Today, I spent the better part of my morning making a meal plan and grocery list.
It took a couple hours.
I start by checking which coupons, sales, and rebates are currently available. Then, I start making my lists, based on the best deals of the week. If it’s not an absolute necessity or on sale, I don’t buy it.
It’s a process.
I’m a stay-at-home parent. Partially by choice, mostly by necessity. With four young children, it would actually COST us money for me to go to work (because, daycare and EDC programs are not free).
So, here we are: a one income family of six, that needs food to eat and soap to clean.
And, well…it’s hard.
I know I’m not going to get much sympathy from the average person. Truth is, I don’t want it anyway. I’m just simply dreaming of a day where my meal planning is easier.
Did you know a family on a tight budget buys more junk food than a higher earning family? Healthy food is expensive (which, is bulls---)!
But, hey, it’s actually not just buying organic that’s more expensive. Pretty much everything has gone up in price lately. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the price of food, in the past 12 months, has increased by 3.7% (year ending, August 2021). Apparel, up 4.2%. Friggin physicians’ services are up almost 4%. And, ugh, let’s not forget gas prices…actually, we won’t go down that road (see what I did there?). You already know how high those prices are.
My family and I live in a middle-class suburb of Cleveland. My kids go to school. We have medical insurance. We definitely have plenty to be thankful for.
But, the cost of living keeps going up while our pay doesn’t.
Sure, I could take up some sort of crafting hobby…sell custom decor as a side hustle. But, then I’d be competing with, well, basically every other mama on my street.
Gig work? Meh. Here and there, OK…But, my school and sports taxi service, 3-year-old son, and colicky infant don’t allow much wiggle room during the day.
So, what’s a family to do? How do we afford this thing called, life?
No, really – how?
We save. We budget. We don’t live outside of our means. We do ALL those smart things any expert will suggest.
The real secret is: there’s nothing else to do!
Once upon a time, I dreamt of being an adult. “Thirty, flirty, and thriving.”
I assure you, there is nothing flirty about my worn-out-legging-wearing ass, lugging around a coupon binder and four kids.
But – until product shortages and inflation are no longer a thing, it is what it is.
So, no, you’re not crazy – life has gotten more expensive. And, no, you’re not alone – I’m broke AF too.
If you’re in a similar situation, just keep on keeping on.
And, hey, if you see me out and about with my coupon binder and kids, have a heart and just smile and wave – because honestly, I’m probably doing math in my head, and chances are, I’m sweating and a little sweary.