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I recently read an article from Readers Digest about a writer who decided he and his wife and son should try and not spend any money for a month. Of course the essentials were covered like mortgage and car payments/insurance and the like, but newspapers, videos, lattes, etc. were cut. I will include the link at the end of my essay.
It made me remember my comparison that I share any time I can and thought what better place than here to share it with my "thrifty friends".
I hear all the time how people can't make their money stretch. I feel for them, I really do. But they are usually holding a $5.00 drink in their hands when they say it, so for all of them out there, this is for you.
If you step into a shower and it's too hot, you have two options. Either add the cold or reduce the hot. Sometimes, your budget is like this. But the first thing people think of is "I just need more money", or adding the cold. Most people don't think of reducing the hot. They are convinced that they can't shave any more money off their budget, they are certain they are as frugal as they can be. Now to be honest, some people really can't shave anything off. They are maxed out on what they can cut back on. This article is not for them.
Instead, this is for you who have a budget you are close to reaching but just can't quite get there. So, imagine you have a make-believe budget of $2500.00 and your income is $2000.00. This makes you $500.00 in the red. So, if you think you can add that $500.00 to your budget, let's look at what you would have to do to get that money.
A second job adds more than money to your life. It means your new employer doesn't care about your other job or school. Their job is the only one they want you to concentrate on. You will spend money on gas, meals, clothes, etc. You will lose sleep, time with your family or studying and the added stress all to make $800.00 a month so you can take home $500.00 a month. That's adding the cold.
You can reduce the heat in more ways than you might think. Here are some examples. There are, on average, 22 working days a month and that $5.00 latte is $110.00 per month. Lunch at the local deli for $8.00 is another $176.00 a month.
Can you take public transportation or carpool? Say your average daily commute is 20 miles round trip you can save about 440 miles per month. On average, a car gets about 15 mpg in the city, so that saves you about 30 gallons of gas per month. If your gas station averages $2.50 per gallon, that is on average, $75.00 a month.
Do you go to a gym? There is about $35.00 a month. Do you have 123 cable channels and you only watch 12? That's about $75.00 a month. Do you go to a movie once a week? With a drink and popcorn, that is about $120.00 a month.
So, let's tally up what can be saved by just eliminating these basic things.
This fictional person/family just saved $591.00. They are now $91.00 in the black. No extra job or stress, with time for sleep and family. So the next time your shower is too hot, reduce the heat. And yes, that will save you money, too!
Source: I came up with this about 6 months ago.
I had to quit a second job due to medical reasons, then realized that after it was gone, I was making the same amount of money because I no longer had a crazy commute, didn't buy lunches and coffee out (it was the office social norm), nor did I have to purchase all the mandatory office gear. :) I love this write-up, Sandi. Thank you for sharing it!
You are welcome. I live on so little it just pains me to see young people (mostly) thinking their job will last forever or that you can borrow from tomorrow to pay for today.
You are so right! And smart!! Thanks for your insight and suggestions!
Thanks Sandi - I believe most people just cringe at the sound of the word and think - oh well - I can just cut "this" and "that" down/out and let it go. Of course, if they cut something out one time it may not last even a second time because they are not committed to a "budget". Sad, because these are usually the ones who need it the most.
You have a lot of good points so I hope it will be beneficial to someone in the large TF family.