Call it a blogging break, call it a case of the winter blues, call it whatever you want, but I took a break. My main reason...I felt a little funny writing a blog called "Living Large on a Dime" when we were not living it. We were living large, but we were also paying large. Our biggest splurge ever, a third vehicle.
We did need a bigger vehicle, and we decided that keeping my 2003 Honda Accord would save on gas mileage to and from work, but still, it wiped out our entire savings. We still have our 2 year emergency fund, sitting high and tight earning a whopping 4.5% BUT it's been a long time since we've lived exclusively on my income along to build back up our savings. We've also had some of those "large, one or few times a year purchases" like buying a 142 lbs of beef in bulk, 110 lbs of pork, paying 1 year of trash service, paying 1 year of preschool, carpet for our basement remodel, title and taxes on th new vehicle, and many more I feel like. So we have gone from living very large to saving every dime we can. We've even resorted to making as much extra money as we can. I've been working my rear off bringing in extra income by selling things we don't need on Ebay/Craigslist/several other diaper/clothing resale sites. I've made close to $1,000 in the past month. Todd has been pulling in extra money by shoveling snow which we have been getting A LOT of lately! He's also been finding odd jobs like painting a friends interior, selling tools he no longer needs (or has two of), and making raised planter boxes from the extra decking we had left over. Who knew he could be so efficient during the small 1 hr window when both kiddos were napping!
A big area of improvement for us has been tracking expenses. We've never been serious about this until now, mainly because I always thought I had a pretty good grasp on what we spent and where it went. Anymore, it's gotten out of control. So we started tracking everything...how much we spent, how much we had come in, how we paid for it, and how much we saved. Only 2 weeks in and we're really excited to see how it's coming along.
Another huge improvement, mainly for me, NO EATING OUT! I'm ashamed to admit it, but when I became pregnant with Brooke, I craved McDonald's sweet teas BAD! But of course you can't just go through the drive thru for a $1, so I added on breakfast as well for about $3-$4 per day. Then to make matters worse, I got into the habit of grabbing food at work when I was running late, which was basically everyday. It wasn't anything special - sandwich, chips and a pop but it came to $5-$6. So almost $10 a day for food. For the past three weeks, I have not ate out once! Tonight was the first night we've had dinner out in a LONG time too. We got carry out from a bar and grill type place and only because it was Todd's birthday and he had recieved a gift card. Halfway into eating it, we realized this is one thing we really don't miss. Our biggest cravings have been fresh vegtables.
So, here's to my committment to get back on th frugal living train. We've got a lot of thing we plan on buying in the next few months, so hopefully documenting on how I got the best price on things will be quite an intersting journey.