Have you ever noticed that your favorite store has a major sale at the very time that you are trying to save money? Or you have unexpected bills that hit at the same time as your child’s school’s fundraiser? Or a variety of other things that compete for your financial attention at the same time. This has recently been our family’s experience and it has left me with a few questions.
1. How do I become frugal, but not stingy.
2. How do I give generously, and yet not over spend?
3. Is there a balance and can it be achieved?
I believe the answer to question three is YES! But in order for it to happen, we must have a plan.
First, sit down with your spouse and agree on the amount you need to trim and from what area it is going to come from and what the money saved is going towards. Are you saving for Christmas, an upcoming expense, or do you simply trying to get things where they need to be? Don’t assume that the money can be trimmed from just one expenditure. Here’s a few suggestions that might help.
1. Eat out less. The kids might miss Chick-fil-a. But your family will eat healthier and enjoying more family time. It is important to reward yourself occasionally. This will keep you from feeling like you have sacrificed everything, and therefore keep you from being frustrated and mad. Breakfast is typically less expensive than lunch or dinner, so why not try Saturday morning breakfast out and don’t be afraid to share!
2. Better meal planning. It is a little more work to make a menu and stick to it, but it causes me to use what I already have and utilize the sales flyers and coupons. It also has allowed us to discover new recipes made from a few left over ingredients. Such as Burrito Casserole from left over taco night. Place soft tortillas in a dish layer with rice or beans, taco meat, cheese and repeat. Freeze and save for another night or cook at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until heated through. Use your favorite toppings to dress it up.
Second, just go for it. Get serious about saving. This means stay out of the shops. If you are like me, you simply can’t go into a store without spending money. So I have found a different hobby to occupy my time. I needed to get better at keeping the house clean, so I’m trying to attack it. Operation Clean Up is allowing me to find treasures that we are not using and therefore can sale at a yard sale or on eBay or can donate to a charity. I can either boost my giving or my income. Either of these will allow me to be more generous without over spending.
Third, hold each other accountable. When we encourage each other to stick with the plan things go so much better.
Finally, celebrate. We get excited over a “Zero Spending Day”. This is where we don’t spend a dime. It is not always easy to do, but a couple of weeks ago we went for three days without spending anything, which was reason to celebrate.
For more ways to save, check out www.faithfulprovisions.com.