Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Summer Personal Finance

I would guess that there are about three of you who are currently reading this blog who are familiar with a previous blog I kept about personal finances and weight loss. While I no longer maintain that blog, I am still struggling with these two areas of my life. Keeping that blog was an educational experience. The things I learned during that time have made for a good foundation to make progress. I wish I could report about huge strides in both those areas, but alas, I'm still making baby steps.

Richie is working his way up the employment totem pole of high school education. When a teacher retires, there's little chance a new one is hired. When a budget is slashed, you just make do. He has an excellent position at the high school he's employed at, but one tiny drawback: he's a contract employee. What does that mean? If there's no school, there's no income.

Does this make us nervous? Yes. A little scared? Heck yes.

Source: PT Money
We recently learned that his contract will be renewed next school year, and his boss told him that he would renew the contract for as long as Richie wants the position. His boss knows that Richie is looking for another position that is more long-term, has benefits, and utilizes the training he has, yet with this knowledge, his boss is still comfortable with renewing his contract. This is a huge blessing and weight off our shoulders. But once the school year ends, that's it. There's no second income until school begins in August.

So what do we do? We've sketched out a game plan to get us through the lean times coming up.

1. We are praying. This job was an answered prayer. We'll continue to pray for financial peace over the summer.

2. I have been paying a little extra on our bills each month so in case we come up short this summer, some of the regular bills won't be as high. I have also added a little extra cushioning to savings in case something comes up.

3. We received many gift cards this past Christmas. Generally, we spend them faster than teenagers. However, Richie mentioned putting them aside and using them over the summer. So that's what we're doing with those. Brilliant!

4. To bring in extra income, Richie will be housesitting and petsitting for families we have done this for in the past. He has also spread the word through his school that he's available to do this, and he has a few more interested families. I also have a few items I'm going to list on Craigslist to hopefully unload.

5. We will only be eating out after church on Sundays. This will be our most difficult step, but we are both committed to sticking this out. We chose Sundays because it's our tradition now and we really enjoy it.

Of course, we'll be doing some of the other basics. I'll still be bringing my lunch to work. We use coupons and shop sales for groceries. We try to wait as long as possible to turn on the air conditioner to save on electricity. We made mistakes last summer, and I'm confident we have learned from those mistakes and will be smarter this year.

What are your absolutely tried-and-true, crazy or not crazy, ways you save money in lean times?


  1. The thing that has helped me the most recently is writing down material "things" that I want and waiting at least a couple of weeks before I purchase them. For example, if I realize I need to replace a clothing item or need more moisturizer, I write it down and wait on it a bit -- I can't say this prevents all frivolous purchases, but it does help me prioritize by spending the money on things I can tell are the most important to me, and letting the less important things fall down the list for "someday." Under this system, it has become clear I will never own rain boots, but I am okay with that. :)

    1. I should do that, Deena. Especially when it comes to beauty/personal stuff.

      And I've always wanted rain boats but can't justify the purchase in any way whatsoever.