February 2016 – This month, I am a THRIFTY mom.
The Challenge: Each month I’ll choose one characteristic I want to build upon to help me be the best mom I can be. I will determine four goals to help me carve that path, and I’ll report back on my successes and (undoubted) failures, too. In February, my theme is THRIFTY.
1. Read a relevant, popular book on the subject and start taking action as I read. February Pick (affiliate link): Living Well, Spending Less
3. Try one new activity that may help me accomplish my goal. Make lunches for the family
4. Determine how I will involve the husband and kids so it’s a family experience, or at least, family benefit. Try free activities with my son, meet with my husband each week to track our budget and spending.
This month, I am a THRIFTY mom.
I lost my job on the last day of 2015, so incorporating thrifty habits into my Ultimate Mom Challenge seemed like a no-brainer. Suddenly our two income household dropped to one, timed impeccably well with a home remodel we did over the fall that went way over budget and walloped our savings. And with a baby on the way, more big expenses are just an epidural away!
My husband and I read (affiliate link) Dave Ramsay’s Total Money Makeover a few years ago, and it was life changing. We eliminated our debts and took on Dave’s mantra “Live like no one else, so you can live like no else.” (It makes sense after you’ve read the book). But, after a few years, we got
lazy comfortable and started cutting corners. We never did make a budget that we could stick to. We watched our spending, but had no qualms with watching it disappear on nice dinners, vacations, and fun purchases. Most recently, we tapped into our emergency savings to help us cover the remodel when things started to go south. So when the real emergency happened and I was laid off, well… the acronym SOL comes to mind. It was time to rethink our strategy.
Creating a family budget, something simple but achievable is a must do this month. This is harder than it sounds. I absolutely hate talking about money. Even thinking about it makes me sweat and my eyes fil with tears. Growing up, my family never talked about money. It was considered inappropriate, and money was always discussed negatively. While we lived very comfortably and were well provided for, the money mentality I carried with me was this: There is never enough, it is never safe, and it disappears without notice. So now, my husband knows that a very easy way to make me freak out and start crying is to bring up financials. I can’t help it! It’s like Pavlov’s classical conditioning experiment with dogs and bells and drool. Only it’s me and money and tears.
Last month I learned about meal planning, which is going to help my family enormously with saving money on dinner. But something I know we spend a lot on is lunch too. My husband goes out for lunch every single day. I go less often, now that I’m unemployed, but I used to be a regular at Whole Foods and other hoity toity lunch stops. So planning our lunches ahead is a great habit to start getting into now, as we work on our budget.
To involve the family, I will plan weekly meetings with my husband to review the budget and see how we are tracking. After all, a budget isn’t much good if only one of us is following it. With my son, I will try to do one to two new activities that are free, good for cold weather, and age appropriate. I’ve heard good things about the local library’s Toddler Time, so that will probably make the list. But I’ll also keep an eye out for what else is being offered in the community. And of course, going to the local hill to sled or build a snowman never cost money, so why not try that too?
Please join me on this Challenge, too! Your goals will probably be unique, but nothing motivates quite like a team. And it’s a lot more fun with company.
Okay, it’s time to get THRIFTY!
Oh, and follow my progress on my Facebook page!