I mean…that title is a tidge laughable. I literally had a breakdown yesterday and felt the opposite of “together”. It was my in-laws 40th Wedding Anniversary, my step Dad’s 80th Birthday and I had a phone conversation with my Dad talking about how depressed he’s been not having seen us since Christmas. A day that should have been really special was sad…also, we were supposed to be in Florida on a family vacation. #saltinthewound
I let myself shed
a lot some tears, poured a glass of wine and thought about how lucky Austin and I are. We have our health. The people we love have their health. All things considered, this Summer was dare I say…special in it’s own bizarre way. I know, right? We’re in a pandemic and it feels like the world is ending BUT…we’ve never spent more time together as a family and early on, Austin and I made a decision to be positive about all of this and show our kids (and ourselves) the power of resilience and the ability to roll with the punches. We’ve saved money and and had big conversations about what we value, where we want to raise our family and what the future might look like for us. There have been a few things (besides the obvious: coffee, wine, and ipads for the kids) that have allowed us to keep some semblance of sanity in our daily lives and I wanted to share those with you today!
- BUDGET– I am maniacal about our budget and took that to an even greater intensity over the last few months. We cut out a LOT of expenses and just out of general curiosity, I wanted to see what that looked like big picture and wow, was it eye opening. I mean, wow. We are saving for some big life things right now and if there’s one thing we’ve learned during this experience, it’s how much we can go without. We dropped our sitter (we had 2 times per week), house cleaner, lowered our gas bill since we were home so much and the BIGGEST savings was the not dining out. It makes me physically ill to see how much we were spending on dining out. Austin and I would have a weekly date night which I would immediately pick back up if things were to change but the REAL expenses were the random coffee runs, daily lunches out for Austin (x5 days/week), weekend stops at the sandwich shop and pizza Fridays. We dined out a lot. So back to the budget. We use Everydollar to budget (I’m a huge Dave Ramsey fan!) and LOVE it. We’ve used it for years and love that you can see a pie chart of your expenses broken down (30% of income goes to housing for example) and that every dollar you spend has a place to go on the site. Those Amazon purchases add up quick, lol. I’ve gotten many friends addicted to this app and I promise, once you start, you’ll be addicted too!
- CUT THE CORD WITH CABLE– So this was a huge thing to knock of my Covid to-do list. I will NOT lie, it was a minimum of two hours on the phone but worth it. Overall, our SAVINGS is about 1k annually. Not huge, but worth my two hours, lol. Honestly, it felt like we simplified our life when we did this! You guys had a lot of questions about this process so here is exactly what we did:
- We kept our internet with our cable company as well as our land line for emergencies (this is around $100/month). Be prepared to be offered lower priced “bundles” over and over again. Your cable company will try HARD to keep your business! I got escalated to 3 different departments/managers before my call ended. Stay the course, lol.
- Find out which streaming TV is the best for you. We picked Utube TV (mostly based on all of your suggestions!) which is around $65/month. We also pay for Disney Plus, Hulu and Netflix…you have to add all of those up because they certainly impact your monthly spend on this! Even with all of those, we still saved over $100/month on our bill.
- Don’t forget to send back your gear- best feeling ever to get rid of that gigantic remote!
- INSTACART– We signed up for Instacart prior to Covid and now all we do is grocery delivery. It’s $100 annually but SO worth it IMO. Here’s why…although the upfront fee felt like a lot at the time (you also have to factor in the tip for the delivery person), you can’t put a price tag on the TIME YOU SAVE not going to the store. Once you create your profile in the app, you can save your favorite groceries for an easy and seamless checkout process. I hate grocery shopping regardless so this was a real win for our family. Not to mention the fact that you no longer have the option for impulse buys! Think of the money saved at Target not throwing that candle, toy (gotta occupy the kids) or set of bath towels you don’t need in the cart! If this service isn’t available where you live, see if your grocery store delivers! Ours all have their own delivery systems aside from working with Instacart (with the exception of Trader Joe’s which is a real letdown!).
- HOUSEWORK SCHEDULE– I have yet to master this one, lol. But the account @cleanmama is a great place to start. She basically has schedules set up so Mondays you wash your bedding, Tuesdays you do your floors…the goal is that you do a little at a time each day so you’re not doing it ALL on Sunday afternoon. I subscribe to this a tad right now in that we try to keep things picked up. Twice each day, I go around and pick up the toys (the kids help). I love to start and end the day with everything picked up and find that I can’t focus if my house is a wreck!
As we embark on a crazy Fall that will require more juggling than ever, I’ll take all of the life hacks I can get. If you have any, I’d love to hear them! I hope this helps and as always, thank you so much for following along! xx