Friday, February 1, 2008

You call that budgeting?

I get really annoyed sometimes with budgeting articles whose best money-saving tips are "Get rid of your maid service" and "Stop buying Starbucks coffee on your way to work".

Before I rant, I will admit that I'm very blessed. We have a house, and some truly poor folks might see our recent purchase of a second vehicle as a major indulgence. To me, however, (a mother with two children who does not relish the idea of pushing the huge double stroller through Main St.'s unshovelled winter sidewalks), some former luxuries are now necessities.

Having said that, purchasing said vehicle gives us a newfound sense of poverty. Our financial management strategy consists of figuring out which bills are due before the next paycheck and avoiding bouncing rubber checks off the bottom of our bank account. In other words, there's not much fat to trim.

So here are more budget-trimming ideas I commonly see and find truly amusing:

1. Cut off your landline. Since everyone in your family has his or her own cell phone, you could save about $50 a month and (poor you) have one less phone number to remember.

2. Eat out less. We know you're too lazy to cook dinner most of the time, but eating out at restaurants every night will seriously dent your cigarette fund. So stop it! Start buying groceries and make dinner at least twice a week.

3. Take cheap vacations. Your idea of a good time may be to fly first class all the way to your chalet in the Swiss Alps, but you can probably cut back and still have a good time. Fly coach. Have your wine brought to the refrigerator in your room.

4. Do your kids really need those designer clothes? Kiddie boutiques can be pricey. Rest assured, your snobby children will still have friends in Levi's. Just don't tell their mothers that you bought their outfits at the mall so you can have friends, too.

5. Get a cheaper cable package. We know your 500 + channels look great on your new 50-inch flat screen, but you can't watch all those channels at once. You can find a reasonable cable package with over 100 channels for much less.

Reality check.

1. We don't have any cell phones except for the one Mark uses for work, issued to him by his employer.

2. Eating out? What's that? Is that what people do when they go to Wendy's and get something from the dollar menu?

3. I remember we took a vacation to Canada once, about two years ago, when my generous mother paid for two of the plane tickets.

4. Consignment stores and department store clearance shelves are the new cool, baby.

5. Rabbit ears on top of in-laws' reject TV.


Sara & Company said...

LOL....that totally makes me laugh. I always get so stupidly excited when I see ways of cutting back on spending and then reality hits......not only am I already doing most of them, I am doing even more. Living in an unrealistic budget is oh so fun, isn't it!!! Hope you are doing well.

The AZ McMillans said...

I totally agree Kaylie! When we go over the budget it's not, "Hmmm, Christie, could you please stop buying your daily Starbucks" or "Maybe we should cut back on the cable." We don't have cable. We don't have cell phones. And we don't visit Startbucks (although sometimes I sure need one in the mornings - dang no coffee rule).

Christine said...

That is classic! Someone once said, "Well, you can cut out some of your children's extra activities." Umm ... well, we are currently not being charged for them to play with sticks in the backyard ... so that won't be much help! ha!