Our big, hairy audacious goal this year is to save save $3,300 for our three kids to go to Japanese school this summer AND $7,000 for our daughters to go to Japanese school this fall.
I told you it was a big, hairy, audacious goal.
We are absolutely committed to having all three kids go during the summer.
While we would love both girls to go in the fall, I don’t know if it will happen.
I don’t know if it is possible for our budget to stretch that far.
What about the Debt?
For those of you who think it is insane that we are even talking about saving this much money for Japanese school when we still have so much debt, I get it. I understand your point of view.
However, the fastest way we are going to get out of debt is by me ramping up my income. I am already working about 10 to 12 hours during the week when I have a babysitter and on the weekends for about 4 or 5 hours a day while my husband takes care of the kids.
Having a long morning stretch when the kids are at school will free me up to accept more writing jobs, which means my income will increase. As my income increases, we will be able to pay down more debt.
Our January Progress
For most of January, any extra income I made got eaten up by other expenses like quarterly taxes, the registration fee for my son for next year, etc.
Finally, yesterday, at the very end of the money, we scraped together a little money to be put aside for Japanese school.
We now have $331.97 set aside for Japanese school.
Of course, this is just a drop in the bucket, but at least we saved something this month.
Our Next Course of Action
We have several avenues to pursue to try to generate more money. Here is what we are going to try:
1. Sell more stuff around the house. I need to list the kids’ outgrown spring and summer clothes on eBay. I estimate that will bring in a few hundred dollars. We also have outgrown baby gates, a play pen, and other items to sell. Hopefully between all of it we should net $300 to $400.
2. Cut expenses to the bare minimum. We already live a fairly modest life style. We only have one car, which is paid off. My husband and I buy our clothes from Goodwill and garage sales. We don’t have any video games; we only have one television, and to be honest, it is on the verge of dying it is so old.
However, there are still places we can cut:
-Go to basic Ooma telephone service. Last year we switched to Ooma, a VOIP phone system. We are saving $20 a month by using Ooma, but we are still paying $16 for things like call waiting, caller ID, etc. I am going to call and cut it down to the basic, which will then only cost us about $4 a month.
(By the way, if you would like to purchase an Ooma and save on your own phone bill, between now and January 31, you can save $40 with the code, MOH2412. The device is normally $179.99, but the code gets it to you for $139.99, and shipping is free. Ours paid for itself in less than a year.)
-Cut our cable or switch cable/Internet providers. Our cable and Internet are bundled together, and if I cut all cable, our Internet price goes up, so we actually save very little. I am going to call again and see how little we save. Then I may consider switching providers to get a good deal. The only thing that scares me off here is that there are usually installation fees which eat up much of the savings.
-Find ways to save on groceries. For the most part, we can’t coupon for the food we eat, except for our gluten free products. (Everything else is meat from the farmer or fresh fruits and vegetables.) However, I plan to implement a few strategies to save on groceries.
*First, I am actively using Swagbucks, and I will redeem my points for Amazon gift cards so I can save on gluten free products when they are on sale.
*Second, I plan to write the companies of the products I like, tell them how much I like their products and hope for some product coupons.
*Third, I am going to start doing activities in Recyclebank again to get coupons for organic products.
-Find ways to save on toiletries. I accept that for right now our groceries are going to be more expensive, but I really hate paying full price for things like toilet paper, toothpaste and other essential items that really eat into the budget. I am open to any suggestions.
3. Continue to take extra jobs. My husband and I have agreed that when I get extra jobs, I will take them. That often means that I work more on weekends and he watches the kids most of the time on the weekends, but if that is what we need to do right now, then that is what we need to do.
4. Set the money aside at the first of the month. At the beginning of every month, we are going to set the money aside for Japanese school first. Then, the rest of the budget will have to work around what is left.
When I got my teaching job when my husband and I were first married, we were flat out broke. We didn’t have money for anything. My employer automatically took 8% out of my gross pay and put it in a retirement account for me. I so missed that money because we needed it desperately, but somehow we made it. Now, I have a healthy retirement fund because the money was put aside even when I didn’t feel I had the money to save for retirement. This is how we need to think about Japanese school.
With some concentrated effort, we plan to have over $1,000 saved by the end of next month.
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