Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Saving the Moola: July in review

I had such high hopes for July... and I wasn't too disappointed!

Our car is 14 years old. That's something I really need to make my peace with. We thought it needed to be repaired, and it does, technically. But for now, we're living with the uckiness of having an old car. The second we're debt free, we're saving as much money as we can to buy a new-to-us car with cash!

Beyond the fact that our car is was stressing me out a bit a lot, July was really great. Some of our frugal activities included:
  • We picked many pounds of blueberries and canned one batch of jam. We typically freeze blueberries for use throughout the year, but since our freezer is currently overrun with hundreds of ounces of breast milk and many pounds of beef, we decided freezing just wasn't happening this year.
  • I shaved Jason's head. I always cut his hair for him. We bought the kit we're using at this time for $10, and it's lasted two years. I cut his hair every five to six weeks. That's about 9 haircuts a year. And I've cut his hair 18 times. Each haircut = 56 cents. The best price you'll ever find!
  • We spent a lot on groceries the first half of the month, then decided to just eat from the pantry and freezer the last half of the month. This helped even out our grocery budget a lot. I'm planning our menu for August with meals from the freezer and pantry. Each week, we shop the perimeter of the grocery store (dairy, produce, etc.).
  • We were invited to many barbecues and ate for free. Many times, we brought watermelon or some other dish to pass, but it was still really cheap on our end. Many thanks to my parents for feeding us many times!
  • We tended our garden and as of this writing, we have harvested 14 cherry tomatoes and 6 big tomatoes. This doesn't necessarily lower our grocery budget, but it does ensure we have fresh produce on a near daily basis from the mid-July to mid-September. If we harvest enough in one go, we plan to can tomatoes. We didn't get to do this last year, but we have one more big plant this year, so we'll see what happens.
  • We coupon heavily on and off, and we're heavily couponing right now. Bug is in cloth diapers for the majority of the time, but at night and when we're out of the house (when we think of it), we pop her in a paper diaper. To offset the cost of paper diapers, I check out the diaper deals each week. I would guess we spend about $3.25 on average on diapers per week. This is a pretty low cost in my mind and well worth it for the convenience when we're out of the house, in particular. We also have scored great deals on groceries lately with coupons which also helped even out our grocery budget.
Jason recently cut his hours at the library. He only works one day there for now, which is sad because he loves it so much, but necessary because we have a Bug to take care of. He recently was offered a full-time position at his other job. This is a blessing many times over! It will save us some money in health insurance costs, and he will be earning vacation time now. He works many hours to provide for our family, and I'm very grateful for his work ethic.

I'm still plugging away at my job. At times, it is very difficult for me. I certainly wish I could be with Bug all day long and never have to work. At this time, we couldn't even make it work like that (I am the primary provider in terms of finances), and I'm not really sure I could leave my career. I truly enjoy working. Things could always change, but I'm very grateful to work from home most days. I'm always available to Bug whenever she needs me. This eases my heart a ton.

We sent a ton of money to my student loan institution. We are inching closer and closer to our goal of finally owing them nothing! I'm incredibly excited. I can't wait to start saving for a new car. There are so many things wrong with our car, it's just sad. And I will be sad the day I no longer drive that car. This August, I will have owned that car for a decade. 10 years. That's a really long time. That car has been part of my life for more than a third of my life. I think that's really saying something. Anyway, I could go on and on about that car (and yes, my car does have a name: it's Flamer).

With eating primarily from the pantry and freezer in August, I'm hoping we can work on knocking down my student loan debt a bunch. We're praying for a prosperous August!

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