Saturday, July 6, 2013

Summer Life - Budgeting

This is a totally unrelated teaching post, except to say that we all know how tricky it can be to not work during the summer. I try to budget, but this tuition stuff (and the fact hubby needed to buy a new truck) has me a little off this summer. After looking over expenses for the summer, I realized that I cannot spend very much money.

To be truthful, that's fine because I have more than enough stuff in my house. I love clothes, I love makeup/haircare items, I love to buy books and craft items, and I love to buy food!  None of it necessary, but all of it I "think" I need ;) I have embarked on couple challenges for July and August:

1. Shop my closet - I'm not buying any new clothes and am trying to wear things that have been neglected. Anything I am not wearing goes in a donation bag or a basket to take to the consignment shop. I plan to use my earnings from the consignment sales to buy back to school clothes.

2. Eat my pantry - I have mentioned that I am married to a dairy farmer, so this challenge is a little easier for me than the average person. We have our own beef and pork products, eggs, and milk. I just forget what we have in the freezer and end up buying food we don't really need. I am also a pantry stocker, so I have tons of canned and dry goods (some nearing or past their dates).  My goal has been to eat what we have and limit my shopping to the local produce stands and my own garden.

I recently read a book about how the Amish save money (I have very eclectic reading tastes!) and one of the takeaways is that we get drawn into eating what we want, not what we have. If we eat what we have, we buy less and eat better. I'm taking that to heart even though I want chocolate soooooo bad!

So far this month, for dinner, we have had:

  • Scalloped potatoes and ham (in the slow cooker)
  • Hamburgers, pasta salad with lentils, and pineapple cake for the 4th
  • Stew and biscuits 
  • Stuffed peppers
  • BLTs
  • Chicken quesadillas  
  • Grilled tuna sandwiches

and this was all with what we had in the pantry and freezer, aside from a little produce I picked up! I think the trickiest part is going to be breads.

3. No school shopping - it's sooo tempting when I see all these cute things on pinterest and blogs, but the reality is that I don't need anything for my classroom. I have items that I have been storing at my house for years and can more than complete my classroom. Is it all cutesy? No, but I am limiting the pressure to "keep up with the Jones." I think that's what has really been stressing me out about blogging this summer. I can't buy all the cute things and I can't even get into my classroom for weeks, so to think about work makes me crazy.

Plus, I am keeping up with my plan to use the library for books and movies and having 2 garage sales. I haven't been leaving the house much other than to do some local errands and go to class. When I go to class, which is in a city about 45 minutes from my house, I try to pack in the errands that I can do on the way.
I know this may not be interesting to many readers, but I feel that writing about it somewhere helps to increase my accountability. I would really like to concentrate on saving more money so that I can think more about the future and be less stressed!   What are your strategies for making it through the summer on teacher pay?


  1. I totally understand what you mean. There are a lot of good books that you can get on e-readers for free....if you sift through them because there's a lot of junk, too!!

    I grew up on a dairy farm, so I absolutely understand what you mean by shopping in your freezer and pantry.

    You can do it!

    First Grade Magic

  2. I can relate to watching the budget in the summer! I save all gift cards from the holidays and my B-day for the summer. I try and stash money for my summer bills. It helps when I am working and not just subbing! I am the queen of freebies, too!
    I also use the local library for books throughout the year! Every little bit helps! I just wish there were coupons for gas!