Amy Clark

Day 30: Life’s Great Lessons

This is the last day in our series and I admit it took much longer than I had ever anticipated. I share daily ways to save money, but to sit down and really contemplate thirty really good ways to save money…well, that proved to be a bit more difficult than I thought. I think I will stick with my quick tips and quips that I normally share. I hope that someone can walk away with one thing that will help their family in the future. That was my goal and intention with doing the series.

Today I just wanted to end the series by saying how important it is to me that I live within my means. There are many simple things that we have chosen to do to reach our financial goals in life…

  • We make a conscious choice to be smart consumers and chose to buy used items rather than new, to help minimize our costs. There are times where a new item might be appropriate (underwear does come to mind!), but in most cases buying a used item is a better financial choice for us. You can do this through thrift & yard sales, consignment shops, auction sites, or through the classified advertisements. Used is better for the environment and I find it a great thrill and privilege to hunt through the junk to find those precious items.
  • We chose to be wise consumers and research big ticket items before purchasing them. I would never run out and buy a television without good research and I would never just take a salesperson’s word for what is the best value for my money. I can justify the purchase of my Consumer Reports annual membership because I use this often to base my decisions on making a good purchase. I also frequently check sites like Amazon or Epinions to get the scoop from customers on how they like items. We cannot afford trial and error in our house so we try and pick things that we know will do well and last a long time.
  • We chose to surround ourselves with like-minded people. Maybe this shows signs of weakness or that I am just a newbie in the world of saving money, but I find myself feeling more confident in myself and my choices when I am around people who feel the same way. When I am around people who put more value into their possessions and the material things, I find myself redirecting my focus in that direction. I hope someday to be the type of person that is unfazed by these people, but for now I enjoy being with people who have similar financial goals and think of material things as secondary to everything else.
  • We are choosing to work towards a goal of a debt-free life. I have very specific goals in mind for our family. I have written these goals down on paper and I reread these goals often. I want to own both of my cars. I want to own my house. I want to pay off my credit card. I want to be free of student loan debt. I say these things to myself often and focus my energy towards making these goals a reality. Our goal is to have this done in six years. Six years of careful discipline and determination- what is your goal?
  • We chose creative ways that we can achieve the things we want in life. For example, bartering for goods & services instead of paying for them. I might make someone a fabulous dinner or babysit for them if they help me with A, B, or C. These exchanges are more creative than opening up my wallet and save us a lot of money. I also try to be creative by learning to make things myself, thrifting for gift items, and constantly researching ways I can be more creative with our money.
  • We chose to enjoy the good things in life, not to live a life of sacrifice and grumbling. I love good things- good coffee, an amazing dinner, a well-decorated room. I love all of these things, but I love to enjoy these things without the debt. I do what any smart frugal gal should do- I search on the internet for that perfect coffee recipe, I teach myself to cook, I look for inspiration in the magazines and find these decorative items in the thrift store. Enjoy that fine living, but do it in a way that can make you & your family proud.

We recognize that we have made bad financial choices, but we also know that some of those choices have lead to other great and wise choices later in life. I admit that there have been times where I have made stupid choices and I suffered from them. I also admit that if I had never made a bad choice in my life that I wouldn’t be human and I wouldn’t be able to have those experiences to draw from. I can nod my head and say, “Yes, yes, I know!” because I really do. I didn’t just read about it in a book- I am living it!

Here are all of the days that we discussed- just in case you happened to miss one!

Ask for Your Discounts

Take Your Own Pictures

Pay Your Bills Online

Use Your Phone as a Money-Saving Tool

Use eBay & Save

Take Advantage of Rebates

Brown Bag Your Way To Savings

Open Your Own Beauty Shop

Lower Your House Payment

Car Repair on a Budget

Creative Gym Membership Alternatives

Social Obligations on a Budget

Get Your Java Fix

Creative Toy Replacements

Keep Your Bills in Check

Bulk It Up

Find an Inexpensive Hobby

Get Yourself Organized

Curb Your Weekend Spending

Create Your Own Secret Emergency Account

Don’t Buy Stuff You Can’t Afford

Just Ask

Become a Coupon Queen (or Not)!

Schedule a Day in the Kitchen

Extending it Further

Save on Clothing

Get to Know Your Freezer

Get Rewarded for Your Shopping

Sound Off: What was your f
avorite day in our Month of Savings?

Published September 28, 2007 by:

Amy Clark

Amy Allen Clark is the founder of MomAdvice.com. You can read all about her here.

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