1. Budgets. Hubs and I have been even more close with the budget these days. We discuss it on a near weekly basis. He is a county employee and while he is levy funded, there is no doubt that sequestration will has some effect in his line of work. I know that his NPS co-workers are absolutely affected.
Back in November, we bought a new computer. This was an item that we 1. needed to be replaced and 2. planned for. We bought a middle of the road variety. We love it. We take care of it. The last computer that we had was made from basement parts, including some from our now 15 year old computer. It did serve us well.
Right before Christmas, we had to buy Hubs a new car. We've known this for a while. His vehicle was 15+ years old, had 235,000 miles on it and had gotten to the point where major things were failing. We had carefully planned and saved and were able to purchase the car. We are free of car payment. That is a huge blessing. If Hubs is home, we drive his car. The Yaris takes a lot less gas than the RAV.
Both of these things, although planned for, weren't expected within the same month of each other. As such, while we are fine in the department of savings, we feel that in light of governmental cuts and a levy a few years off, we are in save mode.
K has been taking archery lessons. We are fortunate to have very (yes, I'm gonna say it) cheap lessons ($50. for 6 lessons), she likes it so well and is very good at it that she decided to buy a bow. She had the money saved up in her savings account and while I did hunt down awesome deals for the Barnett Vortex Lite Youth Bow (on Amazon for $80), the Whisker Biscuit that she needed ($30 as opposed to $50), the Tarantula Youth Bow Case, and the armguard, she spent $150.00. We dropped the bow off yesterday to have the pull set and to have the Whisker Biscuit installed. I told her that we will pay whatever it costs to be set, but the rest she has paid with her own money. She very cheerfully did that and I can assure you that her spending the money on this will definitely encourage her even more to be careful and mindful of how she takes care of this.
K is also taking swim lessons at the local university. She has done this now for 5 years. We are fortunate to have very (yes, I'm gonna say it again) cheap lessons. (8 for $50.) We tried on bathing suits and they still fit from last year. Her Tevas from last year fit well enough to qualify as shower shoes (at her suggestion) and we're rolling with that. Voila! Nothing needed other than tripping to the U and finding a parking space.
K will start soccer in a month and a half. Because I'm that parent who signs her up for soccer at the turn of the new year, I save $35.00. She does i9, since she is a child who needs school days to be school days and nothing additional in the evenings, one day a week rocks it out well for us. She gets a jersey, her shoes still fit from last year and because I was that mother who bought socks that were the next run up, she has been wearing the same soccer socks since 1st grade. We did have to replace the shin guards once (too small at one point), but the soccer shorts come from the thrift (no biggie) and we're good to go. Other than driving the 20 minutes to get there (we go to our favorite Mom and Pop health food store on the way home), we don't need to buy any additional equipment.
We've tightened our belts. Hubs did announce last night that there will be NO vacation this year. (I announced that about a month ago, but he's come upon that revelation now with the sequester.) We are on project save, save, save.
3. Baskets. Hubs always purchases a gift certificate for me for the local nursery when it comes to Mother's Day. We are on such a tight budget, I asked him to skip it this year. I'm growing our own plants and flowers this year. Most of the seed is saved from plants last year or from previous year(s) seed. The yard is planted mostly in perennials, so it isn't a problem. The front will be planted in the zinnias it was last year-- the same zinnias that gave us this fine seed! I just can't defend spending $50 or more at the nursery when I can try to run it on my own with materials that I already have.
4. The Bummer Freezer. Our freezer in the basement has been having fits for a few years. Generally it pulls itself out of it and all is well. I'm not seeing that happening right now. It is 10 years old and I'm thinking that we just need to unplug it, give it a good look-see and if she's not repairable, drag her up and out. While I would love to replace it with something smaller, right now we are running with just the upstairs freezer and we're working it okay. I'd like to say that it just needs to have a thermostat replaced, but I have no idea. I know that my mom has had her freezer for a beloved sweet forever and I'm surprised that we've had this issue with ours.
We've tightened our belt a bit more and more over the years. This fall, I ditched the newspaper. I can read it online and the coupon savings weren't enough to offset the expenditure. (I don't buy packaged, just add water kind of stuff.) I line dry in the summer, but haven't been quite as good about it this past winter. Our thermostat is kept down, especially when we sleep at night. I do our taxes myself. (The last time I had them done, it was $100.00. Turbo Tax costs $30.00.) Basic stuff like that.
Any new budgetary thoughts to add? Do share! I'm always happy to take suggestions!
Have a great day!