I have previously talked about what has driven us (mostly Leatha) to coupon madness. I will be doing a series of posts about our budget and general convictions related to money and possessions.
This will be pretty general, but it starts with some principles. I haven't read a lot of books on money (Leatha has), but I'm sure anything by Dave Ramsey, Randy Alcorn, Solomon, or Jesus would be a good place to start.
1. Give, Save, and Spend what's left
There's so much more to say on this. Later.
2. Drive old, used cars (that get good gas mileage).
We currently drive a '94 Honda Accord with 251,000 miles, and a '01 Honda Odyssey with 105,00 miles. To get the Odyssey, Leatha had no car for 7 months (with 3 children) because we couldn't afford to pay cash for the van we wanted. When we shut the door on the Honda Accord with three car seats in the back, you could see all the kids crunch together.
New cars are over rated. After all, old or new- they're just metal boxes.
3. Wait as long as possible to make a purchase...
...Because you generally realize you don't need it. Or, if you wait and still think it would be a good purchase, then it might just be a wise purchase. The bigger the item, the longer you should wait.
There's no use staring at a 10 cent sucker for an hour. Just wait 10 seconds and you'll realize it's a waste of your dime.
Don't walk into Best Buy to "just look around." That's like the teenager who decides his limits of physical intimacy with his girlfriend while laying on the couch watching a movie at 1 a.m. You just might come out with a child... or HD TV. Usually married couples give much thought and prayer to something as big as conceiving or adopting or giving foster care to a child. In time you may decide an HD TV would be a good use of your money. Just don't decide it on a whim in the store.
4. Use cash
When you use cash, you think more about your purchase than if you use plastic. I've noticed that when I use a credit card, it doesn't feel like I'm actually spending money. I don't think about the money, I just get what I want. The 1% reward points are not worth it for me. Just try it- pay cash at the gas station next time instead of swiping your card. It will make you feel even worse for unnecessary driving.
Leatha has been waiting to buy a vacuum for months. When she wants to use one, she has to use her mom's, which is a big hassle. We're waiting until we have the cash to buy one.
5. Don't overspend on gifts, vacations, and eating out.
Most people feel a sense of entitlement when it comes to these things.
Exhibit A: Christmas.
Exhibit B: Summer Vacations
Exhibit C: Birthdays for 1 year olds, who get $15 toys and play with the boxes.
Exhibit D: Mark, "Let's just go out tonight." Leatha: "Let's just find something at home."
"Whoever loves pleasure will become poor; whoever loves wine and oil will never be rich." Proverbs 21:17
6. Our only debt has ever been our home mortgage
College students, beware of student loans. You will have to pay that money back.
7. Buy stuff that's on sale, and with coupons if possible
If you're going to Coldstone, print off a BOGO (buy one, get one) online.
Go straight to the sale rack at the store. Sometimes Goodwill is more expensive than Old Navy.
More to come...