Life Saving Frugality

I knew he was trying to broach the topic as gingerly as possible by the tone of his voice.

Are you really serious about getting out of debt?, he asked.

Serious as a heart attack, I replied as convincingly as I could.

Money is such a freaking stressful topic.  Just the thought of it can get my blood pressure pumping.  Considering how many bp meds I’m on, that really isn’t a good thing.

Then, if you are truly that committed to getting out of debt, what are these charges on the credit card, he continued.

Talk about my life flashing before my eyes.

I don’t carry a credit card.  The card with my name on it is in a locked box with a key only Reed has.  Yes, I have a history of poor credit card use, and I willingly (almost) gave up any access to a credit card after Parker was born.  That was also during the 3+ year time we were putting anywhere from $1,500-2,000 a month on credit cards for the co-pays (just the co-pays) for Parker’s meds.

Then I remembered.  I’ve started using Amazon’s subscribe and save for both toilet paper and diapers.  I take that much less out of the bank for groceries each month to cover those expenses, but I know how sensitive Reed is when seeing any new charge on the credit card.   I can’t blame him.

Box from Amazon.com

Gas prices are soaring in our area again.

Food prices are going higher and higher.

I think what really got Reed’s attention was notice from the school district he works for that due to the Sequester, the special needs budget is going to be blown to smithereens.  Literally.  Field trips have been cancelled for the 4th quarter.  Teacher trainings have been ended smack dab in the middle of the courses.  The local news is reporting the potential of teacher layoffs.  If they can get away without hiring when an opening comes up, they will. Who knows what this Legislature has up their sleeves, especially with their new website, Financial Ready Utah.   (There’s also a FB page AND a Pinterest page!)

I’m pretty sure this site is geared for those of us who either work for the State or rely on a public safety net to keep a loved one alive.  It’s a big hint as to what the state has in store for us.  Then, again, maybe I’m just cynical.  Or I’ve lived in Utah way too long.

Amazon Subscribe and Save Items

I also can’t help but wonder if the whole Sequester thing fizzes out if the State will reinstate that budget or not.  (Trust issues?  Who me?)

According to Coupons.com CEO, Steven Boal

Coupons a leading (economic) indicator because you don’t need months of data to see consumer behavior patterns emerge. He said he expects the payroll tax hikes, rising food and gas prices are squeezing household budgets.

It also helps to look at the types of coupons shoppers are redeeming. The most popular ones right now are for soup, cheese, rice, pasta and M&Ms.

“When people are feeling tightened, they seek comfort food. But, also things that make them feel better from personal care and beauty. Dove soap, Pantene and Vidal Sassoon are trending right now,” said Boal.

Since the last recession, consumers have really changed their buying patterns, according to Boal. But the behavior Coupons.com is seeing now represents another shift. Those who weren’t affected by the last recession are now tightening the reins.”

There are different levels of frugality.  The frugality of saving up to go on a long anticipated trip.  The penny pinching associated with trying to make a paycheck last the month.  The Black Belt Tightwad trying to keep a roof over their family’s head and food in bellies.

Parker Sitting in an Amazon box

Then there is what I call Life Saving Frugality.  Sound like I’m over exaggerating?  I’m not.

This is the brand of frugality that Reed and I are working to employ in case Parker loses his waiver or Reed loses his job.

It means paying off debt as fast as we can in case we are forced back to the days where we are paying a couple a grand out of pocket for meds alone.   That doesn’t even include the cost of oxygen supplies or vent rentals. Which reminds me, I still need to dig up that $300.00 to pay off the rest of Parker’s new oxygen concentrator.  Ebay here I come.

Yup, Life Saving Frugality.  It what our family and thousands of other families are engaging in.

Don’t believe me?  Check out the latest article in Time magazine:  Bitter Pill:  Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us. 

 

 

About Tammy and Parker

Special Needs Blogger, and homeschooling Mom, heavily involved in advocacy for all kids with special needs in Utah.

Comments

  1. We are trying to work on that too. Reminds me I need to bug hubby again about refi.

  2. Syndi says:

    I am a queen couponer…. I smirked this morning while doing laundry realizing I am still using dryer sheets I bought on a clearance deal 2 years ago. Dumb little things but the money adds up. I don’t spend much time on it and I am happy to help you find some tricks :)

  3. Hi Tammy, I’ve started reading your blog recently and enjoy it. I’m frugal due to my humble beginnings and it has never left me.

    I’m guessing your husband is a teacher by your comments? I live in Wisconsin where teachers have been villified and characterized as gold-diggers and I think it’s awful. I hope Utah is better.

    Please take the time (as if you have any free time) to research what medicaid coverage levels might be available in another state. If your husband lost his job (or not), at some point it might make sense financially to move for better medical coverage.

    It would be neat if you posted a family photo some time.

    Best of luck to you!

    Anne – mom to 4 and attorney

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