When I made the part-time switch, we lost a fourth of our income. It would have required huge changes in and of itself, but about the same time, we decided that we needed to focus on paying down the mountain of student loan and car loan debt that we had built up. We wanted to be debt-free for our boys, for our future. So we created a budget (modeled by a good friend, and financial genius!), started using cash only, and re-prioritized.
|Science experiments, instead of TV|
|Pancake picnic in our backyard|
After about six months of putting all of our extra income toward the car (at a rapid pace), we became addicted and started looking into other ways to increase our extra cash, and decrease our debt. I started couponing, which has resulting in a stockpile of food I have only seen in mom and pop stores. This also became a bit of an addiction. We cut out internet, home phone, and cable (only internet has been renewed), and we had a couple of garage sales. I started planning ahead for birthdays, graduations, and other holidays by buying gifts when I found them on sale, whether close to their birthday/holiday or not. We made almost all of our Christmas gifts last year and I made Liam's big birthday gift, saving us hundreds of dollars, and once again, it felt good.
Since Nolan was born, we have made even more financial changes. We use cloth diapers (not exclusively, but it still cuts costs), we make our own cleaning supplies and laundry detergent, we expanded our garden-which we thoroughly enjoyed last year, I'm making baby food in preparation for Nolan's first eats, and we have become experts at finding cheap and/or free activities that are fun for the whole family. I have also become addicted (yes, I am aware that I have used this word several times) to "Buy and Sell" pages on Facebook. My family has purchased several amazing, previously loved, items at shockingly low prices, and have sold enough to, not only balance out our purchases, but some extra as well.
|Lunch date with Daddy|
|Planting basil in the garden|
So here it is in a nutshell:
-Make what you can
-Grow a garden
-By used/sell what you don't use
-Use cash only
-Make a budget
-Pay down debt, and don't create more
-Use the library, Groupon, and other resources to find fun, cheap things to do
-Get rid of "distractions" (cable, internet-if you can stand it....clearly I couldn't live w/o internet, but I lasted over a year!)
-Use a cell phone, not a smartphone
-Think ahead for holidays, birthdays, other celebrations
-Downsize your closet, your garage, your clutter
Doing these things will put you on track financially, help you use your time productively, and make you see what is truly important, your family!