Looking for ways to save and stop waste. Turning off lights that once burned needlessly. Thinking twice about turning on the decorative switch on gas fireplace when our electric/gas bill hit the late $400s in one month.
Thinking thrice about making extra trips in gas guzzling SUV even with lowered gas prices. Doing everything not to eat out.
I search madly the local parenting magazines for free Seattle Art Museum admissions, and more free art admissions nationwide, cheap family skate nights, and, yes, even free boat sailing.
I am sure you are all doing the same.
Putting two years of an MBA on credit cards is killing us slowly with insults. The kids swim fees and meet fees topped $500 last month.
Yep, costs are up and confidence is low here.
I know we are in a much better position than most. We have paid off cars still under warranty. We can afford our mortgage and even still have a bit of equity left. CG has a well paying job for now and said monster corporation actually made a profit last year.
But. There's always a but. I am going to shock you here: As of today, credit cards are at $40,000 and last week, the husband paid so many bills aggressively that there was no money for me to shop at Costco.
Seriously. No. Costco.
We did survive. No groceries. We ate from the pantry. Yep, that pantry.
So, we've started tweaking our expenses in the cold reality that those credit card bills are crazy and that MBA damn well better be worth it. No stress, honey. I promise. I know it was my idea for you to get an MBA.
So first baby step?
This week, for the first time in a decade, we have basic phone service. No call waiting. No caller ID. No calling out long distance.
With a cell phone, it's not like I used our home phone much anyways, but I did want to keep it for emergencies. For the school. For the regular storms up here that blow out cell coverage and electricity.
However, I must tell you I used those extra services on that home phone as a crutch to call screeen my little heart out. I never answered the phone unless I knew who it was.
Caller ID was my firewall to keep out charitable soliciting and pushy salespeople. We even had a distintive ring for out of state to alert that most likely family was calling.
No more. Now I must answer the phone the old-fashioned way. You know. Like an adult not a high schooler having her mom answer the phone and whisper the caller's name so I could decide if I wanted to talk to so and so.
Now I bite the bullet.
I tell those salespeople selling credit card insurance no thanks and to take me off their list. I tell my alma mater, "sorry, not this year."
I answer the phone and it's a crapshoot whether it's someone I want to talk to, but I can't play telephone hermit anymore. I have to be in my discomfort zone and work on skills to deal.
In a way, this is a progression. Sometimes technology makes us hermits. Unsocialized. Downright hesitant, avoidance prone, and even rude in our ignorance of calls.
No more. Thank the recession for pulling me off my information exile island and forcing me to talk to actual people.
My next step is to talk to actual bankers to get a home equity loan to pay off those credit cards.
Crazy talk. I know. I know.
Talking to bankers is up there on my list with talking with car salesmen. Shiver. Who knows?
Next, we'll start using actual cash in actual brick and mortar stores instead of plastic online. Break out the piggy banks.
Thx for the Flickr pics by Daniel Y. Go and Clemson and blmurch