Welcome to “Selective Frugality, Part 3” — I wanted to follow up my earlier posts with a few ideas on prioritizing your spending.
Part 1, February 11: One Cent Cheaper
Part 2, March 24: Linked to my friend Joey’s “Miss Frugal and her Prize Box”
So, on with Part 3, The Joys of Guilt-Free Spending
First off, I never said I was Dave Ramsey. If you need good, all-around advice for managing money and getting / staying out of debt, you can’t do better than to read his book Financial Peace. Here, in the smallest possible nutshell, are his basic recommendations: Give and save first. Meet required bills next, like housing and insurance. Make and keep a budget. To avoid wasting money on finance charges, quit using credit cards altogether or pay them off each month. (Like I said, read the book.)
Now, on to the fun part: my philosophy about how to allocate discretionary funds. In another nutshell, I suggest giving the highest priority to the things that will most enhance the quality of life for you (and your family.)
It’s pretty much that simple.
Some people are more stressed for money than for time, and can enjoy spending significant time to save a little money. They might bake crackers from scratch or hang their wet laundry on a clothesline instead of using the dryer. Others find their time more limited than their money, and it’s worthwhile for them to buy more-convenient food and spend more on utilities to save work. My feeling is that you are wasting money only if spending it does not bring you real satisfaction, like leaving a light burning all day in an unoccupied room.
Don’t worry about whether others may consider your spending wasteful. If you love to travel, allocate some of your budget for travel. That might sound wasteful to the person who never travels but for you, it creates priceless memories that are worth the dollars invested.
At the same time, don’t criticize others people’s choices. The guy who thinks your travel is a waste of money may buy tons of books. Maybe you just read library books, so you can’t imagine allocating hundreds per year toward books. For you, buying the books would be a waste of money but it enhances the other guy’s life.
The point is, you and your family get to set your own priorities and live according to them. At the opposite end of the scale, I’ve read some old novels that picture “high society.” Often the characters feel pressured to spend money they don’t have, for things they don’t want, so they can impress people they don’t like.
Now, that’s a waste, in my book!
Thanks for reading!
PS: Today I am linking up with Jen and my Soli Deo Gloria friends.
I also linked up for coffee with Rachel Anne and the Company Girls.
“. . .feel pressured to spend money they don’t have, for things they don’t want, so they can impress people they don’t like.” LOVE IT! Isn’t that the truth sometimes? I whole-heartedly agree with you in this post. . .everyone is different and criticizing how one is spending money and/or comparing it to yourself is just not fair. I’m a “time” person — time is *much* more valuable to me and so I will spend a little more on some things to give myself the time that I feel my family needs. It all seems so simple, doesn’t it, yet sometimes it’s good to see in black-and-white. Thanks for the thoughts today.
I appreciate the comment and am glad I could encourage you. I can see from your blog how time is your most valuable resource!
Awesome thoughts today, Jan. I whole-heartedly agree with everything you said. Love the humor that you infuse in this post.
Thank you, Jen. And I don’t think I have told you how very much I like your blog’s new look with your art incorporated. Love you!
Thanks, Jan! Goes to show that mistakes can be redeemed! (I totally deleted my template on accident and had to rebuild since my husband wasn’t home.) Love!
Your post reminds me of a book I read that was titled something along the lines of Financial Freedom for the Ordinary Family or something. It talked about where to invest money — into the places that give one enjoyment. (Spending money to decorate your home…) It just gave me different ideas about how to approach frugal, happy living.
Thanks for the encouraging reminder that we don’t all have to do things the same way to be wise with our pennies.
That’s a good point, Kathleen — “frugal” and “happy” CAN coexist, and it won’t look the same for any two families.
Hi Jan, great thoughts!
I agree with you too, it’s definitely important to spend your hard earned cash on things that bring you joy. I like the order that you used to manage your money: give, save, bills, etc… excellent, I like that giving comes first.
Wishing you a wonderful weekend!
Hi, Nemo, thanks for stopping by and taking time to comment. We had a great weekend and I hope you did the same.
Great advice! Thanks for all your posts! Have a great weekend!
Thank you, Star — did your weekend ever quiet down after the early-bird tornado sirens?
Great thoughts! I’m glad I stopped in for coffee, even if it is a couple days late! 🙂
Have a wonderful week!
Hi, Melissa, you are certainly excused for being late… looking forward to hearing more about your new store.
“Don’t worry about whether others may consider your spending wasteful. ” I think this is my biggest struggle with our discretionary funds. We choose to eat out a lot because I don’t like cooking and my husband likes to eat out. It seems wasteful to me, but in reality, it makes us happy, and we’re not hurting for resources in the areas in which we have commitments. I appreciate you sharing this series!
Good example! Most of us could always spend less in one area or another. I know you are responsible about giving, saving and meeting necessary bills, so give yourself permission to use your own discretion with your discretionary funds!
And doesn’t your last line describe too, too many people? Ugh.
That sort of attitude sneaks up on people, I think. Thanks for stopping by, Amy.
I love the practicality and the balance of these words on finances. Especially each one thoughtfully making their own choices and not critisizing others.
Thank you, Glenda — I appreciate your encouragement!