Recently, I got an email asking me how in the world we get by on one income with such a large family, so for this week's Frugal Friday tip, I thought I would discuss a philosophy our family has adopted, rather than a single tip.
It is simple, really, and we did not invent it ourselves, nor have we perfected it. Basically, it is not even anything we do, but what we don't do.
We don't have call waiting or caller i.d. on our telephone. We don't go to movie theaters or out to eat at restaurants. We don't buy new vehicles. We don't pay for add on packages to our basic cable t.v. We don't go to the mall. We don't buy new when used will do. (I don't mean to say we have NEVER done these things. I mean as a general practice we don't.)
One of my all time favorite books is The Complete Tightwad Gazette. (I would own it if I weren't so cheap.) In that book, the author gave this tip to a reporter who visited her home. She told the reporter to park outside the local McDonald's for filming and her family would wave as they drove past eating the lunch they had packed at home.
This philosophy is about doing without things that others may feel are needed or deserved. This in no way makes us feel deprived. We have simply adjusted our attitudes to be glad for what we do have and not feel entitled to what others have.
We don't need to go out to a restaurant to enjoy our meal or our company. We don't need to pay for entertainment when there is a whole world of fun we can find for free. We don't need to know who is calling before we answer the phone. (I think it is funny that even my grandmother assumes we have caller i.d.)
All of those things we don't do add up. I have not done a cost analysis, but I would bet we spend hundreds less each month than a family who spends money on all of those things I listed.
This philosophy is something anyone can adopt. It may require getting used to, but it will allow you to keep more of your money instead of spending it.