I've already shared this week that I'm almost done working for the summer. I'll have just about 10 weeks off, which in most ways will be absolutely wonderful. Our budget however is going to take a huge, take your breath away, hit. I've been floating along the world's longest river for a while now, just assuring myself that everything will be fine, but today I took a hard look at the numbers. It ain't pretty.
Most immediate item is that I need to cut the amount I spend on groceries by at least a third. A third. Wow. Factor in how much we spend on groceries, dining out, and a sneaky little category called "household" which is really where I dump any spending I don't quite want to acknowledge and you're talking closer to in half. The reality is that even if I managed to cut everything in half (which I know would be a huge struggle), we'll still be short. Considerably.
I'm trying to let it all sink in.
What I see is a whole lot more shopping at Wal-Mart this summer and a whole lot less at Kroger and Whole Foods. A whole lot more saying "no", which is not my style at all. A lot more simple meals and maybe, just maybe, this will be the summer my kids learn to tolerate peanut butter.
I know we're talking first world problems. I know we're lucky this is temporary. There is an end in sight, it's just relatively far away and I hate the thought of going through the summer saying no and stressing about money.
Hopefully I'll rise to the occasion and do such a great job budget meal planning and seeking out inexpensive activities that the impact the kids see and feel will be minimal. Hopefully. We're definitely a step ahead in that we bought a pool membership. Trips to the pool will be "free", we always tend to pack snacks to take with us so that's helpful. They're getting to a tricky age where trips to the park/playgrounds are okay once in a while, but I'm going to have to find some inexpensive things to do that appeal to young teens/tweens. Ideas? I feel like all the programs I check into are aimed at preschool/elementary kids.
How do you cut your family's budget when it feels pretty bare to begin with? I'd appreciate any tips.
One thing I know I'm going to be doing is spending this summer eating down our freezers (yes, plural) and pantry. Everything's over flowing. The reason it's over flowing for the most part is because it's stuff we don't really want to eat, but it's time to get creative, or just plain bite the bullet and use it up.
Wish me luck.