Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Save $7000 A Year!

I found an interesting article on the Living on a Dime website, which details how you can very easily save $7000 a year. Check it out: http://www.livingonadime.com/articles/howit.htm

Do We Really Have A Choice?

Whenever I hear a mother with young children say that they don't have a choice...they HAVE to work...and cannot stay home with their kids, it always makes me wonder if that is really true. It seems to me that except for some rare circumstances (single moms, etc.), we all have a choice. I mean, this is still America...land of the free...home of the brave...right?

It also makes me wonder what would happen if more and more mothers decided to take the plunge and become full-time mothers to their children instead of letting paid workers raise them. Do you think we would see an increase in poor, destitute and homeless people? I don't think so. In many cases, what women are really saying when they say they can't afford not to work is that they are not willing to give up some of the "stuff and things" to which they have grown accustom.

I am really not judging...I'm just getting real. If one wants to go to work so that they can afford new cars, a nice house and furnishings, a closet-full of clothes, manicures/pedicures, frequent shopping trips to the mall (or...fill in the blank...), then they should just say so instead of proclaiming that there is no choice.

Few people take into consideration the true financial cost of having both parents working outside the home. Obviously, there is the cost of daycare. But what about these: the need for two vehicles, extra gas, work clothes, medical expenses due to increased exposure to illnesses, lunches out, dinners out because everyone is too tired to cook, gifts/benevolence to co-workers, and extra taxes to pay.

There is no way to adequately evaluate other costs, such as the emotional costs of having strangers spend more hours per day with the children than their own parents. What about the cost to our marriage relationships when both are exhausted and stressed? My opinion is that this very thing has contributed to the growing divorce rate in our country.

We all have choices and we make them every day. The tricky part is to be able to live with the consequences of our choices.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Hard Times Coming?

Yesterday I heard someone on my car radio talking about OPEC and what they are saying about the possibility of gas going up to $200 a barrel. The next thing I heard could strike fear in any driver's heart...that gas prices could go up to $10 a gallon in the next few years! Oh man, I cannot even begin to think what kind of effect that would have on an already unstable economy.

Most of us in America don't have a clue what it is like to really be poor. We may have financial problems, but for the most part, the problems are of our own making. The increasing prices of food and gas are making me take a hard look at how we spend our money. Don't get me wrong, we have never had money to spend on things like new cars and furniture or vacations. But I'm aware that we do not always make the most wise financial decisions either.

I am going to try really hard not to get caught up in the hysteria and the "what ifs" that people like to talk about. The bottom line is that God says He will supply all my needs...so He is my source. My job is to try to make the best financial decisions that I can and be a good steward of the money He entrusts to me.

Along those lines, I am reading everything I can get my hands on about living a frugal life. I will be sharing some of those resources here. I would love to hear from you as well. Please leave a comment and share any ideas or resources you have found to be helpful.

I think it's all about helping each other...while putting our faith in the One who owns the cattle on a thousand hills.

Here are my picks for this post:

Living on a Dime - website and free e-newsletter

Penny Pinchin' Mama: 500 ways I lived on $500 a month
Book by Jill Cooper $12.95 http://www.livingonadime.com/books/penny-pinchin-mama.html

Frugal Living - website and free e-newsletter

SuperMarket Savings 101: A Beginning Course Teaching You How to Drastically Reduce Your Grocery Budget - by Crystal Paine $17.95