It's hard being a single income family right now, it's even harder when the only income is self employment. Some months money is plentiful with enough to pay bills and even stash some cash away and other months there is an extremely slim cash flow. How do you survive? What bills must be paid? How will we feed our family and livestock?
Our current situation leaves much to be desired in the income area. There is usually enough but that's it- no wiggle room and nothing left for fun. I began babysitting to pay for gas for our van and my animals feed. It also covers any household needs that arise such as toilet paper, dish soap, etc. However, we are now seeing a huge rise in the cost of electric, gas for cars, and basic household necessities. How can we stretch an almost nonexistent budget even further?
I'm focusing on reducing our electric bill for the month of February. Our last months bill was $165 and is completely unacceptable!!!! I am making some major changes in February.
My reduce our electric consumption plan:
- buy each child a battery or solar powered night light. We currently have two bedrooms with night lights left on all night.
- unplug everything at night. We had been doing this but we got lazy.
- turn off the coffee pot and unplug after it's done. I'm going to keep in warm in a peculator on the wood burner.
- use the wood burner to heat up basic foods such as soup, fry eggs, and other skillet meals.
- our dryer broke so right now we are hanging all our clothes on a clothesline inside.
I'm looking to reduce our household budget as well. I need to start playing the drugstore game again if only for the toiletries!!! I can always donate whatever we won't use. My biggest concern here is spending more than necessary to get a good base of ECB's. Spending money just to earn ECB's isn't always cheapest.
Starting a price book again is also going to be done in February. I used to know the best prices for what we bought but since we've moved I haven't kept up on it. We've also started shopping at several new stores and we have also gone completely gluten free again. I have found that Marc's has the best gluten free flour prices around. I'm interested to see how many more organic/gluten free items they have and the cost. I still do one major shopping trip a month and with the cost of gas I don't think this will change. I have realized that I need to plan snacks better through the month. I underestimate how much my children eat!! I am going to put a snack basket in the fridge for each child and hope that reduces the " so and so ate all the apples or clementines".
One of the other changes I'm making is buying all our animal feed at our local mill. I have found it has the cheapest feed around. It will make my life easier to buy dog/cat food there as well. I will double check to make sure it has the cheapest prices for that. I'm optimistic that they will since their rabbit/chicken feed is $4 cheaper per bag!!
I would like to get our water tested, right now we don't drink the water so I'm buying a lot of bottled water. I'm looking into buying a Berkey because I do think it will more than pay for itself.
* This post is linked to the Homestead Barn Hop