Megan is a mom of a two and half year old boy with the best hair ever and a baby girl on the way. She lives for cupcakes and a good book (or any book really.) She can be found writing at Mama Bub or on Twitter. This post was originally published on her own blog as her entry in our Blissfully Frugal contest. Be sure to read all the entries and vote for your favorite.
Ten years ago, these were words that were not in my vocabulary. Money wasn’t a discussion growing up. Not necessarily because we had an abundance, but it just wasn’t on my radar.
Oh the times, how they have changed.
Now, I’m a stay at home mom living on one teacher’s salary in a home with a mortgage that makes me want to vomit. (Dear Realtors, Sending out a listing of all of the recent home sales was a bad, bad, bad idea. Particularly when there was a large SIX DIGIT difference between what I paid for my home and what I could sell it for today.)
Our initial plan was for me to go back to work after Bub’s first year. A few months into that year it occurred to both of us that wouldn’t be happening and we needed to make some changes.
A few changes worked for us to live within our means and keep a roof over our head.
We take out cash at the beginning of every month for our “fun” money. We each get a personal allowance and there’s a small amount set aside for entertainment and gifts. It sounds like a lot broken down into those categories, but let me assure you, it’s not. The beauty of spending cash on these non-essentials is that once the money is gone it’s, well, gone. Husband and I have two different approaches to this money. He spends his immediately, as if it’s literally burning a hole in his pocket. I hoard mine, spending little bits here and there, making it last for the month.
Some people hate receiving gifts cards as gifts. They think they’re impersonal and thoughtless. Not me! Love them. They allow me to shop and indulge without worry and guilt. Confession? I hoard my gift cards as well. As you might suspect, husband practically runs out the door to spend his and then looks longingly at my stockpile.
I used to have no idea how much anything in the grocery store cost. If we wanted strawberries in December, we bought them, regardless of the $5/lb price tag. Now, HA! Those grocery store ads that I spent many years of my adult life recycling? I actually read them now. I do clip coupons as well, but half the battle is recognizing what a good price is for something and knowing when to buy and when to walk away.