Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Money Pincher

So, I only have a few minutes, I just put Baylie down for a nap and Darby is playing with a little girl at my house whose mom is sick (Jackie), but my mind is racing. Here is goes QUICK.

So, lately I have been shocked to find out about friends with money troubles whose cars and houses are so much fancier than mine. And they are asking ME for advice...holy smokes they must be up a crick. Cause I don't consider myself a saint in the spending arena and have lots to work out. BUT here are some quick ideas.

1. Get you some poor friends. Okay, so maybe not really, or rich friends who do poor things...cause its awful hard to always be the only person saying no to everything. This is something I really struggle with. I get a little bitter and cranky always being the no girl. And feeling like I'm the only person on a budget. So get you to poor-thinking friends.

I am lucky to live in a city where there are tons of free stuff to do (The Getty, the beach...okay so parking is never free in LA, but you get the point). But I bet you can be creative anywhere...or my number #1 tip would be to throw a party...a potluck party of course :)

2. Don't be afraid to be a little dorky. Cause you have a really small TV, that is not a flat screen. and your clothes could be cuter. And my couch is ugly, but there is a difference between necessity and not. We can sit on our couch, even though we might be repulsed by it at the moment. Jason and I are not in debt at the moment and it feels great. Speaking of, Jason is going to laugh hysterically when (if) he reads this cause I'm been super money complainer lately. And public schools... I had a huge issue with preschools this year and we might be in the same predicament with Darby, but the fact is, if its not free or really really cheap, I can't do it. Even if I'm the only one who doesn't.

3. Don't compromise whats important to you. Cause who needs more guilt? Every indication points to the fact that you cannot live in LA being a stay at home and that we should be done having kids, but I don't care. Now granted, I wish I would have been a nurse with that per diem thing, but oh well. Not everyone feels so strongly about this one as me or can do it (fiancially or mentally), but this is a big one for me. Fortunately I don't care about organic food, but maybe thats your thing. Or maybe its date night.

Okay, so my time is up, maybe I'll do some more later, but I'd really like to get ideas from you. So load up the comments and help me out.


Anonymous said...

My top list of free stuff for kids at the moment (in LA):

1. Travel Town, near the zoo. Parking is FREE and it is great after it rains when the parks are too soggy.

2. Huntington Library Children's Garden. Okay, this takes a little planning cause you have to sign up the month before online to get tickets but it's worth it. Also you can feel very smug that you planned ahead and were so organized.

3. Skirball Noah's Ark Exhibit: Free tix on certain dates. Free parking.

Oh, and my #1 money saver is planning menus/cooking meals at home for the family. Hard to do sometimes but it's healthier too.-HP

Anonymous said...

Keep canning! Just don't compare what you can with the store prices. In the end, I truly believe it is cheaper to buy it, but it sure does make you feel better to know that you will be able to save your family when the big one hits, right?!
I want you to know that I check your blog daily because it makes me so happy. I also check angieinpink daily....the scary thing is I don't even know her, and if she read this I'm sure she would take her blog private!!!!
Chani (Misty's sister)

English Garden said...

I'm joining you on the money saving thing, I am feeling that I need to pinch my budget this year too.

Beth said...

Brooke - I am proud to be one of your poor friends :)
My only advice right now is keep a budget. Jackie F's hubby gave us a sample budget and it is the easiest thing EVER. And I HATE budgets. But it helps me not to stress. Also, you have to allow yourself some date nights and maybe a new shirt here or there. Sure, the shirt may be from Forever 21, but still :)

Hey, is that first comment Hillary???? I've been taking Tyler to Travel Town and the Skirball, too. We need to go together. He would LOVE to play with your boy. Oh - and story time at the libraries and Storyopolis are good and FREE!

christy said...

i buy almost all of our clothes at target on clearance. they quite often have cute stuff for really cheap. i rarely hit the mall. we rarely go out. we should make it more of a priority i guess. we mainly just hang out together after the kids go to bed. i do get pizza and stuff often but the 5 buck medium pizzas are cheaper than grocery store pizzas. i do some organic foods but they are becoming very affordable. i have no interest in "keeping up with the jones". being debt free feels way better than owning a boat or some other possession that you just worry about. i tend to hang out with budget conscious people i guess. of course we are not broke like we used to be in the earlier years of our marriage. i guess we budgeted more back then but we've always enjoyed zoo memberships which are a great deal for families and free parks and museums and such. the outdoors are great and affordable. and who really cares too much about cute clothes. i have many in my closet that i rarely wear b/c i like to hang out around the house in the same old sweats or jeans and tshirts.

English Garden said...

Brooke, I've been thinking some more about this. Eric and I put everything on our credit card and pay it all off at the end of the month, it makes it easier to see where we are spending most of our money, it seems most of mine is costco or groceries so those are the areas I'm trying to cut down on, I'm taking a break from costco and trying to plan more meals. Also eating out, not that we do it that often but with 2 kids its easily $30-$40 a time, you can also do easy date nights at home, after the kids go to bed get a movie and a take out or just dessert. You should do a guest post on tales.

English Garden said...

Oh! and you know me, if we haven't used something in a while and don't intend to we e-bay it, there's plenty of money laying around your house, we sold a used VCR for $15, a selection of cookbooks that I never used (I really only get recipes from allrecipes) we have sold all kinds of stuff you really wouldn't believe what people will buy, Eric had a MP3 player that only turned on in a safe mode, it didn't play any music but someone bought it.

cori said...

you know where i like to go...why spend more when you don't have to. there is so much free stuff to do. you just have to be somewhat resourcful. not even that much. free movie days. at the theaters...oldies but goodies i say. the free "playlands" all over town. the free books they give out at the library. especially during nevada reading week. every first saturday of the month home depot has a kids clinic. you go and build something with hammer and nails. and for FREE!!! its the best time. and then you can splurge on a breakfast at denny's. moons over my hammy!

Ms. Chambers said...

I love the idea of having thrifty friends. It makes a big difference if you are dropping $40 every night you go out or if you do something cheaper.

It is amazing how many people look like they have money, when everything is being charged or leased.

Amber said...

I love your post, but I'm mostly commenting to show what I did for your benefit. Now you won't have to guess or try and figure out which "Amber" is leaving a comment. (I'm a dork. I know this already.)

your bro said...

go public schools, cause even though my high school did not supply toilet paper or soap (and still doesn't, you have to bring your own if you want it), cause brooke i think you are on my side, there is a lot more to learn in life than what are in school books: ie, like how to learn not to be creepy. plus it is easier to excel when you don't have much competition.

Christine said...

I love it. I'm gonna be the one to bug you all the time, but it is just so fitting....will you post this on the mom site:)

Anonymous said...

Our library has 'cultural passes' that you can check out for the day and they get you into some of the museums etc. that usually charge admission for free. You might wanna see if your city has something similar.
I also drive my van as little as possible. We walk when possible (can be difficult when it's raining every day) or carpool.
About organics, the most important things to switch to are animal by-products (meat, milk, eggs) so you're not getting all the extra
hormones and antibiotics from non-organic animals.
I think I'm the only person I know who doesn't have their kid in pre-school, but OH WELL! It's too expensive and I think he's happier and learns more at home with me (and is sick less, too!). SO don't feel pressured there. Just know there are one or two other moms in the country who don't do the pre-school thing. =D
Do babysitting swaps with another couple for date night. That way, you get 2 date nights a month with no baby sitting cost!
Our biggest pitfall is eating out too much! I've got to work on my menu planning/shopping.
Keep up the good work!!