My family manages “rich” on one income. You might wonder what my definition of “rich” is. No diamonds, Hummers, or lavish vacations. But we are rich with family time.
I've always wanted to be a stay-at-home-mom. Yes, I did the “career” thing and still dabble in little paying jobs now and then. But my biggest job is MOM. And that’s the way I want it.
Part of the job of MOM entails keeping us rich…and this time it does have to do with money. While RichPoppa brings home the bacon, I try to keep it from growing hooves and running wee, wee, wee away from home. A huge piece of my financial contribution involves holding onto our money rather than spending it. So how do I do it?
1. I avoid shopping. Ever go into a store for one item and leave with ten...nine of which you never knew you needed until they leapt off the shelf and flew into your cart?
One of my goals is to leave a smaller footprint on our planet. When I buy, I just end up with more STUFF. New treasures today becomes old stuff tomorrow...and it all has to go somewhere.
Stuff needs storage (which we’re already short on!) and shuffling. Some days I feel like all I do is move the stuff we already own from place to place around the house. Don’t need more stuff.
2. When I shop, I delight in buying used. Garage sales, Goodwill, consignment shops. One big treasure hunt! I shop with purpose at certain sales.
Last year I decided I wanted a small coffee maker. (RichPoppa doesn't drink coffee!) I remembered seeing several at a retirement village garage sale the year before, so I waited. I found several to choose from...$3 each...less than the price of one Starbucks!
3. In our home, credit cards provide an alternative to carrying cash, not an alternative to paying bills. We pay off any balance at the end of each month. No debt carry-over. If we cannot afford it, we don't buy it.
4. We own and watch television (although I often wish we'd just chuck it!), but we don't have cable. We might be the last hold-outs in this country. The other day, Lizzi commented on a Hannah Montana episode, saying it was one she "hadn't seen." Between Nana's and Grandma's and her friends', she'd managed to see quite a few. So much for living the sheltered life. :)
5. No daily coffee take-out. It pains me to spend $3 or $4 for a cup of coffee. On a rare occasion I treat myself, but that's usually after receiving a gift card. Even then I don't like to do it. The thought of all the garbage created by my coffee "treat" bothers me.
6. We limit eating out. It's a treat, not a way of life. It's been cut back even further since 'LilDude's dx of gluten intolerance. When the bigger kids watched Super Size Me, then read Chew on This, even they stopped asking for fast food. Our last fast food hold out is Burgerville. Since we rarely go out to eat, an occasional splurge for locally grown, sustainable fast food (isn't that an oxymoron?) keeps our arteries from going into shock. Chocolate Hazelnut milkshakes. YUM!
7. Along with the lack of cable, I might be the last person in the U.S. who doesn't own a cell phone. RichPoppa uses one for work, but I don't have one. What if there is an emergency? I guess I'll ask someone with a cell phone to take pity on me.
I'll keep adding 'em as I think of 'em. A lot of people think of frugality in terms of coupons, discounts, and buying retail at the lowest possible price. I prefer to avoid the whole retail thing whenever possible. If more people in the U.S. shared my view, the whole "tax rebate to boost the economy" idea would fall apart.