I hate talking about money. Mike never comes at me saying that I'm spending too much, but I always feel guilty about spending anything when we have these talks. As a stay at home mom, I bring in no money. Before when I was working, I was always the one bringing in less money, too, since not only was I in a low paying profession, but I has in the lowest paying district for miles. As soon as I feel like I can relax a little with worrying about money, then we have another talk. I always wind up feeling guilty about things I've purchased that I didn't need to. Even our recent purchases that we are enjoying using our gift cards were all unnecessary. We could have just bought diapers and groceries.
Its not like I don't try to save us money. For example, this year's winter coat for Natalie was purchased last year on clearance for $8 and her snow pants were given to us by a neighbor. Her Christmas outfit cost less than $30, including the shoes and tights we can use over and over, which the price of just a dress in most stores. Nursing saves us having to buy formula. I use coupons whenever I can, but usually what we need does not have a coupon. I just can't see myself going to all the different stores around checking the prices and keeping track of the sales to get the best deals. It would be nice, but I when am I going to find time to not only figure it all out but actually go to three or more stores?
Then there is the whole idea of wanting good quality. For this I mostly mean food and cleaning products because that is what we spend the most money on. And diapers. I try to buy things that are at least somewhat healthy, but good quality food is more expensive. I can't even imagine how much we would spend if we only bought American or organic. Not to mention that the fancy allergy food for me is expensive. Just this week I bought Natalie and I smaller more expensive jars of no sugar added jam. I try to buy her sugar free apple juice for more money than the huge gallon jugs of liquid sugar punch. We have to pay more for that.
Usually after we have one of these talks, I try to think of ways we can cut spending or bring in new money. First thing I think of are recent purchases we can return. Right now I'm thinking of the Kai-lan coloring sheets in our closet we never gave Natalie for Christmas that could go back to Kmart since we can print similar sheets for free off line. But there isn't all that much every day spending we can cut. The kids need to be clothed and I buy them the cheapest, non-used clothes I can find. Hell, most of William's clothes thus far have been borrowed or gifts! (This is actually true about most of the toys in our house, too). I don't buy myself clothes anymore either, excepting my most recent gift card purchase. I do have work clothes that I could sell, but how does one even do that and make it worth while? Selling our baby stuff is probably what we would get the most money from, but we have the family obligation to pass it on, as we should considering how much money my sister has spent on just Natalie.
I wish that I could work just a little to bring in some money, but would the stress of leaving Mike with the kids be worth it? The extra energy for me be worth it? Could I even find a job at all? Maybe in a couple years. All the money savers I can think of are in a couple years. Maybe we could cut a few of the extended family gifts at the holidays in a couple years. Maybe we could try to go a few years with just Netflix instead of Direct TV in a couple years when our contract ends.
The only immediate choice I can think of is to persuade my side of the family to secret Santa gifts, excepting the kids, cutting at least $200 for us every December. That and never buying photo prints or greeting cards again (which is sad because I do love Hallmark).