Welcome to “Selective Frugality, Part 3” — I wanted to follow up my earlier posts with a few ideas on prioritizing your spending.
Part 1, February 11: One Cent Cheaper
Part 2, March 24: Linked to my friend Joey’s “Miss Frugal and her Prize Box”
So, on with Part 3, The Joys of Guilt-Free Spending
First off, I never said I was Dave Ramsey. If you need good, all-around advice for managing money and getting / staying out of debt, you can’t do better than to read his book Financial Peace. Here, in the smallest possible nutshell, are his basic recommendations: Give and save first. Meet required bills next, like housing and insurance. Make and keep a budget. To avoid wasting money on finance charges, quit using credit cards altogether or pay them off each month. (Like I said, read the book.)
Now, on to the fun part: my philosophy about how to allocate discretionary funds. In another nutshell, I suggest giving the highest priority to the things that will most enhance the quality of life for you (and your family.)
It’s pretty much that simple.
Some people are more stressed for money than for time, and can enjoy spending significant time to save a little money. They might bake crackers from scratch or hang their wet laundry on a clothesline instead of using the dryer. Others find their time more limited than their money, and it’s worthwhile for them to buy more-convenient food and spend more on utilities to save work. My feeling is that you are wasting money only if spending it does not bring you real satisfaction, like leaving a light burning all day in an unoccupied room.
Don’t worry about whether others may consider your spending wasteful. If you love to travel, allocate some of your budget for travel. That might sound wasteful to the person who never travels but for you, it creates priceless memories that are worth the dollars invested.
At the same time, don’t criticize others people’s choices. The guy who thinks your travel is a waste of money may buy tons of books. Maybe you just read library books, so you can’t imagine allocating hundreds per year toward books. For you, buying the books would be a waste of money but it enhances the other guy’s life.
The point is, you and your family get to set your own priorities and live according to them. At the opposite end of the scale, I’ve read some old novels that picture “high society.” Often the characters feel pressured to spend money they don’t have, for things they don’t want, so they can impress people they don’t like.
Now, that’s a waste, in my book!
Thanks for reading!
PS: Today I am linking up with Jen and my Soli Deo Gloria friends.
I also linked up for coffee with Rachel Anne and the Company Girls.