Tuesday, January 15, 2008

In which I can't write a blog post

A big part of my problem lately -- and I know you've noticed -- is that my mind is focused elsewhere.

I used to be able to wake up and go through my day and easily sit down and digest it and write about it. That is no longer the case.

Writing got in the way. Professional writing, that is.

Life got in the way. The frugal life, that is.

You see, last November I started handling our family finances. Since I do all of the spending, we realized it made no sense for Dan to handle the money. All along he could tell me we had XX amount in the checking and I would hear him, but then would disregard it and tell him that we needed XY and Z this week. He'd graciously move that money from savings or do whatever and I would get XYZ that week.

Enter: Wake Up Call. By doing the bills myself I see firsthand how little we have to work with -- until we sell this house, anyway. But, it also gives me a weekly project to see just how creative I can get to get what we need and want, without sacrificing our savings.

The truth is that we've been tight -- living on the edge -- for as long as we've been married. When we had less bills and more income, it was tight because we spent too much. Now, with more bills, less income, it's still tight -- and yet we're making it.

What I learned, though, is that as the cook and grocery buyer, I have a lot to do with making it or not making it and everything between. I'm also someone who gets what she wants.

And so in the last two months, I've discovered a world of frugal living. I'm collecting coupons and comparison shopping. Instead of rushing to the nearby newest grocery store that has top of the line everything, I've become an Aldi-lover.

But, all of this is very time consuming. Sundays are now spent searching all store sales for the best deals and clipping coupons and shopping. Meal planning, too, is very important.

And, since I see it working and we're seeing a dramatic change in our outgo, it's become rather addictive. Honestly, I dig getting good deals and, as it turns out, am pretty good at it.

Now, my days are torn between planning toddler activities, making meals, planning pitches to send to magazines, writing for current clients and searching for the latest deals for things we need.

There is so very little time leftover and when there is I'm spent and heading off to bed.

We didn't know when we bought this house that twins were going to come along, which would change our financial outlook completely. We didn't know anything that we know now, which seems like everything. I know it isn't.

But, we know what our values are and where we want to be, which makes it easier to be frugal. We have purpose to save now when in the past we didn't.

So, if you do not hear from me for a day or two, I might be plotting how I can get to the Aquarium or Zoo this summer for cheap because I refuse to give up my lifestyle altogether!

I want to give a great big thanks and hug to Bella for awarding me with a Daily Dose award, which lately I'm sure I do not deserve.

I will bestow this honor on a couple others later this week ... since this laptop isn't as nice to work on than my office computer which is TWO FLOORS UP, people.

And, I will probably surprise you with who I confess my true daily -- or more than daily -- reads really are. I mean, besides the obvious several who get links from me all the time.

Thank you for visiting today.

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InTheFastLane said...

Money stresses me out. We do have to cars, but the Mr.'s car could fall apart at any time. We got this big ol SUV before we knew we were having three kids and doubling our house payment. I have been plotting ways to pay the thing off in the next few months. That is LOTS of extra money to pay other bills off with. To be out of debt seems like it would be such a relief.

Anonymous said...

My vote goes to: focus on the frugal!
It's the one up front and center. My wise former father in law said, "It's not what you make, it's what you save."

Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

I am so not good at comparison shopping and frugality. I'd rather (and this is literally a possibility) go bankrupt than try to get my mind to work on money. Can I pay you to shop for me? ;)

marta said...

Money--what a stomach twisting nightmare. I certainly don't comparison shop, and I rarely clip a coupon. And no matter who "good" i manage to be, I know my husband should not be trusted with the credit cards. But we live in an apt and don't live anything close to an extravagant life, but yet we are fools all the same.

Shelli said...

Boy, I hear you. We live a very frugal lifestyle. We feel guilty whenever we buy anything that we don't really need. I use some coupons, but I usually forget them, which drives me crazy. I try to buy things when they are on sale. It stresses me when we have to dip into our savings. My husband is so good with the money. He has taught me how to handle money better.

tlc said...

I am trying so hard as well. I figure you only need so much in life...everything else is just for show. It is sometimes hard to seperate the needs and the wants, but facing a downstricken economy scares me and forces me to try. I understand your challenges an am rooting for you! I have this 5 gallon water jug that we've got the whole family throwing into. It is exciting and I know I can't dip in because it would be letting the girls down. I easily spend my own saved money, but not theirs. It is the eternal struggle...m o n e y. I hate it!

Michelle (the beartwinsmom) said...

Money stresses me out way too much lately. I know exactly how you feel.

BTW, I tagged you on my blog for a meme. Don't hit me too hard. (wink)

Stacie said...

Money stresses me out too. The only way we got it under control was for me to take it over. DH still runs all his reports and does his Quicken thing but I actually control all the spending. It's hard, I tell you. Hard.

LauraC said...

Another couponing twin mom here. Once I saw the numbers, I was a convert.

I can't wait to hear your true daily reads... can I guess Perez Hilton?

bella said...

Email me and we can swap stories/ideas.
I am a money saver to my core. I LOVE a good deal and have become pretty good at finding them.
Thanks for writing this today.
Todd just took a job that will require we do some cutting back ourselves, and this was just the motivation I needed to commit to making this work for us.
You could write here once a day, once a month, once a year, and I'd be here.
I love you.

village mama said...

I love this topic.

Some fabulous tips/insights/philosophies: The Wealthy Barber; Tightwad Gazette series; Suze Ormon books - all free from your local library :-)

Mama Zen said...

Congratulations on the award!

Frugality is addictive. I'm always bragging to my husband, "guess how much I saved!"

Jozet at Halushki said...

Necessarily frugal here lately. I'm on board with frugal living 100%.

And hey! I love the photos of your girls and you! What a gorgeous family you are.