Living paycheck to paycheck… The endless cycle.
If you are a LEO wife, you are aware of the fact that our spouses don’t get paid enough to do “what they do”. In some cities, the starting yearly salary for some law enforcement officers is as low as $25,000 per year! Subtract from that $25,000 monthly dues to a union or another association/organization, taxes, and health insurance, some of these officers bring home below minimum wage income. You can do the math if you want; I’m not exactly a fan of it 😉
Now, lets take my life as an example. My husband does get paid a descent amount. He’s at a higher rank and has around 20 years of experience under his belt. That being said, his yearly salary isn’t enough to provide a lavish living for all five of us! I’m a stay at home mom with two children of my own and he has a son that lives with us 50+% of the time. They are 11, 14 & 15 and they eat EVERYTHING!!!! They also have expensive tastes and want everything advertised!
So, how do we manage to survive? I’ll go ahead and tell you that we DO NOT receive government assistance! I’ve tried! Go ahead and think bad of me if you want, but when you are trying to feed a family of five and paying bills from one salary, you do what you can to get some help. (BTW there’s a reason I’m a stay at home mom right now and it’s not because I want to be but that’ll be discussed in another post) We survive by cutting costs, budgeting, and planning.
Cutting costs seems really easy but it takes time to see the difference. For example, when I first started being a stay at home mom it cut back on the amount of gas I was using. I drove an average of 75 miles per day and spent around $50.00 in gas per week. Once I wasn’t driving as much (around 0-25 miles per day), I only spent around $15.00 or less in gas per week. That’s a $35.00 per week difference or a savings of $140.00 or more per month.
Now, I did start saving about $140.00 a month in gas, but I was home all of the time and the kids were out of school for the summer so I probably only saved around $40/mo from June-August 2016.
Some people choose to cut off the cable, get rid of land line phones, etc. I’ll be posting about “Ways to Cut your Costs” in a follow up post so make sure you follow me.
One thing that I have the worst time sticking with is a budget! No matter what I do or how I plan, there is always something unexpected. A last minute birthday invite, a doctors visit, a family get together, even a last minute emergency trip has popped up. But, I still try to maintain my budget and some months I’m under budget but I’m guilty of spending that extra money…. I’ll be posting some “Budget Ideas” in a follow up as well.
I try to plan ahead. I know that kids are out of school certain days/weeks ahead of time and I try to budget in a little extra money those weeks. During spring break this year, we took a day trip to the beach. It cost us gas money and food money but it was worth it! ($40 day trip) Summer is probably when we blow the most money because the kids are home and they think money grows on trees. They know the convenience store clerks by name and are constantly going down there for snacks or drinks. This expense has kicked our butts these past few weeks so it’s going to be part of our “cutting back/budget” plan! I’ll be writing a few more “Planning Tips” following this post.
So, this is my life of living paycheck to paycheck. As I type this post we have around $200 to last us to next Thursday. I still have to buy groceries for next week but between coupons, flyers, etc. I’m going to attempt to budget my groceries at less than $75.00. I’ll probably put about $20 in my gas tank and that will all hold us over until Thursday. Check back in as I update my progress and wish me luck! I think my kids are bottom less pits so I’m praying they won’t eat EVERYTHING! 🙂