Saturday, February 25, 2012

Another Aid in a Quest Toward Cheap Living

Today I checked the Bookmobile collection and found a few more titles in the same vein as the ones I have been featuring in the past few blogs. I grabbed a little one called 365 Ways to Live Cheap that seemed to be on point. The book is by Trent Hamm, founder of the website (F&W Publications, 2009). The “ways” are presented in short paragraph format and, yes, they are numbered. But they are also divided into chapters by subjects, so there is commonality between every 20-25 topics. The chapters all start with “Cheap Tactics for:” and cover topics such as: Appliances, automobiles, clothing, electronics, groceries and supplies, insurance, utilities and bills and vacation.

There is a short little quiz at the front of the book to determine “Where Does Your Money Really Go?” but I would say that the quiz actually helps you determine, “How does your money go?”

The first chapter is “The Ten Biggest Tips for Living Cheap” and these are like the 10 easy ways to reduce clutter – they are obvious but worth reading and keeping in mind as you move toward a goal of living within your means. 1) Take little steps, not big ones, 2) Realize that you are not alone in your mission, 3) Spend less than you earn, 4) Calculate how much your really make, 5) Record every penny you spend for an entire month, 6) Master the 10 second rule that says you should consider each impulse type purchase you want to make for at least 10 seconds and ask yourself if you really need to have the item, 7) Master the 30 day rule, too, which says just about the same as rule 6 but applies to larger, more costly and potentially more impulsive purchases, and wait 30 days before you really commit to buying an item you saw in the store, 8) Keep track of your progress, 9) Talk about your money, especially with your partner and 10) Automate your savings, by which they mean to have your bank automatically deposit or transfer the amount of money you are “saving” into a savings account to be saved for an emergency.

Pretty basic stuff, but like rule number one says, take baby steps. A lot of what is suggested by both de-clutter experts and frugal living experts is unlearning old habits and forming new habits and habit changing takes time. If you try to do it all at the start – you are sure to fail. If you need another kind of pep-talk, there are a host of websites that give you ideas about how to change bad habits into good one. It is all part of the plan! Use resources wisely and liberally!

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