Friday, August 31, 2007

Frugal Fridays - Attitude and Money

If I had a nickle for every time someone said to me "I'd like to stay home but I can't afford it" or "How can you afford all those kids (3! horrors!) on a pastor's salary?" or "You can't live without a credit card" or "But what about your credit score?" or "But if your kids were in public school you could really help improve public education in this country". Oh wait, that last one isn't about money and frugality. But it annoys me. So that's a freebie for you. Anyway, if I had a nickle for all the negative money comments I've heard I'd probably have... $2.50? Wow, it seemed like it would be more than that.

What is the primary difference between Prince Charming & me and some of the folks around us? It's attitude. When you have an outlook that says "It can't be done" then you're right: you won't be able to do it. When you see challenges as not only a way to improve yourself but as fun too, you can do what you need to do. Now I'm not advocating a "power of positive thinking" seminar here. All that philosophy strikes me as kind of silly. What I am calling for is the realization that we all make choices.

Whatever happened to personal responsibility? Why can't people realize that they make choices every day and it's not their parents', their friends', their employers' or dare I say, the government's job to make sure those choices are successful. I will now step off my soap box - you can find more of that on our political blog if that sort of thing floats your boat.

My point here is that only you (and your husband!) with God's guidance can lead your family. You make the choice to give up a temporary pleasure for a reward down the road. I suppose that Prince Charming and I would have more disposable income if we didn't have three daughters. But do you think I would honestly trade my three sweethearts for another chance to eat out or buy another box of cereal?! (O.k, I admit that some moments it might tempt me more than others...)

Here are some of the choices we've made along the way:

- no credit cards. We operate on a cash budget. We use the envelope system for groceries, toiletries, baby items (might as well call this the diaper & wipe fund), and a few other things. We use our debit card (just like a credit card) for gas and a few other things. Our only debt is our mortgage.

- we make a budget at the beginning of every month. Together. This is a plan not a dictator. Neither of us dread this time. It's pretty much the same all the time anyway. As an example, we have $40 a week grocery money plus one envelope a month for "stock up" money just in case we come across a really good deal.

- we set aside money every month for gifts. We have a big family. We have to plan year round for Christmas and the inevitable birthdays.

- we set aside money for our HSA. We have to pay our own health insurance costs. God has blessed us with a very healthy family, something I'm more grateful for since we'd have to pay for all the doctor visits/medicine, if we weren't.

Those are just a few of our choices. Lest you think Prince Charming makes the big bucks I will tell you that our first year of marriage (1999-2000) Prince Charming made $14,000. I made probably half of that. Thankfully our income has increased in the past seven years. Then again, our family has more than doubled since that time as well. God provides.

Sorry for the preachy tone of this (long!) post but these are a few things I felt I needed to say. You can actually useful frugal tips and lots of encouragement in the frugal walk at Biblical Womanhood.

5 comments:

My name is Michelle. said...

Absolutely! It *is* all about attitude.

(From one mom of three girls to another :D)

Mommy said...

I try to view frugality as an adventure. Something to get good at! :) It isn't a curse, it is fun! :)

I have three children too. :)

WesternWarmth said...

Well said! I agree! I think those comments you'd get a nickel for :) are said out of fear from the commenter. It makes people uncomfortable when they see what you can go without, or achieve or whatever because it makes them realize they could do better and that feels SCARY! I think people would like to tell themselves that debt and living above your means are inevitable.

Anonymous said...

Hi! I took the link from Biblical Womanhood over here. I was just wondering what "HSA" stands for. I think that saving money for check-ups etc is really neat. If you don't mind sharing, how do you handle costs for pregnancy, births, etc.? thanks. :)

Coupon Addict said...

Great post.

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