It’s that time of year when a lot of families are struggling to make ends meet. I know that we tend to struggle this time of year. For one, my husband is a teacher and has not gotten paid all summer. Also, it’s school start up for everyone, and that means registration fees and school costs are coming fast and furious. Ack! What to do? Where to find the money?
First of all, I’m trying to be proactive now. I’ve calculated the average cost of any lessons or classes that we take, and I try to deposit 1/12 of this monthly into a bank account called Lessons. That way I don’t struggle with the cost.
Secondly, we also try to be frugal. Our favorite school supply stores are thrift stores. Our other favorite school supply store is called, “What do we already have in the house?”
However, sometimes things come up, as they always do. In those cases, we have held our own mini fundraisers. We’ve looked through the closets and posted things on Craigslist. If you happen to have any hard-to-find baby or kids’ items, those go like wildfire, I find. Ask older children to take on a temporary babysitting gig or two, or help out others who are heading back to school by providing some temporary child care. If you sew, sew up Halloween costumes for the neighbors and help them feel organized for the season.
It sounds odd, but calculate your hidden resources as well. I have a little bowl of coupons and gift cards, and some of these gift cards are for a local art studio that offers lessons. I also have change jars sitting around the house, and often these contain up to twenty dollars in change. Every little bit helps!
I’ve also looked at more static budget items like our grocery bills to see where we can cut, even if it’s just for a week. For a week, we can eat from the pantry or be a little more creative or frugal with meals. That’s ok. It’s only a week. For the cost of taking your family to a restaurant or splurging on some ready to eat food, you can likely pay for at least a month’s worth of lessons, likely two or three. Tell yourself it’s only for the week.
What do you do to find money for all of the extras this time of year? Or do you go for the extras at all?