Tuesday, August 4, 2009
One of the greatest blessings we've had the past few months is that of little/no income! The gap between graduating from college and the start of hubby's job will be 7 months. For us it has been essential to make every penny of our savings count! One way we have accomplished this has been by imposing an abosolute spending freeze. At first it was a total bummer not to buy new shoes (they weren't an absolute necessity, my older pairs were still intact, but I like to be stylish!) It was also difficult to refrain from buying toys, books, and new clothes for our toddler and for the baby we'll have soon!
But after months of knowing we couldn't spend ANY extra money on ANYTHING that wasn't absolutely essential, living with a spending freeze has actually become quite liberating! I mean, look around your house and count the number of things you thought you wanted, or even thought you NEEDED at the time of purchase. If you're anything like me, you realized that quite a bit of money every month goes down the drain. In our society, having "things" seems to up our status (though probably only in our own eyes!) Therefore we use credit, pile up the debt, and spend years paying off $100!! Or at the least, we don't save, and consequently lose money we could have made on interest!
The liberation comes in not letting things own you! It comes in knowing that your credit card bill is $0 and that you won't pay interest. It comes in knowing that you will be able to meet your family's needs because you didn't splurge on that bowling game your 14 month old was carrying around Ross acting like it was the most important thing to her! (By the way, I must mention that it is pointless to buy many toys for a young child. Get out some cups and bowls, they'll be WAY happier!)
SO, my challenge to you, dear reader, is to set aside a period of time that you think you can go without spending ANY money on non-basics (no, clothes aren't basics, neither are new seat covers for your car, a kiddie pool, or a pass to the nearby theme park!) Seriously, food, rent/mortgage, utilities, car, gas, insurance, health, toiletries. Those are basically it. Try it for a week. Be really brave and try it for a month. FREEZE your spending, and see how much you save! (And it's ok to start to carry a bolt of fabric to the counter, convincing yourself that your girls NEED curtains in their room, and you must make them, and then turn around and put it back! Be STRONG!)