It is our first month of no Mat leave money. After rent and student loan payments, we aren’t left with much to carry us over until the next paycheque. We do have a bit of savings, and a bit of a budget for gifts, and lots of available credit, but I think we can make it without dipping into any of those accounts.
In honour of our new reality, we’ve just had two “double-zero-dollar days”, which means neither I nor my partner have spent a dime in two days. These days have been few and far between over the last few months, as we’ve had a bit of breathing room and haven’t had to worry too much about our finances.
But this month we are going to have to shift gears and once again start thinking about not spending money. (To be perfectly honest, part of me enjoys the challenge–a sick, strange part of me.)
To start with, we’re going to be eating from our stockpile as much as possible this week. That means clearing out the freezer–I have some spaghetti sauce, some frozen tortellini and ravioli, and one last bag of tomatoes from last summer. I’m also planning on using some of our dried beans in a big pot of chili mid-week.
The cooler weather also helps as it means I can use the oven again–woohoo!! I made sourdough bread today–my first in a long, long time–and a banana bread to share with friends.
I figure baking saves money in two ways: it gives you food for cheaper than buying, and it also gives you something to do that doesn’t cost anything. My 3-year-old daughter is starting to get quite good at it, and it is such a joy to work beside her and teach her all the stuff my mother taught me.
I suppose it saves in a third way too: sharing baking can be a wonderful act of giving, in that small but important give-and-take currency between friends and neighbours.
So, as always, my saving money plan centres around my kitchen–staying in it and away from stores, and making nourishing food from simple, healthy ingredients. Really, it’s the life I’ve always wanted!