Hello there! Writing this post is like running into a friend at Target who you never called again and sort of forgot about. Except a little worse. I didn’t mean to quit writing my blog, but it sort of just happened. But, now I have lots to share, so all is well.
Bad news: there’s a pandemic. Lots of places are closed, people are getting very sick, some are dying, kids have school via the computer, and lots of people have lost their jobs, and no one is socially seeing anyone. It’s really bad.
I am thankful that my family has remained safe and healthy. I’m grateful our income hasn’t changed and we haven’t lost jobs. I’m so thankful that we have a house with toys, books, a tv, and plenty of food and water.
Good news: I have been saving lots of money. Lots of businesses and hangouts are closed, so I have been better at saving. I can’t take much credit for this though, since we were all forced to stop spending as much.
It has been fun to find fun things to do at home with my kids for small amounts of money. We have done baking projects, colored rice and other sensory activities, started chores for the kids, wrote books together, and many other activities I can share another time. That’s a bit of an update on life now. Sort of doing well on being frugal, but still could be working on it.
I don’t know why, but writing down the things I purchase is the absolute WORST chore that has ever existed. Why?? Why do I hate it so much? I have repeatedly “started over” and repeatedly “stopped because it’s dumb.” So. Many. Times.
I don’t understand why it’s the worst to me, but I am re-dedicating to it today. I’m going to start a note on my phone, because maybe it will seem easier or more convenient.
Tracking my spending is an area that I really have fallen short in. So it’s the mini goal I have for this week.
I have been incredibly distracted from my frugality goal lately. The good news is I started a photography business via my photography goal, but the bad news is I can’t really use it as an excuse to not be frugal.
I have made some progress in the area. I started purchasing things from Facebook Marketplace, especially toys and kid furniture. Before my mission to be cheaper began, I never considered taking friends’ old items or even buying gently used; I would always just buy what I needed as I needed it. But a good friend moved recently, and I inherited a great play kitchen and some storage! Both things I was needing.
We also utilized Facebook Marketplace to sell items that we no longer needed, and in the past I would have just thrown them out.
So while I’m not saving thousands, I have used resources to help me save some. Progress is progress!
It has been a while since I posted about my frugality goal. It’s mostly because I quit on it for a while. It is super hard to adjust your spending habits. But as long as I continue coming back to it, I haven’t quit.
My focus this week is going to be writing down my spending. Then it feels more real to me than handing someone a plastic card.
Today in my fitness class, the instructor said “Don’t rely on motivation to work out, rely on discipline.” And I really like that saying for all things in life-especially being frugal.
You know who from your third grade class is a quitter today? The one who was always in the nurse’s office.
I was that kid. I “felt sick” a lot of times during elementary school. I wanted out of math class, out of gym class, away from that peer during lunch time, to avoid that “mean” teacher who was strict and scary.
It was the best. I could go to the nurse, who was the sweetest lady ever. She gave me an icepack for my head and allowed me to lay down on the cot. I got a fuzzy blanket and pillow. There, I quit. There was my comfort, my break away from the difficult. Hard times are, well, hard. I wanted to avoid them at all costs.
Today, it’s a little different. Now I go to the TV when I want to quit. Still with the pillow and blanket, but now in addition, TV binging. That is why my husband sets the parental control on the TV at home, so I don’t keep quitting.
I have been finding many good strategies for living a more frugal life. One of the best resources I have is Facebook. Specifically, facebook MOM groups. Because they are full of other moms who are on budgets too. They are looking to swap toys, donate their kids’ outgrown clothes, and buy your kids’ gently used books for cheap, etc. I am part of my Church Moms group, where the moms are extremely giving and caring and want to help.
My daughter didn’t have any snow pants or boots this winter, and before buying them, I just posted an ISO for those things on the church moms facebook page. That day, I got both items for free from beautiful women who just wanted to help.
