I loathe grocery shopping. It is one of my least favourite activities on the homemaking front. The continual battle over what to buy, with what money is allocated each fortnight, is one I constantly feel I loose before I have even started out the front door!
In our household for more years than need being mentioned, every payday I get delegated a certain amount of funds. These funds are tagged for food and petrol. Yet the reality is, these funds never just pay for food and petrol. They often also pay for socks, shoes, stationery needs for schooling, clothes, school trips, Christmas and birthday presents, haircuts, doctor visits, medical prescriptions, seeds for the vegetable garden, photocopying..... to name just a few of the extras that come to mind.
I do my best. Most things are purchased at discount stores and charity shops when they can be found there. I belong to a number of online groups where people can pass on their items to others freely, including several freecycling (recycling) groups. I administer a number of local buy, sell and exchange online groups also, so am doing what I can to try and meet the needs of my household as creatively as possible.
Yet I struggle and feel discouraged pretty much every payday.
For the last couple of years I have been working towards setting up a home-based business, with the hope of bringing in further income into our household. It is progressing slowly. I have put together and run garage sales, swap parties, attended carboot sales and school galas..... all manner of innovative and creative means of trying to keep within budget have been explored. Yet I experience failure so often, as I go about trying to make ends meet.
I have read frugal living books. I have trawled my way through financial advisement books that suggest ways to be better off, even wealthier. I have googled, youtubed, pinterested my way across the world wide web countless times, trying to make do and trying to make my delegated household budget go further and wider. Yet, the ability to do nothing more than simply survive seems to prevail a lot.
I know I am not alone in this struggle. There are countless other homemakers who will be experiencing the same. In these economic times, trying to live within a budget is simply tough and more often than not it is a source of considerable frustration because we repeatedly fail.
The reality of what money comes in and what money has to go out is plain disheartening. There is often little left by mid way through the second week of any budget fortnight. As the last few days approach, we regularly face being completely bare in both the pantry and the fridge. A roll or two of toilet paper still being present, can at times even start to feel like a blessing!
Keeping things ticking over seems to be one of life's biggest juggles for many of us. Stretching an already stretched budget, is that quiet horrible secret that many of us live with. I for one am tired of the bite that it constantly provides.
When you have children you endeavour to keep things like dealing with budgeting an adult problem. You endeavour to keep them innocently unaware of just how much the grown ups are trying to keep things stable, secure and afloat. It is hard to hear their dreaming about things they want to do or would like to have, and realise that you simply may never provide it. Sometimes it is terribly hard being the grownup.
I have yet to figure out how to move forward better. I have yet to master what seems un-masterable. No doubt I will once again google some options to try and help me. Once again I will no doubt step up and try to fight the good fight in the bright lit aisles of the local supermarket. Seeds will yet again be planted in the garden, and cheap rolls of toilet paper will again be purchased to take up their position in the designated holdall. A much needed haircut and dental visit will simply have be put on hold again this payday due to budget realism.
May your household budget likewise stretch well this coming payday, as best as it possibly can.