Let me catch you up on what is going on...... Ian is doing well his first trimester of pharmacy tech school. Rachel is in her second year at ETSU. She is really struggling with her health and with her heart as her boyfriend is at WKU about six hours away from her. She is thinking of transferring there next year even though we don't want her too.
David is having a very rough year this school year. Metro has cuts all budgets severely expecting the teachers to pick up the slack and we don't have the extra money for it. He is a science teacher who is expected to do two experiments a week without the school system getting the needed supplies. We have had to get creative this year. I am still home and canning like crazy up until this last week. We have had so much rain that the tomatoes are dead. So sad as we picked into November last year. I think I have some peppers to pick and then I need to check on the fall garden. The garden looks so bad this year as we have not been able to keep up with the weeds. Lesson learned for next year. My health is up and down like normal. My blood sugar reads need to get under control or I am on insulin by December. I am working very hard on that.
I wanted to share some of the things we are doing to cut back:
I have $200 to $250 a month for food. That is for three sometimes 4 people and when Rachel is home it can jump to six when her boyfriend comes over. That may seem a lot to some people but most months it is the lower end then the higher. We are tying so hard to pay down our debt so that we can live comfortable on his income. We have a new bill that starts in Feb. so I need to make room for it. I am trying to squeeze the pennies hard right now. Now, I am married to a man who loves meat and loves to snack. He is diabetic and a heart patient also so I have struggled to find snacks that he should have. I cook from scratch most nights and I buy very few convenient foods. For snacks I buy popcorn and pretzels. I also bake zucchini or pumpkin breads for him to snack on. I try to buy tortilla chips when I can find them on sale even though he will eat no name brand. In the summer I can as much salsa as I can as this is his favorite snack. Our meals are very humble and I repeat favorites though I try a new recipe every week. We eat out every other weekend that corresponds with his payday. It is our "date" night. We go to inexpensive places or we share a meal. I have started to be creative with what I already have. All of my meat was found on sale or I don't buy it. My meals no long revolve around the meat but it is a side dish instead. My meat man has learned to enjoyed meatless meals.
I had my dh hang shelves for me in my "new" laundry room so I can hang clothes inside as we are not allowed to have clothes lines outside. I use half of the laundry soap and I do make my own when I can't find a great sale on it. I have four extra bottles right now when they went on sale for $1.50 each.
I do not turn on lights until they need to be on. I try to keep the temperature inside the house around 72-73 in the summer as any warmer then that makes me physically sick. I love cold weather because I don't hurt as bad and my breathing is better.
I try to use and reuse when I can. We recycle and compost. Our garden was 32 by 40 this year and we are planning to enlarge it next year. I have not bought new clothes since I have been home except when we were planning our anniversary trip this summer and I needed shorts. I fix and repair what I can and make the rest.
I am currently working on Christmas gifts. Last year the only gifts we bought were for the kids and I have handmade stuff for them also. I love taking the time to make something special for each person or family group that we give to. Hand made are typically the most loved in the long run and simply gifts are typically the best. Find out special needs and try to fill them. With so many people hurting due to layoffs and hours cut back basic needs could be filled during the holiday season.
These are just a few of the ways that we can cut corners during these times.