Since quitting our jobs, packing up and relocating to Richmond there have been some changes. One big obvious change is Tony isn't working but in full time grad school. CRNA programs = expensive & not allowed to work. I have to be the sole bread winner for the family. Yes technically I don't have a job yet but gimme time (ps anyone know anyone who's hiring in RVA?). Cutting our income by more than half requires little more than a lean year.
We've had to cut back on some of our expenses to afford living in the place we do. We love our apartment and while it was in our budget (and very underpriced!) we know we could have gone cheaper; not happily though. We appreciate our huge kitchen, dishwasher, central air, parking spots and 2 bedrooms. To afford living here we have to make some cuts. First up? Cable tv.
We cut cable tv from our budget and now just have netflix on our roku box. Honestly I don't mind it. I found I we were mindlessly spending too much time in front of the tv before. Now we watch madmen or spend time together. Not sure if we'll change our netflix account due to the price increase but we'll see. With the digital cable and DVR of our old apartment we're easily saving something like $42/month (probably more I could never figure our our bill).
Next savings - groceries! Going vegetarian at home saves lots of money to start. I also save $$ on groceries by making my own detergent, cleaning spray & other cleaners (natural & cheaper) and shopping at a new discount/salvage grocery. I know they aren't an option for everyone but if you can find a scratch n dent grocery you'll save a ton! Our old tiny one in Raleigh closed. Ours here in Richmond is huge and even has great produce and frozen food (must take photos next time). We meal plan every week after we get home from the grocery store to make sure to not waste anything or be tempted to eat out. Savings of lots of dollars/month!
I also participate in survey/sampling sites - I get paid to test products or get free samples. It saves on bills when I get free full sized products like tissues, shampoo, contact solution and kitty litter! I'm planning on updating my list of sites I am an active member of on the blog soon. Since we've moved I'm looking for more research studies I can be a part of, perhaps at VCU. Savings... depends each month.
Other changes to our budget - as mentioned before we're going lean. Eating out is off limits, as is buying new things like clothes, make up, furniture etc. Sightseeing or travelling is off limits unless free. Even gift giving is drastically reduced. If we love you you'll get baked goods and homemade cards from us for the next 2 years. Selling things we already own is okay (like a printer). Unless its related to Tony's school (for which there are loans) like an ear piece, lab coat or dress shoes we are not spending money. Random items I know but all true. With a small budget comes creative ways to use what we've got and make the best of it. So far we're enjoying everything and look forward to the challenges ahead!