As I mentioned yesterday, I had the privilege of co-teaching a seminar on budgeting and creative money saving tips as part of the Tools for the Journey workshop at my church. They recorded most of the seminars, so you can look for those here sometime this week.
This is the bulk of the information that we presented during our seminar (this was the handout). Please ask if you have *any* questions!
Using Creativity to Budget and Save Money
by Sela Young, Karen Carr, Trisha Swift
1. Look at the Big Picture
- How can your shopping (for necessities or otherwise) glorify God? How can you glorify God with saving money?
- Try to find the balance between legalistic and hedonistic.
- Try not to look at certain purchases as “sinful.”
- Try not to only follow your desires and expensive tastes.
- Watch your health (and your family’s)—physical, emotional and spiritual. Avoid saving money in the short run that will hurt you in the long run. e.g. don’t skip out on dentist/doctor visits. Don’t skip going out for coffee with a friend. Those are way more important in the long run than saving a few bucks!
2. Start with Your Budget
- Take a financial class offered through church (Crown, Dave Ramsey).
- Tweak budget to work for you. Experiment to figure out what works best for you and your family.
- Make a budget and stick to it!
- If you’re married, budgeting needs to be a joint decision.
- See yesterday’s post for the forms, etc, that I’m using right now
3. When You are Shopping
- Decide on non-negotiables for health reasons before you go shopping. e.g. organic milk and veggies.
- Don’t window shop or look at ads if you don’t specifically need something; limit TV time (for self and kids). If I don’t know it exists, I won’t want it.
- Make a list and stick to it.
- Use coupons! Organize them before you shop.
- Don’t shop when hungry.
- Stock up when things are on sale and/or you have coupons. Grocery stores usually run on a 12 week sale cycle, so if it’s a great deal, buy enough to last 12 weeks.
- Educate yourself on prices and comparison shop. Just because something is on sale or is sold in bulk (like at Sam’s Club), does not necessarily mean it is cheaper!
4. Creative Ideas to Save Money
These are ideas to jumpstart your creativity! You need to decide what works best for you, your family and your schedule.
- Use the Internet (be on the lookout for scams, of course!). (Tomorrow I will post a list of useful internet resources)
- Do online shopping through a site that gives you money back.
- Belong to facebook or blogs to help you find deals.
- Get coupons online.
- Sign up for free samples.
- Find things cheap or free.
- Find deals with Groupon, Seize the Deal (but compare to make sure it’s a real deal and don’t be tempted to spend more than your budget).
- Think about where you shop.
- Thrift stores—find the ones that work best for you, and pay attention to sale days! Don’t discount thrift stores because you went to one and didn’t like it. There are so many and they all have a different niche.
- Habitat Building Supply store
- Yard sales—get cheap stuff and spend time with a sister or use as an outreach opportunity AND you’ll have someone along so you can keep each other in check.
- For all things baby/kid, remember the Fort Collins Parents of Multiples Club has a huge sale twice a year. Next one is March 11-12, 2011.
- Check out the Amazon Mom program with Subscribe & Save for good deals on diapers and other baby items.
- Big Lots, Esh’s Discount Grocery, etc. Again, compare to make sure you’re getting a real deal.
5. Other Tips and Ideas:
- Pray the Lord’s Prayer when shopping.
- Pray to want what you already have; be content!
- Plan out your shopping trip: maximize your time.
- Only go shopping on certain days (once a week, once a month)—plan ahead!
- Christmas shop all year ‘round! It spreads out the cost AND you can shop sales (yard sales too!) and make the most of your money!
- Plan ahead and shop for all occasions.
- Don’t eat out if alone. Save money, be others-focused.
- Smash the toilet paper roll before hanging it; it doesn’t roll as easily and so kids don’t yank off as much and waste it.
- Pay bills online to save stamps.
- Swap babysitting with another couple.
- Hang clothes to dry: they last longer and it saves on the energy bill.
- Cut pizza, muffins, meat in smaller sections; it will stretch it and limit waste.
- Office supply stores have great weekly sales for about a month before school starts.
- Some stores (Target for sure) will let you bring your receipt in if an item you bought goes on sale within two weeks of your buying it, and give you the difference.
Tomorrow I will post some of the resources, mostly blogs and websites, that I use to get information on sales and good deals.