As we approach the holiday season, we begin to buy more: extra groceries for the Thanksgiving meal and out of town guests, and presents and decorations for Christmas. And it is so easy to get into debt.
No one likes to talk about this four-letter word even when it is drowning you. Maybe that’s why money becomes a leading source of marital conflict. When one or both partners abuse credit in ways that threaten financial stability for the family then the family can fall apart. Economists agree that a key contributor to the recession was that consumers took on more debt than their incomes justified.
There isn’t an easy answer except the age old one; don’t spend more than you have. To do that, we have to grow up and become responsible and understand that we have to say “no” to some things we may really want.
Don’t let cutting costs ruin your quality of life. Just learn how to be more frugal:
- 1. Don’t give up all the things you love. This is where communication with your spouse and children can really help. Realize what it is you really want to have, such as a specialty coffee every morning, new clothes or a new phone, and sacrifice in other areas.
2. Find inexpensive ways to enjoy what’s most important to you. If you love to read, then get your books free at the library or a discount book store. Same goes for movies. If you love to travel, research homes that you can swap with. If you love to eat in fancy restaurants, wait until you have a coupon as ‘buy one meal get one for free’. If you love to buy clothes, try a discount store or even a thrift / consignment store. Sometimes the clothes still have the price tag on them!
3. Never go shopping without knowing exactly what you’re shopping for. Have a list and stick with it. If you get tempted, compare what you want to buy with what your big dreams will need you to save.
4. Don’t shop! I know that if I shop I will see many things I will want to buy. So, I just go for what I really need.
5. Use the “30-Day Rule” for purchases. If you see something you really want, give yourself a month to think about it. While you are waiting, see if you can find it elsewhere at a lower price (This doesn’t work for those items you know you will never find again and the item is “perfect” for a certain person or reason).
6. Learn the age old practice of bartering. If you know how to color hair, trade your skill for something you need or want.
7. If you want to shop at higher priced stores, wait until they have a sale. Then you are getting nice items at good prices.
8. Eat more at home, doubling your recipes so you can freeze for another meal. Also, make a pitcher of tea instead of soda and use a filter on your water system instead of bottled water.
9. Get on the web or look at your local newspaper for events that are happening each weekend. Most of these are free as concerts in the park, art exhibits, etc.
10. Watch for “kids eat free” specials at restaurants and then you and your spouse can split one entree. You will have a wonderful night out that will only cost the price of one meal! Also, order water instead of tea or soda which can save the average family at least $5 a meal.
“A good name is to be more desired than great riches,
favor is better than silver and gold”. Proverbs 22:1
We need to respect and understand the value of a dollar and to teach this value to our children. Money really doesn’t grow on trees. It takes a lot of hard work and years of saving to acquire material goods. And we need to learn how to find bargains and deals.
But the best deal is when you make an investment in the things that will sustain your joy. Money cannot bring you happiness but using money for the joy of others can!
Saving your money so that you can help someone less fortunate is a gift to them but it is also a gift to your soul. We need to pay attention to what really matters in life, to be present in the moment, not in buying more stuff. We need to be present in the moment with our children, not rushing to buy them the latest what-not. We don’t need to allow ourselves into being seduced into acquiring more of what we don’t need.
It only takes spending $27.40 a day to fritter away $10,000 per year! www.Mint.com is a site that will show you exactly what you’re spending your cash on such as shopping, groceries, and fast food and help you come up with a budget you can stick to.
Start budgeting now. Christmas isn’t that far away and this is the time to find the joy in the season rather than the pain of too many bills and debt.
“There is nothing wrong with people possessing riches. The wrong comes when riches possess people.” Billy Graham