Friday, August 16, 2013

Ways our Family Saves: Buying is our last option.

I guess this next way our family saves is more of a philosophy on spending, but it makes a huge difference in our budget and is very counter-cultural! Perhaps I should have started off with this critical piece.

#4 Make Buying/Spending Money Your Last Option

You would be amazed at how many times I have been able to save money by practicing this mindset. If at all possible, do NOT spend money; reuse what you have, recycle an item, get something for free, accept gifts from others, etc....

For one example, I was very tempted this past week while shopping in Target, as I walked by the Dollar Spot at the entrance. There were many adorable little school supply items for a buck that I thought, "Ooh, I could use that for teaching Anna." I even turned around and walked back to the display. But, after a few seconds, I thought about all the paper, pencils, crayons, and other school supplies that I have gotten recently for pennies. It will be more than enough for us!

Now, this is just one recent example that saved our family a few bucks. Even as you start trying to shop frugally, it is important to not just buy something because it is a good deal, but because you truly need it. With this mindset, whenever you go to buy something (groceries, clothing, whatever), start asking yourself, "Do I need this? Can I replace this item with something I already own? Does this purchase have any eternal value? Is this good for our budget and financial goals?" Most of the time, the answer for me is usually to wait and not buy.

With a mindset of spending money as our final option, my family has not only saved money, but we have also been quite impressed at how creative we can be at finding a spending-free alternative! More importantly, when we have stopped buying extra items, it has often put us in a better position to give toward God's Kingdom (a few bucks spent routinely on us adds up to a lot of money not spent on others), as well as it makes us more dependent on God and His provision. And our family has learned from experience that His provision is far better than anything we could have hoped - or bought.

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