‘What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men …… That is what love looks like.’ - St. Augustine

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Cutting Corners and I Spoke Too Soon...

I spoke too soon! I do have time to post before Sunday!

If you are wondering who that is a photo of, read on:

Turns out one of my classes got cancelled today and I have the afternoon free! In about an hour Anastasia and I are going out adventuring (meaning we have no plans except to have fun.) But I have an hour free to read and post!

So, an update is in order. I know I am not the only one struggling financially. It's a tough year. We all need to cut corners. Well, we are absolutely doing that around here, and I thought I'd share some of those changes with you, for inspiration --in case any of you are in the same boat!

Like Lisa over at The Grateful House, we have kept the heat off or extremely low. We are relying on blankets, sweaters and socks. But we are determined to look at the bright side of it all! It's fun to cuddle up at night with my daughter, with four blankets, two dogs, one cat and spare socks :) We could see our breath this morning in the room! (Our house is not insulated...gulp). But it was fun to stay cuddled while we waited for the tea to boil. The dogs have a penchant for sleeping on our feet, so that's a big help! I am also caulking all the windows and doors today, so that will cut down on the heating bill, and we have turned down the water temp a bit...every little bit helps!

As far as food goes, we have started shopping only at the discounted market. I hate it there because it is always so crowded, but we are trying to weekdays so it's not too bad. I cut out Starbucks...a big deal for me. I do have a few free Starbucks coupons, but I'm going to save those for moments of desperation. No more junk food and desserts either. All our food money is going towards healthy stuff.

I've also just switched all our prescriptions over to Target. I feel really bad about that, because I love my local apothecary, but I don't have a choice. Case in point: Anastasia's generic brand celexa is $32 a month. At Target? $4!!! I've also cut out our monthly chiropractic care (saves $70 per month), renting movies (about $20 per month), fancy pet food (saves about $25 per month), dry-cleaning (saves about $20 per month), expensive hair and body products (back to suave for everything :), cancelled all magazines (I used to get Russian Life magazine, Real Simple, Adoptive Families, Nick Jr, Mothering, and British Magazine) This should save me about $150 this year, I'm guessing. I also emailed every catalog I get to us purged from the list - no use tempting myself! The only exception I'm making is Pottery Barn, only because the pictures inspire my decorating. I've even cut our voice mail and all extras on our landline phone, and I'm not sending Christmas cards this year! ( That is hard to let go of...)

Lastly, and the biggest change...we are getting a roommate! My friend Rhiannon is in need of a place to live for awhile, and we are in need of a roommate to help us cut costs. Anastasia is really excited about it. Rhiannon (Rae to us) is one of a handful of friends who isn't overwhelmed by her. In fact, she's really wonderful with her. It is a great arrangement for both of us. I get the benefit of Rae's influence - she is kind, helpful, intelligent, creative, resourceful, and...vegan! And she gets the benefit of living with people who love her and will welcome her just as if she were family. She is just back from the Peace Corps and is finding Boston a very difficult place to secure a job. In our area, there are still many jobs available. Plus, she will be going to school right down the street from my house. (She is getting her masters in mental health counseling.)

So..if you have any other ideas on how to cut corners...let me know! By the way, some things I won't be cutting out:

care packages to Anya in Russia
phone calls to Anya in Russia
the occasional chocolate bar
my favorite lotion
Pomegranates and avocados. (Though they're expensive, they are Anastasia's favorite foods!)

How are you cutting corners?

PS: Did you figure it out? The photo is of Rae, our new housemate :)


  1. Anonymous3:23 PM

    Hey, Anastasia's favorite foods are my favorites too! I also like pretty much anything with a lot of ginger in it.

    As far as we go, Lee's at home right now with a handyman helping fix some of our draftier storm windows and put in a better transom to keep us from losing heat at the front door. Having a house that's 100+ years old has its downsides, but luckily our area isn't quite as cold as yours either.

    Welcome to Rae! It sounds like she'll bring a great dynamic to the household. I hope that helps Anastasia.

  2. Times are definitely tough! Sounds like excellent tips. :)

  3. We live pretty simply compared to most people I know. I am blessed that we are not struggling as much as we have in the past finacially. Thank you for your kind words on my blog. The photo is one of our better ones to be sure. Annie was beautiful. I love being under big piles of blankets in a cold room. It just doesn't get any better than that! jeNN

  4. Have you looked into Meest to mail care packages? I was amazed at how much cheaper than through the post office. It does go by sea so you allow six to eight weeks but it just killed me to spend so much on postage that could have gone to the contents. We will be in Magnolia, MA from Dec.3-7th ....staying in Danvers. Going to work with Sarge Goodchild. I can't wait and yes, this Texas girl is going to freeze her tatas off.

  5. Anonymous11:39 AM

    Wow, we are in the same boat. We are planning on making handmade gifts for all our Christmas presents. Taking in a roommate is a great idea! Wish we had the extra room here..


What do you have to say? Leave a comment!