We're a family o' 3, and our income is pretty average, but I'm still finding a lot of tips I can use. More than that, it's helping me rethink my relationship with money.
I'm of the belief that if you've got $40 in the bank, you've got $40 to spend. (My hardworking husband loves that about me...) When it comes to money, I don't think about the future. I live in the now. I've written before that I'm cheap. But that's mainly because I enjoy the thrill of finding a good deal--and getting a deal means there's money left over for more buying!
I'm not proud of this. My fiscal flagrancy prevents us from having a nice chunk o' savings for unanticipated expenses. We don't have credit cards by choice, so if something comes up and we don't have the money for it, we scramble around trying to find a solution.
And to be honest, I'm okay with that. That's life, says I. The future will take care of itself. And retirement? We all know that we can rely on the government for that, right? Right?!
It's been on my mind lately, but The Peaceful Mom's blog series is really bringing home the point that I need to make some changes. In my mindset, most of all.
I already do some of the money-saving tips in the series. I have a realistic budget. I grocery shop on the same day each week. I plan our weekly menu based on what's on sale that week. I "price match" other stores' sales at Walmart. I use coupons when I find them. I buy generic when the quality is comparable. I do highlights at home, and I forgo other salon services. I buy most of our clothes at consignment stores. I cook and bake from scratch most of the time. I do Netflix instead of cable or movies out. I do the library instead of the bookstore. I drink coffee from home (or even better, I bum it off of Shrinky Dink).
But if I've got $40, that moolah is getting spent, y'all. I don't put the money I "save" into savings. I use it for going out to eat. Or for some new makeup that will probably fossilize in my makeup bag before I use it 5 times. Or for something fun to do for Nature Boy and a friend.
I am not a saver.
And I know that's not fair to Tree Guy. He works full time as a forester with the electric company, and he has a side job as a landscaper. He's working two jobs! I do a lot to get more for our money, but what is that worth when I don't actually save the surplus?
The Peaceful Mom recommends adding up all the non-monthly expenses that come up during the year (car maintenance, vaccinations and exams for the dogs, Christmas and birthday gifts, clothing and shoes, etc.) and dividing that number by 12 months. She suggests that families put that amount into a separate checking account each month, so the money is available when those expenses come up. The goal is to "pay" the non-monthly expenses account just like any other bill. That way saving isn't an afterthought. It's budgeted in.
It's a great idea. It's not exactly saving for retirement, but it's a huge step in the right direction.
What's your money style? Do you have a savings system?