Friday, April 03, 2009

Ahhh, Economizing

You may have heard that the worldwide economy is apparently not doing so well. We've actually been mildly concerned with this ourselves - not worried, but aware that it would probably eventually touch us in some way. We've semi-joked about our worst-case scenario plans (Montana in the summer, my aunt & uncle's Arizona ranch for the winter - they have a nice big barn where we could sleep). Some upper-level mucky-mucks at Dan's work were recently let go, so there has been some rumbling and mild unrest in the ranks.

Well, today we got the first of our own not-entirely-fantastic news. Pay cuts for everybody. It's better than a layoff, better than a kick in the teeth, but either we cut a significant chunk out of our monthly operating budget or we cut a significant chunk out of what goes in the savings account each month. I kinda sorta wish we had bought that cheap little place in the canyon; a $700 mortgage payment is looking really good now vs. our $2k rent.

So now I have to figure out where to trim. No more soda with our weekly Del Taco run - three 99-cent burritos and that will have to be it. I have actually been far too easily seduced by fast food lately and I'll just have to cut that out. The overall food budget is the most obvious place - it's the biggest monthly expense by far. I'll have to start being more serious about meal planning and shopping for the best prices. We need to find another family to swap babysitting with so we can still go on dates twice a month (that's $40+ a month we'll save by not paying babysitters). I'll have to be more diligent about eating everything we grow this summer and not letting food go to waste. I NEED TO LEARN TO CAN FOOD!

How cheap can you eat? I'm not going to resort to 10-cent ramen, but any websites or meal-planning resources you can provide will be awesome. This is bumming me out quite a bit - we had a very serious talk the other night about bringing additional kids into the family and now I'm afraid we won't be able to afford that. This also makes preschool for Eli much less likely this fall. Again, it's better than a layoff (although I had my fantasies about it, I admit). And there's no guarantee that there won't still be layoffs down the road. So no more plants - everything else will have to be from seed now. My carefree spendthrift days must come to an end. Sigh.


Julia Harps said...

Meal planning will save you tons. WHen I plan my meals I have money left over. WHen I don't I scrape by. It's weird.
I am glad Dan didn't loose his job.

Marque and Sarah said...

Good luck with that, Colleen. Fast food is a tough habit to kick. I have been off fast food for five weeks now (other than Saturday) and it is amazing how much money I am saving. You can do it!

Stephanie said...

Fast food is a huge one. I think you are being very wise with your garden. Canning is not tough - there are plenty of books available and the equipment can be found pretty cheaply on Craig's List or at yard sales/thrift stores. Darn, I just saw a huge pressure canner/cooker for $14 at a thrift store. If I would have known you were looking I would have snatched it for you. I'll see if it's still there the next time I go if you want?

We'll be in Cali at the end of this month for a birthday at Disneyland - do you still have passes and want to meet us there?

colleeeen said...

Disneyland is a budget-buster for us. we haven't had passes for years - the good ones cost over $300 each, so that's $1200 for the whole family. nope! we're already out of town the weekend of the 24th - is that when you're coming?

if that pressure cooker is in working order (not an old one that's going to explode) i'm definitely interested.

liannallama said...

oh, no! I'm so sorry! (((HUGS)))

Have you ever seen you can save tons by using their system as long as you have enough room to store 6 weeks of supplies. They tell you when the very best sales are by the sales cycle and how to use your coupons to save.

Stephanie said...

We're either coming up the 24th or the weekend after - we still have some planning to do. If I find it, I can just leave it with your mother (if we come up the 24th).