"A (wo)man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of (her)his life in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of beautiful God has implanted in the human soul."- Goethe

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

America's Cheapest Family

I'm known at work for being a tightwad with money. I can thank my pops and certain of life's circumstances for that attitude. Although I've always been careful with money, I'm constantly looking for ways to improve my budgeting and money management skillz. So, when I heard about America's Cheapest Family by the Economides, I read it through to see what I could glean:

The writing is unprofessional to say the least, but I kind of expect that with self-improvement books, so I was able to look past that. The book validated my frugality. It's nice to feel validated regarding some of my money habits because I know how strange and awkward they can make me seem. A lot of their money-saving suggestions are practices our family uses already, but I came away from this read with the following two resolutions:

1) To only buy groceries every two weeks (we'd been doing this already, but it wasn't with intention or specific discipline)

2) To have a specific order to goals for our savings

We have since been able to build cushions in some of our budget accounts and have a specific order of what financial goals and purchases we want to meet and make. We are a far way from the kind of financial security that would feel comfortable to me, but looking back over the seven years we've been married (and even in the last two months!) I can see vast improvements.

So, it's understandable that everyone's got a different type of budgeting and spending tolerance: what is a daily cost for me may be labeled a leisure for you. Each family's needs and income is different. But, I'd bet that everyone's got a favorite trick to saving money. Care to share yours?


  1. We're still living paycheck to paycheck, but after the tax return were able to knock off a lot of credit card debt we'd accumulated to fix up the house (our kind mortgage lender gave us a long list of "improvements" we could make to the home to make it worth what the owner was asking for--gaaaaahh).

    Now that we're expecting a baby next month, we're hoping we won't have to rack up more debt (our last baby we paid for via credit card because the finance office offered a 40% discount on the bill if we paid by the time I was discharged--gotta love a sour economy).

    I'm still a SAHM, though I'm aspiring to get my first novel published (if you want to count that as "work") and teach piano and tend a little neighbor boy on the side, but I try to stretch the budget by shopping smartly (sales+coupons), accepting family "fix-it" help and hand-me-downs (kids grow so dang fast; lucky I have in-laws getting rid of all their kids' stuff), setting up equal pay plans for utilities, and generally trying (and sometimes even succeeding) not to let wants become "needs".

    We've still got a long way to go before we can start building up that cushion, but I'm glad to be closer to the light at the end of the debt-free tunnel!

  2. Danny, those are lots of good ideas. Follow the light!