Push back at the fear – 4 steps to save money this month
Here are 4 easy steps to save money that you can put into action today. These are a few of the things that I did, to get us out of living under the heavy burden of debt.
Debt breaks your spirit. Debt lays a heavy burden on your back so that no matter how much money goes through your hands, you feel poor. The best way to get rid of the fear and stress is to pay off your debt. And the best way to pay off your debt, steps to save money is to work at it one week at a time. It’s the little by little discipline that will get the job done and move you to the other side of the debt-free homestead. I wanted to share a few of the things that I did when we were $30,000 in debt, living on less than $25,000 a year and we paid off our debt in less than a year. No lie. In less than a year and living below the poverty line, we paid off our entire debt. If we can do it as a one-income family, homeschooling 3 children, you can do it, too. We’re debt-free since 1996. There is way less stress and way more freedom farming on a mortgage-free homestead and it leads to homestead abundance.
Here are 4 really easy steps to save money that you can take action on today. If you take these actions today, you will see results in the long term. Really, you will.
Steps to Save Money #1
Cancel the magazine subscriptions
Magazines, especially woman’s magazines are full of advertising. While you can get some great deals with magazine subscriptions, especially around Christmas time when the magazines are trying to build their subscriber lists, you don’t need the ads coming into the intimacy of your home. Read the articles online, where you’ve trained your mind to ignore the ads. Don’t let them come into your home. Once you’ve got the magazine in your most intimate space, the ads can work on your subconscious mind, planting subversive thoughts, and seeds of discontentment. Before you know it you feel unhappy and it’s insidious unhappiness that can only be fixed if you throw money at it. Don’t buy it (pun intended). Get rid of the magazines. And the feelings of discontentment will lose their power. Bonus, with fewer magazines there is less clutter in your home to deal with. For those magazines that you can’t live without — try an online subscription, where the ads will have less power over your subconscious mind.
Steps to Save Money #2
Get the catalogues out of the house
Did you notice that when you got the magazine subscriptions, catalogues started coming in the mailbox, too? There’s a reason. The same subliminal advertising that works in magazines also works in catalogues. When an advertisement enters your home, your most intimate space, it has already won the fight against your defences. You will spend less money, guaranteed, if you don’t have catalogues in your home.
What about seed catalogues? You will buy more seed and larger packages if the seed catalogues come to your house. When you are working at getting out of debt, you will spend less if you order your seeds online or buy them at the garden centre, rather than browsing through the glossy pages of the seed catalogues.
Steps to Save Money #3
Pay off your bills before the due date.
This should be a no brainer. If you pay your bills a week late, you will have a penalty to pay along with the bill. Pay the bill a week early and you will pay the amount on the bill. But in spite of this very easy step to save money, there is a mental block about writing that monthly check to the utility company or the credit card company and so you put it off. The delay is costly. Pay yourself that money instead and pay your bills before the due date.
Steps to Save Money #4
Celebrate your victories by going out to dinner and pay cash
Yes, you heard me right. When you pay off a bill or put down a huge chunk against your mortgage, you need to take time to celebrate with your whole family. Too often we stop celebrating when we are striving to get out of debt and you can get into a poverty mindset, refusing to spend money on frivolities. That mindset gives a strong message to your whole family that money is more important than they are. It tells them that you are poor. It tells them that there is nothing to be happy about or to celebrate because you are poor. Once that mindset has taken root it’s really hard to get rid of it. It can damage you and your kids for life. Celebrate your victories by going out for dinner and you remind yourself that the fight against debt is a temporary fight. You remind yourself and your kids that life is good and that there is lots of food and lots of money. You remind yourself that the blessings of God are endless and infinite in your life. God is a good God. You remind yourself that money is a tool, to celebrate and honour your family and others with, as well as to pay for daily necessities — which includes the necessity of getting out of debt.
