Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Tightwad Tuesday

I'm a tightwad at heart. Surprised much?
Didn't think so.

I've recently been reading a book by Amy Dacyczyn called "The Complete Tightwad Gazette". It's actually a compilation of three books, which are compilations of many little newsletters Amy wrote throughout the 90's. At first I found it hard to believe anything she would have to say could possibly be relevant today, 15-20 years later, but it is. It seriously is. And if the saying can transfer from things theological, to things thightwad-ological: I feel convicted!

This woman is serious. She means business. washing and re-using ziplocks is just the tip of the iceberg. In reading her book I have been asked to lay aside my previously held notions of money's value. Page by page she gives me not only ideas for keeping just one penny more, but also reality checks regarding my standards of living, and the hold that "keeping up with the Jonses" has on my life.

There are a number of things I've learned from this book - and a few I already knew, had already employed, and simply needed to tweak. Below are some of the recent changes we've made in order to stretch our dollars.
  • Set a goal: put money into savings each month. At least something. Shouldn't be difficult if we follow through on everything else below.
  • Pull 20 fewer dollars out of the ATM each week for consumables. As Amy reminded me, it's NOT about how much you save in coupons and ad matches - it's about how much you end up spending.
  • Quit buying junkie crap that falls apart. Start saving to buy quality goods that won't need replacing. You get what you pay for.
  • Stay away from convenience foods as much as possible at the grocery store. Chips, crackers, canned goods (besides veggies, fruits & tuna), anything in an individual serving, anything that can conceivably be made at home (would you believe I made wheat thins yesterday? oh yes, yes I did).
  • Refinance our home at a lower interest rate (done. Closed last Friday. went from 5.8 to 4.375 for a savings of about $100/month)
But why? Why do all this work? I mean, aside from our mortgage, we aren't in any debt. Why wouldn't we just spend what we've worked hard to earn? We've worked HARD for it after all. Shouldn't we enjoy that money?

Well, yes. But that enjoyment may be more long term than short term. I'd much rather "enjoy" my children getting a college education tomorrow than Jonathan and I having a larger home today. I'd much rather "enjoy" my years of retirement tomorrow than a vacation today. I'd much rather "enjoy" being able to stay home with my kids tomorrow than have new furniture today (did I mention we went curb scouting Sunday? found some neat free furniture!) Although I'll be the first to admit that these values have been difficult for me to enforce, the outcomes of their enforcement are well worth their effort.

I'm preaching to myself. Can you tell?
Sometimes I need a reminder of why I'm "going to the trouble" so to speak. It is worth it, it really, really is.
And, let me tell you, I am ridiculously lucky to have a husband who believes that. Otherwise I'm afraid he may think me certifiable.


Evian Schindler Photography said...

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Anonymous said...

Just heard this on Dave Ramsey today: You're 200% more likely to use coupons if you earn over $100,000 per year. I thought that was pretty interesting!