September 23, 2009

Step by Step

There are two things that I am finding I need to master in my "new career."  Yes, it is a new career at least that is how I am viewing it.  One of the areas I need to master is working step by step to get my house in order.  Instead of trying to look at the total big picture I am breaking everything down into manageable pieces. This is much the same steps I used when I was a legal assistant and had to tackle some big projects.  Yesterday I didn't think I was doing very well. After all it is hard to play catch up on housework when you are trying to do the day to day chores of laundry, meals, picking up and so on.  Yesterday I sat down and tackled going through all of the music and music books that had cluttered up the area around the piano.  I sat down and just went through the stack in about 20 minutes.  The room instantly looked better.   When one room looks better I get energized to work on other areas.

Sometimes as I write in this blog I think that if any "seasoned" homemaker reads this she will think I am nuts as she has been doing it for years, but in all honesty we cannot be on the "top of our game" all the time.

The second area I need to master is money.  My husband and I discussed a food budget of $125 per week for the three of us.  We have also budgeted another $25 a week for the type of items you would purchase at Wal-mart.  Now I have been stockpiling food since February when I subscribed to the Grocery Game -  It only costs $1.25 per week and it has helped me save a lot of money and really stockpile my pantry and my freezer with rock bottom prices on meat, canned goods and so forth.  However, I can do better.  Instead of buying paper towels at a rock bottom price, why am I buying paper towels at all?  Any money spent is not money saved so I am now looking at everything I can make homemade or do without as a way to save money.  $125 per week for 3 of us is quite a lot of money when you look at things as a whole.  I can bake bread, tortillas and such.  I can cook soup from scratch so I am now starting to look at my grocery budget a little differently.  I do have a supply of cleaners that I had purchased in the past year when there was a two for one special and I had a coupon, but do I really need all those different type of cleaners and also, I can make my own cleaners for less than what I bought them for on sale. Everything that I feel we need to purchase I am now looking at differently.

We need to save more money to replenish our savings account and I know that even a penny here or there can add up. 

Now, I am devoting my time to getting my house in order and to saving money.  Thankfully the internet is a wonderful source of information for me.  I have come across a blog entitled Under $1000 a Month in which a young family with small children are actually living on that amount per month.  Also I have come across other sites such as the frugal mom and all of these sites have wonderful ideas of saving on everything.  I am not bringing in an income now but I can save as much money as possible and contribute financially in that way.

I am going to quit buying paper towels.  I have a supply of old bath towels that I am going to cut down and make into manageable towels about the size of a paper towel. Also I am already making my own powdered laundry soap and plan to convert to the homemade liquid laundry soap that is more economical as soon as I can find a big covered bucket.  I tried a homemade dishwasher detergent yesterday and it worked great.

I am retraining myself in the area of money and instead of running out when I feel we need something I am seeking other alternatives. When I was employed as a legal assistant, I was well paid.  I worked for a very long time so I never really thought about eating out or going on line and buying something.  I just did it.  It takes awhile to change a habit.  I want to stay home and never work again so I am motivated to make the changes that I need to in order to make this happen.

September 22, 2009

Gaining Control

In my former job as a legal assistant I worked a lot of hours.  Many times I brought work home and worked on weekends.   I worked for a sole practitioner and the only vacation backup was when his daughter or my son were available during the summer to work and give me time off.   I loved my job.  I enjoyed working in the area of the law so I was willing to make the sacrifice in other areas of my life.  I could keep on top of all sorts of projects at work and balance multiple cases at a time.  Why then am I having a terrible time gaining control of my messy house?  I gave up on the housework in early June and did only what was necessary as I was going to be responsible to close the law firm.  My employer was appointed as a judge.  There was a lot of work to do and I knew that come August I would be at home.

Now - here we are at the end of September and I have made some strides but am struggling in getting into a routine and schedule at home so that I can get my house in order.  One thing that has not happened, I do not miss my former work life.  Even though I was a career woman for many years and I loved my job, I also longed to be home full time.  Something always stood in the way.  Perhaps it was saving up for a house or putting our oldest son through college or maybe it was the fact that I wanted to quit but couldn't imagine telling my boss.  Hence it was decided for me.

I did work very hard at the beginning of this month and I cleaned out the basement.  It seemed that if I was going to make an attempt to get organized, the basement was the place to start.  After all that is where we store a lot of stuff.  I got the majority of it organized and when I go to the basement to do laundry I feel a sense of pride. 

I have thought and thought and the only way for me to gain control in my housework - cleaning, laundry, cooking, baking, home renovation projects and such is to treat my home as I treated my former job.  I have to make a plan, set goals and have a deadline.  Most important, I must make a schedule and do what I can to not deviate from it.  This is going to be interesting and I am wondering how many other women have worked this path with me - longed to be home, but facing the frustration of not being able to gain control and get things done at home.

September 20, 2009

Leaving the workplace

I lost my job on July 31, 2009.  I had plenty of time to prepare for this and my husband and I decided that I would stay home and not look for another job.  I am tired.  I had worked for 16 years as a legal assistant and the stress at times was great. Now I have traded in the work stress for the challenge of learning to live on one income. 

I am not too computer savvy but I wanted to start this blog so that I could enter my day to day challenges of re-training myself to not spend money unless it was necessary and to find ways to save money.  Soo - this blog set up may not be perfect but I will learn as I go.