If you’ve read my blog before, then you know that my little family is planning to go to Spain this summer. I thought I’d share how a mostly one income, lower middle class family plans to make it happen.
First of all, priorities! We have made this trip a priority. This means we are willing to sacrifice to get there. No new clothes, no new furniture, tons of meals at home, lots of diy, extra jobs and overall thriftiness.This has been challenging, to say the least. We’ve set a modest budget and the groceries are the hardest for me to rein in, even with a list that now excludes nice craft beers and other unnecessary extras. Wouldn’t ya know, kids are expensive! There are just some things we HAVE to get, like milk storage bags and fresh fruits and veggies.
In addition to my few days a week as a substitute teacher, I’ve picked up two other jobs that are part time. I’ve got an extra shift or two a week at the old restaurant I used to work at. That was a tough one for me. I just assumed I would not be waiting tables once I had my masters and I was CERTAIN that I wouldn’t still be doing it as a mom. But I’ve adjusted my outlook, gained some perspective and served with a smile. It’s really not bad work, the people are great and for the time I’m putting in, you can’t beat the money. I also started as an online educator very part time. This was a nice gig to get since it’s in my field, I can schedule my own hours, and do it from home. Doesn’t pay a whole lot, otherwise I’d probably quit the restaurant thing. So there’s no doubt, I am doing my share to get us to Spain!
Our fridge started acting up and it seemed like all might be lost. A new fridge would definitely take a big chunk out of our Spain budget. So we got a local fridge expert to take a look, that alone cost a pretty penny. When he told us that in addition to his fee, a new part and more labor was going to cost us 150$, we did what any 21st, gen Y family would do. We googled and youtubed a cheaper fix. For a total of 45$ (including shipping) we got the part we needed and watched a youtube video about how to install it. Piece of cake!
In addition to cutting down the groceries, fixing fridges and picking up extra jobs we’ve also done away with eating out, going to movies, or other costly adventures like downhill skiing. I know, I know, it’s pretty drastic buuuut all is not lost. Just this past weekend we did a some cross country skiing up north. It’s much cheaper than downhill skiing and we can bring the little guy along in the frame backpack. We brought snacks and good company and it was a lot of fun, oh! and hard work. Watching the Olympics is free and that’s been pretty entertaining. And every time we time we hear about about something we want that’s costly, like a live band and a new chipotle porter at our favorite local brewery, we just have to remind ourselves in a passionate inner voice, “Para Espana!”.