Monday, February 22, 2010

We interrupt the scrapbooking to bring you some really good financial advice

Little known thing about me: I am a frugal gal. Or at least I try to be. Sure, I love the environment {I have to live in it, right?} but everything I do is all about the numbers baby. I use cloth diapers, I make laundry soap, I bake bread, I make granola bars for lunches...oh yeah, and I make lunches. Period. Every day. But I do get busy the odd time and forget to pack the Hubs lunch...oops. Between that and the occassional {and I mean really occassional} meal out with the fam we probably eat out about once a week and that includes the Hubs office lunches and me going out with the girls. But our idea of a meal out is the soup deal at Tim Horton's so it's not a huge hit to the budget with only 2 kids.
I have not always been concientious of my spending but so far have avoided copious amounts of consumer debt. I think that is largely due to a pivotal time in our marriage when we actually started discussing money seriously. Not the monthly {loud} exchange "Where did all the money go?!" But actually sitting down, discussing {like adults} what debt we have, how much we make and how to go about paying it off. After that talk, it was like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders and I haven't looked back since.
Of course, I am human. I have made some bad, impulse purchases in my time. But they come fewer and further between now. LOL

So get to your point Kate...ok, ok. I don't get to watch a whole lot of TV but I do looove the show Til Debt Do Us Part with the lovely Gail Vaz-Oxlade. The woman is a genius. She is to the point, down to earth and very tell it like it is. I was on her blog today and came across a FABULOUS article she wrote entitled "Who Are You Trying To Impress?". I won't post the whole article here but just click on the title if you want to read it in it's full format. Several of the quotes in the article really struck me.

"People spend money they don't have, to buy things they don't want to impress people they don't like." ~Will Rogers

Well isn't THAT the truth? Over the last 18 months I have been improving our budget by leaps and bounds but that statement makes me want to take another look at things to see if we could tighten up even more. Gail explores the three things stated in that quote seperately in her article. And each point has you nodding your head and thinking "Yup, we do that!" The part about always wanting more really hit me too. Especially with my scrapbooking supplies. My scrap budget has been non-existant since we moved but I do spend about $10 a month on adhesive and I can still scrape together cash every now and again to splurge on great new paper. It's a must. Right? it's not. {Don't feel bad for scraproom looks like a store, I have plenty to craft with LOL}

North America has 8% of the world's population and yet we consume 33% of the world's resources. And create 50% of it's non-organic waste. That's just embarrassing.

Another part of the article made me really happy though. That part about Martha Stewart cracked me up. My close friends and I will refer to each other as "Martha" if we do something particularly crafty either in the scraproom or kitchen. "Way to go Martha" is the comment for someone who has been exceptionally productive that day. And this is one teeny tiny area where I disagree with Ms. Vaz-Oxlade's statements at the end of the article. Yes we certainly do try to impress each other every day. With love, compassion and thoughfulness. Therein lies the difference between us and those who try to "Keep up with the Jones'"It doesn't have to cost a ton of money. It can be as simple as dropping off one single special cupcake or kidnapping their children for a few hours. Shooting off a funny e-card when you know someone is down or making them a card from scraps of supplies you already have. This is how we try to impress each other. And our happiness and beauty truly does shine from the inside out.

So after surfing around on Gail's blog, I am re-committing to using what we have. Saving what we earn. And making what we need. And I am desperately and anxiously awaiting Spring so I can plant my garden again. I have made some adjustments and hope to use even more of the bounty this year!

I challenge you to take a look at your budget this week {if you have one} or make a budget {if you don't}. You will be amazed at what you discover about yourself. Cheers people. Live small, love large and be happy. xo


Jerri-Lea said...

Great post Kate! We've had to work with a budget for a long time, it is sometimes difficult but our young daughters benefit from it... while out in the world they will rarely ask for something and even the peer pressure of what Johnny has at school hasn't influenced them. Hopefully that will continue through the years! We try to do inexpensive fun things together as a family because really family is what it's all about!

Jody said...

{HUGS} dear friend... you know I think you are wonderful!

Jenn said...

Love this post Kate!!! Totally hits home. Your passion is very inspiring! Now tell me all about this laundry soap your talking about on FB!

sassy said...

Super post Kate! I LOVE to save and rarely buy if it is not on sale-except for some food items like milk ect. Big purchases are always saved for I got my 1st credit card after I had a baby! (I needed it sign up for classes online!) I love blogs that have grocery challenges and point out all the sales each week at different stores. Eating our is crazy expensive and I think it is important to teach our kids that it is a treat not a right to eat out. McDreamy only ate hospital food at lunch before we met and after a few years of home made lunches he complains when he has to eat at work! I would love to hear more tips from you about how you save in s'toon!

Pam said...

I love your post Kate.
I just had a discussion with a friend about working part-time or staying at response "not with the lifestyle we are used of living" and now I read your post and feel like it could be done (with serious life changes). Once I graduated school and started paying off loans I soon realized that I would be working for a long time (the joys of going to school in the USA when our dollar was worth 54 cents) but when it is paid off we could probably afford it.
I must admit that I do waste money! I love designer jeans and starbucks chai tea! both crazy expensive...but my new years resolution has been to take my lunch to work (a savings of $250 plus dollars a month)!
I really need to talk to you more about a budget!
You amaze me!!!!

Jerri-Lea said...

Kate, what'd you say about giving us some pointers?

Johanna said...

Hello Deary! Just want to let you know that I awarded you with a blog award. Hope you haven't received it in the past. Check my blog to see what it's all about!

Johanna said...

this is a great post Kate- thank you! I just checked out Gail V-O.'s blog, what a great resource! I'll be looking at that again and again.

Leica Forrest said...

Kate this was such a wonderful post! I love that knowing you, you are very true to this post. It is refreshing. I do have a credit card and only 1. It is the same one I got when I was 17. I too definitely fall sucker to Starbucks, and shoes/handbags. but with 3 kids, realistically, the things I used to work so much overtime for, really aren't huge priority anymore. I look forward to trying the laundry soap, admire your little changes, but the diaper one, I just couldn't do. sorry doll , love ya, but this momma is touching the least amount of poop EVAH! BAd Leica!!!!!

KMP Photography said...

I love that show too! She has a book and it took me a long time to break down and buy it because it costs $$$$. However, the cheapest place is Costco so thought if I do buy it, I am paying the least amount of $$$. Yes, I have gone through her blog, printed out all the handy sheets of budgeting and been trying. One of the best tips from Gail, live on cash!! It is so amazing how you can get through a week with cash only.

To a fellow Gail peeps!!

Saucy said...

Coupons! I could not live without my coupons. Gone are the good 'ol days when they doubled them at Coop and Safeway. Sometimes, with careful planning, I'd leave the store with a cartful of groceries for ten dollars or less. I think they stopped it because of me :(

Dollarama RULES!!! xoxo