When Mr. Money lost his job last year, we went into survival mode. Obviously, finances were incredibly tight as we figured out what our income was going to be and how we were going to work things out. Mr. Money has been studying software development for over a year now, and actually was accepted to a coding boot camp last year. He attended his first session in January and graduated from the Front End Web Development program at the end March. He’s now studying the C#/.net framework and is attending classes to further his knowledge on the subject and hopefully help him get a job in the near future. I’m hoping by the end of the year/beginning of next year he will have a junior software developer job.
While Mr. Money is working on this new career advancement, I’ve been in frugal mama mode with our budget. We’ve been bare bones for awhile (basically since he lost his job last summer), but thankfully since we’ve always lived pretty minimally/frugally, this is not a shock to our lifestyle. We have stopped contributing to retirement and college for the meantime, and I’m confident that once he secures a new job we will be able to resume contributions. Here are some of the things I’ve been doing to help save us as much money as possible.
We have been spending a lot of time at home. When we don’t go out, we don’t spend money because we don’t have to pay for gas to get places, and we also aren’t tempted to spend money at stores or places on things that we don’t need. Staying home provides gratitude and contentment for what we have. Once really fun thing we’ve been doing is hosting many play dates with friends! I love inviting my friends over and spending time with them in our backyard. We’ve made it into a kids’ oasis! We also do have friends that live about a quarter of a mile away and we’ve spent many days over at their houses too!
A meal plan helps us tremendously because not only do we have a game plan for what’s for dinner, but we also know what groceries we need to buy when we go to the store. I generally meal plan around what’s in our freezer, fridge, and pantry. I stock up on meats and things when they are on sale, and Costco has amazing prices on their organic frozen vegetables! I like frozen vegetables because then I don’t have to worry about them going bad, plus their nutrient content is usually excellent.
Cook at Home
Cooking at home goes hand in hand with meal planning. When we go out to eat, it costs us a minimum of $25 for a casual restaurant. We don’t visit sit down restaurants generally because it’s harder with kids, and it costs more when you have to leave a 20% tip. Eating at home is so much cheaper!
We don’t just stay at home and never have fun. We partake in so many frugal activities with our family and friends. We often have potlucks with our friends where we all contribute a portion of the meal- one person does meat, the other a vegetable, and the other a side or dessert. It works out well because then one family isn’t responsible for the whole meal. We also attend church every Sunday (it’s only 5 minutes away and we love the fellowship!) and we go for walks around our neighborhood. Many days we will pack a lunch and have a picnic at our local park. We’ve been taking trips to our libraries- one is really close to our house and one is about a fifteen minute drive but is a lot larger and has more activities. The summer reading program will be starting soon, and Penny is really looking forward to that!
Thankfully I have been bringing in income for years through my various side hustles. I’m thankful that I started my blog when I did, and that it does provide income that is so needed for our family. I also try to pet sit and baby sit whenever someone asks me to. I prefer pet sitting as it’s much less stress, but Penny really enjoys when I baby sit and I don’t ever turn those jobs down either!
I’m so thankful that we have lived frugally/minimally for years so it’s not like this is a shock. I am looking forward to the day where things aren’t so tight and we are able to go on vacation. Every day I am thankful for what we do have and the blessings that continue to come our way!
Is frugality a necessity for you? Are you working on paying down debt, or saving money?