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Friday, February 22, 2013

Saving even more when times get tough

Well, if we've all been watching the news, we should be aware of the sequestration and the government furloughs.  At this time, it's 80% that it's going to happen.....that's 20% of our income that will be gone and nothing we can do about it.....or is there???

I've already written about saving money on groceries, so I won't rehash everything.  But here's what happened yesterday: I had my lists (Kroger, Food Lion, Martin's, and "wherever I can find it cheap" which usually means Sharp Shopper) and the coupons for each store attached at the bottom of the list.  While DS was in his karate class, I ran to Sharp Shopper - with ALL of the lists.  I had roughly 45 minutes to get in, go through the lists, get out, and drive back to the next town over where the karate school is.  In the end, I got everything off the "whatever" list and about 1/3 of the things on the store-specific lists because it was cheaper to get at SS.  One of the things that I'm still in awe over is that I was able to get a whole ham (the kind they have in the deli that they slice for you and charge you $3.49/lb or whatever) for less than $7...yes, a WHOLE ham!!  That will be cooked and cut into quarters...those quarters will either be sliced thick for dinners or thin for sandwiches, maybe even diced to add to soups....I figured it out to be roughly 8 dinners (family of 4) and 8 lunches (for DH)...for $7!!!  Total spent at SS was $98

Had to inventory everything as it was put away, grab some lunch, pick up DD from school early for an evaluation for having 2 teeth removed  - hit with the fact that they wanted $104 up front just for an evaluation, and that's when I lost it....tried all day not to get too stressed and freaked out over where we were supposed to make up the difference in pay and then *wham!*  Fortunately, the receptionist spoke with the billing coordinator who called our dental insurance (we have some coverage through health insurance, but also have separate dental).  Because our dental insurance doesn't charge a co-pay, they opted to treat it as if they participated with the insurance and didn't charge me for the consult {phew} and when she told me that, I started crying all over again.  Got through all that, have the appointment set up for extraction, called both insurance companies, and instead of $410, we will have to pay $255...still more than we have, but this needs to be done or else it will be more extensive dental work as the adult teeth are starting to come in at awkward angles and NOT pushing the baby teeth out.

Ok, so....DH and I had decided that we would stay up as long as it took to get finances reigned in to figure out what we could do to make up for the 20% loss of income...turns out it only took about an hour.  The biggest thing is that we are only going to use our Visa for gas in the cars and paying for the family medicines (required, not optional).  Once our federal tax refund is in the bank, we are paying off the other credit card and putting our cards away (frees up about $100 every month).  I called about changing cell plans because if we could switch, we were going to get rid of the landline....only to remember that the house alarm (not an option to get rid of it) runs through the landline....there goes that idea.  Called about internet and there isn't any option other than cutting it almost completely, so this is still under discussion.  THEN....called our credit union to see about refinancing the cars....can't refinance DHs car because the payments wouldn't change at all, but CAN refinance my car and save $65 a month.....ok, that is $165/month....getting there....oh, and the first payment won't be due until April, which will give us a month that we can put $$ into savings.  March is also the last month of school payments, so for the next few months, we will either put that amount into savings or use it to pay off other bills and get them gone.  There are 2 things we will NOT give up: DSs school and karate for both children.  Both things have helped DS come so far (autistic, ADHD, anxiety, etc.) and we don't want to remove 1 or 2 of his compromise there.

Got that done and went out to finish grocery shopping...went to Kroger and got everything else that was on our list for about $134 total.....and after, $224 spent on groceries that will see us through another month, maybe more depending on how I tweak the meal plans.....that frees up more money to put aside or pay on bills.

Children are NOT happy, but both offered to give us the money out of their savings accounts...we told them no, that was money THEY earned and it was for their future expenses.

We are not going out or picking up take out (not that we did that very often anyway), we aren't buying anything that isn't needed (which is what the children are most upset about, I think), we are combining errands, and looking at every other way possible to save money.  I am going to start using up my fabrics and crafts and getting more items listed in my Etsy store to sell as much as possible, which may mean taking a hit initially, but I hope it will work out in the long run.  Other than increasing my sewing for others or getting a part time night job, there's not much else we can do.

What do YOU do to cut expenses, especially when money is tight and you have a loss of income through no fault of your own??

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