So we’ve talked about some reasons to be frugal and we’ve discussed one way to do it. The grocery budget is the easiest thing to fix first because most of us spend way too much on food. Face it, Americans are, for the most part, fat. Eat less, exercise more and pocket the difference. That’s how to dig us out of our early obesity induced graves AND save the country from a recession.
I’m convinced that most of the money problems we face in this country come from an excess of instant gratification. This has been written about by many who are better equipped to deal with it right now but from what I can see, no one is really wanting to work for anything. Here’s what I mean. I was talking with a health care professional the other day about our health system and the same old complaints come up. “Look” they said “America has one of the best health care systems in the world because people pay for it. If we don’t pay for it, it goes down-hill.” And of course the case in point there is managed care. Am I saying I don’t care if single moms don’t have coverage for their kids? Nope. (At least in Oklahoma all kids are covered, that’s a whole ‘nuther topic though) What I am saying is that the money has to come from somewhere.
When we’re talking about our budget and not our health care system, find the fat. Cut the fat. Don’t allow the fat to creep back in because fat is sneaky. Say you cut going out but you suddenly have all this cash. SAVE IT. Here’s the deal: if you had a grand today you probably go blow it on a big screen HD LCD TV. You’d get all the bells and whistles you could afford and then a few more because, hey, I can pay that extra $500 off if I put it on my credit card.
One of the worst things that happened to us is that our local WalMart stopped taking checks. What I mean is, they quit just taking a check, they’ve turned a check in to a debit slip that you have to sign twice. If I find that repugnant, and I do—I don’t want anyone else messing with my checking account. Then I have to use plastic. Now that may seem ironic, but at least I get cash back on Discover and I pay the thing off every month come hell or high water. The credit card lesson is a tough one to learn but it has to be learned if you ever want to have any semblance of control over your own personal finances. My point, and I do have one, is that you have to make sure that what you buy is on your list before you go into to the store.
We go to wally world because it is, basically, the only game in town. No I’m not going to write about the destruction of the local retailer or the invasion of our markets with Chinese merchandise. Do I really have to? The problem I have is that they are just too good at selling things to me that I don’t need. I am continually blindsided by things I don’t have but I think I need so I buy them because, hey, there’s always room on the credit card right? Discipline is the key. If its not on the list, don’t buy it. Period.
Unless it’s on sale…if it’s on sale it requires judgment and a few simple rules to keep you on track…