Living is expensive. Just sayin‘.
Although, I’m sure that comes as no surprise to you. Even without luxurious and materially-centered expenditures, making ends meet is challenging for the average family in the United States.
Finding ways to save money may be easier than you think. At least, finding ways to stop racking up debt by spending money that doesn’t exist may be easier than you think. To be sure, the days of my Italian-born grandfather (who lived to a robust 106) where the mindset was, “make a dime, save a nickel” are somewhat obsolete. Today’s thinking is more along the lines of, “Who cares if I don’t have the money; I’ll just use my credit card and pay for it later.”
It doesn’t take long for that type of “budgeting” to result in financial disaster. In today’s economy, it is not always possible to accumulate vast reserves of cash or build assets through wise investments and profit-sharing programs. The reality of many people’s situations is that they scrounge, each and every week, just to put food on the table and keep shelter over their heads. Merely thinking about “saving” money seems impossible at times.
That’s why I want to talk about “not spending” as opposed to “saving.” Think about it. Debt is often incurred when people use plastic to make purchases for which they have no foreseeable means of paying, thereby making matters worse when interest payments are added in as time goes on. “Not spending” can help alleviate debt, which, in the long run, may lead to an ability to “save”!
I put my little brain cap on and came up with a bullet list of easy ways to “not spend” :
Stay home! Yes, date nights, ladies’ nights, and myriad extra curricular activities with kids are all forms of well-intended fun. The gas money it takes to travel, food/drink expenses and other related costs…not so much.
Grow your own food! My husband gets so happy in the summer when our grocery bill plummets because we eat out of our garden.
Avoid name brands; or, at least get them second-hand. Why pay $40 for an Aeropostale shirt off the rack, when you can get the same shirt at a consignment shop for $5?
Grocery shop with a list…and, stick to it! Scour your fridge and pantry shelves each week and create a dinner menu from on-hand items. Add things you need to a list, then shop. This helps keep costs way down because it prevents “impromptu” spending. How many people plop things (they “think” they need) into their carts, then watch them spoil or expire after sitting, unused for weeks?
Enjoy free fun. Relaxation and recreation need not be expensive. A few glow sticks from the dollar store, a bowl of popcorn and a deck of cards are staple items adding up to fun family nights on the porch! Want a larger crowd to party? Invite a few friends, asking each to bring a snack or drink. Entertainment need not include spending hundreds of dollars on snacks and drinks you could have had on your own deck for a quarter of the price!
Once in a while, it’s fun to splurge, but if daily habits and weekly excursions are breaking the bank, it’s time to re-think choices!
Judy Dudich resides in the beautiful woods of Pennsylvania, where 24 acres of land and a home-office provide the perfect setting for her children’s home-education and her own homesteading and business ventures. Life is full of blessings (and challenges!) for Judy, as a wife, mother of 10 and Grammy to six. She is a published author, whose book, “I Surrender/A Study Guide for Women” continues to encourage and support others in Christian family lifestyles throughout the world. Judy has also previously worked in the online speaking circuit. Her passion for permaculture, re-purposing, foraging and organic gardening fills her days with learning and adventure that she loves to share.