Thursday, June 22, 2006

Thursday Thirteen

13 things we did when the budget got tight.

After six carefree years as DINKS (double income no kids), we went to one income in 1994 when my husband decided to go into business for himself. Although we were never profligate spenders and had lived on one income our first 18 years of married life, we had to learn all over to tighten our belts. If you need to go to one income so one parent can stay home with children, most of these tips will work for you too.

1. Put all credit cards except one in the drawer--and it was only for emergencies. Cash only for day to day expenses.

2. Ate out once a month instead of once a week.

3. Stopped going into retail stores or the mall, "just to look."

4. Threw out all retail ads and circulars that came to the house. The word "SALE" actually is a trick word meaning "debt."

5. Bought no new clothes.

6. Reduced our utilities--water, electricity, gas, and phone.

7. As part of the buy-out, we got a rather old company car and used it as our second car for a year so we wouldn‘t have car payments.

8. Borrowed a computer for the business; used a small room in the house for an office. I was "staff" and worked when I got home from my job. He bought no equipment until he made some money--he went to the drug store to copy things, and Kinkos to use the fax. After the first year we bought a copier, fax and our own computer. He decided against learning CAD at his age so that was outsourced.

9. Took a five year buy-out of his stock in his former firm. That provided some income and reduced the taxes.

10. Made no major repairs on the house, or decorating, or new furniture.

11. Maintained my regular contribution to my 403-b at work.

12. Maintained our church tithe, but discontinued all other donations.

13. Gave up his downtown Y membership and joined an aerobics class at our suburban church (which he still does).

After two years, and he had established his practice, it was business as usual.

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Chris said...

Haha this is a great list for College students that are right on money aswell.

astrocoz said...

This is a great and useful list. I'm getting married in July, and although we will be double income without kids, everything is expensive in Orange County, CA. I make excellent money for my age and he makes about half of what I make, so its more like 1.5 the income...but I have a feeling that we will have to monitor our expenses more than what we initially envisioned.

I'll have to print this list out and tack it on the fridge. LOL!

Unknown said...

With Jon in college and Katie now 3, we've been doing these sacrifices for quite some time now. We're finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Great advice for everyone. -Margie

Lisa said...

Excellent suggestions, Norma. Not just for DINKs (like us!) but for anyone looking to conserve time, energy and money!

Nice 13!

the lizness said...

These are great suggestions, it's more about getting priorities in order. Thanks for sharing!

momsmusings said...

These are some great ideas. We implement a lot fo them in our one income home here. Graet list.

Anonymous said...

Good things to save money AND to save the planet (reducing electrical and gas etc). I don't have a credit card and never have because I'm not great with money.

Happy0303 said...

Wow . . . talk about discipline! I hope I could do it if I had to. Great T13 list!


It just takes self discipline. I admire you.
My T13 is up too.

One Scrappy Gal said...

Good list. I'm a SAHM of two and I already employ a lot of these practices...except that I have NO credit card at all. It'd be too tempting! I throw out anything that has the word "Sale" on it too. Also too tempting. :) Every once in a while, we'll do a little shopping spree but it's rare and we do pay cash for the items. I save up for those special times when I can treat myself instead of the little ones.

Just Me said...

When our children were small and we were in similar circumstances I learned how to cut mens hair so Himself and the boys never needed to pay a barbar, I learned how to make clothes and alter other clothese to fit younger siblings, I also learned hwo to feed the 5000 on a pund of ground beef - those recipes are still some of our family favourites.

Great list; I wish more young people would practise some of these tips and learn that debt doesn't have to be the norm.

I'm here to share my TT with you,

Jackie said...

Nice list. My downfall is eating out. I'm cutting back from once/twice a DAY to every other day for starters, my GOAL is once a week :P

Stephanie said...

What is a mall or eating out?!?! LOL

My TT is up.

Anonymous said...

helpful list. especially the credit card issue and the 'sale' issue. i am just so bad at it. thanks for visiting my 13.

Lynn said...

A useful list for anyone. Thanks for sharing your experience and wisdom here.

My TT is up.

Froggie said...

That is some great advice. :) I'm currently living on a really really tight budget... just baredly covering my bills. I've done pretty much everything on your list. And I have to completely agree that the word 'sale' means 'debt'. I try not to read adds or flyers. If I don't see the sale... I don't need it.

Got my TT up!

qaiz said...

wow! - it takes a lot to be frugal and thrifty.. I admire you (both) for doing this.. I need to put this in practice in my household as well.. thank you!


qaiz said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Maribeth said...

Just found out that Hubby's retirement is being cut in half. I think the government should force companies to live up to their promises.

Anonymous said...

Great tips!

One way I lowered the electric bill was to buy Energy Star long life lightbulbs. It cost about $30 to replace all the bulbs but the savings worked out to be around $12 a month and I haven't replaced a light bulb in over 10 months now :-)

Anonymous said...

Love it! I LOVE frugal tips! You RULE!

My T13 is up... finally!

Diana said...

Great 13!

Amy said...

We are doing the same things right now. I am starting back to school full-time as is fiance so we are learning to save instead of spend...that's not an easy concept!

Anonymous said...

Hey Norma! Alot of the stuff on your list are things we are doing now. lol My husband is getting ready to sell his car, and we are going to use my car as the family car.