When I get my first paycheck on September 24th it will have been over 3.5 months since my last real paycheck. I closed my daycare (unofficially) on June 25th so my last fees collected were two weeks before that.
We've managed. It's been tight and thank God for Visa - we've been able to supplement when we've been short.
It's been worth it though - robbing Peter to pay Paul because it gave me the summer with the kids (even if they did ignore me) and it gave me the summer with myself...time to become amply bored with being a SAHM. I couldn't do it, not just for economic reasons, but just out of sheer boredom. I was never a SAHM really because I still worked at home (for the purposes of this post I mean with an income providing job because I know just as well as all of you that SAHM's work their asses off - they just don't get any money for their efforts) So kudos to you mom's who stay at home with your kids. No amount of Mommy and Me classes or playgroups would be enough to stop me from tearing my hair out.
I'm going somewhere with this.
I'm cheap. Yep, I said it. I'm not going to nice it up with pc words like frugal, conservative, economically careful....I'm a scrooge. But only on certain things. For instance groceries...if I can get generic I will. But I won't sacrifice some things, like say, pasta. I can't generic whole wheat spaghetti so I only buy the brand name. I won't do white pasta. Yuck. Pop is another thing. It's diet Coke or nothing.
When it comes to clothes, well, the only reason I bought new clothes for me was because I was going back to work and had to look the part (and damn - I looked fabulous this week!) For the kids though, I'm cheap.
I'm coming out with it. Get ready. I buy second hand. You wanna know why? Last year Mary successfully put holes into the knees of all but 3 pairs of pants. And the reason those 3 survived was because they were jeans - Mary doesn't wear jeans so they sat in her drawer untouched. She also stains every shirt she wears within minutes of having it on. This is why we buy 'busy' patterned clothes for her. It's not just about the 'very Mary' look, it's about being able to wear it despite the chocolate and Sharpie smudges because you can't see them - they blend in with the pattern.
Emily grew 3.5 inches this past year. I'm not kidding. It's on the kitchen door jam cookie jar ladder (confused? I'll tell ya later) So needless to say, her clothes don't fit her long. She does however have a fabulous friend who is one size bigger than she is who hands down a lot of beautiful clothes to her. The problem is, the changing bodies - this girl is tall and very thin whereas Emily is pretty average sized all the way around. So for her, it just makes sense to buy stuff second hand. Add on to this her growing 'need' for brand name stuff.
We've talked about this before. I'm not opposed to her wearing a Bench jacket but I refuse to spend $100 on one so if she wants one she better be buying herself.
And Connor - well, he's a boy. We needed a whole new wardrobe for him - we don't have any hand me downs (actually not true - Emily's friend above has a younger brother (Mary's age) and we have most of his size 5 and 6 wardrobe. I look forward to not having to buy Connor clothes for probably a good solid two years.
Today I took the kids to Value Village. It's a local charity second hand store. It's where we send all of our outgrown clothes (Ironically most of them came from there in the first place) I can outfit my kids in really nice clothes; Gap, Children's Place, Carters at a fraction of the true cost simple because they are gently used. (though a lot of the stuff is NWT)
A new on opened last week so we popped up there and Emily found her dream come true. She snagged herself a lululemon hoodie for only $25. It looks like it came right off the rack at the store. She came tearing through the place eyes wild, face red, jumping up and down "Look what I found, look what I found!" Under other circumstance I would have balked at paying $25 for anything second hand but let's face it - we're talking about a $100 hoodie.
So, I managed to get Connor a whole seasons worth of pants, some jammies, a hoodie, Emily's hoodie and a pair of jeans, some pants for Mary, some toys for my class and a toy for Mary and all for under $100. Can't beat that.
And it's a damn good thing too because you see, the girls have only been in school for a week and already I've written $93 worth of checks to the school.
These really are crazy economic times.