Doesn’t that sound like an impossible thing to do in this day and age? Many people’s budgets are strained to the max and somehow putting money aside for a rainy day or a vacation or college, etc. doesn’t seem feasible. I am here to tell you it is possible. Believe me, I am doing it. Now I am not saying I am putting away enough money for a summer cruise as that would be an out and out lie. But the point is I am putting a few bucks away each pay day. That is more than I have done in a very long time. (Or if I was a valley girl, “Like a way long time.”) Let me share a couple of things I have done or am doing plus some awesome ideas that I got from the debt management book I had been reading. (Debt-Free on Any Income by Lyle and Tracy Shamo.)
There is a very wise old saying, and one I predict most of us ignore than obey, that goes like this: The best way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it back in your pocket. The simplest, maybe not the easiest, is to just hold off on spending that extra few bucks calling you from your pocket or wallet. One way to do this is not impulse buy. Think about your purchase for 48 hours and decide if it is something you really need or have to have then go ahead. If not, save it and you are already ahead.
Separate wants from needs. What do you need to survive and what would be an extra? I am sure that my body thinks I need that sack of Hershey’s kisses down on aisle 8, but my head and the scale know differently. I have to be strong and say “no” to the cravings, especially when I know that the few bucks I am saving can go toward petrol for the car or in the bank to earn interest.
But shopping is so much fun! I know that is what has gotten me into the deep doo-doo I am still mired in. Limiting ourselves does not mean don’t enjoy life, it just means be wise, trim the fat (which has so many meanings in my personal life), and think about the future.
There are a lot of TV lovers out there. My son loves movies and Daphne loves TV. So how then could I cancel cable? I canceled it and we are all still alive. You can get movies and TV shows on line. Even a monthly membership in a movie service is way less than the monthly cable fees. In actuality, it has given us more time together as a family, allowed us time to explore our talents, and there is less of a din raging in the house with the TV off. We actually found that we have more time by not sitting in front of the screen for hours. We have also become selective in our entertainment choices because we want the best for our time and aren’t just satisfied with whatever is airing at the time.
Canceling cable is not your idea of a good time? Maybe cancel one of the premium channels. That can save a few dollars. Or pass on that sack of Hershey’s kisses that is yelling out your name and put that money in your savings account. I realize that with inflation a penny saved is pretty insignificant, but what about $3.99 for the chocolate?
Do you have an affinity for crafts? Do you knit? Are you good with a jig saw? Why not turn your craft into a secondary income? Just think, you can make some “pin” money (another expression of my father’s) doing what you already enjoy doing?
Daphne and I have literally just started an independent business called “Sugar and Spice Designs.” We listed our first item on ETSY a couple of days ago. We are making greeting cards from scratch. (Darn cute if I say so myself.) I also knit beanies, make hand-poured soap, and bath salts. In the past I have sold quite a bit of these items, except the cards. Those are a new venture for us. Why it has taken me this long to start selling again, I can’t say. Probably the old proverb applies, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” We are thinking of hosting a little party featuring our products and serving some homemade goodies.
Let me share some money saving tips with you that I gleaned from the above-mentioned book.
1) Drive at a safe and reasonable speed and avoid fast starts and stops. Believe it or not you can save as much as 50% of the energy needed to run your car.
2) Running the air conditioner is more fuel efficient that driving with the windows down. (My children will be happy to hear that. I can’t stand using the car AC thinking it costs more.)
3) Slow down. By reducing your speed from 70 mph to 65 mph you will save $5 for each hour of driving and about $10 if you drive a truck or SUV.
4) Donate things you are no longer in need of or have not used in 1 -2 years. (That’s the rule for clearing out clutter, so say the experts.) Donate books to the library for resale. The money raised helps library activities. Donate clothing and household items to a thrift store like Deseret Industries, Salvation Army, or Good Will. Estimate the value of your donation based on what a thrift store might charge. Get a receipt and you can deduct the value from your taxes.
5) Get a little exercise at the supermarket. Look for items above and below eye level. Sometimes you will find the best deals there.
6) Buy small gifts at the dollar store.
7) Remember those old Christmas Clubs at the bank? My parents used those faithfully. My siblings and I were blessed to be spoiled at Christmas. Banks may not offer them now, but set aside some money just for Christmas. Open a savings account and leave enough to keep it open for next year when you are done making your purchases.
8) Maybe the best advice yet. Be happy with what you have. An incredible amount of time and money is spent trying to impress other people who don’t really care. Be grateful and happy for what you do have and enjoy it. Remember the famous adage, which is quoted frequently around our house, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.”
It isn’t easy always to tighten the belt buckle or the purse strings, but think about the fact that you are living within your means. The weight of debt on one’s back and mind is very costly. Avoiding debt is a great stress reducer and a formula for peace of mind.
Blog you later!