Our Reduced Income Experience
by Ann Lewis
My husband and I both changed careers and went to 3/4 time jobs last year in order to spend more time with our daughters, ourselves and each other. It's an unusual situation, and we are much happier. I read the Dollar Stretcher with relish and use many of the ideas. Here's some ways we survived the 25% + drop in income:
We rarely eat out. A restaurant meal is a real treat, reserved for birthdays and anniversaries. We always pack finger food ( i.e. popcorn, fruit newtons, graham crackers, fruit) for "outings", so fast food isn't tempting. To ease the deprivation feeling ,we occasionally "splurge" at home - a t- bone dinner on our grill is still cheaper. Lunches at work are leftovers from dinner.
- We use one credit card but pay off the balance each month, even if we have to dip into savings. We can not stay afloat paying interest.
- We also lowered our expectations of meals at home, so that a scrambled egg dinner is welcome and easy. We simplified our meals too; boiled potatoes with butter and parmesan as seasonings, instead of a quick processed box of au gratin potatoes, for example. We eat a lot of homemade soup with hearty breads and salads.
- I learned how to use a pressure cooker to cook beans ( 40 minutes maximum and no soaking necessary) and to cook tougher pieces of beef and venison.
- We set aside 10% of all income for savings and keep at least a $5000 balance. It is part of my peace of mind.
6) We instituted an allowance for the girls. They may choose to do three chores a week for $1.00 a chore. At the end of the week, they are paid for what they've earned. One third of their earnings goes into their wallets for immediate consumption, one third is saved to the beginning of the month at least, and one third is funneled to their "adult" fund. The chores are emptying the trash, watering the plants, and changing the sheets on one's bed. Given their ages ( 3 and 5 ), they are assisting us when these weekly chores are performed, but so far it's working well. There are a few weeks when neither earns money, and there are weeks when they are scrambling to assist.
- We explain to our daughters that we strive to provide them with what we feel they need and that they may use their allowance to buy what they feel they need. For example, we bought sneakers and teva-like sandals for summer. Our eldest used her savings to buy a pair of "jellies". This method really helps with the "Disney-give-mes".
Share your thoughts about this article with the editor: Click Here
Trending on TDS
- Natural wound care Speonsored Review & Giveaway
- Money saving for dog owners Slideshow
- Buying and selling used video games
- School lunch advice from childcare center director
- Video: Avoiding vacation debt & regret
- Let's play with edible clay!
- 6 things to consider before taking on the care of elderly parents
- 6 cheap, effective home security solutions
- Grocery items you can find on sale in September
- Teen texting-while-driving cost: No LOL
- 5 colleges where your kid can go to school for free
- 6 secrets to saving more at discount stores
- What is the cost of raising a child?
- Spouse income calculator
- Should my spouse work, too?
- College savings calculator
- Home budget calculator