I joked earlier this year about the instance known as “lack of money”. Who am I kidding? I now joke constantly about the lack of money in my life because if I don’t, I’ll cry. I am money proud. Not to say I have heaps of money to be proud of, but I have always been pretty proud that as the main manger of money in my home we were never hugely in debt and we always had enough to be comfortable.
One of my biggest regrets is that I have never mastered the art of saving money. This is now one of my biggest goals. I don’t just mean save money on great deals either, I mean save the money away. Build a savings fund! Oh yes. I have ventured into savings before and usually done really well, but life always has found ways of sending us financial steaming shitpiles which required dipping into the beloved pot of gold. Broken cars, washing machines, fridges, and dryers. I really loath adulthood sometimes.
I can remember the vague financially worried looks on my parents faces and always looked on in admiration at my mum doing her weekly budget. While we never had a lot of money, I never seemed to notice until I was older. By then I had two younger siblings and Australia was doing “well”. Now it is easy for me to see how mum had been able to be so thrifty and calculated in the home spending. From her I had learned some nifty things that, as me and my husband coursed through a surge in income, I had forgotten.
Now we are just going to be lucky to make ends meet and I almost couldn’t be happier. I have learned a lot about the value of money again in the face of worrying that I wont have any. I’ve been humbled by the the help people have offered us, even when I have been too proud to take it.
Be aware of what is being used in the home and make adjustments as much as possible. We have banned the use of the dryer in our home. I am a the officer of light switches and am slowly empowering everybody else to be as well. Everyone has become a lot more responsible in looking after the power bill. Especially when I make a habit of reminding everyone how high the last bill was!
Be vigilant in asking for help and accepting. I sent a clothing SOS out on Facebook to any of my friends who might have hand me downs for my kids. I would just love it if they could stop growing. My bank account cannot keep up with their legs. I twisted knots in my stomach as Twin 1 came home with a bag of uniform from one of his friends mums at school. I gratefully accepted, even though it still makes me wince.
Be realistic about material items. I have started going through everything in my home and really thinking about if we need it. If not, I try to sell what I can or pass it on. Being realistic about purchases has made it easier to stop frivolousy buying. I have a strong method in questioning my desire for buying something now and address where those feelings might be coming from. How is it that I think the item can benefit me? How long will it benefit me for? What is the likelihood I will get bored or forget about the item? Usually I also put the idea aside and come back to it. If I’m still keen for whatever it is then I will revisit the purchase later. I don’t know how many items I am now getting rid of that were just blunder buys that I bought with every good intention. Going through this process now shows me how silly my spending has been at times.
Cook good meals with hearty bases. Luckily we’re coming into our cooler weather now and the slow cooker is making a comeback. But we have re-adopted the concept of rice in our home, and migoreng noodles. Cheap meals that feel the family with bottomless stomached children, that aren’t full of crap….except maybe the noodles. They’re no good unless you add a fried egg or some vegetables to them.
Take a good look at those direct debits and see where you can save. For the passed year or so, hubby and I have been on two different health insurances. Bad move. We could have been saving so much money by being on the same health insurance together. Looking over my direct debits I was able to cut over $70 a month in costs that I wasn’t benefitting from. Specifically a charity I had to cancel, and my gym membership I wasn’t even using. (If you use yours then it’s not a waste and don’t cancel it. I wouldn’t have got rid of mine if it was doing something for me. At this point I think that if I wanted to be motivated to exercise I would be regardless of having access to a gym.)
Walk.I am lucky enough to live close to everything we need. So the kids are able to walk to and from school, the shops are close by if we need groceries and being central for us means if we need to go anywhere it don’t require a lot of diesel. We walk a lot now, and in doing so are saving over $100 in diesel a week.
Be honest. If you’ve got costs piling up be honest about them. Get in touch with your financial accounts and let them know you are having trouble. They prefer a little bit of honesty and communication most of the time. Its not always nice, and its as sure as fuck not always comfortable but letting them know, and sorting out a plan will get them off your back. Meaning they will stop calling you everyday from weird numbers that make you so anxious that you turn your phone on silent and start ignoring everyone.
When the school year started we got hit with excursions, swimming lessons, leavers tops and I just about cried. I didn’t have the savings there and to pay for everything I just wouldn’t have had enough. The school actually called me and asked why I hadn’t filled out the swimming lesson forms and I had to put my grown up pants on and tell them it was because we couldn’t afford it. For a family with one child it would have been a lot, but since I had to be blessed with twins means that every school expense is double. OUCH! The office was very understanding and rang me back to offer to pay for the boys. DOUBLE OUCH! Right in the feels. I was a blubbering mess after that. Sometimes it’s important to just accept help.
Learn to say no. Say no to yourself, your kids, your friends, your family. Say no to check out purchases, fast food, impulse buys and guilt purchases. It has cost me a fair whack in guilty purchases I made for my kids, to make up for not being around at home. I had to get really real about the fact that they didn’t need more things, they needed more of me. Well bless their cheap poly blend socks, I’m unemployed now so they’ve got all the me they could ever want!
Stop making excuses.
At the end of the day we can find ways to manage our own money but it requires being open to change and truth. I have been running the river shoreline in Egypt the passed few years and it’s cost me. My recent awakening has given me a lot to think about and be grateful for. I’m teaching myself new ways to be rich with the abundance of good attitude, sensibility and humour. At the risk of sounding like every other cheesy git; If I can do it… you can too!