How Do You Do It?

One of the most frequently asked questions is, “How do you do it with so many children?”  My response—You do what you want! We have never driven new cars, followed the latest clothing fads or had a large entertainment budget for dining out, going to the theater etc.

OK, I admit that with 8 still at home, living on a tight budget until our house sells, we have cut back on extras. But, I have willingly accepted this challenge and enjoy seeing how far things stretch!
My advice to anyone wanting to live within their means and have financial freedom is:
Write All Expenditures Down. I mean everything! It does not matter how large or small–BE HONEST!

Being an old fashioned, pen and pencil sort of gal, I have a  notebook (my Budget Book) with columns spanning 2 pages to organize my spending. Categories include:

  • Standard (tithe, rent, insurance, utilities, phone)
  • Food
  • Gas
  • Clothing
  • Pets
  • School
  • Medical
  • Cleaning
  • Miscellaneous

Under each category, I make notes beside each entry as to what or where it was incurred (ex: Misc-$4.50-batteries or Food-$20.00-Walmart) I know there is software available that is very effective but then… it’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks!

Be honest and write it all!

Analize Your Expenses. After a month, look at where the money is being spent. Begin looking for areas to cut down. I will post personal examples of this in the future.

Simple measure often help tremendously, such as, turning off lights or ceiling fans to decrease the electric bill (which can be a task with little ones around!), not window-shopping in front of the refrigerater…..

Distinguish Needs vs Wants. This can be difficult in our culture! Peer pressure and selfishness can make this distinction very cloudy. Simplifying our lives has helped me as we have gotten back to quality family time and viewing “treats” as just that, treats for special times.

There are great financial resource available to help anyone who desires to live in financial freedom.

There are many methods of organizing your finances, for example: envelopes with the category and amount of money placed inside at the beginning of the month. When the envie is empty–that’s all until next month!
The notebook works for me and that is my point.: Use What Works For You and Stick With It.
Like many things in our lives, self-control is needed. It takes self-control to go through receipts and organize expenses and it takes self-control not to make spontaneous purchases. Form the habit of thought-out, deliberate purchases as opposed to those made on a whim.

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  1. Your Frugal Friend, Niki says:

    Fab post! I whole heartedly agree.


  2. Dina-Marie says:

    Thanks, it has worked for me!

  3. This is great common sense advice. It seems like something my parents would talk about, but this is timeless. I wish stuff like this was taught in schools. Thank you.

  4. Budgeting is very important. Make sure you have accounted everything, or else, there will be nothing left for you at the end of the day. A budget book is very important! :)


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