Hi, everyone, especially Prudence, who bravely carries this thread from month to month! Thank you!
I am Amanda, part-time-WAHM to four unschooled kids and one unemployed DH. DH has been out of work since December. He is collecting unemployment, which has been enough to carry us through, and he is also working a part-time job in addition to that. We are hoping he'll have FT work soon, but making do until that happens.
It has been a long time since I posted in this thread, but I need some extra accountability. We used our EF to buy a needed car (after 10 months of going without), then relatively conscientiously used our CC to bridge a money gap.
We also borrowed some money from my mom. Now we have to pay off the CC and my mom as fast as possible and build our EF back up.
Yes, I know, don't use the CC. It was not frivolous and we plan to pay it off and retire it again.
Our long term goal is to be completely debt-free including cars/mortage, and the path to that for us is to buy land and sell our house. Used to be the other way around, where we were going to sell our house and use the profit to buy land, but the market fell and now we don't have enough equity to buy land with. So our goals are now this:
1) pay off CC and my mom
2) build up EF
3) save downpayment for land
4) buy land
5) sell house
6) build small cabin on land and eventually build house on it, mortgage-free
The idea is that we would buy land and then build as close to mortgage-free as possible, with the ultimate goal of being debt-free and living relatively self-sufficiently.
The more realistic plan is that we'd be building up savings to carry us through for as long as possible if DH's unemployment runs out before he can get a job. Either way, we'll be glad for that savings.
I won't be coming here every day to record everything, but I will try to check in a couple of times this month and post something. I have been doing this long enough that I'm feeling good about how I spend. I just need to extra-tighten the budget until the CC is paid off.
This month (and the coming months) I vow not to buy anything, not even Christmas presents, unless I have the money in the bank and it's not already assigned to something else AND it's unavoidable that it needs to be purchased now. I will move "extra" money rapidly into the CC or EF to remove the temptation of spending it.
I will not buy any groceries but the essentials. This month that means stocking up on apples, raisins, rice, flour, a few sale items, and lemon juice. I will also need baking oil, eggs, and hopefully will find a good deal on some more meat for the freezer. Otherwise, we're eating cheap from pantry.
I will do my best not to waste food - use up leftovers before they go bad, plan leftovers in advance, make sure to offer leftovers to kids and DH.
I will stay out of stores so I am not tempted to spend on anything.
I will spend money only on what is budgeted or needed, and the rest of the money will go to the CC. I have $1000 in the EF and that will suffice to hold us while I pay off the CC and my mom. Then I will build up the EF more.
spend planned money on music lessons/classes/events and homeschooling group dues. I will probably buy more PBS/SaCD credits (for homeschooling
). Otherwise I'm pretty confident that we can get through the month without spending.
I will spend much time counting my blessings and reminding myself of all that we do have. I will practice recognizing all the areas where we are absolutely RICH. We have all the warm clothes and bedding we need for winter, oil prices are down compared to last year, we have a full pantry, lots of fun games and amusements at our house, we have accumulated money-saving self-sufficiency items, we have good relationships with people who give us hand-me-downs and garden gleanings and other things, we have two cars in good working order, we did our roof a few years ago, all six of us have health insurance, I have most of what we need for Christmas, and we basically have "everything" we need. I do not need more than that.
I will use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without. I will shop at home first. I will practice gratitude. I will pinch pennies.
So that's me.