Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Smith Family Bailout

With the state of economy and the rising cost of EVERYTHING, our family is in evaluation mode. It would be easy to be fearful right now. News articles seem to be screaming that we are heading into the next Great Depression. While I am no financial analyst, it does seem that our country operates in excess mode. We want what we want and we want it now. Cost seems unimportant.

If I am honest, unfortunately I've operated in that same mode and have taught my children to do the same. So, while I can't change the world or the country, I can change myself and greatly influence my family. That is why my family is taking stock financially. We're taking baby steps.

This week we evaluated what we spend on beverages. Well, I determined that we spend an average of $130 a month on drinks and that does not count if we go out to eat or pick up a drink at a gas station. For crying out loud. That's $1,500 a year. Surely we can do better than that!! So, the Smith Family budget cut #1 is that we will reduce our beverage budget to $50 a month. Milk gets first priority...we do have some growing kids. Then, tea, coffee and juice (in that order). Anything else is considered a splurge.

Our second cut is piano lessons. Both of our girls are taking piano and while they love it and are progressing well, that's $120 a month. Yes, piano is important, but it is a luxury. So, we've gone to the drawing board. We've worked with their teacher and have come up with a plan to have the girls take piano every other week. They still have to do two weeks worth of work so hopefully it won't slow down their progress. That's a $60 a month savings.

So in one brainstorming session we've cut $140 from our budget for October.

Let me conclude by sharing my Hannah inspirations. First, our daughter Hannah gave up drinking carbonated beverages a year ago. Granted we're paying her $10 a month to do so based on a good case she made . She said she would be saving money. She's decided to continue to abstain until her braces come off. Talk about will power.

My other Hannah inspiration is my mother-in law. She is very frugal and lives simply. When I'm with her I'm amazed at how careful she is with her resources. I could certainly learn some lessons from her.

Some of my favorite frugal websites are:

http://www.moneysavingmom.com/
http://www.owlhaven.net

3 comments:

Jana (sidetrack'd) said...

Great post, Diane. Matt and I really need to sit down and do some evaluations like this.

And go Hannah! She's a strong girl. :-)

Jill Willeke said...

Hey --- i like your bail out plan!!! Way to go Hannah. Just a thought -- how much milk do the kids need? Christian is NOT a big milk drinker and he seems to be pretty strong and healthy. I have heard that humans are the only mammals that continue to give their young milk after the first 2 years of life. Milk is SUPER expensive over here -- about $5 a gallon, I am sure that we will have to start buying more with the twins coming into the picture, but there are also other ways to get calcium into their bodies.

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