Thursday, December 1, 2011

Making Ends Meet

Yes, this is yet another post about finances.  Sorry.  If it bugs you to read about another person's stuff, then please feel free to pass on this post.

So we're again, experiencing some financial stress.  This time we are barely able to balance the budget.  The reason is because we moved.  Our rent plus utilities plus renters insurance is higher than when we paid just a mortgage payment.  Our renters insurance I pay yearly to save a few bucks; I realize not everyone is able to do that but that's where our income refund goes.  The utilities people can usually conserve.  We can't.  Our utilities is divided among the rental units based on the size of the apartment and the number of occupants.  So even if we literally shut off the a/c to save money or not use the heat etc etc, we'd still be paying out our butts.  It's something Hubby didn't realize until after the contract was signed.  So we pay a ton in electricity compared to what we used to.  The only thing we can do is not inform our landlords that we've had a baby.  Babies don't really cost that much more and since we don't use disposable diapers all that much, aren't going to jack up the trash expenses of our complex either.  We also breastfeed so no water or electricity there. 

Then there's the additional expense of the condo.  I've looked into government assistance and because we receive a tiny income from renting it out, it puts us just barely over the line.  Fortunately because we're taking a massive hit to rent out the place, we're probably going to get a nice income tax return refund.  And there's no wiggle room there.  Short of fixing it up more to attract higher paying renters, we're out of luck.

There's also the expenses of giving birth.  Our birth center wants payment ahead of time and since I was late in the game, we can't really spread it out.  They haven't sent me statements or anything yet, but I've been trying to make a monthly payment.  

So I've looked into cutting other things.  I recently cut our Netflix bill in half and gone to streaming online only.  We don't have cable so this is modest.  We could cut it out altogether and maybe we will, but it hardly will help.  I also looked into our phone (which is as basic as it comes) and our internet.  We could eliminate the internet (and thus netflix).  It's a possibility that Hubby and I banter back and forth with.  I'm not sure how much his mother would like not being able to chat online with her grandsons.  Hubby points out that we could trek up to his office, but then we couldn't just do that whenever and that's a bit like stealing.  We could cut back to basic internet and thus get rid of netflix too.  We just haven't decided exactly yet.  These aren't frivolous expenses that one can just easily trim away. 

The one thing we can do is stop eating out or rather take back up the suggestion that we agreed to last budget crisis but never fully implemented.  The suggestion was whoever wants to eat out has to pull out the money from their mad money account.  We still have mad money.  We keep Christmas or Birthday money in it and small stipends every month.  We could also trim down the stipend.  Hubby didn't want to do that.  His suggestion was as needed we just put the money back into the main account.  So that's what we'll do.  Anyways...looking at our credit card (which we pay off every stinking month but only use it because we're milking the system er um earning cash back), if we cut out all those little trips for burgers or icecream from the main budget, we'll balance our check book every month.

Other ways to trim the budget, I'm going through the shopping ads again.  Walmart does ad matching.  Usually I would go store to store and there was also our outlet store, but the outlets in this area are far enough away that it would eat what I save just for driving.  So I'm doing the coupon/generic/ad matching thing to try and trim the fat.  I would love to convince my husband to give up over processed junk food, but that's not going to happen if we're giving up burger joints.

I could also add to the budget.  Hubby keeps suggesting, again, that I return to work.  I smiled at him today and said "Sweety, who's going to hire me?"  "Well, you could start looking now"  "Yeah, and they'll say 'see you in four months'"  People just aren't hiring all that well in this economy.  And there is also daycare expenses so we would only be padding a thin wallet while institutionalizing our children during their most vulnerable years.  If I'm going to work at all, then it would be part time when Hubby can watch the kids.  I could also try and watch other people's kids, but given our issues with baby sitters being highly allergic to our cats, I have reservations that that will work.

So here we are.  Isn't Christmas going to be fun this year?  Well, actually it's turning out to be not so bad.  Before we moved we pawned a lot of stuff and got store credit from a chain.  So last weekend we went Christmas shopping with our store credit.  HB is getting a few books, some board games, and Veggie Tale videos.  Yes, board games.  For a not quite two year old.  Hubby is a gamer.  He has learned that young children can play matching games if you break down the steps into small components and teach those one at a time.  HB has mastered one game already.  Hubby plans on teaching him shoots and ladders and candy land.  My kid's pretty smart.  Yesterday, he debuted a new song he learned from one of his electronic devices.  It's the Alphabet song.  He spontaneously sings it.  Now he's not good at pronouncing things.  LMNOP sounds like ya ya ya ya P.  But you know what he's singing.  Okay, I digress.  I also bought him one toy from our church's consignment sale.  It's toy cars with a track.  I also splurged and bought him a table and chair set.  We'd been talking about that for a while.  He needs a place to sit and work on things like coloring, puzzles, etc. instead of just the floor or climbing up into his booster seat.  He's at that age.  Plus if we have company he can sit and eat at a kiddie table if there's not enough room.

And that's it.  So if our families are expecting Christmas cards or gifts this year, sorry.  We're having a baby and on top of that dealing with making ends meet so I'm afraid you'll just get a baby and lots of smiles for gifts this year.


1 comment:

  1. Hope you get it figured out... no, I know yall will, but hope there's not too much stress involved.

    We've been pretty lucky with gifts this year too. I managed to get a promotion from Melissa & Doug and another online store that's really added to what we can do.

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