Part of moving forward financially, is looking back at things you could have done better. I shared with you last week some of the ways we saved in 2010 and some strategies on how we’ve been able to cut costs, but there’s definitely ways we can improve in 2011.
Splurge Only On Things That Matter.
I’ve never regretted a splurge that has benefited our marriage. Our weekend getaway in the Fall? Worth every hard earned penny. Going to a modest dining establishment on a date over fast food? Justified now and then. Paying a very reasonable fee for a church workout facility during the crazy winter months? Certainly. Investing in your health is valuable.
Regrets: An extra Christmas gift for the boys that was selfishly more about me than them. Buying a bargain just because it was a really great deal.
Adjusting to the work at home salary schedule has made it tough to budget. A job that gets completed may take 3 months or more to pay out, future work is hard to predict, expenses fluctuate, etc. However, we still need to be accountable for what we are spending each month, even if we don’t meet our budget. Although we sat down together and went through our expenses and account balance we weren’t disciplined enough in tracking our spending.
Regrets: Not forming a written budget and creating monthly itemized spending limits Not meeting often enough with my husband to go over goals and concerns. Not planning ahead for the next month.
Don’t Waste Money On Things You Can Get for Free (or almost free)
Until I started couponing more consistently, following deal sites, and organizing my shopping trips by combining deals, I didn’t realize how many items that I was buying on a weekly basis that I could practically eliminate from our grocery budget. Since then I have drastically cut our grocery budget spending on items such as cereal, toothpaste, deodorant, razors, laundry detergent, and yogurt. You really can get things for free or nearly free by a combining a manufacturer’s coupon with a special sale price at your local grocery and drug stores. Don’t worry I’m not an “extreme couponer” by any means. I only get what we need, and I only stockpile a few items if we will need them before the sale repeats itself. (I can share more if this is something that interests you!)
Regrets: Why didn’t I start this earlier? Why did I think it sounded too good to be true? Why didn’t I take the time to learn the strategies?
Learning to Trust God Over And Over Again
I thought I learned this lesson during our uncertain and often dark days in my high-risk pregnancy. God has shown me through this trial that I rely too often on my own strength. I’ve wasted energy worrying, trying to plan for financial expenses, and attempting to work things out on my own. Oh for grace to trust Him more!
Regrets: Not depending on God fully and trusting Him as our ultimate Provider.
What are some financial lessons you have learned along your journey?
If you missed Part I of Surviving Spending Saving, feel free to go back and take a read!