Sunday, March 2, 2008

Losing a source of income

Well my bloggy friends - the last month has been difficult. For reasons of pride, or privacy, or....well, whatever, I have yet to share with you that we are now living off of a single income. Yes, a single, substitute teacher income, in one of the most expensive parts of California.

How did that happen you ask? Well, remember that gigantic bubble that seemed to grow without end over the housing market in California...yeah? Well it went BOOM. My fiance's job as support personnel at a real estate agency went with it! Luckily that qualified for EDD (unemployment) but due to a tremendous glitch at the EDD office, we've been battling for over a month to get any money. So since January 8th, we've been living off of my sub salary ($95/day) and my tutoring money ($30/hour).

But here is the surprising part -- we're doing quite well!!! The first week or two were tension-making, but we've cut silly costs. We've been using gift cards for anything extravagant (we received quite a few of those at Christmas time) and have had some lovely dinners and seen a few movies (sans popcorn and snacks). I'm actually very proud of the ways we've managed to
pick ourselves up and cut those budgets down without a single argument!

So...what have we been doing????

  • As avid readers we have fully taken advantage of paperbackswap and are just beginning to use their sister company DVDswap as an alternative to Netflix.
  • I've begun doing FLY lady which keeps my mind and hands busy at night and helps us from deciding to go out to dinner when I've already had a meal planned
  • I've discovered the joys of frugality with Target, Walgreen's, CVS and Rite-aid. This works well since Glen has more free time and can take advantage of those offers while I'm working my 10 hour days.
  • We've realized that fast food is not a necessity anymore and our waistlines are definitely benefiting.
  • But most of all, we've worked together to decide where to cut the budget and where to keep more money allotted. By both of us making the decisions, no one feels upset or controlled by the other.

In fact, his birthday was this week so I started with the free things I could do. I printed 16 little versions of happy birthday notes and taped them up all over the house so he would discover them throughout his day. Then I put up the "family" happy birthday sign (a special gift from my Mom). I made sure all of his sodas were in the frig and that everything was ready for him to make his daily breakfast. I had the towels washed and a fresh one on his towel rack, along with his pills laid out for the day.

Then I took advantage of a $10 Best Buy coupon, a great sale and a left over gift card to get him 2 Justice League movies he has been jonesing for!

Finally, I took our bag of coins to our local coinstar and was able to get him two of the star wars figures he wanted so badly.

And the funny thing is, I think we actually had a better day because of it! We had a nice steak dinner (at home) that evening and watched some shows on the DVR that we just never seem to make time for.

What I find most amazing is that we are doing this TOGETHER. No arguments, no blaming, nothing! He grew up getting everything he wanted. I grew up in a home where it was necessary to count coins to make sure we could get bread that week. But somehow we have found a very happy medium that hasn't stressed us to the point of breaking. I think that gives us a good prognosis for the future.

BTW - the EDD thing is finally sorted and we'll be getting the makeup check this week. I think I'm going to put the whole thing in savings since we've been managing so well without it!

So here is my question to you....what ways have you found to save money???

No comments: