encouraged by a lack of incoming financial flow, i am working on slowing down our budget to a crawl. that means re-upping my previous commitment to 'the compact' lifestyle. a blog i recently discovered calls it a slow year/life. check out her left hand column, she's got loads of great ideas on how to get started.
i am trying to do this for 2 reasons: 1. so that we can live on the little amount of income we have at our disposal and 2. so that we can start saving up for our future plans.
so, first off, no more 'joy' trips to the thrift shops. yes, stuff is cheap, but when you drop $60-80 each time you go, it adds up pretty quickly, usually on stuff i didn't really need but couldn't pass up because it was such a bargain.
stay out of other stores: department stores, grocery stores, etc. only shop when necessary, with a list and with a budget. a set amount to go in with and no more. no exceptions.
cut that grocery bill down. make more foods from scratch. learn to make crackers so that the kids like them (i've made them in the past but they were not a hit). grow more food that we eat and learn to store it in a manner that is pleasing to the crowd. be more conscious of what is on hand and what's in the fridge to minimize waste (something that i've always justified by saying 'it's being fed to the chickens so it's not really wasting.' it is because we don't feed them any less feed when we give them the scraps. it's waste. period.)
be an electrical natzi. i used to be good at this and i've slacked off. back on the electrical meter!
when purging items, instead of just dropping them off at the thrift shop, sort through them and find items that can be sold on craigslist and ebay. for instance, we have a dvd that works fine but the remote is busted. i'm inclined to take it to the thrift shop but i bet anything i could sell it on craigslist for $25-35. not a lot but throw all these sales into a coffee can and before we know it, we've got savings!
as for gas consumption, i'm currently stuck driving at least once a week to go pick up my older kids at their dad's. that's on tuesdays. i try to combine all my other errands for the week such as the library, grocery shopping, etc. but things do crop up. when shop-n-save has their $10 off day on thursdays (but not every week), i try to jump at the chance to do my shopping then to get an additional $10 worth of groceries for free. last week, i just squeaked by, my total before taxes was around $50.25. i mentally calculate all the items as we go through the store, which i might add, is no easy task when i'm pushing those silly race car shopping carts (have you ever tried steering those things?!) with two cranky kids who want everything i'm definitely NOT buying...i consider it a way to keep me mentally fit (HA!).
although there are a few people in the house still not on the cloth wipe bandwagon, i have converted about half our household to using them. that's half the amount of toilet paper we have to use. however, everyone uses them for everything else since i don't buy paper napkins or paper towels. we have cloth napkins and cloth wipes that are larger for general use. i have a stash of old chinese prefolds that are great for mopping up spills.
i'm constantly on the look out to see how we can cut our budget. i dropped the cell phone monthly plan and switched to trac phone almost a year ago now. i love it. i use it for emergency type calls only and spend about 1/8 of what i spent before for the same purpose. we will keep a landline because of the business/farm and same for the internet. 80% of my sales are internet based so i need that access, plus to update websites and whatnot, it's important to have it close at hand, not to mention for homeschooling. it is an invaluable tool for that.
there are many other ways i am or have cut back that i haven't listed here but i still know i can do better. what are ways you are cutting back to relieve your budget?