Frugal tips and thoughts

My name is Laura. DH and I have 2 sons, ages almost-9 and almost-5. We’d like to adopt a 3rd child sometime in 2001, too. And that requires lots of saving!

We live about 3 miles from downtown Atlanta. I’m a technical writer, and just started month 13 of a 24-month project. I would like to take lots of time off when this project is done, and am saving like crazy so we won’t miss my income. I was an active poster on the old CB list, and had to go no mail when things got very, very busy earlier this summer. Came back and it was gone – good thing I found you guys!

I really appreciate the encouragement I get from reading about other people who share my frugal outlook on life. Our culture is so stuff-oriented, and it’s hard to buck that trend. It’s also hard to raise kids to be frugal when their friends are walking around in shoes that cost more than my car payment!

My latest project is buying some nice 2nd hand furniture. We’re using the same stuff we had in our 20’s (early American Mom’s basement), and it’s time to upgrade. I went idea-shopping with a friend Saturday afternoon, and we hit a bunch of furniture places, just to see what’s out there. I’ve never shopped for new furniture, and boy is it expensive. No way I’m spending that kind of $$$!

As for frugal tips, here goes: 1) Never buy new if you can find the same thing used. Your money will go so much further because someone else paid retail first. 2) Never make a major purchase without sleeping on it first.

No impulse buying! The only exception is planned major purchases, where you’ve done your homework and allocated funds from your budget. Then, when you find a deal, grab it before someone else does! 3) Treat yourself to small indulgences so you won’t feel deprived.

I think #3 is especially true when time’s are hard. If your I’m-getting-out-of-debt-or-else budget is too restrictive, you won’t stick with it. Buy a new lipstick occasionally, go out to dinner, or whatever makes you feel pampered. Allocate a few bucks for fun money. It’s better to plan to spend $10 or $20 than to feel angry and deprived and charge $200.

Finally, read Financial Peace. It’s a great book!

Laura in Atlanta