I guess its not a secret that I’m not going back to work now that Henrik is here. In the past I only took minimal time off and saved to be able to even stay home that long, 4 weeks with Johannes and 4 month with Magnus. But with Henrik joining us and my blog starting to generate a bit more of a steady income, Michael and I decided it was the right move for me to stay home with the boys especially while they’re so little. I don’t feel comfortable hiring a nanny to look after them, after a few awful experiences when Magnus was small, and I also really want to see these boys grow up, to be able to pick them up from school when they’re sick without the guilt of having to tell my boss I’m leaving…again. But blogging is a relatively new business and not without its challenges either. It doesn’t provide a monthly salary or a very definitive amount that I can absolutely count on each month. So the spot we are in currently is that we have one salary from Michael, and some income here and there from me and the work I do. And while I’m incredibly grateful to even be in this position to begin with, budgeting is top of mind for us as the new school year approaches.
Although Johannes goes to public school there are trips to attend, new uniform clothes to buy, shoes and supplies. I don’t know how little boys do it, but every pair of pants he had last year now has magical holes in the knees… is there a pant mouse in his closet?!
So here are some of the ways in which we are working to make the most of our budget and take advantage of everything we can.
(1) A detailed Excel spreadsheet with all of our monthly expenses tracked with the actual spend.
(2) Lists….making a list before shopping is key.
(3) POINTS! Yes points! Did you know that you can use American Express Rewards points to buy gift cards to so many different retailers to help with back to school shopping?
We put everything on our American Express Rewards card so that we can maximize the points we collect. Then we redeem it for things we need. In this case I redeemed them for a couple of gift cards at Indigo so that Johannes can get all the supplies his teacher asked us to bring on day one of class.
I read this article once from a super successful entrepreneur who talked about how he never paid for air fare…ever. And the way he did it was by finding the right Credit Card for him and then making sure every purchase he made was one he was getting points for. It was eye opening and changed how we spend our money. Why not get something in return? Its definitely helpful in our situation where every little bit helps so that I can be with my little guys and enjoy as much time with them as possible.