Posted by: spaghettipie | November 29, 2007

Stewardship Spotlight #3

I found Kacie’s blog when I was looking for information on using coupons effectively. Her site is full of information about how she is focusing on reducing her spending. I was so impressed by her efforts. When I chose the topic for this week, I immediately thought of her. I’m glad she agreed to join us.

Hi Kacie! Thanks for joining us. Tell me a little bit about yourself.

My name is Kacie and I’m 22 years old. I graduated from college in 2007 and married my husband two weeks after graduation. We now live in Pittsburgh, where he works in finance, and I work as a freelance writer and homemaker.

Why is being a good steward of your money important to you?

Our money and our possessions are blessings. We aren’t automatically entitled to anything–whether it be a paycheck, car, luxury, or anything really. It’s important that we not be wasteful with our money so that we can best provide for ourselves and have money to give to others.

What is your goal in trying to save all this money?

My goal is to cut down on my spending to help save money. My husband’s income is a set salary, and my income changes with each paycheck. The only thing we can consistently do is reduce our expenditures, since we can’t necessarily increase our incomes without significant additional effort and stress. My goal is to cut our expenses to the lowest they can be while not depriving ourselves of anything necessary. My husband would like to retire in his early 50s, and by living frugally now and saving money, this should be an attainable goal.

How do you guard against becoming miserly or stingy?

It’s important to share your wealth with others. Even if you don’t think you have “wealth,” you always have something you can share or give away. It might be donating money to a good cause, or it could be volunteering your time to help someone. Another way to share your wealth is to donate items you purchased on supersale with a coupon–in a lot of cases free drugstore goods would be greatly appreciated at shelters, food pantries, and the like.

One thing people can do is to have a spot in their budgets for donations. For example, earmark $50 (or whatever) each month specifically for charity.

I know a lot of people who buy things because they are a “good deal” but that they didn’t need. How do you keep from buying stuff you don’t need?

Sometimes, it can be difficult to not buy “good deals.” At various drugstores, I can get some items for free, or even earn a little bit of money by buying the item. Still, sometimes I don’t need the free item. I only buy it if it will earn me money, it’s free, and/or I have an actual need for it or I know someone who does. It’s important to see that the item is put to use by someone; otherwise my house will be taken over by stuff I don’t need.

For someone interested in evaluating and reducing their spending, how would you advise them to start?

You have to start slow. Living frugally is a lifestyle decision, and if you aren’t already of the frugal mindset but you’d like to be, it should be a gradual transition so that you stay with it. Pick up a copy of The Complete Tightwad Gazette from your library or on Amazon.com to learn tons of frugal living tips.

For someone interested in cutting back on expenditures, start by tracking every dollar. Figure out how much you have spent in previous months on adjustable amounts such as groceries, eating out, clothing, gas, energy, and also how much you’re spending on fixed bills, such as your house payment, car, insurance, phone.

Knowing where your money went can be an eye-opening experience. Determine if your current spending habits are acceptable to you. If not, start by eliminating things you really don’t need. Get rid of your gym membership if you barely use it, eliminate channels on your cable subscription, get a smaller phone plan–whatever you can do to start lowering your expenses right away. Stay determined to make this work, and make sure your family is on board with you.

Next, tackle your adjustable expenses. Be sure your home is energy-efficient and conserve as much energy as possible by keeping your home cool in the winter and warm in the summer. Be sure your windows and doors aren’t drafty. Spending a few dollars at a home improvement store to winterize your home will save you hundreds+.

Cut down on your restaurant tab. Make a weekly meal menu and stick to it, and you’ll have a plan for your dinners without having to order take-out. At the grocery, buy only what you need to fulfill your weekly menu. Stick to your shopping list, and you’ll be surprised at how much you save already.

Finally, surround yourself with positive influences. Read frugal blogs and actively participate in blog discussions. Steer clear from people who encourage you to make poor decisions with your money. As I said, frugal living is a lifestyle, and getting support from others will help you succeed.

I’ll be posting this on Thursday, which is my recipe-posting day. Do you have a favorite, inexpensive recipe you’d be willing to share?

Here’s a recipe to a delicious buttermilk coffeecake. It costs about $1.34 for two cakes. That’s less than a dime per serving.

To read the other posts in this series, click here.

Advertisements

Responses

  1. I agree with these suggestions and appreciate gaining inspiration from other frugal bloggers. I’m going to visit her blog right now!

  2. Thanks so much for the interview!

  3. C – I know you’ll find some useful.
    K – Thank YOU for doing it!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: