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.