We all do it. We all do it in different ways. We all have different philosophies and we all have different opinions on how money should be spent. Is there a right and wrong way?
What principle I often hold to is all that I have, is really not mine in the first place. I believe that all I have, God has given to me to be a steward over. In that, there is a lot of responsibility. A lot of responsibility to spend wisely and keep priorities straight. Trust me, these are principles that I struggle with on a daily basis. Principles that are beautiful in theory, but hard to put into practice.
So when it comes to spending, I find that minimizing our spending is something that I feel I can do, to be a good steward of what has been given to me. Now again, minimizing spending is going to look different for everyone. Am I saying that “this” is the right way? By all means, no! These are just some ideas that work for us.
1. Think about EVERY purchase.
- Our philosophy? Don’t buy what you don’t need. We do occasionally splurge I suppose, but typically not on anything big. The other day, we were in Wal-Mart and we were debating whether or not to purchase a Halloween costume for our daughter. We went back and forth because we don’t have family in the area to bring her to, except friends, and we do not plan to take her around to go trick or treating. Was it really worth it then, to get a costume? We decided that we have waited too many years for her, that we wanted to do all the things we dreamed of doing with a child – like dressing her in an adorable outfit. So we purchased one. Maybe that’s extreme to you (did we really have to think that hard about it?), but we don’t just want to buy things “just because.” We want to have a real purpose behind it.
2. Set limits.
- At what point is enough, enough for you? This is where I feel the bar is different for everyone. Our bar is at a certain level because we only make “x” amount of dollars. I wouldn’t say we roll in the dough, but I also wouldn’t say we don’t have money. We feel we live comfortably in the amount we make. We are very open about what we make to be honest because we are not ashamed. We make what we do because of the choices we have made and the careers we have chosen. We feel we are living the lives we have been called to live, so that means too, that we have to set limits for ourselves. We just don’t buy what we don’t need. Okay, there are things we would “love” to buy, but really, they probably would not make us any happier. Maybe for the time being, but that happiness will fade and then we will move onto the next thing we think we need. So we have set limits. What do those limits look like? Simple as this – don’t buy it if you don’t have the money for it. Bam.
3. Shop with a list.
- I do most of the grocery shopping in our home (though my husband is always more than willing to – isn’t he great?). When I step into the grocery store, you can dare bet I will have a list in one hand with the other pushing the cart. That list is what gets me through the week. If it’s not on the list, it’s not going to make it into the cart. Plus, I am not going to buy things we really do not need and will probably end up spoiling anyways!
4. Meal Plan.
- This is something, I have to be honest, that I do not do EVERY week, but when I do not, our family pays for it. We end up eating the “who knows what it is” meals. You know what I am talking about – you grab anything and everything you can find from the fridge and try to muster up a meal from it. Though when I spend time at the beginning of each week and set up a meal plan, I must say we eat pretty good.
- So how does meal planning minimize our spending? I am faithful about ONLY buying the groceries I need for that week and for those meals. I am not caught buying food that I have no idea how I will use it. In other words, I am not buying food that will never be eaten. How much food in your refrigerator, freezer, or cupboard shelves, spoils? Think of the money you could save when the groceries you buy, are directly correlated with a specific meal? It makes it much easier on you, your wallet, and your family will thank you!
5. Find the best deal.
- Don’t you want to just say “duh”? I would say the same thing! The thing is, how often do we fall into instant gratification? How often do we walk through the store and “just can’t pass that one thing up?” For instance, we needed to get the next size car seat for our daughter. I had found one at our local grocery store and thought it was a good deal, but thought “eh, I will go online and see what I can get the same one for.” Sure enough, I ended up spending HALF of what I would have spent if I would have purchased it in the store! HALF! That is just one example of how it pays to shop around and find the best deal!