Monday, February 8, 2010

Living Providently

I am coming to you for help. You who love me enough to actually read my blogs ~ you must be intelligent (so I trust you're smart enough to help me as well!)

We decided last night in family council to tighten the Inman belt. At first there was a general feeling of rebellion - ranting and raving and then some tears. The whole 'it's not fair' spiel, more tears, and then more ranting. But eventually I settled down and we discussed things rationally.
This is where you come in, I need suggestions!
So first I'm going to list things we do that I think have been of a provident nature, just so you don't suggest something we may already be doing:
1- make our own bread (grind our wheat)
2- make our own laundry detergent
3- I cut my family's hair
4- buy clothes at thrift stores
5- ride the bike (weather permitting)
6- buy in bulk
7- cook from scratch
8- bought an inexpensive house in a 'less manicured' neighborhood
These are after thoughts...after I published
9- I do my kids'photography (even Tawny's senior pics)
10- no letter jackets, class rings, or year books.
These are things that were brought up that we might be able to curtail some:
1- Date nights
Bill and I go on weekly dates. In the summer a lot of those consist of riding our bikes to the Island and splitting a tropical drink(non alcoholic drink $3.00). Or we play frisbee golf ($0). Or go on walks ($0). Or hike at mounds (gas + entry $9.00). Now that winter is here we mostly split a Panera and see a $5.00 club movie ($20-$25) We also enjoy looking through magazines at Barns and Noble, walking around thrift stores, going to Indy ($10- $15 in gas- plus whatever we decide to do there). I usually want to just have a break and get away. Dinner and a movie seems like the easiest plan, but obviously not the cheapest. So here is an area I could use some ideas..... (for cold weather anyway!).
2- Food
(I'm chuckling as I write this because I have both set of missionaries for dinner tonight plus I'm making a meal for another family in need.)
I probably buy around 50% of my produce organic, and probably that much in my other purchases as well. I know some people don't think there is a difference, but I still like knowing at least Enoch is getting chemical -free food. Trader Joes has pretty good prices on the more natural selections of what we eat, but then there's the gas, and in reality, if we didn't worry about what's in the food, Walmart would be cheaper. (I hate Walmart!) I do shop Aldi quite a bit, in fact mostly, I have even consented to buying milk and eggs from there now. Cereal is a big expenditure, and I used to make pancakes or steel cut oats every morning. But it seems like the kids won't eat those anymore, and cereal is easier with less waste. Bill has been encouraging me to go back to the pancakes and steel cut oats for awhile, so I have been making more pancakes of late.
We also take 'eat very little meat' seriously and don't buy it.
What do you do to cut costs on groceries?
3- Temple Trips
For those who aren't LDS: we try to go worship in the temple once a month or so. The closest temple to us is a little under 3 hours away in Columbus OH. For 3 1/2 years we relied on others as rides to the temple and just pitched in for gas. It worked fine, although we did look forward to it being 'our' time. We love to listen to books on tape, discuss our feelings or promptings we may have received in the temple, eat someplace that's not fast food, and go someplace different in Columbus if we want. All that aside, Bill is usually working on the Saturdays the ward plans for temple trips. We just found out it's not so this Sat, but the session is already full. Going to the temple is important to us. I guess we could try to find others who want to go but can't on the ward days and try to ride share....
Any other ideas?
4- Teen trips
Having only one vehicle means that it is in high demand. It also means that we have to make it last as long as possible. Tawny is just starting to go to the YSA activities (young single adult) and that means she's wanting to go out 2 or 3 times a week. Since we do live in the affore mentioned 'less manicured' neighborhood, we're kind of alone out here. Most members live in 'more manicured' neighborhoods, and then there's always the college students on campus, many without cars too. She was good about agreeing to working harder at finding rides. It does make it harder when we have curfews and the bus stops running too early.
We do have a scholarship that pays for (I think ) 40% of our membership. But that also means we pay $63.60 every 6 months. Plus Danni does homeschool PE which is $6.00 every 6 weeks. I use it all the time especially in the winter. During the warmer months I don't mind my workouts being outdoors, I'd miss the yoga classes though.
6- High speed Internet
This is a luxury, one I love! We don't have TV, except whatever comes through the stupid new digital receivers (basically PBS). So the only way I can watch my shows (Psych, Lost, Modern Family, Lie to Me, and sometimes Chuck) is on the computer. The shows are not a need, they are a want and I suppose I could live without them. We pay an extra $30.00 a month for it, and watching shows without it is nearly impossible (freeze frame!).
My goal here is not to read a whole bunch (maybe a few;-) comments about how I'm already doing so much and that I'm your hero ...blah blah blah. I really do need support with these changes, and guidance. It's easy for me to feel sorry for myself when I think of having to have sold my horses, I have not auditioned for some plays I was interested in, I put pottery on hold, and I didn't get my Master's degree. I made these choices for the betterment of the family in one way or another. Being a mom is terrific, although I feel like it would be much easier and way more fun not being one sometimes. I understand that sacrifice is needed in order to make me stronger, and there are many many others who would kill to have what I have. I know I am blessed!


Family said...

Our belt, like yours, is getting tighter and tighter. We shop at Aldi's, make bread, eat alot of eggs, kill deer, dehydrate yogurt for fruit snacks, dehydrate meat, fruit and other things for snacks. Coupon like crazy. We have only local stations through our rabbit ears antenna, cheapest internet, no land line phone. LIke you we have a garden in the spring and summer. I cut everyone's hair, never get my nails done, clothes only from consignment or thrift stores, ........... that being said..... I still feel like I need to cut more but like you (again) WHERE!

Kimberly said...

This is something that we always have problems with because we cut so many corners, there aren't anymore really. For groceries mainly meat we went in with my parents and another family and bought a cow and had it butchered. It was grass feed for all of its life but 1 month (That means omega-3s, and less chances of illness) Another place that we cut costs is in electric bills, we keep the tv and anything else that doesn't have a clock I care about on a power strip so that I don't pay for the energy it uses while not being used, because a lot of things use it just sitting there.

Lindsay said...

We have to keep our belt pretty tight, too. Sometimes it seems like the easiest (and the hardest) place to tighten things is the groceries. I like to try new recipes, but I have to limit how many I try in a week (especially if it calls for a few "exotic" ingredients). Mostly I plan my meals around what's on sale that week. I wish oh wish oh wish that we lived near an Aldi. That place was a lifesaver for us while we were in Muncie. Food, even the basics, in NYC is expensive.

JoEllen said...

I have no suggestions. I look to you for stuff like this. I think you're awesome. We just reshopped for car insurance and ended up saving ourselves some money. Not much, but every bit helps right? I'm with Lindsay - I shop and cook off the sales. It has helped bring our grocery budget down some. (That should become less anyway right because you will soon have one less mouth to feed?) At any rate - your family is awesome and I'm sure you'll find new corners to cut!

Jon Pattee said...

OH my goodness. I know you said not to say how good you're doing but man, I can't help myself. You seem to have that belt of yours pretty tight...if my husband read this post he'd say, "See, there are a ton of areas we can still cut back on". I don't really have any suggestions off the top of my head because you're already doing them. If I think of some, I'll let you know. OH, for a date night you can go have a snowball fight and then get some hot cocoa...something we'll be able to do here for weeks to come! Also, I like just going to the mall and people watching...both Jon and I love doing that. If you lived here in DC I'd have a ton of free date night ideas for you, but since I'm not familar with your area you're out of luck.



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