But tonight I just really, really wanted to go to a restaurant. I was tired. We had a birthday party from 3-5 this afternoon and so there was not time to cook when we got home. I was kicking myself for not realizing the time of the party because I could have prepared things ahead of time had I noticed. So we all got home within 15 minutes of each other and we were hungry and there was no food. Going out to eat would have been a really bad choice.
I finally drug myself off the couch and ran to buy hot dogs at the grocery store. Maybe not the most nutritious meal, but definitely not $25-30 out of our pocket either. So....now my meal plan will last longer, right?
I'll tell you, getting out of debt (especially when you seem to keep adding to it thanks to a recent surgery) is not exciting. It's challenging and it's every single day.
May I just say that I took my girls to that birthday party today, which was for TWO KIDS AT ONCE, and we spent just over $4.00 on gifts? Thank you. If you'd like to hear how I did that I'll be happy to
So here is my big plan for helping us stretch those dollars so we can climb out of the hole:
1. Homemade cleaners. I already make my own laundry soap thanks to Suzanne and that saves TONS of money. It really does. This week I learned about Grocery Shrink and if you sign up for her newsletter she sends you recipes for homemade cleaners and they are different from what I have seen online before. I'm trying some soon.
2. Cloth napkins and rags. Angela at Grocery Shrink talked about this and I've considered it many times before. I think I'm just going to do it now. I've sewn cloth napkins but to make it through the week we may need more. No problem. She also mentioned cutting up old t-shirts (they don't ravel) and I think I'll cut up our old towels that are falling apart to make rags for the kitchen, spills, cleaning, etc. The only thing we should need paper towels for is grease, right? I can stop buying paper towels every week. I KNOW it would save money to go cloth in the bathroom too but I draw the line there. Sorry.
3. Not totally related to money, I'm also going to start using glass jars for leftovers and throw away the plastic. I read something that grossed me out and scared me all at the same time. I may go back to washing my hair with baking soda and rinsing with vinegar. (yes, if you clicked on the link above about the laundry soap, my 2009 self was dissing folks who do this--I've crossed over, what can I say?) We did that for a few months and it worked just fine. It will be fewer chemicals AND less money as well. I still draw the line on natural deodorant. Sorry.
4. Be diligent. Raising Homemakers had an article about this and it really struck a chord with me. Quit whining about how you don't FEEL like doing ______. Just get it done. Dirty dishes really do cost money and time. So can dirty clothes. And library books. Disorganization can cost time and money also. Be diligent and take care of things.
5. May I just say that since my daughters have been washing their own clothes (I have pictorial instructions I made for them if anyone wants me to e-mail them to you) there have been fewer and fewer dirty clothes in their hamper? Interesting. I KNOW FOR A FACT that clean clothes were being thrown in there because they didn't want to put them away. I'm not saying it doesn't still happen, but they have figured out that they are only shooting themselves in the foot and have nearly stopped that behavior. More savings!
6. Grocery shopping/menu planning. I will continue this. I do not coupon, but I am getting better and better at the shopping. I've been spending less each week. It's really exciting to outdo yourself at the checkout lane. Is it wrong to yell, "YES!" and do a celebration dance in line? Starting 30 Meals is part of this money saving plan.
7. Stay home. You really do save money by NOT going out. :) My girls don't see things they want. I don't see things I want. Since I stopped shopping at Wal-Mart, my grocery bill has gotten smaller and smaller. I go there for paper goods/toiletries sometimes. I was there recently and was astonished at all the things there were to be had that we had not even thought about wanting simply because we hadn't seen them. Saves gas too.
8. Sweat a little. My grandmother lived in Texas and never had central air. If she can do it, I can live with the thermostat on 80 for heaven's sake. We have fans in almost every room. If we're hot, we change clothes. I keep the curtains and blinds closed until evening. I hate that, but it helps the electrical bill so much. Also, get a clue and get up early to do the hard work like my grandmother did and sit your butt down in the heat of the day and do sit down work then. Duh.
Did I forget something important? What do you do to save money?