Just a little update on me in case you are wondering. If you’ve been keeping up with me, you know that I’ve joined countless others of government employees on furlough. I’m on my second week now out of 11. Oh, yay! Um, not.
To survive the 20% pay cut (just over $1000 a month for me), earlier I took a hard look at where I was spending my money and also to see where I could cut back and prioritize where my paycheck went so I could survive and not lose my house over government stupidity.
Thought I’d share where I am and who knows maybe it will help someone in familiar shoes.
1. I called my cell phone provide and discussed my situation with them. End result, I secured a discount. It saves me $20 dollars a month. I’ll take that!
2. I called my cable provider and did the same as with the cell phone provider. Originally, I wanted to explore a reduction of services. They were awesome! End result, I secured a $55 dollar reduction in my monthly bill and no change in services. I have phone, Internet, and cable through them.
3. For the house, I bought a storm door, a ceiling fan, and one of those quiet tower ionic fans. My plan is not use AC at all.
A. My utility bill has decreased. This month’s bill just happen to be $22 dollars less than last month and I am watering my yard still which is the bulk of my bill too. (I have fairly new landscaping that I refuse to lose). Of course, I live in Colorado where our climate is dry and mostly days are in the 80’s. I have a swamp cooler that I keep in the bedroom and that helps a lot on those 90+ days. It can be hard to sleep when you’re miserably hot. During the day, I hang out in the basement for leisure. I have a nice set up and a TV down there. It is cooler down there!
B. This plan sucks on those 90 plus days and we’ve had a few. Plus, we had another really bad forest fire and I had to close up my house which makes it extremely hot! (Fire is out now as of this post and people are rebuilding their lives).
4. I stopped going to the nail salon. I used to go twice a month as a treat. This averaged to around $70 dollars a month. So to save, I checked out Amazon and found a Shellac CND kit and UV light for just over $120. Now I do my own fingers and toes as much as I like. I’ve been doing this since April. I do a fair job on myself. The good thing is that it’s already paid for itself in what I pay at the salon twice a month and my daughter occasionally uses it. My nails look almost as good as they did from the salon. I already had a foot bath so I pulled that out too and have given myself quite a few pedicures as well.
5. A while back I’ve discover facials and the awesome results I would have. I used to go twice a month because I was hooked to the healthy glow I gained. Then I reduce my visits to once a month. A. All and all facials are pretty expensive. So I also searched Amazon for a facial steamer like what they use at the spa so I could continue getting at least pseudo results as I believe the steam is a big contributor. I found a facial steamer by Secura that I highly recommend. I still use my products and now with the steam. I use the steamer once a week too.
B. My skin continues to glow and yes by reducing my spa visits, this allowed the steamer to pay for itself! So now, for the duration of the furlough, I won’t get facials. I sure miss them. But, I’m saving approximately the $75 dollars I spent at each visit.
6. Normally, I get a trim and my hair roots colored approximately every 5-6 weeks.
A. To reduce here, I went to Sally Beauty Supply and talked with them about my hair. They were very helpful and pointed me to a product called Color Brilliance Ion. Essentially, I bought salon quality color (not box color), the developer, reusable mixing bowl, brush, and gloves all for $11 dollars. Wow! At the salon it costs me usually $80 for my stylist to hook me up. I did my roots and my hair turned out great. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be as I was afraid I’d mess up my highlights. Same color too and now my highlights have popped.
B. I’ll still get my hair cut, but without the color part until the furlough is over. The Ion brand also has this awesome Repair Solutions conditioning treatment that works great, plus it is 100% vegan and smells great too! I don’t want to look like a freaking mess!
7. I dropped my once a week reformer Pilates classes. I miss them; however, I’ve still managed to keep my gym membership and I go a lot especially since I have extra time off. Plus, my gym has a lot to offer and it is open 24/7!
8. I’ve picked up quite a few subbing opportunities teaching both yoga and aerobics classes. This will definitely help minimize the sting from being furloughed and it is a healthy behavior. Nice thing too, classes on base are either free or super cheap. (FYI, other furloughed people. If you have an ID, you’re good).
9. I’ve been shopping more at the base commissary for groceries because it is significantly cheaper than in town. I also pack lunch for work verses go grab something or I hit up the dining facility/chow hall. (Retirees can eat there and I can eat for three dollars or less). Additionally, my garden is really producing lots of tomatoes, various peppers, and herbs right now. I haven’t been eating out as much.
10. For entertainment, I’ve looked for low to no cost options.
A. I downloaded a few books on my Kindle. I actually love to read a good book with a glass of iced tea out on my patio. And reading a book doesn’t cost a lot.
B. Speaking of books, my coworker brought it to my attention that the library is another option. I can’t believe I didn’t think about that. I have the Pike’s Peak Library District and the Base Library is actually across the street from work.
C. I also came across a great deal with our local baseball team. I was able to secure a 5 game set of box seats along the 3rd base line and that’s way cheaper than buying individual tickets. So now I can enjoy a few baseball games and a friend of mine decided to join me.
D. I’ve been hiking since there are a ton of places to hike around here, taking pictures and sharing them on Facebook. Now I am preparing to go camping with friends. Camping isn’t expensive at all, especially when you have quite a bit a gear already.
E. My dog and I take a lot of walks too.
11. My dog Maverick was going to PetSmart once a month to get groomed. Now it will be every other month or he’ll wait until September when furlough is supposed to be over. At PetSmart, they do this Furminator that’s awesome! I have a Sheltie and this makes a huge difference with regards to shedding! He is super furry! So even though, he won’t go as often, it doesn’t mean he isn’t getting groomed. He is by me. I’ve already hooked him up with a bath since being furloughed and he gets brushed too.
12. And I’ve started on de-junking around the house since I have extra time available. Especially, in my garage. I have way to much crap. But, I’ve donated quite a bit to Goodwill already.
13. And I haven’t forgot about blogging either. More time equals more writing about yoga and other wellness topics.
So all in all, I’m doing OK for now. My bills are paid. Spending is being prioritized…mortgage, car payment, insurance, utilities, food, gas… Two “F” days down, nine more to go. I’ve made a lot of personal sacrifices. Probably, need to do more. I’m still stressed, but I really believe it helps a lot to have a plan and strategy! Hopefully, I’ve sparked cost saving ideas with you whether you are a man or a woman on furlough or not. (I know, I put a lot of girlie stuff down, but maybe you’re a guy who pays for your girl’s stuff).
Those of you who are also furloughed, what are you doing? Love to hear your ideas as to what you are doing to survive, not be miserable, reduce stress, and still enjoy the summer. We are in this together!