Needs: what you absolutely must have! Housing, food, major utilities, adequate clothing, transportation, medical care options, insurance (medical, house, renters, car, life, etc.).
Wants: things you might really really desire, but are not necessary! Things like: getting your nails done, eating out, coffees, video games, tanning beds (hopefully for the cancer risk you aren't doing this anyway!), extra home accessories, etc.
Okay, got the basics? Pretty easy, right? Here's where the hard part comes...You have to adjust your way of thinking! You MUST if you want to save $$!!! Every time you go to purchase something, you must think: is this a NEED or a WANT.
Do not fall into the trap of thinking "Well, it's on sale"....or...."I deserve to get xyz because I've been doing well"...! This only sucks away your $$! It's a lie we tell ourselves to justify our spending. Think only : "Need or Want?"
WANTS can be added to a gift list for Christmas or birthday possibilities (with the knowledge by the family that not every item on the list will be given), or WANTS can be purchased with extra money available only after all of the monthly NEEDS have been paid, and some is placed into savings.
NEEDS may be purchased if they fall into your budgeted amount for the item (say, $40 for a new coat for your child) and after doing some comparison shopping for the best price! Also, for NEEDS such as this (a coat) you must make sure that all of your regular monthly bills--the most important NEEDS-- are paid for first...otherwise that coat may have to keep kiddo warm because the gas heat has been turned off for late payment! ( Late payments on your mortgage or utilities being shut off also get reported to the Credit agencies, and your chances for future loans/good rates are very much affected by this! Please pay on time!)
Where can we trim our monthly expenses? Ask what is really necessary, and what is fun but not a NEED right now.
Could you do without eating out so often to save some big bucks? Could you do without cable? Paint your own fingernails at home? Start to cut your families hair yourself? How about choosing healthy, needed foods at the grocery, and do without buying pop or chips or many expensive, packaged foods! Call the credit card companies and ask for a lower interest rate? Have friends over instead of spending money going out? Ask your families to add things they desire onto a gift list (knowing they might not get it all!) instead of buying the latest video game or sweater or book right now?! You can do it!!
I feel so strongly about this, about being personally responsible for our financial choices, dear readers, that I ache! I could get on a serious soap-box. I could be Drill Sargeant Stacey and give you true stories of irresponsibility and how it has ruined families. I could cry because I know that some of you want to cut back on spending, and some of you are truly truly struggling financially. But all I can really do is pray for you all, dear readers, and try to give some basic guidance. The rest is up to YOU!! Ultimately, YOU YOU YOU are the ones responsible for being caretakers of your family's finances. YOU must make the daily choice to stay on task. To do your best to stretch those dollars. To be responsible. This road may not be fun, and it won't be easy for all...some of those dollars are going to have to really stretch far...but it can be walked down successfully! I really believe that you can do it!!!
Yesterday and today's posts are just the basic foundation for the rest of our series! What you'll have to keep in mind for everything else! :)
Take a look at your monthly expenses.
Ask what is a NEED and what is a WANT. Find ways to trim the budget accordingly.
We'll go into more ways to do this starting tomm., when we'll do ways to save at the GROCERY!
ps--my friend Angie at Sandals and Daisies made a great list yesterday of ways to save money! Go check it out!!