It’s not easy, but this is how we’ve been managing.
$20 Allowance. We each get a $20 allowance every two weeks. And even this is pushing our budget, seriously. We can use our allowance any way we want but that’s all we get for 2 weeks (essentially, every time I get paid). Eric likes to use his on energy drinks or when he goes out for a beer with the guys. I typically use mine for happy hours with friends (1 drink + tip= $7).
Pack lunch and plan meals. I’ve been doing all the food preparation, for both our lunches and our dinners. (Breakfast is oatmeal for Eric, and an egg white, bacon, spinach wrap for me). Last month, I spent $220 on groceries–which is the lowest out of this entire year. And I packed all our lunches and made all our meals at home (we only ate out once the entire month). And trust me, we’re eating well. I made homemade pizza, a roast in the crockpot, lemon chicken, enchiladas…we’re not eating like paupers and I’ve enjoyed finding my inner chef!
Cheap entertainment. I’m lucky that Eric and I enjoy spending time at home. We usually stay in Friday nights and make a frozen pizza and catch up on Jersey Shore and The Real Wold. For dessert, we make baked cookie dough with vanilla ice cream (which I bought for free thanks to a Facebook coupon). On Saturday nights, we either have dinner at one of our parents’ house, or we invite friends over or vice versa. Even if it’s our turn to host friends, it’s still so much cheaper to make dinner for 4 people than it is to go out. Dinner and some cheap bottles of Trader Joe’s wine and we’re set for the evening.
No clothes, no mani-pedis, no extras. Except for a $2 red leather purse and a $10 leather Arden B jacket (both bought at a garage sale), I haven’t bought any clothes. I also haven’t gotten my nails done and essentially, anything “extra” has been eliminated from our budget.
Extra sources of income. I’ve started mystery shopping (a post to come on that), I’ve also made money with the blog thanks to sponsored posts, and we’re doing a garage sale at my in-laws this weekend. I hope to do some babysitting again. We’ll see.
Basically, if it hasn’t been a necessity we haven’t bought it. I would say that in September, we probably spent about $100 on non-essential items (and that included a $60 dinner–the one time we went out to eat with friends). That is a huge difference from the rest of the year where we were consistently dropping hundreds of dollars on non-essentials. I mean, obviously we don’t want to live like this for-ev-er, but knowing that there is so much that has been eliminated from our budget–and look we’re still alive!–kind of makes it seem like wow, we can really live like this.
Obviously, we don’t have kids (just our pup), so it’s a lot easier to live off my income when there’s only 2 of us. But we’re doing it! and we’re not wearing rags or eating rice and beans every day…