Two years ago, my husband quit his job. He promised to find another one immediately. As the days went by, that time never came. He got comfortable just staying at home and I became the sole breadwinner in our home. At first, things were no where near easy. I struggled to make ends meet but didn’t change a thing when it came to the way we were accustomed to living.
Before too long, it became hard to keep our heads above water so I established a budget that we could live with. The first thing I did was prioritize. There were many things that we could live without (such as one hundred channels on satellite). I got rid of the things that weren’t necessities. I downgraded my telephone service, found the cheapest Internet provider possible, and started being less frivolous when it came to expenses. This made a big difference when it came time to pay bills.
When I get my paycheck, I take it straight to the bank. I write checks for any bills that need to be paid right away. In many cases, I try to overpay by a few dollars when I have it to spare. The extra money is credited to my account and deducted off the next bill. I always make sure I keep accurate records of what I have in the bank so that I don’t risk an over draft.
I am a coupon clipper. I also thoroughly read all sales papers and flyers that come to my house. I am able to comparison shop and get the best deal on groceries and items that we use around the house. If a store is having a sale on something that I use, I try to buy it in bulk. It is cheaper that way and I don’t have to worry about running out for awhile.
I love thrift stores and yard sales. I have clothed my husband, myself, and my son with gently used second-hand items for years. In most cases, the stuff is taken care of the people just want it out of their way for whatever reason. Bargain sales are also great places to get household items and knick-knacks. They aren’t exactly new but they are new to me.
When it comes to meal times, we rarely ever eat out. I prepare dinner at home. I fix plenty of vegetables and inexpensive items that accent the main course. If there are leftovers, I either freeze them for later consumption or we eat them the next day. My pets are big fans of leftovers and table scraps so I save money on pet food also.
We do not receive financial assistance but have been told that we qualify. I choose not to draw the benefits so that others that are in worse shape than we are can have them. I encourage anyone that can really use the extra help to sign up, though. That is what it is there for.
By no means am I a cheapskate but I do cut as many corners as possible. It isn’t always easy but we make it. We aren’t rich but we are never completely broke. By following these simple guidelines, we always have a few extra dollars in the bank to fall back on in case an emergency arises. We are well fed, we have a roof over our heads, and we are happy. How could we possibly ask for anything more?