I have also joined some of the city garage sale groups in my area. I HIGHLY recommend this! You can find gently used furniture, gadgets, clothes, etc, and sell on those pages as well.
But be careful, there are ALWAYS things posted that I’m like, “Oooh cute! Do I need that?!” Luckily my husband is always there to say “no.”
Ugh, adulting is the WORST sometimes. When you’re little, you can’t wait to be big so you can buy all the ice cream you want in the world, then when you’re big and finally have money to do that, you still don’t have money because bills. (Do you remember being like her below by the way? I do! Ha.)
Medical bills, electric, water, house payment, car payment, membership fees, the list goes on and on. Recently my husband and I have finally started prioritizing a savings. I know that sounds obvious to do, but there are always debts and big expenses that seem more urgent.
I fell into the “no debt is best” category, which IS true, but not at the cost of having savings for buffer.
Without the savings as a buffer we had to go more in debt using credit cards for new tires, paying hospital bills with interest, and many other things I won’t bore you with.
BUT, part of trying to spend less and need less is so we can contribute more to a savings. If you find yourself in debt but always try to pay off that debt to only go more into debt, maybe consider switching your mentality. Build a savings first. Then pay off that debt second.
Being an adult is hard, but I know others are struggling much more, like her-
Sometimes we need to remind ourselves where we started. This was from my first blog post around the goal of learning photography, exactly two years ago.
You guys. I didn’t know how to turn on the camera! Below were my very first pictures I took.
To celebrate my two year journey of ups and MANY downs, giving up, restarting, and a grind to make it through, I want to share my most recent photos- below:
Two years ago if you said it would take me two years to meet a goal of learning photography well, I would have said “then forget it. Not worth it.” Thank goodness I didn’t realize it would be that long, or I would have never been in a place of creating a website for my very own photography business now.
I suppose all of us could use some ideas for saving this Christmas season. A few I learned about are below:
Christmas toy swap: My friend and I are going to do this for our kids. Instead of purchasing our boys their own Christmas gifts, we are going to each pick a toy from home to swap and wrap up. Our kids really don’t know the difference, and it saves both of our families a little money!
Ditch the bows: No one really cares about the bows on top. Sure they look great, but they’re more interested in what’s under them anyway.
Utilize Secret Santa: instead of buying each other each a gift this Christmas, my husband’s side of the family has chosen to do a secret Santa. Each of us will get one gift, and each will purchase one gift. This helps us buy two gifts instead of four.
Decrease number of gifts for your kids: Here’s the thing. My parents, and my In-laws spoil my two kids a ton already on Christmas. So why should I also buy each of my kids three more gifts?? They don’t need 400 gifts each Christmas, nor do I need 400 more items to clean around. Aside from toy swapping, we are getting our kids zero gifts. Stocking stuffers at the most.
**Decluttering/Generosity teaching tip: I am starting something this year, as my son is 3 and starting to understand toys, gifts, needs, etc. I am anticipating he will receive about 10 gifts when all is said and done this year. So early next month, he will pick ten toys he can part with, and donate to a charity or goodwill. I’ll share how it goes later!
The other evening I had just come home from Target, after dinner, after a whole day. I needed a couple things and I didn’t want to drive far. Right as I put away the last item I realized CRAP! I forgot baby food. But-
My baby is teething and only wanting pureed food lately, and we were out, so I knew I needed to go get some. The last thing I wanted to do was drive back to Target to get it, but I got in the car anyway. Then I remembered that Aldi has the best priced baby food pouches.
I decided to drive there instead, regardless of how inconvenient it was. I probably saved a couple dollars, but a couple dollars is a couple dollars!
I realize I shouldn’t have gone to Target for my other items in the first place, but I can only do this one moment at a time.
Maybe you’re like me, a big picture person who lacks the ability to see all the tiny steps in between. If I start to focus on the steps in between, and make my small decisions moment by moment, it will change my outcome and help me reach my goals.
That day was full of wrong choices, and a couple right ones. But a couple right ones is still something.