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In honor of the new year, let’s talk about making changes!
Stress has me making changes, just coincidentally at the new year. I will talk about the other stress leading me to make some changes to the blog later, but right now, let’s focus on the number one stressor I have been dealing with lately.
A dirty word we all love to talk about. Am I right?
Even though we worked hard to be reasonable with our gifts, as a large family, Christmas stretched the budget. So I am reworking the way we are doing our budgets.
Here are some of our large family hacks that we are implementing to try to save money in the new year.
Reworking our budget method.
We have tried the traditional budget, the envelope system, different apps, and just still haven’t found one we love.
The most basic budgeting method, and what we have been doing, is simple: you add up all your expenses first, subtract them from your income, and then you may have “left over“ money. I think seeing it this way has let us be lax in spending money, and I think I would feel better seeing that disposable income do something else than, well, be disposed of.
This year we are going to try the zero-based budget. Zero-based budgets are the opposite of the traditional method. You start with your income, then subtract each expense, until you get to zero so each and every penny you earn is going somewhere productive. I plan to include a pin money allowance of course, but it will be much less than what we are spending now.
Record what we spend
This may seem a bit much, but I promise it the work will pay off. I am going to save receipts and record everything we spend. I am not sure whether that will be in a spreadsheet, on a printable, or in a few different places so I can figure out what works best for me right now in the busiest season of my life.
With my records, I will be able to easily see our cash purchases, credit card, and debit card purchases all in one place. This is going to help me identify patterns, places we can trim or eliminate to take better control of our money. Honestly, right now I am going to admit that we have some pretty toxic habits we have to work on.
Cooking At Home
One of the basics of parenting is that hungry kids are cranky and defiant. I am not ashamed to say that I will slide into that drive through if it means I don’t have to listen to 4 kids cry and fight on the way home or through the grocery store.
But honestly, I can also admit that this habit is also a black hole for money. Eating out is one of the easiest parts of my budget that I can snip, it just requires some planning. So I am going to start doing food prep once every two weeks. I will be making freezer cooking vlogs, posting recipes, and of course enjoying the food.
Break Some Bad Health Habits
What does health have to do with our budget? We are eating too much food. Plain and simple. If we start eating realistic portion sizes our food will last longer. You may not have an overeating problem. Please talk to a doctor if you have any concerns about your own eating habits.
Let me give you an example. Chocolate milk is my coffee. But my family goes through a gallon of milk a day between my chocolate milk, each child needing at least 1 serving/day, cereal, and cooking. If I cut back on chocolate milk, we may be able to make a gallon last 2 days and cut our milk bill down from $90 to $45. Same goes for cheese. I also know that I add can rice into certain dishes like cheese dip, meatloaf etc, and get more whole grains, make the food more filling, and reduce grocery costs.
We are also going to be working to have a more productive mindset. I think that we have lost the mindset I wrote about here. Especially me. I need to make sure to remember that money is a security.
There may be some more big changes in our financial life, too. We are trying to buy a house and are in the process of getting pre-approved. When that happens, our monthly housing costs will be cut in half! So we will reevaluate our budget priorities then.
Stress, Stress, and Stress
I am not a very showy person. I tend to stay quiet and express emotion to close closest to me. But today, I am going to go out and open up to you guys about some things.
First, if you follow my Twitter, you have probably noticed that I talk about mental illness a lot. While I don’t plan on writing about it habitually on the blog, I do want to take a moment to talk about how it’s been making me feel.
I have anxiety and depression, have since childhood I suspect. And it’s been hitting me hard lately. My house has been even more of a mess than usual due to illness and the holidays. I always feel behind and like its going to be impossible to catch up with everything I am juggling.
I started this blog with the idea of helping other homeschool moms. I wasn’t quite sure how exactly I was going to do that so I used this year to write about some topics that are passionate and relevant in my life and learn the basics of blogging.
So since it’s January, and I need some control in my life, I am making some changes. Hopefully, these changes are going to help me feel more in control of my money and my time. I am also going to be changing a few things at This Addictive Mess.
So What’s Going to Be Different
After making a list of everything that is bothering me, I realized that so much of my anxiety is coming from a point of bad time management. Trying to keep up with my family, cleaning, Adam, creating content for the blog, homeschool, social life, self-care, appointments, there just isn’t enough time.
So I have come up with a plan to overlap some areas and hopefully provide more value to all of my readers.
In the new year, you will see me add freezer cooking recipes, hacks, and videos. I am going to try to cook two weeks worth of breakfasts, lunches, and assorted snacks as needed. My husband often helps me cook dinner so I am not too concerned about that.
My goal is to start saving money by large batches and freezing some. I also will be saving time since I will not be having to cook or assemble so much food every day.
Homeschool writing is really going to focus on science, some common misconceptions, and plenty of printables.
I am still also going to be writing about money and teaching kids about money, too.
My social media game is going up, too. So check in with me there to catch all the exciting developments!