Around here we like to keep it simple and we are starting with the basics (ABCs and 123s) with our little ones. We started with teaching our kids to follow instructions of the most basic sort. Trust me, we must start SIMPLE!
But don’t we crave simplicity, even as adults? I am a list making, instructions-following person who prefers an ordered way of doing things. However when I first became a homemaker, I struggled to figure out the best way to save money in our home.
I mean, we have to buy things and we have to use them. The dollars can just seem to fly away, while we live life. Thus I thought it might be helpful to have a series on saving money that follows the ABCs. Over the next 26 posts, you will find a tip for saving money in your home that is related to a letter of the alphabet. We are going to keep it simple and practical.
I hope to start a dialogue with you, readers regarding the simple ways to save money. Please feel free to comment on my techniques and offer simple solutions you use in your home. I look forward to hearing from you!
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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? 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 the limits of our resources 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 when you accept 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!).
Budgeting helps you to see how to meet your family’s basic needs. Then, when there is room, you can 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?
Once you have your written 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. When the money is gone, it is really gone.
I have been on a cash envelope system for years! It is such a wonderful way to stay on track with our budget!
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 everyone 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. 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.
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.
Often I have found I want to do more than my abilities will allow. I would love to feed my family only homemade bread. Or 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, garden. Wouldn’t it be great to 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!
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 the limits of my talents and gotten help elsewhere. Sometimes – 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. As I truly look at where my time, talents, and my pocketbook fall short, I begin to understand getting value for my expenditures (money, time, and talent) is where the real savings are.
How has learning your limits helped you to save in your home?