Friday, July 24, 2009

Penny Wise and Pound Foolish: Guest Post by Kim D.

Many thanks to Kim, who sent in this guest post this week!  I know you'll all appreciate her words of wisdom!

First of all, I want everyone to know I indict myself on everyone of these things, not you! But, if the shoe fits..put it on, girl!

Also, I aspire and ascribe to Cherissa's philosophy-if we have more, we can give more.

I'm titling this "Penny Wise and Pound Foolish". My dad, always full of sayings, taught this one to me. What is the meaning of this saying? Don't be so smart about saving on the small things, and not so smart about saving on the big things.

I'll be anecdotal, and hopefully inspire you to become more "pound wise". Remember, I have been foolish and am still working on trying to be wiser in all these areas

Potential areas to examine (not in any order):

1. Expiring and rotting food. Look at the fridge and pantry and freezer. Are you stewarding it? I fight this with lettuce continually (my lettuce is usually poorly stewarded :). My husband challenges me on full pantries and freezers; I finally got everything in one outside (and one fridge-side) freezer. Make a list of what you have. Steward what you have, instead of buying more. Label and rotate. Do not throw food away if you can avoid it. I know I sound like your depression-era granny; but, they had to work a lot harder for their food than we do.

2. 1/4 to whole custom slaughtered beef- lots of beef for the money, and super cheap roasts and steaks, and hamburger as lean you want it

3. Garage sales and thrift stores...Still a great source of everything. My 17 and 19 year old still wear clothes from these places. And, they buy most of their own clothes.

4. Cars..don't buy new. I bought a new car before I was married, my husband and I have bought one new car together. It is 9 years old, has 170K miles, and I have told everyone I will drive it until the wheels fall off.. then i will get new wheels! but, seriously, a pound wise person finds a top-notch shop, gets an older car, fixes it up, and keeps it fixed up. This alone has probably saved us $100,000 in the last 25 years. Hey, and if you need a nice car for vacation-rent one.

5. Term Life insurance- get it. No excuses. If you're married and you die, your husband would need to pay for housekeeping, child care, etc. If your husband dies, your provider cannot pay your bills. For you youngsters, it is very cheap. Talk to your moms/dads about the wisdom of this.

6. Store brands- not always great (you just can't substitute for Windex); but Wal-mart slimfast is cheaper and as good as regular.

7. Evaluate your money in a budget. Simple. You just do it. I don't always hit mine (I am operating in August's budget now), but I am faithful to it even when it goes south. I try to "do less" so i can be on track for the next month.

8. DO IT YOURSELF. Biggie. My husband has saved us 10s of thousands of $ over the years. Our son and he fix and maintain just about everything in and around the house. My husband, who still works full time, has a second career doing this for others! Teach yourself how to cook, clean ( (house/clothes (DRYEL)/cars (get a shop vac and car wash solution and a hose)), paint, stain, iron, water, mow, weed, fertilize, trim.. you get the picture, Some of you super girls are gardening and canning and sewing and baking again! Awesome!. When you need some help, consider a teenager, or someone who needs the money. And, yes, I have a housekeeper once a month. So, I am not being a hypocrite; I just can afford one at this time. Sometimes, I pay my kids to do it. My son is earning money this week by washing all the windows. Consider renting the tools to ge the job done- a man-lift for two days is $300-versus paying someone $5000 to paint your house.

9. Don't give your kids spending money (except as bd/Christmas presents,, and other rare worthy occasions). They have to earn it or get a job. Sorry, very old school, but your kids will take great pride in this. They will learn budgeting, not to overspend, how to save, what is the purpose of money, etc. I watched many kid's parents give them $5 a day for lunch when they got to jr. high. I paid mine $1 to take their lunch (saved $1 on a meal ticket per day, encouraged responsibility on their part)..They turned around and paid me that money for their cell phones

10. Get a side job. Lots of $ falling off might as well be in your yard. Write articles, babysit, be a secret shopper, do transcriptionist work, or

11. (my favorite) Want less. The pound wise woman simply just "wants" less. Thomas A' Kempis "Choose rather to want less than to have more".
It's ok if your car is clunky, your clothes are funky, and your furniture is junky ( I just made that up:). What is penny wise (getting that cute top on sale, gettting that top of the line mattress on sale) may be pound foolish if it puts you into debt, and is just satisfying a want. Really, how you spend your money is God's and your family's business. Do not be worried about what others think. Our kids still ask us from time to time why we don't have this or that, because others have this or that. We say maybe they can afford it, but we cannot because we are thinking about the future. That is not to say that someone who has nice things is not thinking about the future..but let's just say when I was 30 years younger if someone had a Mercedes that meant they had money... nowadays, that can mean you just qualified for a loan.

12. Be easily entertained. My folks used to have friends over, someone brough pop and beer, and they played bridge. We kids played our own games, made up games, and learned to be easily entertained. The library was literally the coolest place in town. Most municipalities (except Owasso:) have swimming pools, skating rinks. I cringe at my cable bill every month, and we don't even have movie channels! I am so sorry I have to pay so much to entertain my now lazy self.

13. Ask for free prescription refills at the Dr. If I can do it, you can do it. Next time your kiddo needs allergy medicene, ask them for some samples.

14. Turn the lights out, set the thermostat up in summer, down in winter. Unplug appliances not in use. Change your filters in your air ducts

15. Don't throw it out. Our saying around our house is "dad can fix everything but plastic-and he can even fix that sometimes!". Teach yourself how to use a needle and thread. FInd a good is sometime cheaper to re-make something than to buy new.

16. It is your money, given to your family by God. He alone can make you wise to manage money on a gross scale. And, scripture says hear instruction and be wise. This is a great blogspot fro instruction, and teaches us the value of saving everywhere. Just remember your money is HIS gift to you, and he give it to you to save/spend as you should.

17. Keep engaged in everything. If the Doctor bill look wrong, it might be. If your phone bill does not show your roll-over minutes, ask. Ask about the details of your insurance policies, your investments. Surround yourself with smart people when you need money help.

Love to all, and happy money thoughts!

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