As you prepare for marriage, it will be important to learn how to stretch a dollar (or, whatever the currency is in your country!). You may already be accustomed to making money stretch, but if you are not pinching pennies now, there will likely be some point in your life and future marriage when money will be tight. Whether you are barely scraping by, making a decent living, or enjoying the abundance of your parents’ wealth while you finish college, learning to make money stretch is a good skill to develop.
Am I asking you to give up your morning coffee or to cancel your cable? Not necessarily. If you have the money and you are able to purchase such items without feeling a financial pinch, then, by all means, enjoy them.
What I am suggesting is that you notice how much you are currently wasting. Do you grab a handful of napkins when one or two will do the job? Do you use sandwich bags once and throw them away whether they are dirty or not? Are you in the habit of turning off lights when you leave a room or does the outside of your home look like a lighthouse?
Could grocery store plastic bags line the garbage can in your bedroom instead of a trash bag? The little we waste here and there adds up to a lot of squandered money over time; but, the good news is the little we save here and there add up to a lot of saved money over time. If you get accustomed to conserving goods now, you will be able to save that money for a later time. Also, if you are used to a lifestyle of moderation, it won’t be a shock to your system if you are forced to live that way for a season (e.g., laid off from work, unexpected medical expenses appear, etc.).
Whatever your current circumstances, find ways to cut costs. This does not mean to sacrifice quality to save a few pennies unless it’s necessary. But, buy the sturdy plastic plates to rinse them off and reuse them if they were only used for a dry food (e.g., cookies, bread, etc.). Strong plastic cutlery can be washed repeatedly and used at work, outside on a picnic, or anywhere that you are not trying to impress someone. ~smile~ (It’s also safer than losing silverware!)
Notice how much water you are using. Don’t keep the fridge open for long periods of time. Consider warming up with fuzzy socks and a blanket instead of a space heater. Space heaters will drive your electric bill through the roof! If we keep our space heater on, Eric calculated that it costs us $4 per hour! One time I forgot and left it on in the downstairs bathroom (which we rarely use) and I discovered it was still on a day and a half later. Let’s just say our electric bill doubled that month and that was the last time I did that.
Be on the lookout for little ways to save. There are 9 simple things you can do to save money above. You may even enjoy the challenge! Observe how friends and family cut costs. Make a list if it will help to keep you organized. Once you have about a hundred cost cutting ideas, send your list to your friends. You will be an inspiration! ~smile~ It is the little things like this that can be conserved so that the money saved can be used for other things that are much more fun!
What ways are you currently cutting costs? Share a few (or your hundred!) ideas with us!