Friday morning, 5 hours before super hero training camp and moments after I frantically finished up my menus for delivery…The doorbell rang.
At that moment I had glass cleaner in one hand and a rag in the other. I needed a shower. But I was pretending to be the lovely lady above. The man at the door said, “Don’t you usually clean AFTER the remodel is finished?”
I said, “Are you our Engineer?”
He said, “Yes, I tried to cal…..”
But I could’t hear the rest. I was leaping and yelling, “Yipee the engineer is here!” With the door standing open and the man looking confused. If he had a thought bubble it would read, “Do I go in? Do I stay out here? What is that woman on?”
We had been waiting 2 weeks for this day. The day to find out what is really wrong with our house, how soon can we fix it, and gulp, what it will cost. This moment stood between me and having a kitchen again and I was ready to face it head on.
He spent several hours at the house with a fancy laser level and clipboard. Thoroughly listened to our concerns and even checked out the leak in the attic. The diagnoses? Our east wall has dropped 4 inches and requires 15 piers and jacking to repair, plus landscaping, gutters and annual watering to prevent further damage. The good news: It can be fixed immediately. And as soon as it’s fixed we can continue with our kitchen remodel. The bad news: We should expect to pay at least $20,000. And when we pay that….there won’t be money to finish the kitchen. (The leak in the attic only needed a little caulk around the sky light.)
Now is not the time to panic. It’s time to think and plan. All I have to do is find 200 ways to save $100 or 100 ways to save $200 and boom. Problem solved. And he said we could wait until July (the next dry season) to get the work done, without worrying about further damage. If I’m willing to delay the kitchen that long.
So I’ve started a list. And am giving myself 4 months to find the savings.
#1 We’re not sending Christmas cards this year. So Merry Christmas–we love you. Savings: $75
#2 Let my hair go officially ombre and then brown with silver streaks. Savings $75 every 6 weeks or $200 over 4 months. (In theory, I really only went every 6 months….) I need to go right now, but can use the money to buy Heidi a hair straightener for her Christmas gift instead.
#3 Potty Train Grant (yep he’s 2 1/2, but I just haven’t felt like I could add that to my plate. Adding it now…) Savings: $25 a month or $100 over 4 months.
#4 My sister-in-law and I agreed to cancel our gift exchange this year. We wouldn’t be together on Christmas Day anyway and the cousins will simply celebrate this year with the annual gingerbread house building and a fabulous playtime at Grandmas. This one was hardest on my Mom, but my kids took it really well. Savings: $100
#5 I crossed 5 budgeted gifts off our Coffman list by planning to sew the items from stash materials and they are going to be the BEST ever! Savings: $100
#6 Instead of going to Chucky Cheese tonight for Caleb’s birthday the family agreed to go to Striker’s $1 night bowling. For which we had a $25 gift card for admission and each child had a $2 gift card for the arcade. (The arcade was surprisingly expensive with games costing between $.75 and $3. Our $2 cards weren’t going to go very far. But an older man came up to me and asked if I was the mother of all these—motioning around with his hand. I said I was, and he handed me a gift card. After he left, I swiped it on the machine to check the balance and it had $52 on it!!! I cried, literally. It was like God looked down from heaven and said, “I see you.”
Official Savings $50 (We ended up buying pizza for $25. I goofed and thought they had $1 hot dogs there, but that was the other bowling alley.)
#7 Exclusively go back to cloth wipes instead of toilet paper (I have been buying more paper since we moved but time to buckle down.) This will save $20 every other month. Or $4o over 4 months. Or $120 for the year
#8 Drop my grocery budget by $100 which will pull us back to the $400 per month ($50 per person) budget. Pinch! This will be hard as I’ve gotten used to my extra $100….but doable. Official Savings: $400.
#9 Adjust the clothing budget. I’ve worked hard to get Darren to raise it up to around $100 a month for all 8 of us. If I can do without for 4 months, that would save us $400. Several of the boys need shoes. But I can make up their other needs in creative ways.
So That’s where I am. That saved us $1,005. Only $18,995 to go. Do you have any more ideas for me?
(We will be ok and my sister and 3 friends already brought over casseroles.)