Is money tight for you RIGHT NOW?? Do you need to get some cash together quickly to pay a looming bill, or are you trying to gather funds to make a large purchase and are tired of the nickel-and-dime approach? One of the fastest ways to save money involves a relatively small lifestyle change but can make a HUGE difference in a short amount of time. You might be surprised how easy it is.
Today's culture is so much about doing and moving, isn't it? The kids should be in tons of activities, mom needs her gals' night out and her retail therapy, dad has the weekly bowling league or poker game… We have become a society that has forgotten how to find enjoyment at home.
But beyond what our having to always be out and about says about our need for constant entertainment, all these trips out of the house, for whatever reason, add up to lots of cash leaving our pockets. I contend that when we make the decision to stay home for a period of even just a few days, we can save money enough to make a large difference in our budget. Let me explain.
Ways that staying home helps save money FAST
1) First, it's obvious that leaving home requires the use of gasoline. In our family, the gasoline budget is one of the few categories that we can vary to make a difference in our bottom line. Frequent trips out mean frequent stops at the pumps. Combining errands into one big expedition, rather than making quick runs out for a gallon of milk one day and a book of stamps the next, is a way to save money right now because it reduces our gasoline consumption.
But there are other, less obvious ways that staying home helps to save money quickly. See if any of these situations apply in your life like they do in mine, lol:
2) If you're like me, you want to be helpful to the rest of your family. So what do you do? As you're driving by W-mart, you call home to ask if anyone needs anything from there. And then when you go in, you get more than just that one thing, don't you? “Oh yea, and we need this, and we're out of that; and look, this is really cute” — and as we all have experienced many, many times, what should have been a $5 trip turns into a $50 one. If we stayed home, we'd make due without whatever it was that made us stop at the store in the first place. Am I right?
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3) What else happens while you're out and about? Invariably, one person in the car gets hungry. FYI: the expectation that a teen will know that he should stock up on caloric energy BEFORE leaving the house is completely unrealistic, y'all. Instead he'll inform you sometime in the middle of your excursion that he is famished and can't move another step without sustenance. So being a compassionate mom (and wow, now that he mentions it, you're feeling a bit peckish yourself), you decide to drive through for some fries to tide
you him over — except now everyone else wants something, and one fry turns into three mega meals and a shake.
The justification that this means you won't need to make dinner tonight works for short term gratification but does NOT equate to money saving, y'all. Just sayin'. You've just spent about five times as much for that “snack” as you would have for the dinner you were going to cook! (Um, just speaking hypothetically, of course…) Staying home means you stick to your menu plan and eat clean and SAVE MONEY.
4) Taking the kids to activities means we moms often have time to kill. What do we do with it? We go to Target, meanwhile stopping by the Starbucks that is so conveniently placed right inside the door, and then wander around the aisles, supposedly looking only at the clearance racks. Mmmmm hmmmmm. Oh, and look, TJ Maxx is right next door! And there's Bed Bath & Beyond! And Ulta! Those $10-$30 trips add up in a hurry, gals. You know I know you know what I mean. :-) Let's not kid ourselves. And all of it is stuff we wouldn't purchase if we had just stayed home!
(If it's not us, it's the hubby stopping by the home center store…) (But maybe we'd better pretend I didn't bring that up..)
But wait! The kids HAVE to go to their activities, right? Maybe in the normal course of events, sure. But when money is tight and you have bills looming, they can miss a week or two — and the world will still keep on spinning, y'all. Keeping them home means less gas used and less temptation to spend on consumables — and you are able to quickly save money for whatever is pressing in.
PLUS, there are other benefits of staying home as a means to save money:
Staying home promotes family togetherness. When did we start thinking that family activities to promote unity must take place somewhere other than our own house??? We don't HAVE to go the movies or the go-cart track or to the park. What's wrong with a good card game or a rousing round of Yahtzee or just throwing the softball back and forth? Or — gasp — some worthwhile CONVERSATION? Not rushing around forces us to find companionship with one another. Siblings might actually play together if they aren't being ferried in opposite directions from one individual activity to the next all the time.
Staying home provides margin. This one speaks to my heart, y'all. I for one am easily exhausted just by being in the car over a long stretch of the day. And when it happens too many days of the week, I become a cranky person and an unhappy wife and an impatient mommy. We all need margin in our lives so we can breathe, de-stress, and be the people God wants us to be.
Staying home promotes productivity and creativity. I've heard it said that it's good for kids to be bored, and I heartily agree. Being bored forces them to become creative with what they have access to. You can expect some new works of art or crafty products or magnum opuses (opi?) when you stay home more. And as mom, you will be more likely to stay on top of the cleaning or the menu plan, because you won't be too exhausted to do it all. Talk about “streamlined, stress-free living” — this is one way to get it.
You see, staying home is a quick way to save money, because we are not spending it on gasoline or on things we don't really need. And the side benefits that come from staying home make it not such a difficult task, y'all. In fact, you may want to try it even when the budget is doing fine, just to see how comfy life can become when you are not rushing around so much!
P.S. No, the house in the picture is NOT mine. But a girl can dream, can't she? :-)
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