I’ve been given some tough news to swallow recently. I wanted to cry upon hearing it….I wanted to scream….I wanted to curl up in the fetal position and hide in a corner somewhere. We’re broke. Want proof? I have a stack of bills sitting here on my kitchen counter thicker than one inch that we can’t pay…not even on the fixed tiny payments I’ve asked the companies to allow us to make.
I was informed yesterday by the head of the household that we have to cut our grocery bill by more than half. Ouch! At first I was told that I had to feed seven people on only a 150 a week . That number has since changed to 200 a month. That’s right; you read the number correctly. I’ve stumbled upon a website that claims it is possible to do this. I’ve yet to see how, but I am up for the challenge. This should be interesting to say the least.
I’ve also been informed that we ( hubby and I ) are at the point of only focusing on paying the mortgage and the electric/water bill. A scary thought to fall asleep with at night.
I’ve brought up the subject of me getting a job. In fact I had three lined up and waiting in the wings. I mean I’m not helpless or without skills just because I didn’t graduate from college. I’ve been a Domestic Engineer for almost 13 years now. I’ve picked up a few talents here and there along the way— I’d make a good manager. There is nothing I can’t clean, child I can’t handle, or task that I shy away from no matter how daunting it may be. You’d be surprised at what I can do with a chainsaw if given the chance.
But, my effort was shot down by my husband for the mere fact that it would cost more to send me to work in the end than I could bring home. The sad fact is: he’s right and it makes me mad. The gas alone used to commute would eat up a huge chunk out of the paycheck even if I could be home in time for the kids to arrive home from school. Taxes would be next and what would be left over might buy me a hill of beans if I’m lucky. Not to mention that I would be tired from working and would still have to do my ‘house’ duties when I got home.
My husband’s a smart man; he knows me. He’s been with me long enough to understand what my limits are and what my breaking points are. I could run this pace, but not for long before loosing all sanity and putting a strain on our marriage. He needs me here at home to hold down the fort. Even so, I was told that if things didn’t pick up by this summer ( assuming we make it till then) I would be on the hunt for a paying job.
I’m scared…did I say that already? I feel as if someone has thrown down the gauntlet, and challenged me; a good swift “SMACK” to the face. Stranger still, I feel that I’ve accepted this with fire in my eyes and a zeal in my step. What? Am I nuts? But I can’t help but be excited to see if I can pull this off.
It’s made me take a good hard look at myself and my skills/talents…and my faith. I’ve prayed and prayed countless prayers concerning our predicament. The still quiet answer spoken: trust. The Lord says to ‘trust in him’ and I’m gonna put him to the test. After all, he clothed the fields and fed the birds, how much more will he do for his daughter? He will not let me down. With him on my side, the possibilities are endless.
I’ve decided to focus on the home front and what I can do to help lower or bills. For starters, the heater is turned off during the day–I don’t need it on; it’s just me here. I can just put on a sweater if I get cold. With two units running to warm the house, were just throwing money out the window. At night time, I’ll set it down around 65 or so. That way we won’t freeze to death or wake up with a cold. My aunt did it and my cousins survived to grow up into adults.
Second, I’ve contemplated on doing the dishes by hand. On average I run the dishwasher twice a day, the machine fully loaded. That uses up a lot of energy and hot water. Besides, I’ve never liked my machine. I swear the dishes come out dirtier than when they went in more times than not.
I’ve already stopped using hot water in my washing machine. I started this almost a year ago. I don’t use that cycle unless I’m washing sheets or bath towels (we don’t want koodies). That has helped cut down the bill significantly, but I think I will take it a step further and start hang drying my clothes. We don’t have harsh winter weather here and I’ve a huge yard in which to set up multiple lines. A little fabric softener mixed in with the wash should take care of any stiffness on the cloths. Now, I just have to find clothesline wire and clothes pins. They do still make those, don’t they?
We’ve already trimmed extra things that we don’t have to have like the TV. Gone is the outrageous “Basic” cable bill. To tell you the truth, the kids don’t miss it and I certainly don’t. My daughter commented the other day that she likes not having the TV. She said she gets her homework done faster and has more time to play. Her grades have improved as have my oldest son’s. I’ve also noticed that the kids fight, whine, and complain less too. Before, they had to be dragged/forced outside to play. They would then spend all their time trying to find ways to get back inside. Now, I can’t keep them from going outside; its all they want to do.
As far as the groceries are concerned, I’m tackling that next. I’m gonna make a menu for the month and see just how much I can actually buy. The website I looked on had some helpful ideas and recipes. I still have my doubts, but think I can come up with something. With practice, I think I can get this down to a science.
She didn’t use coupons all that much and to tell you the truth, I don’t either. To me they are too much of a hassle to find and keep track of. I have a hard enough time remembering my kids names let alone when double coupon day is. But if I focus on sales, I can make my menus around those, purchasing the items in bulk possibly. I’ll let you guys know how this turns out.
I’ve also discussed with hubby the need for applying for gov. assistance. My tax dollars go to fund these programs, why not make them work for me. We should be able to qualify for the WIC program as I still have little ones under the age of five. This will help with the milk, cheese, cereal and stuff. I haven’t looked in to food stamps yet, but It’s next on the list. I just wish they didn’t treat you like you’re subhuman for wanting assistance. They need to work on their people skills.
So there it is in a nutshell, folks. This is what’s happening in my world. I realize it looks bleak, but I’m not approaching it that way. It would serve me no purpose too or anybody else for that matter. What’s done is done; you can’t unscramble eggs. I don’t blame anyone nor do I think anyone should bail us out. We got into this mess all by ourselves. We just didn’t realize how expensive raising five kids would be on one income. Oops! I guess we under estimated.
By the way, don’t call me on the phone ( if it still works)…I won’t answer. I’ll just think you are a bill collector and hand it over to my three year old. And if you come by the house looking for your money, I’ll just invite you in for coffee and tell you we don’t have it. You can repo the cat if you like.
I will, however, accept and look forward to any and all recipes for casseroles or cheap meals or any ideas and thoughts on the subject.