Friday, September 23, 2011

Our Story Part II

When I started to evaluate my job I looked at several areas.  One was my pay rate, 2nd was the amount of time it kept me away from home and unable to care for my family.  Third was the amount of stress I was under due to my job and my feelings of personal discontentment.  But then again my thoughts came back to me being our only steady income.  I knew the power company really didn't care that I was too stressed and unhappy with my job. They only cared if I paid the bill or not.  So my mind became obsessed with how to figure this problem out.  I was working as an Assistant Custodian and as I made friends with the teachers several of them asked if I would consider cleaning their homes.  This eventually evolved into a part-time business that Racey and I did before I went to work and he to class in the afternoons.  That was it!  If we could get our expenses to fit within the part-time money we could make, I could come back home full-time.  Our extra cleaning money was a third of my normal salary, so there again my work was cut out for me!  I'm a very determined person, and when I make my mind up to do something almost nothing can stand in my way.

Mission impossible began.  I pulled our bank statements, receipts, and online accounts and reviewed every transaction for several months.  I wanted to see where our money was really going and if the expense could be cut out or reduced.  Each item was weighed against the amount of time I had to work to have it. You can imagine things that were frivolous fell off the list quickly.  Remember this was not about sacrificing our quality of life, it was about increasing it.  Nothing was safe from the chopping block.
Even a necessity such as toilet paper.  I came across several frugal websites where people talk about how they no longer purchased toilet paper, instead they use family cloths (kinda like cloth diapers just smaller) and washed and reused them.  Now don't let the term "family cloth" make you think the entire family uses one cloth.  Each person uses a fresh cloth each time they use the restroom and place it in something such as a diaper pail to be disinfected and machine washed at a later date.  My kids absolutely balked at this one! My girls both said they were glad they had jobs and they would buy their own toilet paper before they did this, my son said "thank God I'm a boy."  Now I will admit, we came to some type of household agreement.  We agreed that if everyone would start to be considerate of the amount of toilet paper they used instead using enough to make a catcher's mitt, or so much the toilet overflowed due to half a roll being flushed, then I would still buy toilet paper.  Of course I tell you this story to make you laugh, but to also show you that I really considered every purchase when downsizing our budget.

It almost goes without saying that we cut expenses such as cable, fast food, pay entertainment like movies, gas, etc.  We did keep our internet so we could keep up with the news, banking, and things like the kid's school.  When we canceled our cable we didn't stop watching TV.  We found a free alternative.  Hulu is an internet based TV service with hundreds of free episodes.  If you want the deluxe membership it is seven dollars a month.  I dare say that is cheaper than cable!  As for fast food, we gave each person a budget amount of $10.00 a month, and when your $10.00 was gone that was it till the next month.  

Next was my mission to reduce our utilities, and I'll save that for next Friday....

Have a good weekend and stop by tomorrow for a new home cooked recipe.

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