25 February 2009

[talk: Time to Save ... and Something Free.]

I'm not a regular watcher of Oprah ... she really does annoy me most times. However, I did watch today - and it was showing stories of young American families losing everything due to our current economy. And it freaked me out.

The continual message seemed to be that everyone WISHED they had SAVED their money when they had it. Most said that they spent frivolously ... and don't we all? A Starbucks here, a manicure there, ... ordering pizza instead of making a perfectly good dinner with what you have in your home. We've all done it - and sure, maybe some are better at budgeting and being stewards of their money - but I think that we would all agree, we live good lives.

And would you not say, that when things get tough, the FIRST thing people do is stop giving? I mean, no longer donating to their World Vision Child or to the local food bank ... or wherever it is that you give. And really - isn't that sad? OBVIOUSLY, there are circumstances where that is the ONLY thing a family can do ... but for most, we won't consciously give up our weekly latte to give the $25 (and a tax receipt ...) to a needy child. We do everything in our power to maintain our own high standard of living, instead of being responsible with what we've been given.

This show has hit me ... many of the people on the show were moms, my age, who had homes and never thought they would be in this situation. Increasing home mortgage interest rates absolutely devistated them. And so, I think that it's a wake-up call to those of us who are a bit ahead of the problem right now. SAVE SAVE SAVE. Be smart, be stewards. Pay off your debts. Don't reward yourself when you owe for something else. Don't believe the lie that it'll make you "happy", that you "deserve" it. Downsize. Do whatever it takes. Because if we get hit as hard as our neighbours to the south, it's imperative that we have SOMETHING in the bank to hold us over.

And would I even dare to say, be generous where you are called to be. Giving is a Godly principle, and I believe it's always rewarded.

Ok. I'm off of my soapbox *smile*. I hope you can tell how passionate I am about this ... I feel that our homes, our children's security, our future is all at a crossroads right now - and we CAN prepare for this ...
I would love to hear if YOU are doing something tangeable to prepare for your family's future, if uncertainty rears it's ugly head. Any tricks that you could share? A special place you get gas? A place that accepts competator's coupons? A better rate on your phonebill? Please SHARE - would love to hear it!


How about something for FREE?? If you're a digiscrapper ... here's a free kit from Shabby Princess. You can find it here.


Canadian Kristin said...

Taking time, and shoring up the courage, to actually look at your finances and see exactly where you are....that's a good start. And that's exactly what we did in our house! It's good to have the concrete numbers to know where you are headed, and to be able to realistically plan forward from today.

Crystal said...

I watched that episode too..so sad, but a big eye opener!

A couple of small things we do are. Set a starbucks budget(if you are a big drinker of the stuff, like I am).Get a card put a flat amount on at the begining of the month and thats it. Also if you go onto the starbucks website and register your card you get free syrups and soy milk. So for me because I drink soy..it saves me, almost $1 a drink!
Also, we don't really go out to restaurants and if we do get something we get take out. Sounds cheap but if anything it save on the tip(that's a $5-10 Saving)! Entertainment books are a life savor, and we try and go to places that are in it. We also don't go to movies, well rarely, we always get videos at home. Look at local video stores that have their cheap nights...they still do exist. We have one in town that is $1 new releases on Wed night!

Laura said...

My hubby and I are starting the "Envelope System" which is when you take a set amount of cash out at the beginning of each month for each spending category (ie. eating out, entertainment, groceries, gifts, clothing, etc.) Once the money is gone, that's it for the month! Makes you think more about how you spend your money, and avoids using credit cards or even debit. "Living within our means" and forcing us to stick to our budget! I hear it's super tough for the first 3 months or so, then it gets easier - and the reward is great, seeing your savings go up and/or your debt go down is a huge motivator!