Buying: Never put your hand in your pocket for money. When I do I lose track of what happened with the money. I use credit cards for all purchases regardless of how small. Yes, I always pay the total balance. No need to reduce my buying power by paying interest, particularly high interest rates.
Even though you pay it each month does not mean buy everything. I consider each purchase. What will it really do for me? will it help me, is it worth the price? There is a difference in being able to afford and being able to buy. Just because you can buy it does not mean you can afford it.
Recycling: I live in a small-mid size town. I make regular runs in the neighborhoods to collect discarded things. It is amazing what people throw away.
Some of this is just scrap lumber, lamps, exercise equipment, brick block, pond liners. A lot of this stuff is usable. Could it generate cash? Yes, have a yard sale to sell these items. Better yet network with others picking up stuff, trade with them for the stuff you can use.
Cars: Cars are a huge drag on your buying power. I only bought one “new” car at a demo once and it was a good car but in two weeks it was still just a used car. Everybody drives used cars I just buy them that way. Keep in mind it is not the car it is what gets out of the car i.e.; you that counts.
More Ways to Save Money
Clothes: Since I cannot buy used clothes due to my height, rarely do men get rid of good used clothes, I stick with the same color, white shirt dark pants. Do not prematurely wear them out by putting them in the dryer constantly. I have some support socks that have lasted for 3 years. These cost between $20 to $60, I do not want to replace these often.
Utilities: Always turn the lights out, turn the heat t-stat down low during the day, turn the A/c t-stat high during the day. Wear more clothes.
Hobbies: Do not make shopping a hobby. Stay out of the stores. Play a game, (not golf) and not video games. Get out the scrabble game. Sit quietly for a change with the TV off.
Food: Grow some of your own. Working at this only 3 years has taught us a lot.
Books: Buy used, use the library, swap, never buy new.
Economy: Don’t feel it is solely up to you to stimulate the economy, save your money profit (by investing) from those that do not.
Weekend work: If you can, fix it, instead of thinking you need to play each weekend consider fixing something around the house. Start somewhere, screw it up then really learn how to fix it. Start small. This is a confidence builder. If you never have to call a repair person it would not be too soon.
Relationships – Picking the Right Friends
It seems like many people have gotten into financial trouble by spending money not on basic needs but on buying fancy houses, cars, clothes, and vacations in order to impress their friends or to “keep up with the Joneses”.
Many people feel that they are judged on the material things that they buy and if they don’t buy the right things or keep up with their neighbors or peer group, they will be perceived as less successful and treated differently. Unfortunately, too often they are right.
I have known many people who are obsessed with material belongings and seem to judge people only on what they or their families own. I personally have been asked twice how much my house is worth AND what was my mortgage balance!
My personal opinion is that the key to personal and financial success is surrounding yourself with the right people. If you find that you are surrounded by people that judge you only on what you buy rather than what you do or who you are, GET NEW FRIENDS.
You don’t have to formally break off a friendship, just gently move away from the negative energy and find people who value you for who you are. There are billions of people on this earth and chances are you only have time to have real relationships with maybe 20-30 of them, so go out there and pick the right friends! Once you have the right friends around you, the need to constantly buy things to impress them will disappear.