Saturday, October 31, 2009

Let's Begin. Money is a Tool

Money is the root of all evil. Not necessarily true. The LOVE of money is the root of all evil. Money is a tool. Plain and simple. How we use it is up to us. There have been times that we could kick ourselves for making a purchase. Other times we are happy with what we bought. Did I really need the 26th pair of shoes. Not on your life. Did I need the Kitchen Aid stand mixer? Oh yes indeedy, I did.

There's two reasons why we purchase. pick either of the following. I want it, I need it. There are some wants that are needed as well. Like the mixer. It is the best tool I've ever owned. I can do anything in the kitchen with the mixer. I love to bake. And I know it will most likely last a lifetime. The 26th pair of shoes? No. I have stopped buying shoes I don't need. I discovered why I 'needed' so many shoes. Let's just saying a healing took place.

So how are we suppose to use our money? Well, there's the mortgage. Most people have one. Then the power company and a phone company takes a bit more. Many people now use only a cell phone. I use a land line because of where we live. (no reception for the cell phones) Then food, gas and clothing are next. Some people need prescriptions, also. Oh, and some people have a vehicle payment (or 2). After all of this, discretionary money is left. The money we can do anything we want with. What to do, what to do. At this point let me say I know there are some of you who don't have discretionary money left. Hopefully this blog will help you find some of the hidden money you may have.

Cable and fast speed internet fall into the discretionary spending category. Satellite TV is something we're working on right now. I'm thinking we can hook up the laptop to the TV and watch our shows on HULU or another site that broadcasts our shows. Currently we pay for a DVD program where they are mailed to us so we don't use premium channels. We can also watch movies on the TV with this plan right from the provider. Where we live this saves us about 30$ a month. Our TV satellite bill just went up from 41$ a month to 67$ a month. For what? I'm not all that sure. Since the money I have is mine, I do not want to give this to a rich satellite company. We will make a final decision soon. Hopefully we will both agree to let the satalite TV go.

Eating out is done with discretionary money. Life is so hectic that a stop at a drive thru is a given. Or pizza. Or a family night out. Kids have practice? DH working late? Tired after giving your boss all your energy? About 3 years ago I took a good look at myself. I read a book by Kevin Trueau " Natural Cures They Don't Want You To Know About". The author talked about the foods we eat and how weight gain is directly proportionate to how much processed food we eat. I tried some of his suggestions. One at a time. I began by eating out less. I lost 7 pounds in one week. Needless to say we stopped eating out often and noticed the money we had left over at the end of the month. I was hooked. We still eat out 2x a month. We use a coupon and share one meal. Neither DH or I can eat a full restaurant portion.

Clothes can be discretionary. We all need certain things. But where is the limit? This would be a personal choice. How much do you budget? What is the percentage of your clothing budget of your take home pay? When I worked full time I didn't have a budget. I just 'felt' like shopping and off I went. To be fair, I never bought anything that wasn't on sale and my kids were grown. But, I bought quality and what I wanted. I could kick myself for the wasting of our resources I did. Again I looked at my habits. I became discerning about my needs. I didn't need the 26th pair of shoes. I stopped there. I went on a moratorium for a year. I found after a year my jeans were still in great condition, that my sneakers held up, and my work suits were still in style.

When I retired it came to me that all my expensive clothes went to thrift stores when I got tired of them. A light bulb flashed, kind of like in the cartoon. If I brought all my 'discarded' clothes to the thrift store, then other women did too. I started scouring the stores. Sure enough, I found my first pair of LOFT jeans ( my favorite store) that had tags still on them. $3.99. I hit pay dirt. (50% off 'regular' price) I now buy my casual clothes at thrift stores. Some times I find something. Some times I leave empty handed. I still work part time so I purchase my work clothes at my favorite store. I just don't purchase so much. I wait for sales and they are classic choices so the clothes are in style for a longer period of time. I also ask myself if I need something. I tend to put many items back on the rack after I ask this question.



I have created this blog to help others. It's good stewardship to share things. I want to share my knowledge and experience. I raised 4 children on a frugal budget. I was forced to at the time because we had so many medical bills. I realized it was fun. It was rewarding. It was good for my family. It was good for the community. I still live this way. It's a choice. A very rewarding choice. I also can now get what I truly want by using cash. It took many years to get out from under the medical bills. But I guess I am stubborn. I just kept going like the 'Little Engine That Could'. I'm so glad I did. Life now is so rewarding.

I also made the decision to use scripture on this blog. I could not have gotten through the ordeals of the past without the Word of Scripture to strengthen me and guide me. This may be offensive to some, and for this I apologize, but I know you can find other blogs that will fit your needs.

So climb on ladies and gents. I think you'll find the ride will be rewarding.