Ok, sorry but this is going to be another post about money; Will and I feel so weird about how we live sometimes, that blogging about it makes me feel a little less unusual and more aware of others who are similar to us. Also recently I overheard a girl say that everyone had an iPhone and texted, and that was her excuse to her parents as to why she should get an iPhone. I just want people to be aware that not everyone has an iPhone and texts and that if you need to cut expenses, it's possible to survive w/o some of the things you think you need. So, here are some more things we have done to save money.
#1: No Texting....and No Data Plans...
WHAT???? Anyone else not have texting and feel a little out of the loop sometimes? We're SO not with the times, but here's why. I want to stay at home with Evelyn, and since our income is really limited, we've had to think about needs vs. wants. We may be the only ones in the world who don't text and who don't have a data plan, but we get along pretty well. There are times where having a data plan would come in handy, or being able to text the babysitter while we're out would be nice. However, if there was an emergency, I still have a cell-phone that the babysitter could just call.
Now, some of you might be confused because you get texts and emails while I'm out and about some times. Here's my secret. Google Voice. LOVE IT! You get your own phone number and can send free texts and make free calls from the internet. Also, I have a Blackberry that I got for $30 on Craigslist that can connect to WiFi. Thus, if I'm in a place with WiFi, I can go to Google Voice and send a text that way and also send emails or look up things. Since many stores have wifi these days, I can usually text and send emails or look things up wherever I go, unless of course I'm driving around. That's when I call my sister and ask for help. :)
#2: No Cable
We have an antenna and get all the basic channels like NBC, CBS, ABC, and a Fox station plus some extra ones, that occasionally have something on. With Netflix and Hulu you really don't need cable anyway (not that we have Netflix or Hulu, but we'd get either of those before Cable, and be saving a lot of money). I have some friends we swap babysitting with (more on that later) and after I put the kids to bed, I'll get on their Netflix and find a movie and LOVE the selection and start to wish we had it, but Dave Ramsey said it best, "if you want to live like no one else, you've got to live like no one else." Any shows I want to watch I can find on ABC or NBC or CBS websites for FREE! That really is my favorite word. :)
#3 Swap Babysitting.
We've made great friends by doing this. In a perfect world we'd get to go on a date every other week and babysit the other weeks. Life happens, so it doesn't always work out perfectly, but we usually get a date in at least once a month and usually more. We get a great babysitter who has lots of experience and Evelyn can play with the other kids until bedtime.
Ok....so I know you really don't care to read about all this. I guess I just get frustrated with our society and how people can be on food stamps, yet also have cable and expensive manicures and data plans and iPhones. I have no problems with food stamps or with people on food stamps. Between Will's income and the babysitting money I make, we don't make much money and would be considered low-income. (Thankfully we've been blessed with awesome parents and grandparents who provided a safety net for us, so we do have money in savings.)
I also can't talk about money and not mention the blessings that come from paying tithing. Will and I believe that all things come from God. Our financial security and all other blessings are from God. He has given us everything, so why not give to others? We believe our Savior has set up a great way to do that through paying tithing. Every pay check or other increase in our income, no mater how small or big, we always give 10% to our church (which doesn't go to pay church leaders, but rather is used for things like building new churches and such). Additionally, once a month, we fast for 2 meals, and donate the money we saved to the church, which money is then used to help those less-fortunate (in our church, we call that a fast-offering). I truly feel that we have never wanted for food or a warm bed or other necessities because we have always put the Lord first and paid our tithing and our fast-offering.
So, there you have it world. Let's learn to live within our means and reconsider our needs vs. wants. Hopefully this has been insightful to at least one person.