When our boys were 7 and 10 years old they played floor hockey on a team. After the weekly practices the other parents took their kids out to MacDonalds, but we took our boys home to eat. My youngest asked, “Why don’t we go out to MacDonalds? Is it because we’re poor?” That’s the kind of question that cuts a parent’s heart. Celebrate with your kids once in a while and make the celebration purposeful and deliberate. This will prevent them from adopting a poverty mindset and will increase your special family culture. You don’t need to go out after every practice, but you do need to celebrate with them. And always pay cash, not plastic, when you celebrate. Pay yourself first.
These tips may not make a huge difference to you at first. But over the long haul, you’ll see a difference in your finances just by getting the magazines, and catalogues out of your home and by paying your bills on time. Give these steps to save money a try, leave a comment and tell me how it worked for you.
Blessings on your homestead journey.
my husband and I graduated with school loans… we did not buy a ” new” car until my loan was paid off ..by putting an extra $20 to $100 a month on it.. we paid it off in 5 years instead of 10, we then bought a newer car, ( yes more debt but it was needed) we used “my school loan” money and added it to my husband’s payments… which then got paid off in 8 years ( which was 3 years after mine). When our car payments are done, I keep ” paying ” them… just putting them in a savings account so I never get out of the habit of having that loan , when the time comes to replace car, I now have a hefty down payment to make plus I don’t go crazy cause all of a sudden I have a car payment I am not used to.
bonnie phillips says
Due to unemployment, I live very simply. This has taught me to distinguish between wants and true needs. With these lessons learned, I will never go back to my old ways, though I might opt to have heat (really!). Some changes that I have found really helpful:
– reduce or eliminate TV watching. The shows present an unrealistic picture of how most people live, and can induce a spirit of “want” or envy, even more so with the commercials. The less you let this influence your mind, the more content you will be.
– reduce your trips out. The more often you leave your home on an errand, the more likely you are to shop, even for something minor. Do not stroll the mall (except as exercise) or shop for recreation. The store displays are designed to increase “want”, too. Plan your trip and shopping list, then stick to it (or at least try). You will save money on gas, too.
– do not be seduced by sales. There is an implyicit pressure to “buy now, on sale.” Unless it is something you truly NEED, and need TODAY, wait. Trust. me, there will be other sales. With online sales, wait a few days and see if the urge to own that special something passes. (My passions are books and yarn, but I never even consider a purchase less than 40% off.) With groceries and household goods, most sales are repeated every 6-8 weeks, When you stock up, shop to your actual needs.
I hope you find these ideas helpful. I wish you deep peace.
Kristi @Let This Mind Be in You says
Great advice, Chris! We are living debt free, and I can tell you that it feels SO good to know that all of the money we have is actually ours! Go you guys! 😀
Thanks for the blog hop! 🙂
~Kristi@Let This Mind Be in You
Our road to becoming debt free was a tough one. It was forced on us due to under employment. Debts that accumulated when we both had good paying full time jobs – and paychecks to pay for them. It took a complete mindset change. WE WERE NOT POOR – we were paying by cash! We were living within our means – It worked. We set out a very strict budget based on the limited income we had. We did not have money for frivolous spending actually very little free spending at all. We identified the credit cards that HAD to be done away with – payed $40 or $50 or even $20/ month, month after month we did it until they no longer existed. of course we cut them up in the first place so there was not temptation to use them. We drove the same car for 10 yrs – and we lived in the same house for 25yrs. It was not easy – But it did work. & it did not happen overnight or in 1 yr. But it did happen. I think all too often when people think of being debt free the get fixated on the whole $ amount and think the only way to handle it would be in Huge chunks which can seem impossible – well I am here to say – chipping away in small amounts works too.
Joybilee Farm says
Awesome, Cheryl, thanks for sharing your story. Nice to see you here, too. (chris)
Good point to celebrate when we’ve made a step ahead. I need to do that with my family.
My parents raised 10 children and were new immigrants, its was tough but my mom would buy a treat from the bakery on Saturday mornings. It was when we’d clean the house and a more relaxed day. Going out for dinner is out of the question but we can all come up with something special.