Friday, March 19, 2010

Frugal Living Friday: Discipline

Welcome to Frugal Living Friday! Each week I will feature a tip that can help us stretch our budget and live more frugally! If you have a tip that you want shared on Frugal Living Friday, let me know and you could become a guest blogger for a day.

Something has been on my mind a lot lately. Discipline. We need discipline in many ways in our lives: children, food, exercise, cleaning, education, and goals just to name a few.

But the one area where EVERYONE needs discipline is with money. We all need to be better at not spending our hard earned cash on things we won't want next week. Or only buying what food we will eat. Or not giving in to the begging child at the store just to keep him quiet.

Discipline is hard. Really hard. No matter what you need it with. But it can even be more difficult with money and budgeting. Just like I am an emotional eater, I know emotional spenders. Spending money can make you feel better, just for that moment, or just for that afternoon. Then you come home and say to yourself, "Why did I waste my money on that?"

Let's stop the spending!

Set up a plan for yourself, and a small goal. A goal that WILL be attainable. You need to be able to reach it so you can move forward. And keep your promise to yourself. If you decide you will save $50 every month then do it! Don't cave in. It will become a habit before you know it.

Here are some things to remember that I have found helpful in my life as I have worked with my husband to reach our financial goals. Maybe they will be helpful to you as well. Just remember, everyone is in a different place in their life with finances, debt, and obligations. So don't compare yourself to others. Just start where you are and move forward!

1. Objects won't buy happiness. No matter what you think, that certain toy or that certain pair of shoes will not make you happy. I promise!

2. Pick a day once a week to go over your budget together. Decide how much you will spend and don't go over it. Period. This way you can both know where you are and if changes need to happen you can discuss it.

3. Pay yourself first. Before you spend any money you must pay yourself. Decide how much money you will put into savings, IRA's or whatever and do that...THEN you may spend.

4. Only buy what you really will use. This includes food storage and other items for emergencies. Not only does this help with the budget, but keeps clutter down.

5. Don't use your credit card for purchases unless you know you can pay for it in full the next month. I have really strong opinions about this. Your life will be so much better if you don't get into debt with credit cards! If you don't have the money for it, don't buy it. Period.

6. Plan for big purchases or expenses ahead of time. Not only do we save ahead for vacations or other large expenses, I also save ahead for dental, auto insurance and emergencies. We don't have dental insurance so I figured how much we spend per year, divided by 12, and I save that amount every month. When we go to the dentist every 6 months it is already paid for. It is such a nice feeling!

7. Don't buy something just because it is on sale. There will always be another sale. Believe me. Unless you need that item immediately.

8. Don't tempt yourself. If you find yourself spending money when you go out, stay home! Find free activities to do in your area. Take the kids to the park, or on a bike ride. You don't have to spend money to have fun!

What are your tips for having more discipline with money?



April said...

I was only taught to save...and my mom always complained about never having money...but other than that I have had no real training in saving money. I try to budget and I find it just easier to just not leave my house...we do save...too much it is too tight some months...and we have credit card debt- but we are trying. We have come ALONG way- and so I just focus on our improvements-

I can't wait to call Dave Ramsey and tell him we are debt free- but that will probably be 10 years or so- that dang student loan.

Wish I could be more like you Marne. I really do. I wish I could do a budget system that made more sense to me-

anyway leaps and bounds from where we started- we at least have a concept of the future.

nice shoes don't make you happy but I swear nice make-up helps a lot so do jeans that fit nice...expensive perfect for your body type jeans are almost always worth it to me...and Chay always reminds me that a tight wad who burries his money isn't happy either...

so there is a balance...I suppose.

Marne said...

You are correct April, there is a balance. It is important to find those items that work for you and buy them, but also keep in mind that is what you need and nothing else.

There is a fine line between wants and needs, I have found.

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