This post deviates a little from the things I typically write about. I have had this conversation several times in the past couple of weeks, so I thought I would go ahead and make a blog post. If you are the wife of an entertainer, or a husband who is self-employed, or you may be self-employed then you may understand where this is headed. In our home, like so many others who walk this path, there are only 2 seasons in your home. They are feast or famine. After a while, you begin to see a pattern emerge and you know how to properly plan for those times of famine.
I have a love/hate relationship with the end of September to the start of December. I love that it’s my husband’s busiest time of year and we can afford a few extras and small splurges. It’s also a time where my husband is thinking about the fact that January and February are coming. While we try to save year round, this is where we throw what can into savings, so we are covered the first of the year. It’s also the time of year where the kids and I rarely see him. My husband works hard all year, but this is his marathon season.
While he is out working hard to provide for our family, what is my role in preparing for the first of the year? Stockpiling. No not crazy coupon lady, but slowly filling the pantry and hall closet. It also means that Christmas shopping starts in August for us.
When I look at our biggest monthly expenses on a personal front, what do we use the most? For us, that’s toilet paper, laundry detergent, fabric softener and milk. We joke that our kids are milkohoclics because they go through 5-7 gallons of milk a week. While I can’t stockpile milk, I can toilet paper and our laundry stuff.
When looking at some of the smaller items like toothpaste, hand soap, shampoo, bar soap, deodorant and things like, those are things I can throw in the hall closet and they won’t go bad. I even think about things like hair bands for my daughter and may or may not pick up a pack or 2, if she needs them.
Other smaller things that I can start picking up in October are canned goods. Those typically have a great shelf life, so slowly buying a few cans here and few cans there are easy to do. The kids eat a fruit cup almost every single day with their lunches and Kroger often marks those 2 for $4. Their other snack packs can be bought at Wal-Mart for under $5. My kids also love Ritz and Graham Crackers. Wal-Mart sells the family size boxes of those cracker and I will make sure we have at least 2 full boxes by the end of the month. I will also make sure our brown and white rice containers are full and that we have several boxes of pasta noodle in the cupboard. You can make a whole range of dishes with rice and noodles.
With it being December, I am now working to stock our freezer. It’s not huge, so I can’t go crazy. I wait for Kroger to put their frozen vegetable on sale 10 for $10. Corn dogs and pizza snackers are sold in the freezer section and hot dogs freeze well. These are things my kids love. We also freeze our extra turkey bacon. I will have a full bag of chicken breasts, ground turkey and types of sausage in our freezer. Because we enjoy wings during the National Title game, I will also make sure we have a full bag of wings in the freezer.
The ultimate goal is to only need to buy perishable items as the year starts. The fridge will be full come January 1st, but I can’t stock 2-3 months worth of perishables in there. We already have one Kroger gift card ready to go and I will probably purchase at least 2 more, in case of emergencies.
I shared earlier in the post that Christmas shopping starts in August for us. By that time of year, there are some things the kids have been asking for since the first of the year. It also helps that things are most likely to be fully stocked. This year, we did run into an issue with a gift for our daughter, but she will receive a special letter from Santa letting her know that the gift will arrive sometime in the spring once he has had a chance to restock the workshop. Thanks to my mom, my kids never go without at Christmas, even if things are tight on our end.
I don’t share any of this for sympathy, but to give a shout out to all of you are married to, or are someone who is self-employed. This is a reality and a way of life for many of us. There are times of the year when we are able to say “yes” because we can swing things financially. There are other times when we have to say “no.” It’s not anything personal, it’s just not going to fit in the budget at the moment.
I’m guessing several of you out there can 100% relate to this post. For others, I hope you see what it’s like for those of us who are self-employed or have contract positions. We have to look at and prepare for things in a different manner than those who have consistent salaried positions.