Money plays a big part in whatever you do. After health insurance, car insurance, mortgage, phone, utilities, television services, prescriptions, and groceries there’s not much to go on. Whether you believe the way we do or not, we pay 10% of all earnings to our church. So how does a splicer and teacher travel?
Groceries. We buy bare minimal. If we don’t need it we don’t buy it. It’s easy to say “yes” to kids in line, buying them random items in the store that they won’t play with in four hours. Just say NO. We plan out our meals for two weeks at a time and buy just what we need to fix them. Wal-Mart’s pick-up grocery deal has helped us tremendously. No more random items I don’t need in the shopping cart! I hate shopping so pulling up to the curb and allowing them to have it ready is the best thing ever!
Eating out. Cut back. If you think about Starbucks runs, Sonic runs, drive-thrus, and random gas station stops, we don’t do those things. If you go to Sonic once a week with 3 kids during Happy Hour and spend $6. That $6 x 52 weeks adds up to over $300 a year. Then add in the drive thru and gas station stops and whatever else you buy it really adds up. I drink coffee at home and Starbucks maybe three times a year. If we do eat fast food we go to Wendy’s because it’s the cheapest for our family. All 5 of us can get a drink, fries, and hamburger/chicken for a little over $16. The kids love it when they can order whatever they want but that doesn’t happen much. We order water sometimes when we go to a sit-down restaurant. That saves about $10. We do like to eat out nice once a month because it’s good to get out!
Savings. Chris does our money. It’s a running joke that I did the money for the first 13 years of our marriage and we went on one vacation. Chris took over and now we are always on the move! Really we were in debt for a long time. Chris is OCD about a lot of things (the way you put dishes in the dishwasher is our favorite to nag him about) but when it comes to money I’m glad he is that way. If you need help with your money he is the person to talk to. He has planned retirement, 401K, and uses the following to save money from each of our checks:
Odd jobs. I sub on a school bus which helps out with money, too, and Chris keeps our church’s heating and air system up-to-date. We also build dining tables, coffee tables, sofa tables, and benches.
Second hand. My kids have name brand clothes but they are second hand, on clearance, or on sale. I’m fortunate enough to have friends with lots of boys and girls who like to sell their clothes cheap or give them away! We tend to only have to buy pants for our oldest (as he passes down his clothes to Carter) and buy new swimsuits and shoes. Our new favorite shopping places are T.J.Max and Marshalls. They have name brand clothes & shoes. If you need something and are patient, you can usually find it on sale if you look.
Gotta start somewhere.