Wednesday, July 6, 2016
Household Austerity Measures
I haven't been this concerned about household finances since DH was unemployed for over 6 months back in 2010. He is 100% commission and it has just been painful lately-more than lately. We're likely into our third month of his take home, including his car allowance which isn't really salary, of take home being less than half of mine, and all benefits and flex account spending comes out of my paycheck. This is not the time to get frustrated, though of course we both are. He is working so hard, and spends more time than I think the other staff do following up, and extending high quality customer service, and going the extra mile to treat his customers as good or better than he would want to be treated. There's a lot more to the background-power games between owners and managers, that just catches the staff in the cross fire. While I hope things turn around, and he has his eyes open for other opportunities, it is tough as men get older to find open doors.
What to do to lessen this hopefully temporary lull in our finances? Times like these call for me to bring some austerity measures into our own home budget. We have some commitments that we must follow through with such as the Alaska cruise, show choir, and DD2's choir trip. Bills have to be paid and we have money set aside for the home improvements, though some new furniture that was part of the budget may need to be reconsidered. Other than those, everything else is going to need to be cut to the bones the rest of summer, hopefully getting us through this rough patch and living entirely on my take home. It will mean tough choices for groceries, household, entertainment, and all other non-fixed expenses. I looked at our bills, and our spending patterns and think there should be room for cuts without resorting to rice and oatmeal every meal, though I am not opposed to more of either staple. Second and third thoughts before each purpose will help. If successful, this will mean anything DH does bring home will go to savings, and perhaps I can get us in a better spending groove for the long haul.
Home cooking will be the mantra along with no waste. I also need to keep up the purging and organizing, using up things that are perfectly fine and not waste money on stuff we can get by without. I'm talking to you bathroom vanity and medicine cabinet, kitchen pantry and underwear and sock drawers! When I do need to spend, I will look for the lowest cost, perhaps not the cheapest, option. It won't do any good to buy watered down dish soap and use three times more, but I might have to settle for my 2nd or third favorite brands on things and throw aesthetics out the window. I need to use my clothes line, and chip away at the gas and electric bill. I have a few children's birthdays, and I will hunt for nice, but reduced price gifts.
As overwhelming as this feels, I am very fortunate. I don't know how single parent families or those living with one income handle the pressure when finances get tight. I have a team and I am racking my brains on ideas to reduce spending. DD is aware, without details, that belt tightening is in order. DH is bringing something home, and while we hope we can put it aside, it is at least there, plus we have savings so no resorting to credit cards for living expenses. I think I will be breaking out my old Tightwad Gazette books, and reading up on ideas from 20-25 years ago, that I probably shouldn't have left behind in the first place. Have you ever applied austerity to yourself? What were your tools to get you through, and did any of them stick with you?