Saturday, April 09, 2011

Thirty Days of Wise Money Choices...
Day IV

1) Drive the speed limit! On this side of heaven, good is not always immediately rewarded nor does misbehavior always catch up with someone. However, this is one time you can count on the fact that being a law-abiding citizen has its rewards. Obviously, sticking to the legal speed is safer and is less likely to result in expensive speeding tickets. However, it also saves you in terms of fuel economy. The miles you can get from a gallon of gas drop dramatically as you increase over usual speed limits. The more fuel efficient your car is in general, the more likely it is to eat more gas per mile at higher speeds. The MSN article I linked to suggested that since time=money, there might be times when pushing the speed limit is a good choice if it will help you get there faster. That is the only thing in the article that I disagree with. The risks of being stopped by a state trooper on the open road or having an accident in town or out of town outweigh any possible gains by going over the speed limit. Speeding to get somewhere on time also contributes to physical and emotional stress, which can be costly to health. You're better off adjusting your departure time to arrive on time.

2) Saving money can be equal to earning money. The wise home keeper looks for and stops hidden money leaks. For example, a money leak that needs to be on my radar is my habit of still cooking and buying for a full house, even though I now have an empty nest. The "science experiments" turning green in my fridge are a waste of valuable resources. Hidden money leaks can take many forms, including a literal water leak that needs fixing or a habit of leaving lights on in an empty room.

Another leak might be a habit of buying something every day, even though if you thought about it, you might decide that you don't want or need it badly enough to justify the extra cost. For example, some people find great enjoyment in going to Starbuck's every day. For those who truly do enjoy it, that's a wonderful little luxury. However, others mindlessly buy Starbuck's every day without truly enjoying the Starbuck's experience. In that case, it's better to either make coffees or lattes at home or to choose a less expensive coffee option, such as Micky D's Starbuck imitations. You can save a lot by correcting mindless little habits that drain money from your wallet.

3) Be wise when it comes to stocking your pantry. It's helpful to have 3 months to one year's worth of non-perishable staples, medicine that won't go out of date, toiletries, paper goods or anything else that you can buy on sale or with a coupon and store. Most families do not need to acquire more than a one-year supply. Some will decide that they do not need even that amount.

The purposes of storing ahead are 1) to make use of sales and coupons by buying extra items when they are at low prices and working them into your inventory. 2) Having stock on hand for emergencies, such as a layoff or a weather event or to use while the highest wage earner makes a career change. 3) Being able to replace a used item quickly. For example, if you use mayonnaise, it's handy to have one jar open and one on hand. When the first jar runs out, you open the second and buy a third. This makes it easy to keep your pantry inventory up to date.

Buying and trying to store too many things only complicates matters. You will forget what you have on hand. You will spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to store it. You are putting a lot of funds into very perishable items that could be destroyed by a weather event or simply by sitting so long the items are no longer usable. You are also holding on to items that could be donated to those in need.

Every little step that we can take to use money wisely blesses our families!


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