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Your Budget: Rethink Modern Day “Necessities” – Part II


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6.  Frequent restaurant meals:  Yes, dining out is convenient.  But done regularly, it can also be awfully expensive.  Deep down, you know that with a little planning and prep work, you can save a lot of money by cooking at home.  You may also find that staying at hone is relaxing, and chances are, most of your home cooked dishes will be healthier than restaurant meals.

7.  Full complement of gadgets, devices, games, and channels:  It’s nice to have (literally) hundreds of channels to flip through.  But how many of them do you actually watch?  Would you be just as satisfied with a much less expensive video-streaming subscription?  And what about “toys” like tablets, smartphones, and video game systems?  While they’re entertaining and often legitimately useful, how much of your time and attention do they take up?  Think about what you’re not getting done and the time your family is not spending with one another.  At the very least, it might be time to set screen time limits, and to stop purchasing each new update for your gadgets.

8.  Lavish vacation:  How often have you booked a trip to some overhyped destination just because it’s what you do every year . . . or because it’s what the neighbors are doing . . . or because you’re seduced by a slick ad promising a “discounted” (but still pricey) air fare and hotel rate . . . or because you think you “deserve” it?  But the truth is, these trips rarely live up to our expectations . . . and the residual bills haunt us long after we’ve left Paradise behind.  Be honest.  Would a couple of long weekends in a rustic cabin in the mountains be nearly as enjoyable as a blowout trip to a fancy resort?

9.  Constant parade of extracurricular activities for your kids:  These days, some kids are busier than many adults.  Between school, homework, sports, music lessons, volunteering, and more, they’re “working” the equivalent of 70 or 80 hour weeks.  The truth is that enrolling your children in 2 or 3 activities each is causing you to spend yourself silly and it stressing out everyone involved (especially your kids, whom all of this is supposed to benefit most).  Your intentions are good, but it might be time to cut back.  Allow your children to choose 1 or 2 activities each – and if it’s something inexpensive like YMCA soccer (as opposed to a traveling team), so much the better.  Be sure to use some of your newfound free time to do something meaningful as a family, whether that’s game night or a trip to the park.

10.  Gym membership:  Belonging to a gym and participating in various types of exercises is healthy.  But unless you’re a devoted, enthusiastic attendee of each spin or Pilates class, consider dropping that gym membership.  Do you really use it enough to justify the expense?  Plus, walking is free, and exercise videos are cheap.  You might even be able to start a neighborhood walking club and get to know your neighbors!

With the rising costs of healthcare gas, and food which are out of your control, it’s important to put real thought into the parts of your budget you can control!  The first step is to realize that “things” rarely bring us joy including those our culture tells us we need.  When we make changes based on our real values, we’re more in control, which translates to real happiness.

Article courtesy of Donna Skeels Cygan and RIS Media

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