Something big is happening in our family this summer.
It's exciting, and more than a little scary at the same time.
It's going to force us out of our comfort zone and into a real homesteading mindset.
With our sweet boy joining the family I am making the leap into full time stay at home mom status.
I just finished up the school year and was paid the rest of my contract amount in one lump sum. So we are very quickly having to make the switch from 2 regular paychecks to just 1.
That may not seem like all that big of a deal, but it is! And I know a lot of people out there do this every day, but it's all new to us!
While my husbands income covers most of our base bills, my income covers a few important things too... Like food.
I'd like to have food still, so figuring out how to budget a lump sum of money in the most efficient way was crucial.
I'm going to share more about the massive 6 month meal planning process soon...
But for right now, I just want to share how we are shifting our budgeting towards the concept of looking at the big picture of our spending for a 6 month period all at once. This means that I've have to start looking at every single thing in our lives differently.
Even if you aren't budgeting on such a large scale, you can still put these tips into practice to save a ton of money!
As I went through every aspect of our lives to try and make sure that each item had a line in the budget, I realized that we waste a lot of money on things we can live without.
It's easy to forget that you overspend a few dollars here and there every week... but when you look at things on a 6 month scale, you really start to see the waste. It becomes much easier to trim the fat.
The "One Easy Tip"
Line itemize everything in your life. Really look at where your money is going.
Go through your house with a notebook and write down each product that you use on a regular basis.
Note: Don't forget things like trash bags, detergent, Ziplocs, aluminum foil, and cling wrap. Those items are costly to just go buy when they aren't in the budget.
Make the tough choices about what is really important... and cut the rest.
Trust me, if I can do it, you can too!
Things I'm Cutting
For example, paper towels.
Now, I love having paper towels. They are super convenient and I don't have to wash and fold them. However, they are absolutely NOT NECESSARY!
That one items costs us $60 over 6 months! That may not seem like much, but that's just for ONE item!
We like to have fresh organic strawberries for snacks throughout the week... that's a $390 line item. We can live without strawberries.
And on and on it went until I realized that we were wasting over
$3200 $3900 in just 6 months on things we didn't need!
That's $7800 a year!!
See what I mean? This is totally worth it.
What I'm Keeping
While a ton of stuff is going, I am keep a few things. Everything that is an actual necessity is staying.
Like toilet paper...
I'm not ready to go the Family Cloth way just yet... more power to you if you can.
But even above the actual necessities I'm keeping a few luxuries. I want to stay realistic here.
It's easy to say "Let's just eat rice and beans for $10 a month..."
But you're not actually going to do that. So you end up blowing your budget because it wasn't realistic.
Part of making this work for us was having the flexibility to go out to eat with friends or family if we wanted to... So we left 1 dining out meal a week in our budget.
I also left raw dairy in the budget, just not to the extent we had it before. With a processed dairy allergy, switching back just to save money was not an option.
Our produce is still all organic. Again, switching back just to save a bit of money wasn't an option. So we are just cutting back instead.
I'm still buying all Einkorn flour to bake bread and other baked goods with.
How I'm Keeping All the "Good Stuff" and Still Saving So Much...
Rather than sacrificing quality, I just took a hard look at how much we were actually eating.
With a bit of tightened portion control we were able to cut our food budget by 60%.
Trust me, we are still getting plenty of food! But now there isn't any waste at the end of each week.
I seriously don't ever have to clean out my fridge any more because every single bit of food is getting used!
So this is it... the year I learned to stretch a dollar. The year I got super
cheap - I mean frugal.
- I'm going to do what I should have been doing all along.
- I'm going to make Every. Single. Thing. I can.
- I'm going to budget like I've never done before.
- I'm going to stretch a dollar to it's absolute breaking point.
- And I am going to fully embrace the homesteading mindset that I should have been living all along.
There will be many posts along the way to let you know exactly how I'm making things and saving money!
I hope you will follow along with me in your home and find out just how much money we can all save!