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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Thrifty Thursday - Choices

My daughter made an observation about being frugal.  She said that she's able to cut down on spending by buying only the necessities but eventually, the lack of spending catches up with her and she then ends up spending more to replace what she didn't spend earlier.  She referred to money-saving books and websites and said that most of the suggestions aren't long term fixes.

She makes a good point.  Some things can only be put off for a while before they need to be eventually addressed.  But that doesn't mean that careful attention to how you spend your money won't reap benefits in both the short and long term.  For example - an unexpected expense might mean that you and your husband do a "spending fast" for a month, where only the necessities are bought so the extra money can go towards that unexpected expense.  You really don't feel deprived because one month isn't very long and the end result is a balanced family budget.  Or, knowing that a big expense is looming in the near future can help you decide how you want to spend your money now.  Both offer short term solutions to long term problems.

The fact of the matter is that taxes need to be paid, cars need gas, families need a home, clothes and food. Medical and dental expenses are part of life, and maintenance of car and home are never ending.  How you go about meeting those needs will determine whether you live within your means or spend out of control.  You have the choice whether to live in an apartment, a modest home or a house that is too expensive for your income.  You can choose what kind of food you feed your family...home prepared using inexpensive ingredients, fast food take out, regular restaurant eating or lots of convenience food.  You can choose to drive a used car until it dies, a new car every few years, or if available and feasible, bypass driving all together and use public transportation.  You can shop at thrift stores, garage sales and deep discount stores or trendy malls.

None of these choices is either good or bad.  It just depends on the income you have to work with.  There is nothing wrong with living modestly.   There is ALOT wrong with spending money you don't have.  Frugal living is just one way to help that money stretch to cover needs and some wants.  Situations change but the principles stay the same.  Life within your means.  Living simply is a much better feeling than having huge debt crushing you. 


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