After being married for almost a year my husband and I decided it was time to move out of my parents house and BUY our first home. We didn’t rent first and we were not responsible for any of the bills while we lived with my parents (I know! Why in the world did we move!? … easy, freedom!) so it came as a complete culture shock. We went from being able to buy whatever we want, whenever we want, to having “Cheerios Only Tuesdays.”
The stress from moving and being poor has led to a completely different lifestyle than what I was ever use to. People are driven to drink due to the stresses in life and I am now in complete understanding of that lifestyle, which I vow to never judge again. Although my husband and I could barely afford a gallon of milk (which was very important for Cheerios Only Tuesdays) we still made sure we had a case of beer on the back porch for emergencies.
My husband, who works for his dad, and myself, who has the best job in the world, have agreed that we need to find second jobs. I have patiently been trying to keep from doing this because who wants to work more than they have to? So to avoid this I have been doing various things to keep money in the bank and me out of the secondary workforce.
- Meter reading… this is a very small yet money-saving task. As new home owners we were unaware of average cost of electric and our bills were well over $200 a month, but we were only two people, who froze during the day to be able to sleep in a heated room at night. I decided after paying a $222 bill and receiving a $192 bill that I needed to call. My bill stated that the reading was estimated (meaning they used the cost of that month from the previous year as their guidelines for charging). I couldn’t believe it. We had just moved into this home, don’t they have the courtesy to read our meter at least one of the months? It turned out we used HALF of the electricity that the previous owner did, which saved us $100 a month (that’s a more milk and beer). We’ve agreed to always call in our meter readings instead of assuming the electricity company is watching out for us or sticking to their every other month schedule.
- “Sure, you can drive!” … through out my entire life I drove my friends around, and well that adds up, QUICKLY. Although it’s just a short trip to Walmart, it’s miles on my vehicle and my gas tank. As a larger vehicle owner my gas mileage is very poor so to save money on gas I always try to convince a friend “you fly and I’ll buy.” If we were going more than 7 miles for a $2 cone of ice cream it saved me because 9 chances out of 10 we weren’t going just for ice cream, we would end up else where. Hey, I did my buying and if you want to keep flying that’s on you. The savings were small due to high gas prices but it kept me away from the pump for an extra day.
- Electric blanket … I think this is an item that has been a well kept secret for far too long! I turn off the oil powered heat and electric space heater and curl up with my heated blanket. This cuts back on electric and oil (neither one being too cheap). If you don’t have one yet I suggest asking for it for a Christmas/Birthday gift. It’s a gift that’s easy to find, affordable, and easy to give. It keeps you warmer than most space heaters while costing very little.
- Window shopping … Many times I get the itch to go shopping and buy myself anything and everything. If I go to the store, try it on, and like it, I’m leaving with it. To avoid this, I don’t go to the store. I go online. I can’t try it on but I can make myself believe that I’m purchasing it. I simply add it to the cart and place my purse too far away to reach my credit card (let’s face it, we’re all lazy). Eventually after looking and looking and looking, I get bored with the site and move on to a new one without even purchasing the items. I have done this with a lot of things… clothes, cars, and even puppies. It fills that void without emptying your wallet. I have probably saved close to $300 this month by window shopping.
We have a long way to go before we are considered “rag to riches,” but we have a healthy life and some days that’s worth more than all the money in the world.