I have been doing great.
I do need to make sure my library items get back on time.
I did buy my daughter $8 in birthday presents, used books through Amazon.com. Last year I was beginning a major transition in my life, and I was a regular Amazon customer. Today I felt that temptation, and I did slide a bit: I bought two used books rather than the one I had planned, but I'm improving.
Her other presents from me are from a homeschool yard sale, where I exactly broke even. I can see needing to go with $0 presents in the future, but at this point I am not sure it's necessary (finances are up in the air (divorce)).
One thing I really labored with this month was the homeschool yearbook. It was only $5, so beautiful and full of the faces of the children we have come to love as part of our community. At first I just ignored it, telling myself it was not necessary, which is true. But when I saw one, I decided to contact the mom and see if she had any leftovers, and I am going to get one.
Another thing is that my children needed new shoes, due to leaving them at parks and outgrowing. In one case, I am working on my oldest parting with her old pair of croks because my middle child lost his pair. I thought that was a stroke of genius, but she's still pondering her "price." (I am hoping it can be in-kind, like giving her X amount of time for things she loves to do.) We did get two pair at the yard sale, big score. My dd also needs church shoes, and that's a bit trickier, but I'm trying to solve the shoe "necessity" with craftiness rather than buying new. I'm also trying to solve it without going to thrift stores, because I would have to bring my kids, and it would be extremely hard to walk out of several thrift stores with three children without buying extras.
We've been making the most of nature as entertainment, and it really feeds us all. The museum has a free-day coming up, and we'll go. I bet the best part will be climbing on the tree outside it anyway.
We haven't bought food out once. Here's to outtings with PB&Js, apples, and kids who get hungry enough to eat them. Until this budget crunch this winter I never knew it was possible.
I managed to cut my electric bill to an all-time low, and I am so proud and encouraged about that. (Thanks MDC mamas for your ideas!)