We all share our money from time to time. Sometimes we share more than we should. Sometimes we share with those that would take advantage of us. It can be difficult to deny help to those we care about, but it can also be difficult when we lend more than we can really afford to write off. How do we balance our needs and the needs of our friends? Here are a few tips.
Ask For Their Budget
If you are going to be helping a friend or family member financially it can be awkward asking them about their budget. Instead ask what they need the money for. Your friends may view what a need is differently than you and your family. It’s okay to find out if you are keeping their Netflix subscription active when dipping into the grocery money to help them. If you find that their need isn’t really a need, you don’t need to justify not lending them money. Simply say that you wish you could help but that your budget is tight as well.
Buy It Personally
When you have a friend or family member that may not spend your money as they have said they would, but have a valid reason to ask, consider making the payment or purchase personally. For example, if a sibling claims to need diaper money, but you know that diaper money has gone to something else in the past, don’t give them money. Buy them diapers. Should they have a bill that needs to be paid, pay it online for them personally, rather than putting money into their account.
Military members are familiar with this acronym. In this case we’ll say it means cover your assets. Do not leave your account information on a friends computer. Do not give them access to your credit card information. While all of us would like to believe a family member or friend is trustworthy, it is better to be safe with your assets than proven wrong.
When financial help is not a gift set a specific day that you expect the money to be paid back. Do not loan more money to the same friend unless previous loans have been paid back. Remember, you have a budget that you need to live with as well. It’s not mean to say no, it’s caring for your needs and your family’s needs first.
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Money comes and goes, but it feels like debt is always with us. It’s something that I know most people would like to change. It can be confusing though, when trying to juggle bills while paying off bills. What should we pay off first? Here is how we dealt with debt as a family.
Perhaps it’s a twenty dollar tool bill at work or an arrears balance in our health care. Paying off little items often goes a long way financially. We may only have to pay twenty dollars per paycheck, but depending on how frequent the paycheck comes out, it can save forty to eighty dollars monthly. It’s also good to pay off personal debts, such as money that a friend loaned us as soon as possible. It doesn’t just keep our debt low, it acknowledges our friend’s financial help as well as their potential financial issues.
Nothing feels more horrible than a company representative calling about an overdue bill. It’s important, however, not to avoid these calls. Let the person on the other end know what your financial situation is. They may be able to grant you a grace period. Then pay the bill off as soon as possible. It’s not just financially healthy. It keeps the lights on and water running.
There are many deals out there for credit cards that include a limited amount of time without interest, but then the interest goes up quite a bit. Interest can be a financial killer. We always ended up owing at least 10-20% more than we borrowed. It may not sound like much, but it can add up when the money is borrowed to begin with. The first bills we tried to pay off were those that had a high interest rate. For us these were our credit cards. High interest items can also include mortgage and vehicle payments. It might be tight for a few months, but it’s well worth getting these items out of the way.
Some traditions that we keep are time honored and have meaning. Others are culture driven stress builders. They serve little purpose and in the end consume many resources that could be used in a better way.
The diamond ring as an engagement ring is not only a recent development in history, it also has become quite an expensive tradition. The normal cost of a ring is said to be two months salary. Imagine what a broke young couple starting out could do with two months worth of money. Then there are the added costs from sizing, cleaning, and insurance. I have found as a young mom half the time I can’t even wear my ring because it doesn’t fit while I’m pregnant or I’m afraid I will scratch my young children while playing with them.
I’m not saying don’t get a ring, but get one that is less expensive or from a different stone. If you must have a fancy diamond ring, make it a goal for your 25th anniversary.
That Amusement Park Trip
You know which park I’m talking about. Most likely your children have hundreds of DVDs, toys, and even bedding with their name scrawled across it. They begin with a D (as in dollars) and ends in a Y (as in why would we spend $100 per person to get into a theme park?). They have cruises and resorts and hotels. People will stress over when to take their children and how to get there before the magic has died.
I promise you, it’s okay to let the magic die. I never visited that particular theme park until I was 24 years old on work related trip. From my adult eyes I could see that I hadn’t missed out on something essential to my childhood.
With the amount that you spend one of these trips there are thousands of other family memories that could be built with that money. Even better you could have numerous more affordable trips and a lot more fun for the price of that one.
It has become a tradition to buy a car for your child as a high school graduation, Christmas, or birthday gift. While I agree that a car should be safe and it may not be when paid with a part time high school job, the car doesn’t need to be new. Teenagers, even when doing their best will get into fender benders, misjudge the space between cars while parking, or drive fast when they are emotional. Let them break in a used car. If you still want to get them a new car do it for a college graduation. They will have gotten the hang of driving and will most likely need a new car by then.
I love living in this modern age. Gone are the days that we had to go outside to the outhouse to use the restroom. No more do we have to go out to the well or river to get our water. We have climate control in our homes… and we have homes! Modern life is good.
