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Monday, January 12, 2009

2009: the year of downsizing and saving

the wan house is getting back to the basics.

after evaluating our spending habits of the last few years and recognizing that this recession isn't going to get much better for a while, we're slashing expenses here, there, and everywhere. we've already done and got so much great stuff, and it's time to step back and get practical.

yes, i said "practical." no, you haven't stumbled upon someone else's blog, and no, you're not in the twilight zone. heh.

the first thing to go was the weekly team of housecleaners. believe me, it's been painful for me. i ABHOR cleaning, and i'm about as far from a neat freak as you can get. i've loved just paying a monthly bill and having all the shit cleaned for me. it's been a few weeks now, and i do miss it, but i love not paying the bill even more.

we're hunting for a new place to live, too. we really don't need all this space, and the bean having her own room (at least, for right now) is a joke since we cosleep. we never spend time in the sitting room, and we could easily downsize into a smaller place for way less. like the housecleaning bill, the rent check is one i hate writing, and mostly because we moved in at a time when rents were at a premium. that's not the case anymore, with tons of rentals on the market, and i think we're in a good position to find something great and possibly cut our rent in half. i'm actually pretty happy that the house we bid on late last year didn't work out, because i think i actually LIKE being a renter. we don't have to worry about plumbers, roofers, property taxes - renting can be a pretty sweet deal.

eating out isn't such a frequent expense for us anymore, either. i'm finding all sorts of fun new recipes to try on the internet, and my crock pot has never seen so much use in its whole life. of course, some dishes are hit-and-miss, but at least it isn't costing us $40+ a meal. i even found myself scouring the sunday paper coupons again, and i'd forgotten how fun it is to watch the total go down at the grocery store as the checker scans in those little slips of paper. not to mention that the teen and the hub seem to love my efforts - and it's really quite satisfying to hear their comments as we enjoy our dinners at home together.

inspired by 10yearstogether, i'm going through my zillion boxes of books in the garage and listing most of them on half.com. i started on saturday afternoon, just weeding through years and years worth of barnes & noble and borders runs, and so far have listed over 75 books. and i was ridiculously excited to open an e-mail a couple of hours later and find that i'd already sold three paperbacks! woo-hoo! now, i'm getting nowhere near what i originally paid for these, but every little bit counts and it's clearing space out of the garage. not to mention, it's pretty fun to sell shit in a cyber yard sale. ha!

lastly, we're strongly considering getting rid of the hoopdie. i hate to see her go, because i love her so and she was my dream car (and still is), but right now it just isn't practical to keep her. i don't know if it'll work out, as SUVs aren't exactly easy to get rid of these days, but we'll sure give it a try. i'm eyeing a car like my mom's, but there are lots of fun (and ridiculously affordable) options out there. we'll see.

the hub and i are pretty excited about all of this. it lessens the pressure on him, and we're stoked about the whole idea of saving money and pulling back the reins on our desire for material shit. and it's not as though a large chunk of the country isn't doing the same thing, so it's not like we're freaks or anything like that. ha!

i talked to the teen on our way to school this morning to see how she was feeling about our new resolve to cut expenses and save money.

"do you care whether you get dropped off at school in a BMW or a honda?"
"nah, i don't really care about that at all. you could take me in a beat-up station wagon, and it would be no big deal." [pearl clutching by me at the thought of driving a STATION WAGON]
"soooo, if we found a place to move to, and it was really close to school, would you be cool with it?"
"psh, yeah. that really doesn't matter to me at all."
"well, what about us not spending too much on fun stuff, like shopping and eating out? how do you feel about that?"
"it's cool, mom. i already have so much stuff, and you guys have always been so generous with me. i don't need anything."
"so, if the jonas brothers come back to town..."
"aaack! i'm totally saving up, just in case."

heh. she cracks me up. i love that kid so much.


  1. Your convo's with the teen are a crack up! Great ideas to save money too :)

  2. I love that the CR-V is your downgrade and it's our "nice" car. HAHA. I love that car but the gas milage is disappointing. Just FYI. On average we're only getting about 22.

    I think we are all looking around at all the "stuff" and feeling more than willing to get rid of some.

  3. Do you really need the extra cargo room? I say go for an Accord or Camry.

  4. saving money is always good. i wish i had the same restraint and resolve.

  5. saving money is always good. i wished i had the same restraint and resolve.

  6. Wow, your daughter took that conversation so well. I would have been like, damn straight you're dropping me off in the BMW. :p

  7. Your daughter rocks. We're trying to cut back too . . . it's been tough.

    (On a side note, now I can no longer say "but Wan has a housekeeper! Why can't we have a housekeeper?" to my husband anymore. Damn.)

  8. i'm glad the teen was so upbeat about it all. you know crazy teenagers, sometimes it can be tough to handle :)

  9. audi and VW both make sweet 'wagons.

    just sayin'.

  10. I saw you at an open house yesterday. I was about to say hi when I realized that I would have to explain who I was and how I knew you in front of our hubs and the real estate agent and I felt like an ass so I kept quiet.

  11. Shoot ... if you're giving up the housekeeper I don't think there's any hope of me getting one anytime soon.

    I second WeeMo's car recs.

  12. I admire your efforts and am glad you're excited about your new initiative!

  13. snaps.

    i would much rather drive a station wagon than a minivan or most SUVs. but that's me.

    see? the teen's learning to save ahead for a rainy day, too! ;)

  14. AND now that you're doing your own housecleaning you can save on a gym membership! All that scrubbing and cleaning is probably a great workout!

  15. Being excited about it makes it so much easier to do. :) And I'm glad it went well with talking to the teen...you never know how that can go.

  16. ditto sarah on the CR-V, seriously though, every mom i know drives that, geesh i didn't know they were so popular, only the number 2 selling compact suv for last year. its fun though. join the club!!

  17. I, too, love the X5 but we were about to have a baby (as in, a week and a half after we bought our car) so we ended up with a new CRV. I LOVE IT. It's white (and I normally hate white cars, but I fell in love with it) and wonderful. The '09s have a graphite color, too. Good luck :)

  18. Good for you! I think it'll be really good for the teen, too, although it sounds like she has a great head on her shoulders.

    Good luck!

  19. Hooray for getting back to basics! I don't mind it, it's really kind of fun to do the coupon thing and I'm starting to actually like cleaning the house. I've even cut expenses by using vinegar and water solutions for cleaners (highly rec'd on C/O and MM) instead of store bought products. I might even try to make my own laundry detergent bc it seems fun and way cheap. Glad you have such a supportive family that's totally on board with these resolutions. Good luck and I look forward to reading about how you come along with everything!

  20. I <3 the teen. Please tell me exactly what you did while she was growing up so I can make sure my baby turns out just like her!

  21. I think this is the year of saving for a lot of people. We're being careful too. It's scary out there. But it's all about having a great, positive attitude. Which it seems like you definitely have. And being grateful for what we have... which is A LOT compared to what some other people are going through.

  22. wow nice blog, I like it, and $$mile 4 u today, Dropping too my blog pleaseeee yach

  23. We have been trying to cut back, too -- the economy is so scary. Good luck!

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  25. I don't think downsizing is the accurate term. Downsizing is not this drastic; cut the cable bill, lower your mobile plan, cut back on eating out.

    Call a spade a spade. You are going broke. There is no conceivable explanation for why you would move from a house to a 2 bdrm apartment (with two children), get rid of a car you love so much and sell your wine collection.

    There's no shame in it, but don't try to make it sound like you're doing this by choice.


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