Friday, January 9, 2015

How my family has lived off of $500 a week for an entire year: (Part Two – Utilities, Entertainment and Clothing)

Hey, thanks for coming back, this post is to continue our series of how my family lives off $500 a week. Today, we are going to look at some expenses such as Utility costs, Entertainment costs and Clothing costs.

So enough about my why we live off $500 a week now let me tell you HOW we do it. Our house payment is not like others as we do only have a $200 a month home loan to pay off. (I know there are a lot of you out there thinking...I wish...but truely this was only put in place by God otherwise we would have much more in housing expenses.) Our electric bill in our area is MORE than our current house payment! We have internet costs of $60 through Comcast because our area only carries Comcast. (Yes we are out in the country where no one else digs lines in cow fields! Haha) This internet also came with the local channels for cable. I only did this because it was a package deal. Our other TV has a digital antenna that receives the local for free. Our family decided to go with the ROKU 3 for our other “channels”. We only subscribe to Netflix and JellyTelly which is $15 a month. Our landline phone is through Basic Talk sold at Walmart for $10 and then each month is $13 with taxes included. (This is an internet phone.) We currently have a “pay as you go” cell phone from At&t. The phone was on clearance at Target for $12 and the plan is currently $25 a month. We have unlimited texting but only 250 minutes of talk and no data. I am looking into several plans and hope to review some plans later on this year.

The other way our family saves is through trying to stay at home more often. We try to keep our errands to a minimum. We keep our entertainment to a minimum budget. We use the internet and YouTube for a lot. We use our public library for some things and now we even use our new church library to check out read on your own bible studies. I also try to borrow media (books, movies, etc.) from other family members or friends rather than rent/buy. We use redbox most of the time instead of on-demand. While Amazon and Comcast are tempting, we pay twice to three times more for the same movie that I can check out at a Redbox location. We try to have family outings “on the cheap” which I will explain later. This year we are doing Friday Family Fun night at our house by fixing a simple meal and enjoying board games or activities together. This not only uses a lot of my craft resources but some of the homeschool games that we never seem to get around to playing.

The picture above shows my daughters in a display at the annual Jacksonville One Spark Festival. This is another FREE event in our area where you can walk around and have fun with the family.

Our clothing budget is very simple. I would say less than $20 a month. We ask relatives for clothing as gifts for birthdays and Christmas. Since I have two girls, it is easier to save the larger sizes for the smaller one later down the road. A six dollar box is cheaper to buy now than to buy a hundred dollars in clothing later. But I have learned that it’s best to pick the “better” outfits or the ones I handmade and let some go. For my clothing, I seem to thrift things at a few of my favorite places. I have found plus size jeans in excellent condition for $2 a pair and brand name tops for $1! I also have made some items and will probably look at making more in the near future. My husband is still in a big men’s size and because of this, we end up going to an outlet store or buying things on clearance. We try as best we can to make do with what we have. And since my fabric closet is larger than my clothing closet, I REALLY need to start sewing up more of what I already have. Currently, I hope to finish some valentine dresses for the girls and post on that later. (EEK...screeching with excitement.)

So I hope that helps you see some savings for your family as much as it has helped our family stay in our little budget! It's amazing how God has worked things out for us this last year. I will say our family is kinda in a routine with savings, so I don't see how we will ever go back to cable TV or even Dish. Even when my husband does go back to work, some of my routines won't change. But I will be saving change!! LOL.

As a side note, I'm also posting this on Serenity Now's Blog Party link for the weekend, so I hope new readers will stay around for the rest of this great series. Remember, always come back....Sew Hungry For More.