I believe I have mastered the one in two out rule I gave myself months back as part of my downsizing goal. Personally, I've updated very few things in the last 6 months to either the house or my wardrobe. I've learned to combine individual items into what seem like new to me outfits, and found a perfect for me pair of long shorts, second hand, so feel like I might have saved them from a trash bin. Additional closet purging continues. Even for the teen, who outgrew a bunch of things, was on board with clearing hose to make room for a couple bags of hand me downs. (These were cream of the crop teen items too.) This approach to downsizing, while on the slow track, has been a help in closing the gap my voluntary pay cut gave the checkbook.
We haven't stopped putting money towards experiences, and that I am happy to report. It was one of the worries I had with the significantly lower monthly cash flow. I didn't want to be sitting home every night, looking at the television, and eating nothing but potatoes and pasta. Even when in overall outlook, long term savings, commuting costs, and other shifts that made the net pay difference fairly low, seeing $1,000+ less in actual deposits was a bit of a gulp. By not channeling money to stuff, we've maintained room in the budget for experiences.
We added weekly private violin lessons for DD#2, who is moving on to high school orchestra, but didn't want to give up choir. She also wants to be in an extra orchestra that plays at a higher level, and for that the teacher requires additional lessons. She adores her new teacher, who is helping to correct bad habits she picked up when her regular orchestra teacher just couldn't do private lessons, so had kids working in groups of 2-4, 9 times per year, and, a full class of 25 or more students.
She also went on a mission trip out of state, and participated in Summer Stretch, a weekly youth group that blends a 1/2 day of community service with an afternoon fun activity like water parks, fun zones, and roller skating, culminating in an amusement park day. She earned part of her costs through fundraisers like church breakfasts and bagging groceries.
We've spent money on things for the lake days such as gas for the boat, extra quantities of food for the extra guests both girls have brought along, tons of extra sunscreen for the same reason. There has been other expenses that have come up from things that just needed done, and DH just took care of them, of course without asking for reimbursement or sharing the cost from anyone. These are things his dad always just took care of. Other years we've invested in an extra air mattress and tent to expand sleeping space-worth every penny spent.
We've met friends for happy hours and burger nights listening to live music, putting some tip money in the jar in appreciation. Both DH and I have had lunch out on occasion with work colleagues, building and maintaining relationships with people we spend a lot of time with. I don't want to always be left behind at the office! DD has had a little pocket money for a movie or two, or a walk to the park and then for ice cream with her friends. We've continued wine club, enjoying the learning, and socializing. I've bought new spices for trying out dishes we haven't made at home before, lots of farmers market vegetables, and locally canned jams, and DD is leaning to expand her cooking beyond ramen noodles.
We have play tickets tonight and starting this Sunday, will be an outdoor concert series on the grounds of a historic mansion, with price of a free will donation. A different nonprofit or church group runs concessions which are items like home made pies and ice cream with fresh fruit toppings, fresh squeezed lemonade and brewed ice tea.
None of these cost much considering the value, and with my more flexible schedule and more free time, we can be more organized to take advantage of affordable options. We can snap a picture or two as we want, or hold the memories just in our heads, clutter free. What have you invested in that is giving you enjoyment this summer?
|Live music is always a treat for me.|