Kenzie and my Jenna will be doing a summer session of dance, which I am so happy about. The three middle guys, Kolbe, Luke and Ben will take four weeks of swim lessons at the local pool - and boy, I love that so much! It is an outdoor pool, so I get to sit for 45 blissful minutes, by myself without having to do anything or think anything, except wave when one of my little guys waves to me as he jumps off the diving board. I love the sun, the semi-solitude, and the fact that there is nothing I can do or have to do for those 45 minutes. This year, as I will be working two days a week, their dad will get to do two of the days a week, and I will get two of the days a week. That's fair, I guess.
So now, I just have to find a fun summer thing for Jonah. He is so into just being on the phone, or up messing around with Legos, I feel like I need something constructive for him. He hasn't had a class or anything in about a year. I am thinking of finding a drawing class for him. I hear rumors about a lady here in town who does drawing classes. I think I will seek her out and see if she does anything over the summer. I am also looking into getting Kolbe signed up for guitar lessons. I can't seem to ever remember to make the call during business hours. I drive myself crazy.
While we are making plans for the summer, we have also come to the conclusion that we really can't go on a vacation this year. I am so sad about it, not because of the vacation itself, but because we were going to be sharing a house with my sister and her family. We had the BEST vacation ever the last time we did that. Dana and I had so much fun. We would give the kids breakfast and do laundry every morning while the guys snoozed or played with the kids. Then we would all head to the beach where the rest of the family would be camping out. We had lunch on the beach and played all afternoon, and then headed back to the house for dinner, or whatever. We had the best time. We had planned to go before we found out about the baby. Now, between finances and the fact that vacation is planned for about a month before her due date, my husband thinks we better stay home. I know he's right, but I can't help feeling little kid disappointed.
So, with the issue of finances at hand, we are trying to come up with a reasonable budget. Right now, we get paid twice a month, basically, and our whole paycheck is gone the day we get it, paying bills. We end up really struggling just to do gas and groceries. I don't know how to budget, let alone budget for this size of family. We have always had more going out than we have coming in, month to month, so I have become an expert finagler. We tend to count on our income tax return to catch us up on bills and then live off the rest for several months. We didn't do that this year, opting instead to pay off a vehicle, which we thought would really free up a lot of money. Turns out, we really just couldn't afford that vehicle, I guess. So, now we are trying to figure out how to budget the money we do have, so that we can breathe a little easier, and hopefully get out of this house and into one a little more suited to our needs in the next year or so. Right now, that's not looking too promising.
I know some of you have many kids, how do you budget for gas and groceries? How do you get from one pay to the other? Right now, we are not making it pay check to pay check. I look at the check book and am not really sure where all the money goes. I have a bad problem of thinking a thousand dollars is more like two or three thousand, and pay bills and spend accordingly. I just tend to think it will go much further than it does.
So, with all the classes I have planned and things for this summer, I now have to figure out how to come up with the cash for all that, which means I need a budget. Any of you moms have a recommendation or plan? How do you figure out your budget? Between what we spend on gas (right now about $60 a week for my husband and $20 a week for me, about to go to $40) and groceries, we think we need $700 to get from one pay day to the next. That is being conservative, and bargaining that nothing horrible (such as a car repair or even new sneakers) happens. This pretty much means that all bills will have to come out of my husband's paycheck, and the daily expenses have to come out of mine. We are eliminating cable on Friday, and I have to find a way to cut our electric bill. (How???)
I feel like kids who are homeschooled need the "extras", and I also think that swimming lessons are a life skill. So, how do I find a way to provide these extras? Is there a way to coupon that is reasonable? I have tried from time to time, never doing better than a couple of bucks on a $200.00 bill. I don't have hours and hours a week to clip coupons. I am open to suggestions! What do you mamas do to make those dollars stretch a little more?