Have you noticed that the 'end of money' EOM keeps coming earlier and earlier compared to the "end of month" EOM? Here, where we're supposed to get 2 paychecks a month, we've only gotten 2 1/3 since November 1. That's ONE THIRD of our usual/budgeted for income for the last 3 1/2 months. We're hurting. Our emergency fund is dry. We're running really really late in paying some bills. We've even taken withdrawals from the Chubby Hubby's IRA!
Normally, this would be mitigated at least as far as our grocery money by our son paying 1/4 of his income for buying groceries, but his hours have been cut drastically at work. Partly because they cut every one's hours, partly because the restaurant he works for has had a cut in customers due to Lent, partly because even before Lent the 'labor costs' at the restaurant were higher than they wanted. They can't cut cooks, they can't cut salaried management, servers get paid less than hosts so cutting them isn't as 'useful (tho' they HAVE sent them home as well), so the Host gets sent home and management seats customers and handles the cash register.
AND - our electric provider estimates our bill most months. The last bill was estimated, and we paid about half of it. But they estimated LOW, even by normal usage standards - and the month was COLD COLD COLD so our electric usage for heat was HIGH HIGH HIGH. We're going to get slapped by a particularly high electric bill next month, on top of what we already owe them.
So, here it's all about trying to stretch what we already have as far as we can. Car tires are a bit over-filled to increase MPG. My afternoons are spent sitting under blankets on the couch - not watching TV, but sewing patches on pants in a 60 degree house. The water supplies to the two toilets that run on have been shut off. My lunches have been featuring soup and small potatoes/sweet potatoes, leftover veggies, and small sprinkles of cheese, and the Chubby Hubby's lunches are the same soup plus half a sandwich of cheap lunch meat (on home-made bread). The only meat bought each month that isn't 'reduced for quick sale' is one 10 pound bag of chicken leg quarters for $7.90 total.
One good thing - the Chubby Hubby has finally started to do some needed household repairs, which help make things more efficient around here. Like - the cold water filter into the washer is now fixed! I no longer have to carry buckets of cold water from the kitchen to the laundry room to wash clothes. Because you KNOW I'm not using hot water for my laundry and rinses! He also spliced a new plug on to the old iron, so it works for ALL of us. For the past few months I was the only one who could bend the cord 'just so', which allowed some broken wires ends to meet. He used a cord we had salvaged off something else, years ago, to replace the old plug, so it only cost him time/effort.
This next weekend we'll be working on the running-on toilets. I'm hoping we won't have to buy parts for them, just clean calcium and rust deposits off the inside of the tanks and flappers.
The Spawn has even stopped buying his occasional fast food, instead coming home and eating instead. I may have to keep some pizza dough half-baked baked, or make him some bagels, so he can whip up home-made pizza fast.
What things are you doing to keep from having to spend money? Share your ideas here or ....
Have I mentioned that I started a Frugal group on Facebook? You can join that and share your ideas there, too! It's at https://www.facebook.com/groups/457503407646133/?bookmark_t=group