Friday, July 31, 2009

Convenience Factor - What I Learned This Week

Our family has decided to make an effort to be better stewards of our money and be on a little tighter budget. To say that we are being affected by the recession would be an understatement. I'm not going to go into that too much because my husband would not be a happy camper with me telling cyberspace our financial state and all. Let's just say, we really have needed to re-think the way we live our life. It's not necessarily been such a bad thing, though.

We decided that we waste a lot of money on things that provide us convenience. While they do free up some time for us, we also find that they don't add much benefit to our life. One question I asked myself a lot is, "What are my kids learning by the fact that we pay someone else to do so much for us?"

We've done a lot of cutting back in small areas but just this last week we've done the following:

First, we let our lawn service go.
Now, before you go and laugh at how much this is not a sacrifice (you are probably right), let me tell you that for Hubby - it really is. He has about 1 full day off a week and we spend most of that day at church. So, he really doesn't have much time to do yardwork. I could not use our old mower because I could never get it started (I know, I know), so eventually we just hired someone to do it. The opportunity cost at the time just made sense. We've had the same lawn service for a pretty low cost for almost 10 years. I hated to cancel it because we love the guy so much. But we did - it just makes sense now. So, Hubby went to Sears and got himself a fancy push mower that was a floor model and one I can work if I need to. Which I'm hoping I don't.

That hubby of mine can certainly work a deal. He got a the mower for more than 50% off. I think he actually is enjoying mowing the lawn which I did not think I would ever see.

Second, we let our housecleaning service go.
Yes, I cried.

Again, you might be saying, "no big sacrifice, Janel." Yeah, well you are right. Many women clean their own homes, so why can't I? Now I do have to say that I have only had a cleaning service because she is part of a barter program in which we belong. I have not paid her cash in 2 years. But again, we decided we need to save the bartering dollars for more important things like vet bills and the dentist. Yes, we barter those things - it's a beautiful thing.

Third, we decided to eat out for dinner only once a week. We sell an amazing line of premium cookware for crying out loud. Why are we going to out dinner so much? Weight gain, stomach issues all spending money all say we shouldn't be eating out so much - enough said. So, I've been cooking every night this week. I actually baked, too! I enjoy cooking so much and really find that the more of a habit I make it, the more I can easily throw a meal together faster than going out to eat. Also, I feel so much better about what I'm feeding my kids because I have control over what goes into the food.

Last but not least, I am looking for part-time income now that both of my kids are in school. So, I started looking for a job outside the home only to realize a couple things:

1. I have not been in the actual workforce for almost 10 years and people are not so much interested in me compared to the other thousand people that are out of work that actually do have skills they need.

2. I am on my computer a lot. And there are ways to generate income by being on my computer. One thing I like to do is encourage and promote other people. There are actually ways that I can generate income by doing just that in the online world. I've had some amazing opportunities this week in this area and I am very excited.

Needless to say, the first week without the many conveniences has been busy.
Busy but good.
It feels good to make an effort to take care of our own stuff and also save money.

In my mind, it's a positive way the recession has affected us. It's made us more aware of what we really don't need and what we can do ourselves.

How about you? What positive affect has the recession had on you, if any?

For more lessons learned this week you can head over to Musings of a Housewife. She's been talking a lot about eating more whole foods and less processed. Good stuff over there.

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Anita said...

Hi Janel, I think for each of us we make choices for conveniences and services that are extras for many. In our family we don't pay for a lawn service or a cleaning person, but we have other "things" I just bought an iPhone last month, and added a cell line for my youngest, so those alone will up our cell phone bill by $40 + tax. My girls are 16 in 12 days and we bought a new car for my husband, so they can share his. The cost of insurance is going up, and the car payment is more than our last one, cars just go up.
To battle these increases to our disposable income we plan to eat out less, and I am also starting to look for full or part time work. I've been home for almost 9 years. I'd love to know more about your online financial opportunities, if you want to share and email me.
My advise, my children have just become more expensive over the be prepared...LOL.
As you said, the economy has made us think more about our money, and it is a good thing

Amanda @ High Impact Mom said...

Hi Janel, thanks for stopping by High Impact Mom. I love the positive changes you are making in your life! We cut out the lawn care last summer and, as much as I would love to have it, we have put off hiring a cleaning service. I think it's great you are being realistic and setting a goal of eating out only once a week. If you were to cut it out all together you might find yourself cheating or fudging your budget.

I'm inspired by you and will be coming back to see how it goes!

Kristin said...

I know God must have the perfect job just waiting for you :) How about posting some of your favorite money-saving meals?

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