May 152013

stretching our budgetIt seems these days that the size of our grocery packaging isn’t the only thing that is shrinking. Now, we’re experiencing yet another decrease in our income. We had a chunk taken out of my husband’s take home pay at the beginning of the year, then there was another one a couple of month’s ago, and now again another decrease.

This can’t be happening to just our family. My online work has slowed down as well, meaning my contribution to the family finances has gotten smaller. With the price of everything going up, and the net income going down, how do we adjust our family budget this time?

Time to figure out how to cut our expenses, again.

Unnecessary services

    NetFlix – We originally subscribed to NetFlix for their DVD mail rental services, then changed our service to streaming only when they upped their rental rates. As our family has gotten older, we’ve watched less and less on NetFlix. I can’t say this is going to be a big sacrifice, but it’s $8/month in savings.

    Call Waiting – I know a lot of families have gotten rid of their landline phones, and do everything off their cell phones. This is something we don’t feel comfortable doing; however, a couple of the features we had put on our landline years ago aren’t as important to us anymore. Let someone get a busy signal and have to call back. We use our cell phones for long distance, and any family member with an emergency would call us on our cells if it was urgent. Quite honestly, it doesn’t get used often enough to justify the expense, and that’s another $9/month in savings.

Do things a little differently

    Cut out bad habits – I’m currently working on transforming some of my bad habits into good ones. Some I’m doing for my health, but also for our budget. So far I’ve cut way down on caffeine, which means less expense on coffee and diet soda. This month I’m working on getting a little better organized, which includes the pantry. When I can see exactly what I have on hand, I can save money by using what’s in there. 😉

    Revisit bill payment methods – This is something I’ve been considering for awhile. Being the hands-on type of person that I am (and Hubs feels the same way) I don’t want to pay our bills through our bank. I enjoy the convenience of online bill payment, but a couple of our utilities charge a processing fee $1.80 – $3.50! It would be cheaper to pay by check, just the cost of a stamp. That could save up to $5 or more per month.

Go back to my bag of budgeting tricks

    Conserve utilities as much as possible –Right now our utility bills are getting a breather. (insert heavy sigh here) Temperatures here have tickled the 80’s, but it won’t be long before we have to practice creative cooling.

    Stick to cooking at home – Hubs and the kids take their lunches every day, which is already a huge savings, but I’m still guilty of occasionally asking Hubs to pick up dinner on the way home. My plan is to get more consistent with menu planning, and take advantage of the resources I have at my fingertips.

A few dollars saved here and there will help make up for some of the decrease in pay this time, but our budget can only be stretched so far.

Has your family been feeling a pinch in the paycheck? What are you doing to stretch your budget?

Budget image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

5 Easy Steps to Home Organization

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May 012013
5 Easy Steps to Home Organization

When you first move into your home it seems like you have so much space. As the years go by, you might find yourself surrounded by all those things you “just couldn’t throw away”. What are you going to do with all the stuff you have accumulated? Perhaps it’s time to weed out the unnecessary items and organize your home. Home organization is a step-by-step process. It will take more than a day or even [Continue Reading>>]

Seasonal Grocery Shopping in May

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Apr 292013
Seasonal Grocery Shopping in May

In many (not all) areas of the United States the seasons are changing. Warmer temperatures, green grass, singing birds, and increasing daylight coax people outdoors to enjoy the fresh air. We are itching to get our grill fired up! Look for these items to be on sale during May. Seasonal Produce: artichokes, asparagus, avocado, beets, blackberries, carrots, sweet vidalia onions, peas, new potatoes, raspberries, strawberries Paper & Personal Products: plates, utensils, insect repellant, sunscreen, allergy [Continue Reading>>]

Last Step in Cutting Caffeine

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Apr 232013
Last Step in Cutting Caffeine

At the beginning of the month, I set a goal to cut my caffeine intake in half over the course of the month. Admittedly I am a caffeine junkie, so I knew it had to be a slow progression. Thankfully, I haven’t had any withdrawal headaches. When I first started this quest to change six habits in six months, my original statement was that it takes about three weeks to make something a habit. Maybe [Continue Reading>>]

$10 Stockpile – No Dollar Store Required

 $10 Stockpile, Grocery Budget, My Plan  Comments Off on $10 Stockpile – No Dollar Store Required
Apr 192013
$10 Stockpile - No Dollar Store Required

That’s right, you don’t have to go to a dollar store in order to save on products and buy things for $1.00 or under. I am living/blogging proof. Everything cost less than $1 each after savings this week. Looking over the $10 Stockpile posts I’ve done over the years, it seems that Walgreens has been my “store of choice”, and that’s where I saved this week. I bought the AquaFresh before Walgreens put out their [Continue Reading>>]