Extra Budget Items That Might Be Worth Your Money

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Last month, when I went on my spender bender, I kind of snapped when it came to–well, everything. Not only was I tired of trying to save money in every way possible, but I was just tired. Really tired. Being a full-time working mom and wife is no joke.

In the midst of making it rain with our excess cash, I made a few financial decisions that we’re keeping in place for the time being. Let me preface this by saying: 1) if you go this route, talk with your spouse first. I didn’t, and I think my husband was slightly terrified and thought that I had started to lose my mind; and 2) only do what works within YOUR budget. Forget about what anyone else is doing.

Here’s what I added:

  1. Blue Apron: Each weekend, I had spent a lot of time meal planning. I’d inventory our cupboards, fridge and freezer, search for recipes online, and make my grocery list. The whole process took a couple of hours. I decided to try out Blue Apron, which sends you all of the ingredients and recipes for 3 meals each week. The meals have all been really tasty and many of the recipes have been different from anything we would normally cook. It’s been a good chance to spend some quality time cooking with my husband and it’s removed the need to meal plan on the weekends. Better yet, it fits in to our weekly grocery budget. I have ingredients for the 3 nights of meals, then I only have to pick up odds and ends at the store. For the rest of our dinners, we just fill in with what we already have on hand.
  2. YMCA Family Membership: I realized that I wasn’t taking care of myself–which probably contributed to the spender bender–so I changed my husband’s YMCA membership to a family membership. I’ve used it a ton already, and know that it’s helped me manage stress.
  3. Cleaning Help: This one was hard for me. Growing up, my mom helped bring in money by cleaning someone else’s house. I used to go with her during the summer and help (or play their piano. Sometimes I’d actually be helpful). I never thought that I would hire someone to help clean my own home, but then it occurred to me–what if I just have someone come for 2 hours a week to do the big stuff (i.e. vacuuming, bathrooms, etc.)? With a baby, it literally takes me all weekend to get through those things. It has been WORTH IT. Waking up on Saturday and knowing that I actually get to enjoy my weekend has been awesome.

In order to make these three changes work for our family, we had to either make sure they fit within our existing budget or cut back in other areas. It took me a long time to get to this point, because even though I know that a budget should be flexible, I’ve been so focused on living as frugally as possible that it didn’t occur to me that we could fit lifestyle changes in without blowing the budget. If that means going out to eat less, or spending less money on clothes, then so be it!

If you have areas of your life where you could use a little help saving time or stressing less, I’d encourage you to look at your budget to see how you could work in some of those changes.  You may not be able to afford Blue Apron, but what about signing up for a meal planning service, like eMeals? If a YMCA membership doesn’t work, what about going to a yoga class once of twice a month? Figure out what you need, then make it work with what you’ve got.

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