Thursday, September 13, 2012

A Penny Earned

I started this blog to share my day-to-day experience with trying to make it through this recession, and, heck, who doesn't want to save a few bucks?  I am a mother of two and have been able to stay home with them for many years. I have what I call a "challenging" family who is pretty high maintenance.  It is important to my husband and me that one of us is able to be with them when they are home before and after school.  That job usually falls to me for obvious reasons

Before we had financial issues, we lived in a beautiful home (that had a lot of upkeep) in a nice neighborhood in a nice town.  I volunteered at my children's school, went to church, ran a small business of my own on the side, did yoga, scrap-booking, decorated our house by myself (including all the window treatments) and, after 3:00, became chauffeur, referee, cook, maid, teacher, therapist, mother and wife.  I had help with housekeeping, pampered myself on occasion and my husband and I had date night.  We would have parties with our friends and for our kids.  We went on vacations and visited relatives.  We really didn't want for anything.

Just like everyone else, we were hit with "the crash," but we've managed to keep ourselves afloat by cutting back on a few extras, but mainly because of what happened on November 8, 2010 at 12:45 a.m.. :  we had a house fire (no lives were lost).  When we were able to sell it "as is," we decided to make a lifestyle change and moved into a house half its size with half the bills in a laid back beach community.  My husband and I even decided to do our own lawn care instead of hiring a landscaper.  Kind of a hard way to go about it, but it was one of those "meant-to-be" scenarios.   We still live in a beautiful house in a lovely neighborhood and town, but a few things have changed.

As a stay-at-home-mom, I was already used to saving a few bucks here and there, especially since the children grew so quickly!  How many pairs of pants can one boy go through in a year!? My husband is in the land development business, which has dropped but held steady enough until this year. We are now in the proverbial "rough patch."  He kept it from me until June, hoping he could work it out and to save me added stress. Once I found out, I cried, pulled up my boot straps and immediately went into action.

Since it was the beginning of summer and we have two children, I had a difficult decision to make: do I go back to work outside the home?  After thoroughly studying the job market in my area, I realized that at the time, I would be working to pay someone to be with my children:  I couldn't make enough income for it to make sense. My first order of business: cut back the" fat" from our spending.  After the initial list, I've discovered other ways to save.  Remember, Benjamin Franklin had it right: "A penny saved is a penny earned!"

I'll share tips on how I use my Sense for Savings and turn pennies into dollars over a course of a year.

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Do you have any tips on saving money or cutting costs?