I'm going to do several posts on what we have done to get rid of debt and squeeze as much as we can from our budget.
My husband is in the military and you would think we should be just fine. That might be true but his pay supports five children and that amounts to 55% of his income before taxes. That percentage include housing allowance, food allowance and any hazard pay he receives. The more he gets, the more they take. That is good for the kids. I am glad they get what they deserve. It just doesn't leave much after taxes for us to pay everything. But we manage.
We never ever take into consideration his gross pay. We only look at what he is actually going to get each month and that is the amount we use for our budget. My retirement income is just enough to cover our rent. Sigh. So we don't count that, it is just an automatic thing. My point being that all other expenses have to come out of his money.
We don't live in poverty. We live in a suburb in a nice home with security and low crime. We have cable tv and high speed internet. We have Android phones and the highest service available. Some of those things we could cut back on if needed. Sadly though, most programs are under some form of 2 year contract.
So where do we squeeze? We don't buy fancy decorations for the house unless they have a purpose. I don't want or need jewelry or baubles. I grow my own flowers to brighten the house. I only buy clothes on clearance and only when I really need them. I'm not much of a shopper. In fact I hate going to stores with pushy sales people that follow you around. For groceries I use coupons that are matched with what is on sale. Not extreme but no casual user either.
There are just some things though that don't fit into our budget. A car for one. Mine is 11 years old. It feels old and tired and lets me know it every time I turn it on. My front axle is going bad, I have a lifter stuck. I will tell you it is an embarrassment to drive anywhere! I have taken very good care of my car. I got the oil changed when it needed, had tune ups done, rotated and balanced my tires. I made a mistake once upon a time by letting a family member and then a friend use my car when they didn't have any transportation. Both of them did substantial damage to my car. Add in the time it was totaled by vandalism and it's not much to look at either. I used the settlement from the vandalism to pay off the car and reduced my insurance coverage to liability only. I love not having a car payment!
Then there is our hobby of emergency preparation. There are little common sense things to do that don't cost anything but then there are things that we would like to have that cost quite a bit. A big one for us is having a generator large enough to run our home. (Being in Texas in this heat wave and facing rolling outages or all out no power if the grid goes down it is a high priority!) The list is long. Our own land for a retreat, solar options, and hundreds of little things.
The money for these things has to come from somewhere. We save what we can out of his money but I felt a need to supplement that. I started looking for ways to do that. I am going to share with you in detail the different ways to help supplement your income. I don't know of anyone who doesn't want or need a little extra money to spend.
What I cover in the following posts are legitimate and I've been doing them for a long time and have made quite a bit from them. Most of the money I make goes to buying current needs allowing me to set aside more money from his checks for savings.
I also manage to do all these while still maintaining my home, gardens (when there isn't an all out drought!) and making time for other activities as well as being there for my husband whenever he needs me.
If you are not an internet person then some of these probably aren't for you. If you are an addict then it's a great way to use up some of your surfing time in a productive manner. If you're somewhere in between, they don't take very long and you only need to spend the time that you set aside to do them.
There are also real jobs that will be included. Those take more effort and time but it's still time that you make for them. There is no set schedule or I could not do them.
If you're interested keep checking back to see how you can earn a little extra to supplement your income.