Last Wednesday, I lost my job. Problems in my boss’ personal life have escalated, and he can no longer afford to pay me. While I’ve been suspecting for a little while that this might happen, it still came as a shock. I thought I had more time – more time to squirrel away some extra money, store extra supplies, come up with a plan… But that isn’t how it works, is it? Life changes rarely come with warnings.
That’s why we prepare.
In the car on the way home on my last day of work, I started thinking about what I needed to do to ensure that we could make it through the next few weeks or months. As soon as I got home, I checked our checking and savings accounts, counted the money in the “rainy day” bucket, and put together a budget for for the month of August. I took a pantry inventory, including Thrive foods, to see how long we could go without a trip to the grocery store. I looked through the rather large stack of clothes that my daughter has outgrown, and started listing them on eBay. A few larger items that had been collecting dust in the garage were sold quickly on craigslist, and that money was added to the rainy day bucket as well. We’ve had to pinch pennies before, and I have a plan. Here are a few key points in this plan:
- The grocery budget is the easiest place to save money. I can’t cut the utility bill, reduce the mortgage, or cut back on car insurance. But I can cut our grocery bill – a lot. Our food storage pantry exists for a reason, and this is the season we’ve prepared for. So for now, we’re making our own bread (and bagels!), drinking Thrive milk, and going without luxury items (unless I can get them free with a coupon). We’ll break out the ice cream maker on occasion for a special treat, use up the veggies that have been hanging out in the depths of the deep freezer for a while, and be extra careful that nothing goes to waste. I’ll be sure that the meals we eat are extra nutritious by adding more Thrive veggies, fruits and whole grains.
- We will drive as little as possible. A little bit of planning will help us to combine car trips, and we’ll do our best to stay home several days a week.
- We’ll dust off our library cards. The entertainment budget is going to be at zero for a while, and that’s all the more reason to enjoy a few good books and check out the local library’s DVD collection.
- We will not eat out. Feeling deprived won’t help either, so to prevent that we will make pizza, chicken nuggets, cheeseburgers, fries, chocolate chip cookies and other goodies from scratch. They’ll be a lot healthier and save us quite a bit of money.
- I will use the gifts that God has give me to make extra money. I’m not an artist by any means – my daughter is more than happy to announce that all I can draw is a smiley face – but I do have an eye for photography. I started a small photography business when my daughter was a baby, but didn’t do much to gain new clientele when we moved to Colorado four years ago. I’ve started advertising locally and hope to build some business here, which will allow me to boost our family income.
I haven’t decided yet if I will look for another full time job, or try to rely on my photography skills to provide the extra income we need. I’ve been working 60+ hours a week for the last year, and this past week off has reminded me how much I missed being a stay at home mom and wife. I love being able to spend extra time with our daughter, teaching her valuable homemaking skills and enjoying mommy bonding time. I love being able to keep our home clean and running well for my husband. He has picked up a lot of my slack over the past months, taking over laundry duty amongst many other chores, and I’m sure he’s ready for a break.
One thing is for sure – the self reliance skills I have learned over the last couple of years will be employed well to take our family through this time of uncertainty, and the Thrive foods in our pantry take a lot of stress out of making ends meet.