertainment lately is watching an episode of “Grimm” on the nights we can. We all love that show!
*We reinstated “Friday Family Fun Night”. Instead of needing to go out on the weekends to have fun, we make that night fun at home. Each family member takes a turn choosing what we will eat that Friday. Since there are 4 of us, we each get one turn a month. Afterwards we play games or watch movies. We haven’t yet, but I think this will be a good night to intentionally host friends & have them join us for food & games.
*I make several things from scratch. Some examples are: I shred blocks of cheese myself & freeze in small bags, make homemade ice cream, homemade vanilla extract, dry soup mixes, seasoning blends, granola, snack mix, popcorn, salad dressings, dry beans, homemade body scrubs & deodorant
*We use less paper goods. We’ve used cloth napkins for over a decade now & I’m trying to break my guys from the habit of wanting to buy paper plates. The only thing we use paper towels for is wiping up bacon grease. I’ve taken them off the counter so they won’t be mindlessly used for things that reusable cloths can do. I cut up a sheet into rags & we use those for dirty paper towel jobs. If they do something too disgusting (like puke) they can be thrown away. Otherwise they can go in the laundry with the towels.
*The Diva Cup & Glad Rags are awesome! They have replaced tampons & pads & are not as gross as you might think.
*We are not going on a vacation this year. Instead we will use vacation weeks to visit our parents in Texas & Oklahoma.
We are considering giving up the convenience of the Keurig & k-cups. Its such an expensive & unnecessary luxury that would be so much cheaper by simply switching to bagged coffee. Surely we aren’t too lazy to make that switch. That’s all I can think of for now, but hopefully we will learn even more ways to be frugal in this “year of lean”.