Where to begin in saving money? Let’s start with A:
Accept the limits of your budget, your time, and your talents.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we had limitless everything? If we had all the money we could ever need…all the time…all the ability? Well, since God’s power is shown in our weakness, we are often lacking in one, if not all of these categories. Thus, we need to accept this and use it as a way to glorify God’s strength in our failings.
Where our money is limited, we need to limit ourselves. The temptation to just charge it when we know that we don’t have it to pay will lead us down a path of destruction called debt. You can avoid this trap by accepting the limits of your income and working within your means to meet the needs of your family. There are many ways to do this, but they all start with a written budget. You have to look at ON PAPER what you have coming in and going out. This helps you to realize what you are earning might not allow you to go out to dinner 4 nights a week (not even to Taco Bell!). This helps you to see how to meet your family’s basic needs and then, when there is room, meet their wants and desires. Once you see on paper how your basic needs (food and shelter) are being met, it can be an encouragement not to worry about the other things so much (after all aren’t they just added blessings?)
After you have your budget, another way to accept your limits may be to do an envelope system or a cash only system. It is really hard to spend money you don’t have if you don’t use a credit card at all. And when the money is gone, it is really gone.
When our time is limited, we need to use it wisely. I know for me, I can get all wrapped up in clipping coupons to save money and work on endless deal scenarios for the grocery and drug store. I also love to map out my meal plan for the week (I used to do it by the month), spending hours deciding what savory morsels my family will enjoy. But, let’s be real: not everybody has the time to clip every coupon, seek out every deal, and plan and prepare every meal like a gourmand.
Accept these limits on your time and allow others to help you with the work. Consider a meal planning service or find a friend to help you with your errands while she is out on her errands. Check out the deals/saving sites (like Money Saving Mom) that help you to find the best deals of the week at your local grocery and drug stores. And choose wisely what is worth the time it takes to do. Sure, you may be able to get the best deal out there, but if it requires you to run an errand when it is just not feasible, you might have to let it go.
When our abilities are limited, we need to let someone else do it. So often I have found that I want to do more than my abilities will allow. I would love to feed my family only homemade bread and sew curtains for my baby’s room that look like I got them at Pottery Barn. I would also love to learn how to knit, crochet, be the best gardener on the block, grow my own vegetables and can them for the winter, all while making only homemade gifts from the kitchen to give to friends and staying in fabulous shape. But these desires are just not compatible with my abilities. Additionally, I would likely spend way more money trying to “get it right” and failing than I would if I had just accepted my limited talents and gotten help elsewhere. Sometimes (and around here, most times) store bought is good enough. Also getting help from a talented friend or paying a professional to do it is worth the money you would spend.
The concept that you are only saving money when you are not spending money is one that I struggle with; but as I look at where my time and my talents and my pocketbook fall short, I begin to understand that getting value for your expenditures (money, time, and talent) is where the real savings are.
How has learning your limits helped you to save in your home?