Spending Less Than Ever

by Katy on November 9, 2014 · 6 comments

The following is a reprint of a previously published post. Enjoy!

My family is most definitely a two income family. My husband works full-time in emergency services and I work very part-time (16 hours per week) as a labor and delivery nurse. I’ve been in the same job for over fifteen years, so my hourly wage is generous. We are normally able to cover all of our expenses, while having enough leftover to pay down debt and never feel like we’re holding back on the things we want and need. (The income from the blog pretty much covers the hosting fees and not much else.)

We’re able to have this financial wiggle room because we make multiple frugal choices on a daily basis. We keep the thermostat low, fix instead of replace, cook at home, follow The Compact, (buy only used) and pack school and work lunches from home. However, we’re also spending $220 per month on tutoring for our younger son, which is allowing him to return to a public school language program that he’s been away from for over four years. In other words, we scrimp on the little things in order to afford the big picture stuff.

“I’m sorry honey, we can’t afford your tutoring because we like to eat restaurant food.”

However, my job has been providing me with significantly less work than usual. It’s not unusual for birth rates to fluctuate, but my last three paychecks have been approximately $700 less than usual. I’m used to riding the ups and downs of my irregular income, but this is starting to hurt.

So, have we been starting to rely on credit cards, or are we cutting back on our son’s extra tutoring? No way. We’re using extreme frugality skills to float us through this low point. For example, my sister and her family were in town for Thanksgiving, and instead of hitting up the Goodwills, (our favorite activity) we hung out at home and feasted on leftovers. Instead of providing different fruit choices, I have a bowl of whichever fruit is on sale. (99¢ per pound organic Gala apples) I’m not buying deli meat for school lunches, and instead am making egg salad sandwiches and onigiri from leftover rice. My special me treat yesterday was a stop into a library across town (I was in the neighborhood to pick my son up) and checked out some audio books as well as the newest novel from one of my favorite Chick-lit authors.

I thought about stopping into Trader Joe’s and didn’t, as it is my Achilles heel of impulse puchase-ery. 

Candy Cane Joe-Joe’s? You bet!”

We will not need to dip into savings, nor will we suffer in any way. We’ll put a little less into debt reduction and cut back on most anything extra. And yeah, I’ll be using the $10 off $50 Safeway coupon that ran in today’s newspaper.

Having the ability to happily survive whether the purse strings are tight or loose is an important mindset in life. Hey, this might even inspire me to finally list some stuff on eBay. You never know. 🙂

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Twitter.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Instagram.
Click HERE to join The Non-Consumer Advocate Facebook group.
Click HERE to follow The Non-Consumer Advocate on Pinterest.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Elizabeth Vega November 10, 2014 at 5:41 am

Yes! It’s great timing for me to read this again, as I’ve cut my hours voluntarily this month in anticipation of a potential full-time job offer. We also just bought a new-used car, and my husband’s company is merging in January, which could bring layoffs.

We live far below our means, though, and so, like your family, none of these things is too scary for us… it’s a wonderful feeling to not feel enslaved by our consumer habits; thank you for being such an awesome role model and reminding us that it can be fun to spend less!


Karen November 10, 2014 at 8:14 am

We have been a one-income family since 2008. It is somewhat easier to manage because we are 2 adults and 2 rescue terriers living in a mortgage-free home.


Ellendra November 10, 2014 at 10:09 am

“I’m sorry honey, we can’t afford your tutoring because we like to eat restaurant food.”

I can’t count the number of people I know who would never see the connection between these two things. One of my coworkers recently got evicted because she spent too much money on eating out. She claims she had no choice because her fridge quit working, but no matter how I tried I couldn’t quite get the concept of “buy stuff that doesn’t need refrigerated” through to her.

I sometimes get accused of being rich at work because I wear nice clothes, but the same people making that accusation eat out every meal and wouldn’t be caught dead at a thrift store. I pack my own food and do my clothes shopping at Goodwill. But try to explain that to some people!


Sheila November 11, 2014 at 1:00 pm

No fridge means ” Use the cooler.” A solid block of Ice lasts 3 days. If the dead fridge shelves cold be moved to fit the cooler maybe longer. Many 3rd world type areas have no refrigeration and they manage. Wonder what else she isn’t telling you. I’m not buying into that lame excuse.
For use it is was tutoring and gas and copay’s for my son’s mental health issue. “Sorry son ~ you just have to fail school and I can’t take you to your appointments cause I don’t have the gas or copay money to do it. We need to eat out because mom is too tired from working and blew all the money on take out and restaurant food.” Seriously – as I get older I expect more and more if I go out to a restaurant. I want something I can’t make or don’t want to fuss with at home. I’d rather eat PB and J and know my hands were clean when I made it and the bread in my bread machine 4 hours prior. Or invest the $$ in some good steaks instead of fast food that will retaliate without antacids.


Gail November 10, 2014 at 12:36 pm

Your pay must indeed be generous, if you are working just 16 hours, but still have something left over after taking a $700 cut.


Katy November 10, 2014 at 2:19 pm

I am an RN who has been in the same job for almost twenty years, so my hourly wage is pretty good.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: