Frugal Living

Budgeting Fun

July 12th, 2007 by Alex  |  Published in Finances, Frugal Living  |  1 Comment

Part of our family budget that really “sells” it in our minds is our personal fun money. When my wife and I were about to get married, her bishop gave us some advice that we always keep a budget, and to set aside part of that monthly money for our own personal money that we wouldn’t have to account to our spouse for. We decided to call it our “fun money” because we’re supposed to use it for things that are fun rather than on day-to-day things. For some reason my wife likes to use this money to save up for “fun furniture”, and I’ve finally learned to accept that because that’s fun for her. In the meantime, I spend most of mine on video games and computer stuff, and it really helps me to budget my fun expenses. Without it, our family budget seems more like a chore, but when we make a game out of saving for our fun items, it becomes much more enjoyable.

Better late than never

July 10th, 2007 by Alex  |  Published in Finances, Frugal Living  |  Write Comment

Our family recently experienced a setback in our take-home pay. Although this may sound like a big concern, we’re actually pretty excited because it means we’re investing in our long term future.

My employer has promised to match our contributions to our 401(k), but even after working here a year I never got around to doing it. I always figured that since I’m still in school that it didn’t make any sense to put money into a retirement account. I read over personal finance articles that prompted me to take advantage of this free money, and I even heard the same thing from my parents and in-laws. Why didn’t we do it earlier? Laziness, pride, fear: take your pick. I guess I figured I really needed this money now, but when I look at our family budget, it would be easy to make a few sacrifices here and there in order for us to invest in a retirement account. I told the greedy part of me that this meant I would be doubling that money since it was matched by my employer. When I finally made the change it took less than ten minutes to do, but I can never get back the free money I could have had by doing it earlier.

What little things can you sacrifice to make big changes in your future? Do you have a family budget? That’s a sacrifice of just a few 15-minute periods a week to keep it updated after you create it. Do you have any food storage for emergencies? Buying an extra can or two of your most-used food items each time you’re at the store can help you start your food storage by spreading out the cost.

Website Profile: Freecycle.org

May 4th, 2007 by Alex  |  Published in Frugal Living, Website Profile  |  Write Comment

In chatting with her friends, my wife recently discovered Freecycling at Freecycle.org. It’s a great concept, and especially useful for people at our stage in life when we’re about to move into a slightly larger place. Basically, you join a mailing list through the site and the people on that mailing list share the items with others who may need them before getting rid of them. In the few days since we’ve joined, we’ve seen messages every day for different things, and we’ve even received a nice, comfy couch for our new place!

Share and Share Alike

We occasionally accumulate our own “stuff” that we can’t always use, so it’s great to have a resource like this that we can go to share what we have as a community, which helps us all keep down the clutter in our lives. Freecycle.org has a large community, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that our small town not only has a list of its own, but a few hundred people subscribed are subscribed to the list.