I think that is one of the most important questions you could ask yourself when it comes time to go over your budget. If you are having trouble making ends meet, what are you willing to give up? Is it one big thing? Or is it 4 small things? Nothing?
This is really a very important thing to consider. As Americans (sorry to international readers, but I can only comment on what I see here!), we are used to getting what we want, when we want it. New TV for nothing down and no payments for a year? You can get that almost anywhere. New $400,000 house for a monthly payment of only $800? Sure, try on this 5 year interest only loan. You want it, we will figure out a way for you to get it. But if you think beyond that minimum payment, can you truly afford it? I mean….really afford it? And can you live without it? Do you actually need it, or just want it?
I have written before about what we gave up in order to move to the beach. It was not a decision that was taken lightly..some of these were difficult things to get over. And after we moved here and I started working from home, I took it one step further: we got rid of one of our cars. Another huge sacrifice. Granted, I have gotten over it now and am used to walking/biking/busing anywhere I need to go. But at first, being without a car was very strange…I have always had a car ever since I was 16 years old. And there I was at 34 without one. My friends gave me crap about it, but they also were supportive and started considering their own needs. Doing some quick math, I am guessing by making these sacrifices (in order to pay the rent!) we started saving over $1,000 a month or so. A huge savings, but at a huge initial cost to our lifestyle that took a while to get used to.
Don’t ever say that you cannot save money, because you can. Everyone can. Everyone. It doesn’t really matter if you are broke as broke can be or as rich as Bill Gates…you can save $1.00. $2.00. $3.00. It pains me to see families on TV living paycheck to paycheck, but behind them on the wall is a 42″ plasma TV. Families saying they are having a hard time paying the bills, but their leased Hummer is out in the driveway. It’s all about sacrifice…being able to pay the bills, feed your family, go on vacation…these are the important things. Give up that 2nd Coke at work, save $1.00. $1.00 X 30 days = $30. $30 X 12 months = $360. $360 X 3 years = $1,080…a small vacation for your family. All for the price of giving up a Coke a day. Or a Snickers bar. Or whatever.
So next time you feel like you are in a money crunch or are having trouble making ends meet, think about where every last penny is going. Want inspiration? Check out this series over at The Frugal Duchess. She is trying to save $2.00 a day…can you do it too?