At the beginning of 2012, the hubs and I sat down and talked about how we’d been going through money like it was water. We knew what the problem was, we just needed to come up with a solution. We bought what we wanted, when we wanted. We would check the payroll website on Wednesday to see what Friday’s paycheck would be. Then we’d see what bills needed paid for the week, and figure out how much had left that we could spend! We ate out, the kids and I shopped, DH would buy tools for work, e-books, you name it.
When we got our W-2′s I was SICK at the amount DH had made for the year and the amount we had in savings, which was nearly nothing. DH has a good job, but the thought of all that money just freely flowing was horrifying.
I started out meal planning, and making a shopping list. This helped in several ways. First of all, it made sure I had everything I needed for the meals for the week, so we weren’t tempted to “just grab something” while we were out. I was able to get things ready the night before, thawing out meat or what have you, so it was all set for the next night. That was wonderful as well, so I couldn’t use the excuse that the chicken was still frozen and have DH pick up a pizza on his way home. Another reason meal planning helped us, is because I had a list. I wasn’t running willy nilly through the grocery store with the kids distracting me, picking up extra stuff “just in case” in a hurry to get out. Also, if it wasn’t on the list, I didn’t need it, so I didn’t buy it. The benefits just kept coming; I was only shopping once a week so we were saving gas, we were eating healthy homemade meals, and there was no last minute what to make stress!
In just a few months, we had saved a thousand dollars! We were blown away, and pretty disgusted, that we’d just been throwing that money away!
Much to our surprise, DH got laid off in February. He went from working 50-60 hours a week to coming in on a Monday and “we’re sorry, we just don’t have enough work”. I was devastated at first, panicking that we’d never be able to make it with two kids, a mortgage, and a car payment. Once I got over the initial shock, I knew we’d be ok. God had given us advance notice, and a chance to save up enough to survive. And that we did. DH was only out of work for a few weeks before starting with another company, and eventually going back to the original company.
We’ve since been slacking at saving, which happens every summer. We run the souvenir booth at our local Medieval Faire, and we find ourselves just too busy and falling into old habits. Now that the Faire is over, we have decided to buckle down and get back to basics again, hoping to start a large enough savings to put an addition on the house. Wish us luck!