Money. When you hear that word, what do you think of? Does it make you worry, depressed, happy, longing, dreaming? In this world no matter what, we need money to survive. No matter how self-sufficient you are, you still need money. The trick is to manage what you have wisely and not get caught up in the world and the tricks that are played to separate you from your hard earned wages.
There are more arguments in a relationship about money than any other subject. It causes strife and worry. But it doesn’t have to. It all depends on how you view it. Money is a tool, it is not your life and its not meant to be that. We work to earn money to live, we don’t live for work. Many times our priorities get shifted to the world’s view and we become trapped in that more, bigger, better trap. The ease of credit, the thoughtless buying or lack of planning, these all lead to leaks in our financial, and eventually our mental well-being, and even sometimes the end to wonderful relationships.
Tips to simple rules of being healthy frugal:
- Understand your wants from your needs. This is a big one. TV, internet, friends, the world in general preaches that our wants are our rewards and pushing our wants to become what we think are our needs. You need shelter, food and water, clothing (basic) and previsions, and of those, you don’t need the biggest and the best. All of the other points will follow this mentality, if you know a need from a want that is your biggest hurdle.
- Eat at home and make your drinks/coffee/tea at home. I am still amazed at how many of my friends will spend $3-$5 on a cup of coffee. Make it at home and buy a nice carry mug. We buy a dark roast coffee at a local bulk store that is better than any coffee shop grind. Also, when you eat at home and pack your meals for work you know exactly what is going into your body. Keep it natural, not only will your wallet thank you, so will your waistline.
- Buy second hand clothes. While there are items that should never be bought second hand (underwear, hair items, personal stuff) most all of your clothes can be bought second hand and be in style. If you do need something ‘new’ then utilize your discount and outlet stores. I enjoy an online store called ThredUp they will even pay for your gently used clothes you no longer want.
- Garage Sales, Thrift Stores, Friends/Family. Consider it a treasure hunt for something you really need. By utilizing the mentality of looking for a needed item, it will also give you the time to really think about if you really need it. Keep a list. We do a lot of canning especially when our garden is coming on, in the store canning jars are high priced, but you would be surprised how many you can find in good condition in garage sales and thrift stores, and even better yet when someone is cleaning out their basement and finds a box of them!
- Grow your own food! This may seem extreme to many, but to be honest, its not that hard, and you will watch your grocery bill shrink, especially if you preserve by canning, drying and/or freezing what is in season. Even if it is only greens, tomatoes and cucumbers you will quickly notice a difference in taste, quality and your grocery bill. For those who can house AND TAKE CARE OF chickens, this is a great source of eggs and meat as well.
- Stop relying on credit cards. This is a hard one, especially in today’s society. Unfortunately, we all need at least one, especially to travel. Choose wisely and use wisely. Do not use it as a “just put it on the card” excuse. We all fall into that moment of over using a credit line and then feel the pain later. Learn from your mistakes, pay it off, close what you can, move on with your life.
- Home. A home falls under the need topic but it does not mean you have to move into the Wayne Mansion. You don’t need to have the biggest and the best. Keep in mind your purpose. Do you want minimal maintenance (every home will have maintenance). Do you really want to own a home? There is nothing wrong with renting until you reach a point in your life that is right to own a home. Just don’t pay ridiculous rent for nothing. What purpose is the home to have? Do you have children? Will you have children? Do you want a homestead to be more self-sufficient? Does the location really suit you? What kind of taxes are you looking at? So much can become overwhelming quick, and if you are building, keep in mind that you do not need to get the top of the line of everything in that home at the time you build.
- Budget, budget, budget! I know, its boring and stressful and makes you accountable. Don’t just set the budget and ‘fudge the numbers’, actually add what you are spending to each item so you can see it. I like Dave Ramsey’s Every Dollar program (everydollar.com). Trust me, it will help you become more aware of where your money is going.
- Save your money for a rainy day. The storms will come. It is not a matter of if but when. Your car WILL break down. There WILL be medical needs and emergencies. There WILL be accidents. There will be times when money is tight. Just because you get that big bonus, don’t go hog wild, feed the piggy bank instead.
- Fix the leaks. What is a leak? This is where your money invisibly disappears. Interest rates on credit cards and loans are a horrible leak and you need to get those stopped immediately. Other leaks can be not looking at your car or home insurance often to tweak as life changes. It could be that daily stop at the coffee shop or bar, or the quick meal on the run through a drive through. What about online subscriptions or cable that you rarely if ever use? A leak can seem like nothing but if you start recording those leaks you can see how quickly they add up.
- Work. If your income isn’t cutting it then its time to roll up your sleeves and put more into it. Everyone who adult age and healthy must be pulling their weight. Children who are not adults and living at home can help with chores and they too can have certain responsibilities so they can learn the value of a dollar as well. If you realize you are over your head in debt or a situation arises for the need, then look into ways that can help your financial situation. Do you have a hobby that can add some added income, cleaning, cooking, a craft. You will need to look at local licensing to sell out of the home and many times into your homeowner’s insurance. Now, here is the hard part, don’t spend the extra because now you have an extra income. PAY OFF THAT DEBT so you can get back to enjoying life more.
These are only a few of the basics of becoming money wise and I hope they help calm your mind and help you on your way.
“The earnings of the godly enhance their lives, but evil people squander their money on sin.” Proverbs 10:16 NLT
Until next time,
Mrs. Kay Lynn Rice