… aka Can I Have All That Money Back That I’ve Wasted Over The Past Few Years?
It’s 10 days A.J. (After Jaia), and I’ll start by saying that fatherhood is an amazing experience. I’m so happy to finally meet the baby who’s been brewing for 10 long months. She’s a cutie, and I couldn’t be happier.
However, life has changed a lot. Some changes were expected (Shannen’s pay cut for mat leave), but others have been a surprise (80 diapers in 9 days – that’salotta poop).
The biggest change is in our priorities. As people, we have time and money. Some time must be devoted to making money. How you spend the rest of your time, and the money you bring in, is then up to you.
The past few years we have definitely lived at or above our means, which is quite an accomplishment for two people with good jobs. We’ve bought and furnished two houses, went on several vacations, drive fairly new cars, and have more gadgets than we can find. Jaia’s arrival has been an opportunity to review our lifestyle and rethink where our cash should really be going. We can’t get back the money we spent on some less-than-useful things, and I have no regrets about the traveling we were able to do. But we can change what we do going forward, and we have to start living below our means to get out of debt and ensure our financial security for the future.
We had a look at all of our recurring expenses and here are some of the things we found:
- Remove all “wireless essentials” from our cell phones (call display, voicemail, etc). $20 per month.
- Downgrade from HD cable to normal digital cable (football’s over 😉 ). $15 per month.
- Cut Shannen’s gym membership to only-every-second-day. $20 per month..
- Start to buy essentials from Wal-Mart: Dan’s new snow boots were $25, instead of $100 at Aldo. Many of Shannen’s “maternity” shirts were just XL shirts from Wal-mart, $10 instead of $75 from Thyme Maternity or similar. Somewhat painful in terms of fashion, but makes a huge difference every time you can find something tolerable.
- Also, groceries at Wal-Mart. If you haven’t checked out prices of things like breakfast cereal, frozen entrees, bread products, coffee, and many other things, you should. You can save a ton of money with a weekly trip for essentials. I never thought I’d be a Wal-Mart regular, but here we are.
Anyone have any other hints for saving? I don’t want to go as far as the Kris-and-Kurt money jar thing. Or maybe new revenue opportunities? Does anyone want to rent our pets? Gary? How about a cat for $6 a week …