For many years, it has been our goal to not have debt. I read many years ago about saving for items you want or need so that you can pay cash for them. Then you really own the item, instead of making payments with interest until it is all paid off. When you really own something, should difficult times come, you don't need to worry because those things fully belong to you and if necessary you could even sell an item and have all the money from it.
That made a lot of sense to me, and over the years it has been a blessing to not have debt. With the price of groceries and gasoline going up over the last couple of years, we have struggled to keep to our budget, which has meant dipping into savings on occasion. We really hate this. And with my husbands need for hip replacement, we will be living on 60% of his current income.
To prepare for this I am working toward implementing ways to not SPEND money, so as to be able to save. This last year I have learned about making laundry detergent and we also have learned to make our own salad dressings. I cook mainly from scratch. I sew.
For Christmas last year, I made a lot of personal gifts for family and friends, and it was very gratifying to do it. I know I love getting a gift that someone put a lot of thought and effort into. It means more to me than the cost of the item.
Manuela from "The Pleasures of Homemaking", has a really great post with ideas for ways to save and to also meet the needs of others.
It is really easy to get self-focused at times like these but I believe that God would still have us care for one another.
Also, (stepping up on my soapbox here for a moment), how long could our nation live on credit? We have older cars, a riding mower that we call " 'Mater" after a certain character in a movie (can you think why?). But we own these things, we are not in danger of losing them. How many of our neighbors with RV's, boats, new cars every few years really own those things?
It is going to be pretty painful for us as a society, especially since everyone has been lead to believe that they could live like the rich and famous, without the riches to back it up. But I believe it will get people back to being real. We used to have a cash society, not a credit society. Remember putting back to school clothes or Christmas gifts on lay-a-way? Our parents paid a little bit every week for those items and then when they paid the whole bill, they got to pick up the item. Those things really belonged to them, out right. No interest payments, either.
Ok, I am now off my soapbox and want to say that I am preaching to myself here too! I want to be a careful steward of the money that God has provided for us through my husband's job.
I would love to hear any ideas you have for saving money or any links to other articles.
You know, this could be really fun!