Thursday, December 13, 2007

Little Things Mean A Lot

There isn't a lot we can do on a daily (or even weekly or monthly) basis that will result in a substantial, immediate improvement in our financial situation. We're planning to refinance our home in a few months to a get a better interest rate, and I'll be going to work in January, adding substantially to our income. Unfortunately, those opportunities don't come along every day, and it sometimes feels as if we're just treading water instead of moving forward toward our goal to become debt-free.

Therefore, we spend a great deal of our time focusing on the small stuff. I plan meals ahead of time to save a few dollars a week on groceries. I take time to monitor our monthly utility usage to make sure we aren't using more resources than necessary. We recently switched bank accounts to earn a couple of dollars in interest each month. Unfortunately, because the impact of each small change is so subtle, many people don't believe the effort expended toward small savings are worth the payoff.

I disagree. Small savings add up over the long run. Opportunities for small savings happen daily, several times daily, in fact. They are easily performed and controlled. They are risk-free investments. Generally, all they cost is a little bit of time and forethought.

Not only do small savings help us feel as if we're doing something to improve our lot, they help us develop other frugal habits and they allow us to practice good stewardship. We believe both skills are valuable in our fight against debt. Little things often have a positive impact on our environment, as well.

As a new feature here, at the bottom of each post, I'm going to list one "little thing" either Shane or I did to save money that day, and one "little thing" one of us did to either save time or make our lives more simple.


A Little Thing To Save Money: When the dishwasher hit the dry cycle, I opened the door, letting warm air and much-needed moisture out into the cool, dry house.

A Little Thing To Save Time: After grocery shopping today, instead of putting my meat purchases into the freezer, I went ahead and cooked four entrees, cooled them and packaged them for the freezer. I had time to cook today; we'll enjoy my efforts on a day when time is at a premium.


Becky..Absent Minded Housewife said...

My most recent sewing machine was paid for using pennies, nickels and dimes saved in a gallon glass jar. That sewing machine has paid for itself nearly 100 times over.

My vacuum was paid for out of change too.

Oh, and our DVD player, back when you couldn't buy them for thirty bucks.

Our most recent change count netted us $450 which went into an old coffee can to save for a family trip.

On your meat cooking tip. I buy bulk hamburger. When I get home I mush all this hamburger in water in a big stock pot and cook it. Then I drain it and put it in sour cream and cottage cheese containers I've saved then they go in the freezer. That's enough fine crumbled browned degreased hamburger to make an entree from. Four to five minutes in the microwave and the hamburger is defrosted and ready to use.

Donna said...

Every little bit helps! I to have a jug to save loose change in. Have a great weekend!

Annie Jones said...

Becky: Those are great examples! And as for the beef, I do that, too, sometimes. It's a real time saver.

Donna: We hardly ever have change anymore (because of debit card purchases). Most change we get ends up being Kat's allowance. :)