Thursday, June 30, 2011

Goal: financial stewardship

imagesCAW64IV7Don’t we all wish this were true?
Unless you are a logger, this is most likely not the case!  In fact, your situation is probably more like this: 
images  I know ours is!
No doubt these are difficult times.  It is especially so on a single working-man’s income.  But, we are blessed.  Although Hub’s job isn’t necessarily what he would choose for himself, we are thankful he has one.  So many do not.    I am sometimes overwhelmed when I think of how God has blessed and provided for us.   This thought also convicts my heart and compels me to ask myself if I am doing all I can to be a good steward of all He has given us; particularly being a good steward of our money God’s money.  I do most of the bill paying and all of the shopping for the family.  Hubs works hard at a job he does not enjoy (no one likes shift factory work), so I am convicted to be as responsible with his earnings as possible.
So, I am committed to save where I can so our money is not: moneydowndrain quite so much.
Here are some ways I think I can help keep expenses down so we can build up our rainy day fund:  imagesCA3MUN5K

Unplug gadgets that are not frequently used.  Even if an appliance or other gadget is turned off,if it is plugged in it is still generating electricity.
*Lights off!  This is easy for me cause, unless I am reading something at night, I prefer to just be in a low light or TV light.  However, I usually have to go behind Hubs and turn off the lights he leaves on.  Take last night for example, he was off last night and was watching TV in the living room and also had the lamp on.  Okay.  Well, he also had the TV and light on in his “man cave”.  He goes to the bathroom and leaves the light on, as well as the hall light cause, you know, he just can’t walk five feet down the hall in the dark. Smile
* Cut back on the hot water.  I’ve heard just turning down the hot water heater just a little can really save some bucks, so I am going to give it a try.  After all, we don’t take hot baths and showers in the summer anyway.
*Have a wash day.  I usually do a little bit of laundry every day.  This is wasteful cause I end up doing several small loads when I could wait till I have a bigger load. 
*Invest in a clothesline.                             clotheslinemoney
We already have the posts, I just need to buy a line.  We’ve been having some gorgeous clothes-line weather that have gone to waste cause I keep neglecting this one little purchase.  I think the benefits of saving on dryer time is obvious.
*Have an errand day/Make a list.  This is going to save us the most, and it is also going to be the most difficult to discipline myself to.  It seems I run to town everyday, sometimes 2 or 3 times a day.  It would really save us time and money if I do all my shopping and filling up on gas in one trip.  To do this, I need to keep a list of To-Dos and To-Buys while in town.  I consistently get home and realize I forgot to buy something necessary (like toilet paper) and have to make another trip.
* Get to clipping!
Actually, I’ve been couponing for a couple months now so that isn’t a newbie.  However, I have found myself buying things I wouldn’t normally buy just because my coupon for it makes it a great deal.  Need to stop that.  I have gotten several things free or for just pennies and that’s GREAT!  Most of my free items are staples that I would buy eventually, such as toothpaste and bath products, so if I have enough coupons I stock up!
*Limit eating out only to Sunday’s lunch.  We attend church with my parents, sister and brother-in-law, so we often go out to eat afterwards.  Unfortunately, I sometimes have to pass cause I’ve blown our “play money” on eating out several times that week already.  Not only is it healthier to eat home-prepared meals, but cheaper too.
* Can what you can! We’ve actually been canning green beans and freezing corn for years, but this year we’ve added to our garden a little bit.  I used to juice tomatoes, but the past several years have not produced a big enough crop.  Growing and preserving your own veggies is a great money saver, not to mention a great learning experience for the kiddos.  Here’s a pic of our modest garden this year:  104_3563  We’ve added potatoes and sweet potatoes this year.  We also added peas, which I’ve already picked but didn’t get even a half a cup out of. Sad smile

These may not seem like biggies, but every little bit counts.
I recently stumbled upon a lady who has made a similar commitment and is devoting an entire blog to ways she is saving money and building her portfolio.  Her blog is entitled Minding My Financials and in it she referred to an interesting article I would like to share with you. 
Ten Biggest Money Wasters
1. ATM fees
2. Lottery tickets
3. Gourmet coffee
4. Cigarettes
5. Infomercial impulse buys
6. Brand-name groceries
7. Eating out
8. Unused gym memberships
9. Daily internet deals
10. Bundled cable or phone services

I must admit I am surprised at number ten, but then again, we don’t bundle so I don’t know the difference. I personally think number 8 should be gym memberships in general.  Go for a walk around the neighborhood or do crunches in your living room floor and you’ll save a bundle.  The rest seem like common sense to me.  I would have to add: unnecessary late fees for movie rentals or library books, or any kind of late fee really.
What are some ways you try to save money and be better financial stewards?  I’d love to be able to add to my list!


Mariliz said...

I just informed my husband last week that I want a clothes line. I love the fresh air scent. I started a meal plan and that has helped me save money on grocery bill.

Marcia said...

Thanks Mariliz; I've been considering a meal plan myself.