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09-18-2005, 01:00 PM #1
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Saving Money: How to Find Your Starting Point
I confess. I didn't always do such a great job with saving my money. In my younger days, I got off track. And it took me a while to get with the program again, even though I knew it was in my best interest to save.
How about you? Has setting aside money been an issue for you?
Let's face it. Unless we're going to inherit great wealth, we'll need to tuck away some money. And, if you're still reading, chances are you won't inherit from your wealthy relatives (smile).
So, how do you take that initial, small step to saving? Well, picture a jogger, if you will. You have to admire her. She's out there jogging in the early morning hours, determined to do her thing. And she does it every day. It takes a certain amount of dedication to jog daily. Motivation. Determination.
But, she didn't wake up one morning and begin jogging ten miles that day. If she tried to do that, chances are she'd be too sore to run again for quite awhile.
No, it's likely she began with much smaller steps, perhaps walking three times a week, working up to every day. She might have alternated her steps with jogging until at last, she was out there jogging every day.
So you see, she didn't start out jogging. Her starting point was walking.
And so it is with saving... one small step at a time.
For you, previous commitments and lack of time may be important factors. You'd like to begin saving money, but your gut tells you that your methods must be compatible with your lifestyle. If they're easily done, that's even better. So, you'll want to find methods of saving that will keep you out of the overwhelm mode.
If you live a somewhat hectic lifestyle, food may be one of your largest expenses. Eating out at lunchtime, not having time to pack the kids' lunches, or eating dinner out several times a week all add up.
So, if you're a busy person who spends extra money on food due to your schedule, let's think of this as your starting point.
TIP: The most important strategy you can implement is to always use your least busy evening (or day) to get started.
Below are some examples of how you might find and set up your own starting point.
Spend Less on Lunches
a) Pick one night of the week when you have the least amount of errands or running to do after work. This is the perfect evening to pack a lunch for you or the kids.
b) Pack lunches only on your chosen day when starting out.
c) Once you've done this for about a month, pick one more evening/day that would work well with your schedule.
d) Immediately tuck away the amount of money you've saved through making lunches. That's your reward! Write yourself a check if need be.
You could also use that money and save even more by stocking up on sale items (buy only items you use on a regular basis.) This way, you'll never be caught off guard with no food in your pantry or freezer.
Spend Less Eating Out
Since dinner costs more to eat out, you'll save more money by finding a simple solution to eating out less at dinnertime.
To cut back on eating out, simply use your least busy evening/day to cook up a double batch of food. Freeze the extra as a backup meal for one of your busiest evenings.
Spend Less on Groceries
Try spending just five dollars less when grocery shopping. Do it for a month or so. Then practice spending seven dollars less during the next month's grocery shopping. If possible, shop on your least busy day/evening.
These are all do-able. Not so much as to be overwhelming, and they place you at a great starting point.
If your food and grocery bills are under control, consider other ways how you might take advantage of your *least busy* evening or day to tuck away some money.
So, set your starting point now. What's your least busy evening? Which *one* thing can you do, *one* time this week?
Go for it, then do it again!
Darlene Arechederra is the creator of the Stay-at-Home Bootcamp -- for women of two-income households who'd love
to return home to their children. Women interested in finding their way back home are invited to take the FREE Quiz
today at http://AffordToStayHome.com/quiz.html Or, join her free, money-saving ezine at http://RatRaceRemedies.com
09-18-2005, 05:33 PM #2
09-19-2005, 12:39 AM #3
I love Dar...I sub to Rat Race Remedies! She has wonderful "tricks" to saving!
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