I love going over to Money Saving Mom's site because she asks starts so many great, interactive discussions. Today she asks for us to report on our financial health this month. I have definitely done some things to try and improve our finances lately, but I haven't made any clear cut goals. That will be my first goal, to make a plan for March. Our finances definitely need tweaking. Our mortgage went up by $120 this month - surprise! We have a fixed rate, too.
Here's what I have done recently:
1. Taken a job. I started a part time job at my kids' school so I can earn a little extra money and still always be around for them. I've also been taking on all the substitute work I can find. Every little bit helps!
2. Stopped buying books and movies. Believe it or not, I used to think nothing of dropping $500 at a school book fair. I figured the books were a good deal, it supported the school, and reading is somthing our whole family loves. Now I have been using the library and getting my books for nearly free with paperbackswap. I've never been a big movie buyer - we've usually just rented. However, recently I've started using swapadvd. When I have a dvd we're done with, I just post it and trade it for what we want. This has been a great program that we have enjoyed using.
3. Cut down on utilities. Lights off, water used sparingly, heat on only when it's very cold. I've also tried to cut down on my driving to save gas.
4. Stopped shopping for 'deals'. Sometimes enough is enough. I realized recently that a lot of my 'deal shopping' was unnecessary. I realized this when I bought 30 1 pound bags of M&Ms because they were .28 a bag. I used them in cookies, and we ate some, but soon it became apparent that one can indeed have too much of a good thing. So I have stopped stocking up on treats, and try to focus my spending on necessities.
My goals for March are to formulate concrete goals and make a spending plan. I am also going to cut down on eating out (our main weakness) and on spending for school lunches (which means making a menu plan, etc.). If I can accomplish those two goals this month I will consider this month a success. With my husband gone overseas, it seems like I have no time for anything. How do single moms do it, I wonder?
Wish me luck, and I'll report again in April.