Three Things Thursday [Vol. 13]

This week I am inspired by the mad alliteration of Thursday the thirteenth to share three thrifty strategies I plan to put into play this Fall to lessen our living expenses. With a year of maternity leave coming up in 2013, Matt and I are preparing to lose a major portion of my income. Ideally we will fit our cost of living into his paycheques so that my maternity benefits can go to savings or debt and so going back to work can be an option rather than a necessity for me. I’m glad we’re starting to plan now so we have a good number of months to sort things out and adapt as we need to!

1. Meal planning – I love it when I do it, but I hate to do it! However, there is an accumulation of non-perishable food in our cupboards and I’d really like to focus on eating that up. That will mean planning meals around what we have and shopping just to fill in the gaps. Once we get our cupboards back under control I know meal planning will continue to help us shop more efficiently so we waste less food and money!

2. Sort through clothes – One morning this week when I was getting dressed for work, I realized I had the perfect sweater to complete my outfit. I base my clothing choices 100% more on comfort than style these days, so I was excited to feel kind of put together. I quickly tore through three boxes of clothes I packed up last Spring, didn’t find the sweater in time for work and wore my white hoodie instead. Comfort it is! BUT this was a great reminder that it is becoming weather-appropriate to pull out my warmer clothes, and it is also becoming belly-necessary to avail myself of Every. Article. of clothing that I can still wear. If I honestly need more stuff, I am willing to buy it, but I do not want to drop a ton of money on clothes that will only fit for a couple months if I already have pieces that I can make work.

I also need to make a plan for what to do with the clothes I am outgrowing – I’m not sure what to expect from my body after the baby comes out, whether everything will more or less shluurrp back into place in a couple months or whether I’ll need to rebuild my wardrobe. I’m okay with either. Mostly. Becoming a mother is a huge privilege that totally outweighs – literally! bahaha – having a hot body. But I also know that nursing moms can sometimes have a hard time keeping their weight on because they burn through so many calories feeding the baby, and I have always tended to be thin so it won’t surprise me if I end up in that situation. It’s hard not knowing though because I’m not sure whether to purge or store all these clothes!

Part of my plan to cope with this is take the opportunity to find out how small of a wardrobe I can realistically get by with. I am intrigued by Project 333, and I hope that by dabbling in wardrobe minimalism through pregnancy I will be in good shape to either pare down or rebuild my postpartum wardrobe.

3. Budget like mad – Matt and I already operate on a shared budget, but our commitment and self-control really vary month-to-month. We are talking about taking a break from our credit cards to help stay focused and limit impulse-spending, but in past attempts we have never lasted a full month with cash-only budgeting. Stuff always comes up! I think we might manage better if I let go of my micro-budgeting tendencies and we try reverse budgeting against our fixed expenses. Basically instead of planning a breakdown of how we will distribute all our money, we will spend what we have to, save what we want to, and then live on the rest. The downside to this strategy would be (obviously) running out of money too soon (I’m thinking especially in terms of gas and groceries), but it certainly seems like it would be more effective than our current approach of doing our best and usually not having much left over.

Wish me luck!

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