It’s unfortunate that it’s not until we are forced to make a change, that we finally do. It was a Wednesday when I got the call that the facility my husband worked at was closing. It was devastating. Losing a job for family that survives on one income is about the worst thing that can happen. We would have until the end of the month (2 weeks) to figure out what was next for us. I remember feeling utterly defeated and incredibly sad for my husband. He was so good at his job and had built his department from the ground up. For that to be taken from him for no fault of his own seemed so unfair. But we had no choice but to trust in God’s plan. Over the next few weeks, Alex got to work looking for a new job. Thankfully Alex is in a career where jobs are always available, but we quickly discovered that the budget and our pride would have to be transformed before we could accept our new normal.
God has humbled us. Through the numbers in our budget we could see where we placed our priorities and where we allowed our pride to rule our decisions. Alex and I aren’t super high maintenance people. I’ve never been one to get my nails or hair done regularly, we don’t drive fancy cars, we don’t even have gym memberships but when our income was cut by 30% we HAD to be willing to cut things out of our life. Thankfully we were in a house we could afford, and we own our cars, but even with that, making ends meet has been hard. I totally understand that I could easily go out and get a job to make up for our income loss, but Alex and I have made it a priority for our family to have a parent at home full-time with the kiddos, so we had to make this new normal work. I know we are not the only ones facing this circumstance, so I thought it would share how we have decided to make our money go further!
- Cut Eating Out: This has been a hard one, but we have cut eating out from our budget. It’s hard to justify spending $30 on one meal, knowing the amount of food I can buy at the grocery store for the same amount. If you are willing to cut this for even a month, I challenge you do so!
- Shopping at Walmart vs Target: Agh, because I’m a spoiled brat this one has been a hard one for me to accept. I needed to stare my pride in the face and be willing to make this adjustment. I know this is such a stupid thing to have to accept, but I am thankful I have! It’s amazing to see how much money we have saved just by making this simple change. Yes, Target is much nicer and is way more fun to shop at, but Walmart is the money saving place! Plus, I’m not tempted to buy cute things I don’t need when I go into Walmart! #win
- Diaper Brands: We were buying very nice diapers. 1. because we thought we had to, and 2. because we are prideful people. My son has very sensitive skin, so of course we needed to be aware of what was against his skin. We still only use the best skin care products for Amos (Baja Baby of course!) but when it came to diapers, we knew we could waver more on the brand. When we switched to store brand wipes and diapers, it was AMAZING the see the amount of money we were able to save! (And his skin is perfectly fine!)
- Buy Second-Hand Clothing: Before kids I envisioned my children being dressed in the cutest most trendy clothes... God has revealed that this is an area I needed to let go of. Now that we are parents, this is one area that we are choosing to view differently. The only way I buy clothes for the kids is when I take old clothes that don’t fit and get money for those clothes and use that money for new (but used) clothes. This has taken the pressure off trying to keep up an image that we ultimately couldn’t afford. My kiddos clothes are disposable and the fact that I don’t have to worry about clothing getting ruined or stained, is so freeing!
- Cell Phone: we recently went to our cell phone provider to see how we could lower our monthly payment and discovered that we weren’t using half of the data we were paying for! We walked out of the store that day and had lowered our monthly cell phone bill by $60 bucks! If you’re willing to live with limited data, I encourage you to make the change! (Plus it will limit your time on social media if you know you can only check Instagram if you're on wifi...just sayin!)
- One Trip to the Store: If you are willing to meal plan, make a list and stick to your grocery budget you will find that it not only makes your life easier but you save money! It can be tempting to make several trips to the grocery store during the week, but I encourage you to only go once. We stick to our grocery budget of $400 a month, and this allows me to create meals that fit within my allotted weekly budget. Yes our meals are sometimes the same week by week and they are not gourmet by any means, but they are nutritious and they are what we can afford.
These are just a few of the changes we have made to help us feel more in control of our money. By being forced to make decisions to simplify our budget and our overall consumption of stuff, it has freed up space in our lives to appreciate the simple things in life. Yes, we chose to pay for ballet and music class for the kids, but we view these experiences as far more valuable than the other line items we once deemed important. If you are facing a financial crisis, know that you are not alone! You can make it work, if you are willing to make some hard adjustments and sacrifices along the way.
Abby is an awesome Mom and an amazing team member of Baja Baby. She lives in Colorado with her husband Alex, her beautiful children Amelia Grace, Amos Lee and Maple the dog. You can find Abby on Instagram by clicking here.
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