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Karl and Heather's Journey:

Even Odds

In our family, a year (especially in our daughters’ eyes) is defined through the MMSD calendar celebrations of winter break, spring break and summer break. However, for Heather and me, these events are times that can make or break our financial stability. Winter is our time to seek a balance between holiday wish lists and spending reality; spring the time to find the cheapest gas stations between Wisconsin and Florida; and summer…the celebration of the last day of school quickly followed by three months of a single income! (Heather is a 9-month-a-year teacher)

During these weeks of pottery, pool membership and ice skating activities, we primarily rely upon my monthly income and our savings to make ends meet. Sure we joke about taking stock in Ramen Noodles and not running the air conditioning until August, but this is a serious time for our family. Here are the key income-producing/expense reducing strategies we are incorporating…we’d love to hear any ideas you can come up with as well!

  • Gardening & landscaping. Heather applies green-thumb wisdom she learned from her mother & years of hands-on experience to weed, plant, design and mulch her way through neighborhood gardens. Sweat equity at its finest!
  • Snack lunches. No more trips through the Milio’s drive-thru or the flavor of the week at Starbucks. For trips to the ice arena & community pool, we find creative mix-ins for Mac & Cheese, shop around for granola bars on sale and pack multiple H2O bottles stocked with fruit juice ice cubes & frozen cucumber slices.
  • Reaping and sowing. Even living in the city, we have two garden plots in our backyard where we grow tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, peas and beans. (Hint: a mini pumpkin patch also saves $$ come autumn). We eat right off the vines and make sauces of salsa & marinara to stretch our growing season well into winter.

This week definitely focuses on our goal #3: not needing to supplement income with savings. As we come up with more ideas we’ll be sure to share, but right now it’s even odds on how we’ll make out. J


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