For the past year my husband and I have been through a lot together and along the way, we’ve gotten to know each other better. It hasn’t been easy, in fact, it’s been down right hard. But, the new growth emerging is nothing short of God’s perfect plan for our home and marriage. One of the things I’ve learned, and taken to heart, is the reality that my husband carries a heavy weight on his shoulders – the weight of being the sole provider for his family. While I’ve always wanted to take an active role in helping relieve this pressure – by running my own business – I’ve known that hasn’t been God’s plan. He, instead, has wanted me to be all in when it comes to raising these kiddos of mine and running our home. So, while I can’t help in the way that most believe they have to, He is showing me how I can help even as a stay-at-hom mom.
It all starts with this one little – nasty (in my opinion) word – budget.
For me to stay with something I have to have a goal and it usually has to be outlandish – I don’t do small goals! 🙂 We decided, together, that our goal was to come up with a large sum of money that we could put toward our house in order to help us move forward with some of our other dreams. Now, while the goal is a great thing which helps me keep my focus (after all, I’m a creative – we don’t focus well) I know that there also has to be a time frame on this goal. Because, let’s be honest, if there’s not a time frame then I’ll simply tire out and give up. So we put a 1-year cap on our goal.
So, with all hands on deck, we have made some changes – some are big, some are small – but all go toward helping us achieve our goal.
I, for one, have returned to couponing. This alone allows me the ability to save almost 50% on my groceries. I’m baking more so that my kids have after school snacks, and breakfast muffins – which keeps me from having to purchase these items. I’ve turned my Sunday afternoons into baking afternoons – which are good too because my girls usually join me. I am also, diligently planning out all of our meals, so that when I go to the grocery store I am only purchasing the things I really need for a weeks worth of meals. (Check out http://faithfulprovisions.com she has some GREAT tips for getting started with doing this.) My kids, too, are helping us out by agreeing to take their lunch to school a couple of times a week. I didn’t want to force them on it, so we talked to them about it, explaining that just as they save their money to buy items from the store, that we are wanting to save money to pay the bank for our house. I’m hoping, in the weeks to come we’ll be able to up the number of times they take their lunch, but for now we’re starting them off slowly. In addition to cutting the budget on our food, we’ve gone through our basic bills and switched a couple of providers and – get ready for this one – have even decided we will take our own trash to the dump! We’re serious here people. 🙂
Another way I am finding to bring in some money is by taking pictures, posting ads, and selling a lot of items (toys, clothes, and household items) that are simply no longer used around here. I used to just get rid of everything once the clutter started to annoy me. But, in doing this, I’m allowing for income, as well as helping others out by getting decent items at a discounted rate. So, it’s really a win win for everyone. I’m lucky, in that our town has an online Facebook page specifically for selling goods. It takes time, but the money made allows me to fill up some of the cash envelopes that don’t have money in them and thus freeing up the paycheck so that our overage, each payday, is larger. This helps us move toward our end goal quicker. If you don’t have something like this in your town, I highly recommend that you consider starting one. We have one for our town and our neighborhood – it is very convenient!
In addition to these things, I am also learning to bundle my errands into areas of town. This keeps me from going out just to grab one item at a time and in turn wasting a bunch of gasoline. I have a list that I keep and just write things down as they come. While it is just a small thing, it ads up when you see your gasoline budget go down because you aren’t driving as much. This combined, with the couponing, meal planning, baking, and selling of items all really adds up in the end. When you suddenly realize you have enough money at the end of your paycheck to make 2 car payments (if needed) you realize just how much money is going out the window without any thought at all.
Needless to say, I’m excited about our goal and wanted to share these ideas for others who may be wanting to do the same. Hope they are helpful to you!
What are other ways you save and bring home money to help your family? Comment below and share your ideas.
Til next time,
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