By Jen Colburn
So now that you’ve decided to jump in and try some new money-saving techniques, let’s get rid of any lingering negative attitudes toward thrift that may keep us from maximizing our potential savings. Here are the top 3 obstacles I hear that stand in the way of us changing bad spending habits.
1) It’s too much trouble/work/stress.
As a stay-at-home wife and mother, a big part of my job is to stretch the money that God provides us through my husband’s job. The more money I save on expenses, the less stress my husband feels to provide for his family. It is more work to shop this way, but it is totally worth it for my family. We all have different circumstances and those shape the level of importance placed on frugality, but we can all benefit from being more mindful of our spending habits.
2) I don’t want to do without.
Key to maximizing your savings is giving up most of your brand loyalties. I still prefer my Tide and Downy and my husband insists on his Jif (and he’s worth it!) but, for everything else, we’re pretty flexible to get the best deal. The trade-off is that we get so much more for our grocery money than ever before. We have stockpiles to last for months of name-brand pharmacy and toiletry items as well as non-perishable food. We have so much more fun stuff that I never would have paid for before shopping this way, like lunchbox treats for the kids, air fresheners and candles, and healthy convenience foods.
3) I don’t want to feel cheap.
We’re in a recession, people! Seriously, the recession has helped me to be bolder in my pursuit to save money. I used to feel sheepish when handing over my wad of coupons to the cashier, but now I feel proud when I get a “Wow!” in response to my total. I remind myself that people are people and, who knows, maybe I can be a good example of stewardship to a person who is trying to make ends meet by working an extra job at the drugstore. I still get grumpy sighs when my order gets messed up and needs fixing, but I sincerely thank them for their trouble and remind myself that my obligation is not to avoid troubling the cashier, but to do the best I can with our family’s money. We’re careful to pass on positive connotations of thrift to our kids, speaking of “smart choices”, as opposed to not being able to afford things.
We all make choices about how to spend our money. We should always do our best and have a positive attitude about our decisions. That way, we will pass down good spending habits and attitudes toward money to our children and maybe their generation will be able to avoid tough economic times caused by poor spending habits. And instilling good habits in our children is always worth the trouble.
Jen is a wife and mother of four young children in Nashville, TN. Thank you, Jen, for taking the time to share with us at The Frugal Muse!