Thursday, August 20, 2009

Money. Also money. And money.

We've almost made it through month two of the spending freeze and I've had some rocky moments recently. I struggled for the first few weeks, with no going out to lunch with work friends, and no running out to target to get a waterproof mattress cover the minute I decide we need one, but it was relatively easy to shake that mindset. I think I had it easier than Chris, who misses his Burger King breakfast and weekend coffee IMMENSELY. Fortunately, Kristi just got an at-home espresso machine, and is still interested enough in it to make us wonderful lattes.

We've done an excellent job cutting the grocery bill, but there just isn't anything I can think to do about the DAMN INSURANCE BILLS. This month would have been really clean for me, but I had to pay my life insurance premium and these days I just translate that kind of cost into: "good lord, that's more than a month of groceries!" And the car insurance! It's like every time I turn around, people want me to give them money and get nothing tangible in return. It was a lot more satisfying when I got to go buy the waterproof mattress cover. Maybe I'll turn republican, and then I can shout that the government should keep their hands off my money, while simultaneously enjoying my paved roads and government-funded job. That would be nice.

One thing I've been surprised by is how easy it is to "make do" with what we have. I look at the living room and think, "oh, we really need a new rug. There is just nothing left to do with these stains. And a we need a new TV stand. That one is going to literally fall apart one of these days." But then I think, well, we're just going to have to live with it a little while longer. And try to keep the children a full four feet back from the TV. Did you know that more children are seriously injured each year by TV sets than by scissors?

Hopefully the spending freeze won't last FOREVER. I mean, at some point one of us will get a raise, right? Sure, maybe it'll be Sam, but we can wait. Oh, except his first raise will probably be an allowance and that DOESN'T HELP the situation AT ALL. Maybe we'll just tell his 8 year old self that we are on a spending freeze. Really, though, I know this is just a stop gap measure. People will probably notice at Christmas if all the gifts we give turn out to be handmade. Mostly because we have no talent. Some people could get away with that. Ours would be "heirloom" t-shirts "decorated" with Sharpie. And Chef Boyardee. Because once that orange sauce touches a surface, that surface is, henceforth, permanently orange and I've always thought they should find a useful outlet for that kind of staying power.

Last week I passed up a REALLY GOOD sale at Gymboree. That was kind of hard. But I figure, Sam doesn't need his fall wardrobe right now, so we'll worry about that later. If the damn kid didn't GROW so TALL, he could wear the same clothes he wore last year like the rest of us. Assuming we didn't get all fat. Which I will simply not have the luxury of doing, giving said spending freeze and powerful desire to button up my shirts and pants. Owen can get by fine with hand-me-downs (except for shirts that met with Chef Boyardee). Sam should be okay except for his wrists and ankles. I've been thinking of finding some fabric (my mom might have some extra) and just sewing bands of cloth around the cuffs of his shirt and pants.

Like this:

How cute is that? Also, how impressed are you that I finally put a picture in this blog? Eh? Eh?


  1. after I read about said spending freeze, I started trying to do less of the spending myself. I have not gone into target to buy random household item in over a week, and have eaten work food or home food all day. of course my husband always talks me into eating dinners out, but we're working on that. Skipping my phoenix and target visits is def. saving money.

    Also, I have not gone to trader joes in 2 weeks. we have to eat what is here.

    Thanks for the reality check, beth.

  2. I'm so glad that you found us inspiring, Lea. Personally, I love spending money. And if you have money to spend, I fully support economic stimulus. It's actually a little embarassing that we have to do this. The reason we told people what we are doing is so they know that we aren't buying anything, so stop inviting us out to lunch. Unless you're paying. But it has been interesting to note that our spending has decreased by about 700 a month, and our standard of living is pretty much the same. We're like pioneers, making do with what we have.