Balancing $ –Rough Seas Ahead! - Balancing ValBalancing Val

Balancing $ –Rough Seas Ahead!

Its safe to say my 2011 is off to a rough financial start.  I have been really sick with a double ear infection that has caused me to miss 25 hours of work and 12 hours of school!


It didn’t help to see that this months office hours have a lot of days where we are closed, but working for a small business . . . these are the things you have to accept.


The positive thing is that I know ahead of time that things are going to be tough.  When you have less money coming in, you cant expect to live the same way and do the same things, right?  So here is my game plan to . . .




Cut all non-essential spending.

I buy a lot of things on sale, but that doesn’t mean that I actually NEED them.  For instance right now if I saw a cute headband or a good blogging dish I would totally get them, but I don’t need them and those things aren’t going to help me pay the bills so for now, material things are on hold.


Downgrade Your Allowance

if you have been reading all of the Balancing Money series, you know that I give myself $20 a week to spend on whatever I want no matter if I NEED it or not.  Honestly, I have been so busy lately that I haven’t been really using it.  Even my weekly Starbucks has been paid by gift cards that I received for my birthday and I have plenty on them to last me at least for the month!  So I am cutting it down to $10 a week for now.  I honestly am mentally trying to spend $0 per week, but I wont kick myself if this doesn’t happen as its sort of impossible.


Use Your Legs!

In the city I walk wherever I need to go.  I spend $35 every time I go just to GET there so I don’t see a point in paying another $2.25 on the subway to speed me across 8 blocks when I can do it myself and get some exercise in the process.  I also am fortunate enough to live in walking distance of my job.  Right now it is very icy outside but whenever its safe, I am going to start walking to work.  If you are in walking distance of anywhere you need to go, if you have the time . . . why not?  Besides, have you seen the gas prices shoot up recently?


Plan Your Off Day

A positive about having those hours cut is that I have those days off!  I welcome them with open arms as days off are not something I’m used to anymore.  However, days off give you a chance to go out and spend money.  A sucky paradox! Instead, start planning of things you can do for free or cost very little.  For instance, I would like to have a game night, rent some movies, cook new recipes, catch up on school reading and do projects around the house that I never have the time for. Chris and I decided to play a game of scrabble and we had a blast!  Did you know that “xi” counts as a word? 


Pantry Gold Digging

A good thing to do is also dig in your pantry or freezer and start making meals with what you already have.  I know you probably heard this before but it really helps you with saving AND getting creative.  I like to go through everything and write down exactly what I have.  Once I see it on paper I am able to imagine some meals I can piece together.  I also go to to put ingredients in the meal finder to see what it comes up with.  Its an excellent tool that gives your recipes based on what you have and don’t have!


Remember that hopefully this is a temporary situation!  I look at it as a positive thing as it is teaching me how to live on less NOW which is a situation that very well may come up in the future when I am transitioning into a new career or lifestyle.


Has there ever been a time where you had to live on less?  What are your best tips in adapting?

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11 Responses to Balancing $ –Rough Seas Ahead!

  • Hehe! Right now! But I have no tips on adapting other than reading your tips and keeping an allowance so I don’t begin to feel like I’m on a money “diet.” (We all know how diets lead to binges!)

    I’m terrible about buying things I don’t need when they are on sale, simply because they are on sale. I need to cut down on buying the material things I don’t want.

    Game night is a really good idea. Brad and I go over to a friends house once a week for game night (they have a lot of games!) and it is really fun. I don’t play scrabble, but I do play words with friends and you would be amazed some of the odd words that work.

    • Val says:

      When it comes to non-food things, I always tell myself . . . if I dont LOVE it then I wont buy it. If a day goes by and Im still pining after it, then I will go back and get it but thats very rare. Stores know exactly how to get you to buy something right on the spot. Its tough!!

      I love game nights too! Ever play taboo?

      • I’m pretty good at taboo.

        My favorite taboo moment was when I had to have my team guess “unicorns” and I said “only virgins can touch this” and everyone was confused except for my friend’s husband who got it right away. Then (as only nerds can do) we had an argument if it was true only virgins can touch unicorns.

  • Pantry gold digging is SUCH a hard thing for me to do.

    Sounds like just some serious willpower will do the trick…which it looks like you have!

    • Val says:

      Thanks girl!

      It also helps that I have a food obsessed boyfriend who is willing to pay for my meals out sometimes.

      We are trying to keep going out to a minimum. It really adds up, especially when you know you can make the same thing for so so much less and have leftovers!

  • Christine says:

    You don’t need to tell me about gas — I drive over 70 miles round trip to work 6 days a week! Eeeek!

    My family did a week last year where we only ate what we had in the house — except for a couple of heads of lettuce that we bought to make salads. It was a great way to be creative and use things in the pantry that we forgot about.

    • Val says:

      The gas is horrible!

      And I actually hear that NJ has the cheapest gas around . . . . im a bit scared for whats coming next :(

      I love pantry meals! Its kind of hard when you want something NOW and everything is frozen. I guess I have to plan ahead more.

  • Ive been broke since I moved out of my parents house a year and a half ago.
    I didnt realize until then how pathetic my paycheck is. Ive learned to be very careful with what I spend my money on. I find that not cooking with meat saves me a fortune!

    • Val says:

      I agree!

      Though living with a boy doesnt help the grocery bills here. I tend to buy meat but stretch it out really far. Like if im putting chicken in something, Ill put one whole breast cut up in the meal into small pieces then add some extra rice or beans so he feels like hes getting a lot.

      Works like a charm 😉

  • Oh Val, Digging in the freezer is so scary. BUT I DID IT THIS WEEK! Brought a frozen dinner to work for lunch that I had been avoiding for about 4 months. Then at lunch, decided to hit Jimmie Johns! One more day of avoidance! Finally, the next day I ate it. It was not as horrible as I thought.

    Still hate freezer diving though.

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