I’m very fortunate to be able to stay home with my girls and work part-time for myself. Privileged. And while there is an element of luck to everything my husband and I have, we also put in many long hours. He worked for years in an industry job that crushed his soul in order to gain the experience needed to apply for his current job. And because of his incredible work ethic and talent, he won both a salaried sabbatical from work and a scholarship from a prestigious ivy league school. His PhD candidacy comes to a close in a year and a half (this is when I will begin calling him “The Doctor” and it will be awkward for everyone).
This is his dream, just as mine is to work for myself as a teacher and writer and mother. So the upcoming “lean times,” as we jokingly call them, are worth the sacrifice. You see, for the last year of his program, he will be unsalaried. We will be living on our savings alone (and whatever small amount of money I bring in teaching). It has me adjusting my expectations and budget.
But this comes at the worst time, because the next year holds big things for me. Conferences. Writing gigs. Opportunities that require a little investment. And though I (really and truly) don’t judge mamas who work full-time to support their families and lifestyles, I’d rather adjust our lifestyle than go back to work full time.
Where is it that we try to cut back when times are tough? Grocery-shopping. I’m a firm believer that our culture is obsessed with cheap food – it’s all we have known. But the more I have learned about where our food comes from, the more I am convinced that food is the fuel you give your body. Isn’t it worth spending more of our budgets on? Amyirah of Four Hat and Frugal shops for $70 a week! I know I can’t do that and continue to buy my organic meats and produce at Whole Foods. But maybe with some adjustments, I can bring our weekly grocery bill down from $140 a week to $100. $40 a week is $160 a month – or over $2,000 a year!
So bring on the coupons, the sales circulars, and the actual setting-foot-in-the-grocery store. I’m taking a break from the Stop and Shop curbside pick-up to see if the money I save by shopping IN Whole Foods and Market Basket each week is worth the time it will cost me. It might not – that hour-and-a-half-with-two-kids-in-tow might be worth the extra 40 bucks. We shall see…Wish me luck!