No. of Recommendations: 2
So, I'm still thinking about the goal to live on one salary, which is about $3500 a month? I think that's what I understood. At the same time, you're trying to pay off the mortgage fairly quickly -- an item that is clearly more about long-term financial smarts than short-term ease of living.

By trying to both, you may be over-constraining your problem and your life. It's a great goal to be able to live on just one salary. In the long term, it is also a great goal to be done with your mortgage in your 40s. As someone who is 46 and looking at at least 15 years of mortgage payments, my vote is that you get rid of the mortgage as quickly as possible -- and keep it gone.

So right now, you are definitely squeezed a bit. If you have gone from $1,200 to $1,000 a month on food, that's great! You're going in the right direction and discipline there will have many payoffs. Homemade food is generally better for you than prepared food, as well as being much less expensive. Another site you might want to look at is savingdinner.com. Go for the "regular" mailer, not the frugal one and not the low carb one. Sure, you may think the whole family needs to eat low carb. But first -- get the whole family used to eating real food even if it does involve a few carbs.

Another item you might want to consider for kids' activities is something obvious, but that will perhaps help everyone. Go outside and play for that time that they're in ballet. Walk -- and recognize that "walk" is not a steady speed for a little kid. It's RUN and then "oooo, a bug I will stop and look at it for three minutes" and then RUN. You can learn a lot on a walk. You can jump up and down. If there's a swing set or playground available, suddenly you have many more options.

You also mentioned a couple of times how exhausting it is to run around after two toddlers. I only had one and I was so darned tired all the time that I could barely move. I suggest two things. First, take a trip to your doctor and have your blood levels checked. Iron, Vitamin D, thyroid, and various other things can all make you utterly exhausted.

And even more than that, think about what's keeping you from going to bed when the kids go to bed, and whittle that away the same as you're whittling away your budget. Sleep loss messes with both physical and mental health, as I'm sure you know. Real food, enough sleep, and getting outside with the kids all combine to a pretty powerful boost to your health, which is a great way to boost the budget, too.

ThyPeace, hopes to eventually have two incomes to support the household, but that's a whole other story.
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