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Making Adjustments

Tuesday, November 30, 2010 at 7:37AM

Last Wednesday, Chef came home with some very disappointing news.

His biggest client, who was getting four ice sculptures a week to use for shrimp displays on their buffets, is discontinuing the shrimp and the sculptures.  The client said that it’s not their busy season, and they need to cut costs.  They aren’t going to be offering shrimp on their buffet now, which means they don’t need the ice sculptures, either… which is another way they are reducing their costs.

This development is very unfortunate for us.  That client provided nearly half our business.

The client assured Chef that they have always been pleased with his work, and they apologized profusely for needing to discontinue the weekly orders.  They said that they will still call him for sculptures for special occasions.  And Chef assured them that he understands and that he appreciates all the business they’ve given him over the last several years.

Still, it’s a tough blow.

I admit I cried.

I felt like all the dreams I’d had for quitting full time work a year from now all turned to dust.

But now, it’s time to take a deep breath and make adjustments.

Chef has two walk-in freezers and two ice block makers.  He is turning off one of each, putting the shop into hibernation.  He’s also turning the heat in the rented building way down, and will turn it up only when absolutely needed.  We’ve been using an email marketing service to send out monthly e-newsletters.  After the December newsletter goes out, we’ll discontinue that service.

Chef had been using business money to pay off debt while we lived off my salary.  Now that the business income will be drastically reduced, we’ll have to make adjustments at home so that some of my salary can help pay off debt.  We’ve both decided to take a cut in our allowances, and I’m going to pick up the weekly ad at the grocery store where we do most of our shopping so that we can shop the sales.  I’ve found, where you can print coupons for food and household items.  (We don’t subscribe to the newspaper, so we don’t get coupons that way.)  I’ve already discovered that the store has General Mills cereal on sale, plus I found a coupon for it online, AND the store is having double-coupon days all this week.  Excellent!  Perhaps being more diligent in sleuthing out deals will save us money in shopping.  Also, since he’ll have more time now, Chef is going to spend some time on his parents’ wooded property, searching for firewood so we can keep our heating costs low at home.

In addition to cutting costs, we also need to try to replace some of the income that we are losing.  Chef will enter more ice carving competitions this winter than he had originally planned.  He’s a good carver, and while first place prizes aren’t guaranteed, he’s talented enough to know that he can almost always win something.  And depending on the competition, the prize money can be pretty good.  He has also mentioned taking on some part time, temporary work (something like substitute teaching, where he could have a lot of flexibility in his schedule).  And I’m trying to think of ways to earn and save more money as well.

We will still continue chipping away at our debt, and we’ll make it eventually.  Our finish line may just be a little further away now.

What cost saving measures work for you?  How do you earn extra income on the side?


About Karen Koch

I like the old-fashioned lifestyle. All this new-fangled stuff baffles me sometimes. I cherish living out in the country, raising chickens and rabbits, planting fruit trees, and enjoying a slow life filled with beautiful words and ideas. I don't always achieve a slow life. I teach middle school English and manage a little burgeoning farm with my husband, and somewhere in the midst of that, I try to find time for writing, running, knitting, reading, and playing the ukulele. And sometimes, I actually succeed.

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