Now, with both my husband and myself working full time jobs, I wouldn’t have thought we’d even HAVE budget concerns any more, but let me tell you, it’s so easy to fall into that trap of working a lot, earning more, and spending more to please yourself. After all, I definitely feel like I need a treat after a hard day’s work on my feet. And who wants to cook?
Plus with baby expenses creeping up on us (including my time off work, not to mention the question of whether I’ll return), we have come up with a basic plan to try to get us through for a while on one income plus a tiny cushion of savings (we don’t want to touch our down-payment savings).
1. Cut back EVERYWHERE
I remember challenging myself to ‘only’ spend $400 a month on groceries for two people. Now, we’re REALLY tightening our belts, and we’re going to try to make it on $200. We’ll be making sure we’re driving around less, eating out less, and putting off buying things we only think we need. As soon as our cell phone plans expire, we plan to drop them and get the cheapiest phones available without a contract. We’re even cutting back our savings from $600 a month to $500. It’s a small drop, and we could cut back entirely in an emergency to free up some cash, but right now it’s really important to both of us that we save for a down payment on a house for our family.
2. Buy used.
We got a free drop-side crib from a neighbour of our relative, and while it’s probably my least favourite colour, we still put it up and will make sure the sides are screwed in so the side can’t drop any more, buy a new mattress for it, and use it for our baby. This saves us hundreds on a new crib. Instead of focusing on how it’s not going to be my ‘perfect nursery’, I’m focusing on how it’ll help me achieve my dream of staying home with my perfect baby
We also hit the garage/rummage sales over the summer, and scored most of our baby things for very very cheap (a hat for 10c! A diaper bag for $1). A gracious co-worker who just had a baby 5 months ago generously gave us his daughter’s 0-3 month old things, plus newborn diapers and other things his wife didn’t end up using/needing! So far I don’t think we’ve paid full price for a single thing, except the carseat and co-sleeper ($100 each, so not exactly breaking the bank either).
3. Spend less for Christmas
We usually spend a lot on various younger cousins and nieces and nephews this time of year. I usually like to send a package of gifts to England for my niblings, and I’m worried that if I don’t, they’ll forget who I am. It’s sad, but with a baby on the way, I’m sure people won’t expect us to go all out. This year we’re doing a home-made basket of meats, cheeses, sweets and maybe alcohol, one per household, instead of getting each family member something individual. Food baskets are cute and allowed us to use coupons to get good quality cheese/meat for a lower price.
Hubby and I are also promising not to get each other anything for Christmas (except I’ll probably get him a little something. Just because). Last year our budget for each other was $50 each, and I’m sure he exceeded that, but this time we’re more focused on saving. On the flip side, my Christmas list is chock-full of baby things, so whatever family get us will save us even more money.
4. Earn more money!
This one is the easiest to say but the most difficult to do! I accepted the full time position at work to earn more, and my husband picked up a second job helping people prepare their taxes. Right now he’s just doing the online classes for it, but juggling 3 work commitments is very tough. December is going to be VERY hard work for both of us, but we just have to get through that and things should get easier when I go on maternity leave. I am so proud of him for being willing (and capable) of working two jobs. His main job is very hard work – standing lots, and he’s outside for over half of the day, despite bitter winters or blistering summers. He’s so strong for coming home with enough energy to continue working for 4-5 hours a night.