Friday, April 16, 2010

Receipt Review

Wow - already mid April.  I can't believe it has been 3-1/2 months since we have purchased a DVD or a pair of shoes or even a simple T-shirt.  Those things really haven't been much of a temptation - as I said before the beautiful summer annuals have been torture to avoid, however.  For those of you thinking you could never do this yourselves, think again.  We had serious doubts before we began - we wondered if we would make it through the first month, in fact.  How would we handle birthdays?  What would we do for Easter baskets for the children?  And yet, a solution has always been found that did not involve buying some "thing."  We are, no doubt, a materialistic society.  Our family is no exception to stuffitis.  This is simply our effort to slow down the knee-jerk reaction of 'throwing it in the cart' just because it's cute, it's new, it's cool, etc.  I've heard myself say a hundred times, "it's on sale" or "it's only $3.00."  These bargains add up after a while.  If you have more month at the end of your money, take a moment to review your most recent purchases - look at the receipts.  You will surely see little items that costs a dollar or two.  Add all those up over a period of one month and see how much that totals up to.  You might be unpleasantly surprised.  But you have the ultimate authority over this.  You can change it.  If you can't commit to such a drastic change as ours, commit to one month.  If you can't commit to one month without purchasing stuff, commit to two weeks.  Start where you are comfortable.  Little changes can provide big rewards!  Even if you don't 'need' to save any money, wouldn't it be nice to know that you can exercise restraint?  That you can look at something, admire it, and walk away from it?  Try it just once over the next week or so.  Take the money you would have spent on the item - whether it is $3.00 or $30.00 and put it in an envelope.  Do this once a week for a month.  At the end of the month, take your secret stash and treat yourself or your family in some way.  Imagine if you did this for several months - depending on what you walk away from you might have quite a sum to use on a family outing, a special item or extra money for a trip.  But also, once you total up your stash, ask yourself if you even remember what it was that you had considered buying with that money but didn't.  Ask yourself how important that new book, or pants or sheet set is when you are laughing with your children on your trip to the zoo or sitting around a campfire at a state park you've always wanted to visit, or just splurging on a big steak dinner together.  Finally, ask yourself what that dollar is really worth to you.

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