2013 will be our CHEAP year, so to say. It is not going to be cheap by any means, but we will for sure be redirecting our money. I'm afraid two hospital stays this past year will cost quite a bit of money. Dannika is one expensive girl and worth every penny, but we have to make some changes. I also want to pay off the debt we have. I don't want to OWE anything anymore. I'm sick of paying bills every month. I want to be debt free!! This may take years, but we are on the way. We have already been making adjustments to our lifestyle and I can seriously say it will be a HUGE challenge, not only for me, but the whole family. The adjustments we have already made:
1. No eating out, unless we have AMAZING coupons, Book-Its to use from Pizza Hut, or some VERY special occasion. We usually eat out on Sunday, after church, so this will be our challenge for sure. Last Sunday we all went to Pizza Hut and used somne Book It coupons that we have accumulated. We still have 6 more, so perhaps we have one more Sunday of Pizza Hut! If we eat out together on Sunday it is usually about $50. That is a huge expense when you start to add that up every week. $200 a month in just Sundays. So, instead, we will have to get creative. We also tend to spend a LOT of time at Basketball Games and that means countless amounts of dollars spent at the concession stand. The past two games we have packed a supper. If I make sandwiches and throw in fruit and a few cookies, a bag of chips, and a drink, we have just saved $20 at least! Granted, maybe not quite that much, but it all adds up. We are not handing out money to the boys when they have games. They can pack their lunch or spend their own money. This morning was a bit of a dual with our oldest. He has guitar lessons and youth group on Wednesdays in Watertown, which means a meal time away from home. Usually, I hand over $20 for the lesson and a fast food meal. This morning, he sat on the couch before school and then last-minute asked for money. I did NOT give in, but told him he would have to plan ahead - he had plenty of time to make his own OR he was free to go to his room and grab his own money to buy something, which he chose NOT to. He grabbed a box of Wheat Thins and ran out the door in a huff! That was tough love - trying to make him be responsible - plan his time wisely - hopefully not starve!
2. Grocery shopping was a little more difficult than usual. I seriously DO look at prices when I shop, but... not THAT close. IF I am out of something, I buy it. I am not a sale searcher, coupon user, penny watcher, or should I say I WAS not. I do believe I may be becoming one! I want to feed myself and my kids healthy choices, but on a budget. I have NO idea what our monthly grocery bill is. I never pay attention. Yesterday I was in Shopko and my Early Grey K-Cups I use were on sale, but they are $11.99 for a box of 18. A box of tea bags to put in hot water is approximately $3.28. Hmmm, I put the K-cups back and thought I can certainly boil water for much cheaper. I also bought a full ham and sliced our own sandwich meat. OK - I will fess up, Shaine actually sliced it all, but I do believe that is a better option. I do need to check into a better ham though. This one was a ham loaf, I think that is what it is called, and it does taste a little too processed for my liking. I'm planning on doing the same for turkey when we are out of what we have. I'm not sure if it will actually be any "cheaper" in the long run, but for sure it has to be healthier. I also spent money of fresh fruits and vegetables. There I think I am going to have to watch for sales. I have been to known to shop mostly at Wal-Mart, only because it is ONE stop shopping. Yesterday I was child free so I stopped at Hy-Vee and I actually think it was more expensive. The fruit looked great, but I don't buy the fruit at Wal-Mart unless is looks great. Rasberries at Hy-Vee were 3.99 for a little container and Wal-Mart was 5.99 for a container twice the size. That is $2 difference. So, I just think I really need to watch and be aware. I did NOT buy mandarine oranges for $7.99 a bag. CRAZY!!! I need to check that out at Wal-Mart. AND - if I get BAD fruit at Wa;-Mart I am simply going to take it back. Why not? They need to know that it was bad and I'm not going to waste my money any more. I have thrown a pineapple or cantaloupe away and never complained to Wal-Mart, but that's gonna change.
3. A sale does NOT mean I NEED it. I am a great sale shopper. I always think, "That is such a good deal." Sure, it may be a good deal, but that does not mean I need it one bit. I am trying to simplify the STUFF in my life, not add to it! I am going to be giving away those coupons that I don't need and maybe someone else can use them. So - if anyone needs JUSTICE coupons before January 31, let me know. I have an abundance of $25 off a purchase of $50, so that is pretty much 50% off. Great deal, right? My girls DON'T need a thing - so we are handing them off to you OR file 13!
