Friday, February 24, 2012

Frugal Friday: Take Care of the Pennies

I tried to find out who this saying is attributed to and it looks like no one is certain. Some versions say "Take care of the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves". Either way, the message is clear. If we control the small spending, the large spending will be controlled as well.

Here are a few ways you can watch your pennies:
  1. Avoid frivolous spending - you know the kind! The 50 cent candy bar, the emergency drink stop at 7-eleven, the nickels and dimes that float away without you noticing. Those things really do add up! If you stop every day at 7-eleven for a 68 cent Big Drink that amounts to about $250 a year! That's a lot of money. Those kinds of things not only add up money-wise, they also add up health-wise and pretty soon you've got a larger waistline and a smaller wallet, and it's really just not worth it.
  2. Avoid impulse buying - don't go shopping when you're hungry, don't buy something that you don't need just because it catches your eye, and always think about a purchase before buying it. What will be the value of this purchase to you in a week? A Month? A Year? When I'm fighting an impulse buy I always ask myself, do I love it? Will I still love it in a year? What will the maintenance on this item be like? Those kinds of questions usually make me realize that I don't love it, I don't need it and I really don't want the maintenance that will result from buying it.
  3. Watch Your Spending during "Sales" - I know I've mentioned this before, but it really deserves to be mentioned again. Everybody loves a good sale! Myself included. But you have to be careful not to buy more than you need, just because something is on sale. Don't buy two of an item just because it's on sale when one would do just fine.
  4. Waste Not - Turn off lights when they're not in use, squeeze the last of the toothpaste out of the tube, just use your resources wisely.
  5. Use less - Use less toothpaste, less shampoo, less soap, less toilet paper, less dish soap, less laundry soap, less paper towels, less light bulbs, the list goes on and on...consuming less may seem like pennies, but those pennies add up too!
  6. Buy fewer clothes - Do you ever feel like clothes multiply when you're not looking (except maybe socks which always seem to disappear)? I think most of us buy more clothes than we or our children need. If you put a limit on the number of clothes in your closets, it will save you a lot more than just the money to buy them up front. It also saves you money by having less laundry to do AND it saves you a lot of time and hassle in laundry, messes, and maintenance. 
When I think about this topic, I think about some people who are examples of this to me. They lived these principles every day of their lives and I see how it made a difference. 

When my Mom was growing up, my Grandfather worked as an umpire on Saturdays to earn a little extra money for his family. One particularly hot, Arizona afternoon he was walking home, sweat pouring off of him. He thought about how good an ice cone would taste right then and tried to justify buying it. It was only a nickel! But he knew he couldn't buy it. His family could make much better use of that nickel than he could.  

While my Grandfather never could be considered rich in his lifetime he was always able to provide for his family's needs. And taking care of those pennies, nickels and dimes is what really made the difference. I hope that we all can look for more ways to take care of those pennies so that the dollars can take care of themselves. Doing so will help us create a healthy family, just like it did for my grandpa.

What about you? Do you have any tips on how to watch your pennies? Are there people in your life that have been an example of this to you?

Linked to: Frugal Friday


Kristin said...

We've been really slack in watching our pennies lately. Thanks for the reminder and for sharing at Frugal Friday!

April said...

pennies do add up!

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