90% of my thoughts are consumed with money. How much do I have in my accounts, how much vacation money do I have, which checks have cleared, IS MRS. MAE EVER GOING TO DEPOSIT MACY'S DAYCARE PAYMENTS?! I suck with money. I'm an impulse buyer and Macy thinks Walmart is our second home. I have a college degree in politics, but I work for peanuts and pennies because the hours are great, my insurance is paid, and my schedule is super flexible. (At least that's what I tell myself when a particularly bad case is flung my way or I'm eating Ramen and whatever else I find in the depths of my pantry). Before Macy, my salary was more than enough to get me through.. Rent was cheap or free, my Jeep was paid, and wine was the extent of my grocery bill. Now that I'm a grown-up, or at least pretend to be one, I have things like mortgages, car notes (because I totaled the paid for one), insurance, DAYCARE, and Walmart to pay. I honestly don't know how I make ends meet, my only explanation is God is there for me. Some how, my lights stay on, my house hasn't been foreclosed on, and Macy always has something to eat. But over the years I have learned some tips and tricks that do help.
In the food department, it's just Macy and me. I half or quarter recipes to suit our needs. Most recipes I find are for 4-8 servings... Macy and I are lucky to eat 2, and there are just somethings I can't eat for 5 days straight. Buying in bulk helps. Cheese is SO much cheaper at SAMs, and so are Macy's snacks. I look for meat that's close to expiration - it's usually cheaper, so I'll buy a much as I can (usually 5-7 lbs), and then I take it home and freeze it in 1/2 lb portions. I also had to learn to buy other things in bulk, such as sugar and flour. Once you acquire an actual stock in the pantry, it gets easier and cheaper to maintain... Although I did find 9 bags of coconut flakes in the freezer?!
Clothing. Macy is three. Walmart and Hammedowns are generally more than enough to suit her needs. Also, Carter's and Children's place will sometimes offer 50% off coupons and codes, you'll get bombarded with emails, but it pays off when you get a whole seasons's worth of clothes for $60 and free shipping. I also participate in Duck Duck Goose - as a consignor and buyer. I also use Zulily for her fancier stuff. Takes forever to come in, but it's cheap and cute. Clothing for me.. Well I haven't grown in years, so I can kinda justify spending a little more on me. I am a sucker for Riffraff and Red Dress, as well as other local boutiques, sometimes I'll splurge, but most of the time I just drool... I do allow myself to get one piece of boutique clothing a paycheck, if my budget allows. It doesn't seem like much, but it adds up.
Entertainment. Saving in this category is relatively new to me. I currently have: Directv and Verizon Wireless with a Mifi/Hotspot. I am spending approx. $300 for Doc McStuffins and 10gb of data. I called and Directv is getting shut off after this billing cycle (HELLO NETFLIX?!), I am getting wireless internet for $45/mo. and I am cutting out my Mifi and dropping my data package on the iPhone... Now I will be spending $120/mo. Leaving some more wiggle room in the Budget for Macy and Me to get out and visit Museums and go to movies... and Shopping. Date night - what the hell is that? I think I've been to a bar maybe oh twice in my life. I'm not a big drinker - maybe a bottle of wine twice a month. So that helps.
Saving. You mean that account I'm supposed to have for emergencies and whoopsies? Um, get back to me on this one when I start making above minimum wage. For now, my whoopsie is my Discover Card, which they were nice enough to give me an unGodly high limit. Since I'm a government employee, I do have a retirement account and I'm a little smart in that I contribute the max amount. But I'm really counting on being nice to Macy so maybe she'll put me up in a nice home. -- but for real, I do have a savings account and even if all I can afford to put in there is $5, I do.
Others. My house stays at 68 degrees in winter to make up for the constant air flow to maintain 68 in the summer. Macy and I don't use much water. At all. I buy the cheap laundry gunk (works just as well as Tide). I am fortunate in that I only have to wash my hair 2-3 times a week with $5 shampoo/conditioner (I promise I bathe every day) and I only get it cut and colored like once a year. I don't wear much make-up. I probably spend a $10 a year for mascara and eyeliner... I vaguely know what foundation is, but I have never bought any.
Well there ya have it. The musings of a single mom who lived paycheck to paycheck. =)