Money sucks, right? Not having money sucks because you don’t have any. (Don’t freak out…I know some people really don’t have ANY money. I’m talking about the ‘more month than money’ type of broke.)
Having money? I guess that could suck too because you might just THINK about it all of the time. Will you always have it? Is it being mismanaged? Is someone going to take it from you?
Or maybe you’d just worry about which bathing costume to wear while you swim in your vault of gold coins…
Can you tell we’ve been working on our budget? We’ve talked about it forever. I had a lot of big ideas involving poster boards and fun markers (Teal! Coral! Heliotrope!). Every few weeks we’d say, “TONIGHT we’re doing the budget! Right? Right!”
Insert dinner/clean up/bath/pjs/teeth/books/bed/more clean up/few loads of laundry.
“Want to watch a Breaking Bad?”
“Okay. We’ll do the budget TOMORROW. Right?”
(That’s actually a lie…HE watches Breaking Bad. I couldn’t make it past the episode with the bathtub scene…shudder…)
But whatever…you see the pattern. We are an excellent couple but we have the horrible, horrible ability to talk each other out of anything.
However. The doctors don’t want me working. I had started waiting tables a few times a week. It was great. Out of the house. Kyle watched the boys so no daycare. Brought in just enough extra. I loved where I worked. And no matter how needy a customer was…I never had to change their diaper. Except for that one time…(insert 1ooo yard stare). But that’s on hold for awhile. And Scrooge McDuck isn’t returning my phone calls. (I had pictured an Indecent Proposal situation but apparently it’s a no go.
Maybe he has erectile ducksfunction…heh heh… My apologies. That was awful. Even for me.)
We. Had. To. Budget.
Have you done it? It’s scary at first. We accounted for every single dollar we had spent from December until April. Guess what? We spent a lot. On food (oh so much on food). On ‘entertainment’. On…stuff. Oh stuff…you’ll be the end of me. I hated that first night. What WAS that $50 at Target?? Shouldn’t I be able to look around and see $50 worth of Target goods? I just wanted to bury my head under my West Elm Spring Ikat pillow. But burying my head under that pillow is what got us into this mess. And also makes me realize that I really need to wash the sheets.
But something else happened too. Those numbers started to lose their power. I went from feeling sick to feeling empowered to change things. It’s not like we spend a ton of money, I was just able to see the areas that we could change. Small changes. One tiny baby step at a time. Because that’s the problem, isn’t it? You start thinking ‘CHANGES!’ (or at least I do) and then it’s all so big that you just…don’t.
Cut out all processed food. Make own detergent. Make all household cleaners . Hang clothes outside to dry (actually, according to some numbers we crunched if we hung out 7 loads a week it would save $600/year. But are we really going to do it??). Make own bread? Juice! Take dog to doggy dentist. Wait, take kid to kiddie dentist first. Meditate. Meditate without children. Yoga? Raise chickens? Goats? Sea monkeys? See naturopathic doctor. Join slow food movement. Join slow clothes movement. Shop local. Vote with my wallet. Start a garden. More houseplants for better air quality. Filter on shower head? Make own yogurt? Get a pen pal. Write everyday. Exercise everyday. Exercise every other day. Bend over to pick up toys and count that as exercise. Take an art class. Take a creative writing class. Look for freelance writing work. Spend quality time with girlfriends once a week. Once every 2 weeks. Once a month. Call girlfriends and tell them how much you miss them.
You get my point.
So I started easy. With my pantry. Remember? I cleaned it out. I cleaned it out real good. Then I went shopping. Then I came home and redid the pantry. I didn’t want to but I DID! BTW we have a plastic bag ban here now. Which is awesome. For people that actually ever remember their reusable bags. And not awesome for people who don’t. Guess which camp I fall into??
Our goal is $150/week on groceries. But I’m thinking $200 will be more realistic. What do you spend? This is $152 in groceries.
It’s been a really great week since the pantry and fridge clean out. First of all, we’re eating much better. It’s not like we ate Crisco off of a spoon before but we’d just gotten lazy on convenience foods. I’ll post a blog with different recipes we’ve tried and loved. Basically we’re just eating clean. Our sweet neighbors gave us some Swiss chard from their garden…I’ve never had it and I loved it! I roasted cabbage! It was great! The boys are eating almost everything. Except for tonight…I fed the guys hotdogs after a week of quiona, lentils, greens and veggies. They were giddy with excitement. Everything in moderation 😉
But the big change? We had food left at the end of the week. I need to go to the store for some staples but I can actually go into the fridge and cabinet and still cook a meal. The boys are eating more fruits and vegetables…instead of giving them crackers in the afternoon, I’m setting out some veggies. And if they are really hungry then they’ll eat them.
But let me tell you what. I am cooking like a pioneer women.
Seriously. I need to figure out big batch cooking. This is a family of big eaters so if I don’t double batch cook then there aren’t any leftovers. And I start over again the next day. I’m getting better at just boiling eggs or cooking a pot of rice or throwing potatoes in the oven even if I don’t know what I’m going to do with them. That helps. But it’s about to be hot, Hot, HOTTER here so I need to figure out a way to not crank my stove during the day and I’ve never had much luck with the crock pot.
So this is my first baby step. I’m not going to lie…I kind of want to rip into a rib eye. And I will. And it will taste extra delicious. But for right now this feels great.
Also, I get a abdomen CT scan on Thursday. I feel pretty good about it. What I don’t feel good about? Drinking THREE bottles of BANANA FLAVORED BARIUM. If anyone knows who came up with this flavor I’d like to arrange for a few minutes alone with them. And a bag of nickels.
And lastly…the newest member of our fish tank family. The kids call him Froggie. I call him Creepy Soul Sucker. I hate this frog. He just floats there all dead like and I yell, “KYLE! THE FROG IS DEAD!” And he yells back, “NO IT ISN’T!!” And then the freaking frog jumps and scares the crap out of me. Ick.