Recently, I’ve been getting into a blog called Cheaplander that gives tips on ways to save money, living within your means, making informed purchases, and other ways to deal with this depressed Eeekonomy. Since I’ve lived in MI, I’ve been the most broke that I’ve been since being married to my husband. We started out thinking that I’d be a full-time student here, and took out a student loan large enough to cover the expenses that we anticipated for 6 months that his income could not cover. We knew that the cost of living in MI was much lower than CA, and we tried to pay for our move and expenses to get our home set up as frugally as possible.
Then the student loans hit. We knew that they would eventually, but they all came at once. Suddenly we had a $1700 monthly burden to include in our monthly expenses. Taylor’s first-year FO pay was only occasionally high enough to cover his loans. I got a job in March, and we’ve been trying to break even financially and cutting out unnecessary expenses.
First, we cut our cable. We did a package deal through Comcast (phone, internet, cable) for $99…but it actually ended up being $127 per month. We never used the home phone, and we realized that most of the shows we watch are on the main networks. So we trimmed our services to high-speed internet only for $56 per month. A few months later, they had a promotion running where we could add basic cable for $3/month…totaling $59 per month for cable and internet. I figure that the cost was worth is just so Rosie could get engrossed in Disney Channel and I needed mommy-alone time.
Another thing we cut was our clothing budget. I had a slew of lovely places in CA that I could find terrific clothing deals, especially at thrift stores. I love getting new clothes, but I had a closet full and tried to get by with what I had. For the first 7 months of my job, I got by on only one black pair of slacks. I’d wear them 2-4 times per week, and they were getting faded and threadbare. I treated myself to a new work outfit a few weeks ago, and I felt like a new person! My confidence at work really went up…just having another option to wear. Then two weeks ago I found another pair of pants I liked on sale, normally $54 for $20. I paired it up with a 40% off coupon, and walked out of the store for $13. Yesterday, I went to sale and got two dresses and a fancy white blouse. I got all the items off the clearance rack, got another 25% off for “friends and family day” plus used a $10 off text message coupon (that I signed up for while waiting in line) Three new items for $34 (normally $124). Then we went across the street to the kids clothing consignment shop and got Rosie 3 gently-used shirts, a sweater with matching scarf , and a book for $13.
My food spending still needs improvement. I eat out way too much, especially on my lunch breaks and while traveling. I need to curb my non-healthy eating so I can continue to fit into my new dress featured below.