4. House cleaning? This one is still a tough one for me. I have a cleaning lady come once a week. I LOVE it. I love Thursday's when I walk into my house and it looks and smells fresh and spotless. We don't have her clean the whole house, only the upper floor. It takes her 2 1/2 hours on average. My monthly bill for that is $140. Is it worth it? YES, but that is $140 that could go to pay off a hospital bill or medicine. So, the jury is still out, but tomorrow is Thursday. Hmmm... I need to pray on this one.
5. Hair cuts? I spend $60-$70 every 5-6 weeks on my hair. Yes, my hair? I know you are alll in shock because my hair usually looks a little neglected, which it is. I have a LOT of grey coming in and I get it colored and cut, but I am thinking I can seriously buy a box of color for $6 and do it myself. The cutting, maybe not so much, but that's still a savings. So, when I can't stand my hair and need it cut I will still get the hair cut, but I'm going to hold off on the professional color for as long as I can. Dannika has been growing hers out for a couple of years, trying to grow 10" to donate to Locks of Love. Destiny has LONG hair that I can trim myself once we have it all combed out. I do relax hers once a year, but I just buy a box a children's relaxer and do it with my hairdresser. I do give her $20-$25 for her time, and I think now I have the hang of it and could do it all myself when the time comes. Her hair is seriously down to her butt cheeks. I have gotten very good at braiding though so I have saved LOTS there! When we braid we really go a week or two with no products, or very little products, so savings!! Cha-ching! I cut Dyllan's hair myself with our clippers, but Devan and Shaine may have to still spend money. I don't think I am THAT good! I have done it before, but it takes me so much longer and it is not always professional looking. AND Daisy, our dog? I think I have found a cheaper groomer OR I may get brave and try it myself. Daisy also gets car sick if you follow my facebook posts, so taking her TO the groomer is never a fun experience. I need to find someone willing to come to me for $25 or less OR learn how to do it myself. I don't want to spend a lot on dog clippers though. Hmmmm. I also just saved $15 on vet costs by calling around a bit and buying the shots to give myself. YES, I'm going to have to clarify here too. I bought the shots for SHAINE to give! Hahah!
6. Entertainment? We do go to a lot of movies here in Bryant, but the cost is $4 per person compared to $8 other places. I think we will cut back a bit though. We have Netflix streamed at home and we can all sit down to watch a movie together right in our own home instead! Other than that we really don't spend much money on entertainment. I don't think we could cut much more there.
7. Baking verses buying? I am going to try to bake more of my own breads. I said TRY - I'm not the best bread baker by any means, but I am thinking it would be fun and maybe my kids would enjoy it? A loaf of bread is fairly cheap though, but I'm thinking there has to be more preservatives in it than homemade, right? I will let you know how this adventure goes! Ha!
8. Basketball camps and children activities. Do we continue with all of that or cut back? Dannika has piano lessons once a week, which is a cost of $10 per lesson. I think this is important and she LOVES it. So far, that is sticking! The girls are in dance class, or at least they were for the first half of the year. To continue or not??? Cost was $7 per 45 minute class. Not bad, but driving and time and the GERM FACTOR may make us take this session off I think. Gymnastics? The jury is definitely out on this one. Cost is $121 per month for both girls to go. They go on the same night, but it is in Watertown and germs???? Yah, not sure here either. Dannika absolutely would be crushed if she can't go. Destiny may not care, but it is good for her sensory issues. UGH - decisions, decisions. I guess I have one more day to decide this one too! The kids have MANY opportunities to participate in basketball and cheer camps for $25-$50 per camp. Do they learn anything? Yes, but would they learn it without the camp? Probably. It seems to be social and fun and la-tee-da. I get it, but... I think I'm opting NO for now.
9. Clothing - we are making DUE with what we have! We are gifting clothes that they may NEED for birthday and Christmas and buying BIG sales only WHEN and IF they need it. I will be buying second hand or rummage sales. I just purchased Dannika's snow pants for next year from Target for $9.98. NO, she did not need them NOW, but they are clearanced out. That is cheap. They are lime green and black so guess I['ve chosen the color scheme for next year's winter clothes already. I could not find a coat in her size, but they had not marked down all the winter coats yet. I plan on purchasing those at the end of this year in the next size up and sticking with that!
I am sure all you readers may have some great money saving tips for me! I think I may need them! Please feel free to comment your tips for me and all the readers! So, if you see my "cheap" posts on facebook you will know my reasons for asking. Cheap - Cheap - Cheap this year.