The first few months after Felicity was born, we just flew by the seat of our pants. Well, in lots of respects, but I'm referring to finances. We had a really nice padding in our savings and a decent padding in our checking, and had done it that way knowing that life would be crazy and we didn't want to stress about money right away. However, we took that too far and basically didn't change the way we were living at all. Not that we've ever lived extravagantly, but eating out once or twice a week, even at places like Subway, can really add up when your income has been slashed by about 40%. And buying something "for the baby" (ahem, our Little People obsession) over and over at consignment sales doesn't seem like much at the time, but add a couple of consignment sales together and you have a bill we could have paid instead! So anyways, on top of that we accrued quite a bit of medical bills with Felicity's tie issues and trying to get nursing going- all worth the money, of course. Then we decided to get a new bed when a spring popped out of ours, and we knew we needed to get a good mattress to last us a while. So a worthwhile investment, but an investment. Anyways, I could go on, but you get the drift. All of a sudden we realized, hey, this savings account isn't going to replenish itself. We realized that the money we currently have should be able to pay our current bills, but it might not cover extras, surprises, and it certainly wasn't going to darken the doorway of our savings account any time soon. We had to find another way to bring in some money. We sold off quite a few things that we didn't need/want anymore, but that's obviously a short term plan as we ran out of things we want to get rid of! So I started looking for babysitting jobs and we started cutting costs.
New duds from her aunties!
Cutting costs on an already bare budget is hard! We're still working on that. We are basically doing simpler meals, less meat, and snacking less (which is good since we started weight watchers). We can't do much to any of our fixed bills, and our power (which we pay the same amount each month) has gone up... makes sense since I'm now at home, but woof, another thing to account for. We eat out on gift cards when we get them and the Chickfila calendar card. Every now and again we "splurge" on a $10 pizza meal- $10 being for both of us. Yeah, we like a good deal :). We've done surveys for amazon cards and used the cards to get stuff for the house, like toilet paper, razors, etc. But you can only cut so much especially, like I mentioned, on a budget that was already cut a lot in order for me to stay home. The next step was me bringing in money. I freak out a lot easier than Steven does and threatened to try to find daycare jobs or something like that, where Felicity could at least be on the same premise even if not right with me. Steven, thankfully, told me to hold my horses, that we aren't in dire straits, and to ramp up trying to find babysitting jobs where she could be with me directly. Can I tell you that we prayed about it for maybe the first time ever a week or so ago after an (appropriately named) Come to Jesus talk about our finances, and within a week I had 5 new opportunities? It was totally one of those goosebump feeling moments, especially since I've been looking for months and had only found one opportunity in all that time. And now I'm keeping a calendar to keep it all straight! Any little bit I bring in is really helpful to our day to day bills, or extra bills we didn't plan on, and finally to go into savings. Over all, it's still not much, but it's a lot to us.
It's hard struggling with money because it seems like in our area most people are pretty well off. Most SAHMs don't seem to be counting pennies or worrying about what things cost. When I try to join play groups, I quickly realize it's not going to work when they are eating lunch out together every week. So I've had to be creative in the friendships I put my energy toward and the activities I choose. Felicity and I both enjoy being out of the house, but obviously it's not helpful if I'm out spending money as quickly as Steven is earning it. Luckily, we live in an area with a LOT of free activities, and I've found a few good friends who are content doing free or super cheap things with us. It's tough, and I do worry for the future when we have more children and (I would imagine) I will have less of an ability to bring in money. But, I know we have to be resourceful now, trust in God's plan for our family, and not borrow worry from the future. I'm so, so happy to be home and it's worth extra stress and work. I love being with my baby, even when she drives me crazy :), and I love all the time we get to spend with Steven with his wacky schedule that we wouldn't get to enjoy if I was working and Felicity was in daycare. I need to focus more on what I do have, and less on what I don't or what I wish I had, because I am very richly blessed.
Time with this girl is worth everything we've given up!