With that said, I also think it’s important to remember how to live without modern conveniences. You never know when it may become a useful tool for you and your family.
Don’t Go Disposable
This one seems fairly normal until you think of all the disposable items we use in our lives. We aren’t just talking about paper towels or cloth diapers. There are female hygiene products, baby wipes, and even toilet paper. In this day in age it seems crazy to even consider using a reusable product in place of these items. Instead imagine the money that can be saved buying these items. In a month we spend at least $110 dollars on disposable items that get flushed away or thrown away. This isn’t including the cost of garbage removal.
Using items that can be used over and over again may mean that your amount of laundry will go up. It also means buying the items and having a proper place to store them when they are clean or soiled. These, however, are often a one time expenses that pay for themselves within the first two months.
Yes, you can grow a garden and, in the right living setting, keep a goat and a few chickens for milk, eggs, and meat, but that’s not foraging. Foraging is when you go out and find food in the wild… or at least at a park. Doing this requires knowledge of edible plants and berries. It also requires a recognition of plants that are dangerous, not just a passing knowledge, but a certain knowledge of these topics. It’s also important to have an understanding of what certain wild herbs can do medically.
It’s also good to know what the community does regarding the area you are foraging. If you choose to forage in a place like a public park, know if they are sprayed with chemicals as part of their upkeep. Some places I have lived use fruit trees as decoration near sidewalks and roads. It’s important to know what the laws are regarding harvesting from these trees.
I’m talking about never buying anything that you can make. Make your own clothes, non disposable items, or even toys for children. Sometimes materials can be costly, but often the scraps can be used for something else. Learning to make certain items at the very least teaches us to be more self sufficient. You will almost always be able to give a unique gift with the skill you have learned. Most of all in times of financial hardship your skill can even save a good deal of money.
What old-fashioned ways do you use to save money?
There are times when a job change must occur, but for most of us, that isn’t a decision to be made lightly. Sometimes we don’t even know if we should stay or go. It can be more stressful than a break up. Can our finances hold up against a job change? Are there critical reasons we would need to stay? Here are a few reasons to leave a job.
A Better Job
It’s not bad to be looking at other opportunities when employed somewhere, but that doesn’t mean that job hopping every six months is a good idea. Weigh the pros and cons of each job opportunity. Better health care or paid vacation can be some good reasons for switching jobs. So can living closer to the job or the job being closer to where you want to live. Or you may just be interested in having higher pay.
The down side of a new job could be waiting until benefits kick in or moving. Perhaps there would be less pay and a lifestyle downsize. Only you and your family know what stituation is best for you.
Most people know something is changing at work by the whispering. Perhaps corporate managers have come in often. Co-workers start talking about conversations they have heard. They may even warn you that your name has come up. Every work place has a good amount of gossip, but it is always best to have a plan for being fired or laid off. How much do you have saved? How long will it cover your home expenses? Could you take a part time job while looking for a job in your field? These are important questions to ask before problems arise.
A Self Respect Change
This is more than just not liking your boss. A self respect change of job comes for unforeseen reasons. For example, if you are asked to do something unethical it may be that you need to leave your job when declining. Another reason to leave a job is unreasonable expectations. Perhaps you haven’t had a weekend off in two months, or are expected to work late more and more. It may even be that you are put through a guilt trip every time you try to get yourself or a family member to a doctor appointment. Sometimes it’s better to find employment where you are respected.
Crochet projects are a fun way to relieve stress. It’s also a way to provide useful items around the home. I enjoy making things for around the house, but I often get crafting tunnel vision. Sometimes I can’t see past making a blanket, toy, or hat. There are other places where crochet items could be useful. Lately, I have been focusing on the kitchen more. There are a few crochet projects that I have started using to make my kitchen more functional.
One good way to get a sponge to last longer is to use a crochet cover on it. It will still get bubbly when exposed to soapy water, but it will last longer. This also keeps the sponge from absorbing quite as much gunk. The only downside of using a sponge cover is that it is more difficult to de-soap. Making your cover a buttonable pouch can also be helpful if you ever have the need to use the sponge cover free.
Another little convenience is using a crochet rag as a cloth while doing dishes or cleaning the sink. It can still do all the scrubbing, but is gentler than steel wool. I recommend using a single stitch to make crochet cleaning rags. It makes them a little tighter and they seem to get more dirt off whatever surface you’re cleaning.
Making a square is easy enough in crochet. Making two and stitching them together isn’t all that difficult. I like to put a little padding between my front and bottom squares when making potholders. It helps me make extra sure that I won’t burn myself when removing a pan from the oven. Potholders can be made into all shapes and sizes that stay between the heated dish and a persons fingers. They are also good for setting pots or pans on when you don’t want water or heat damage to the dining room table.
I like video games that are capable of teaching me or my child a valuable lesson for life. This is why I don’t mind playing the Sims games. They aren’t just fun and let you live out certain dreams via computer screen, they also teach valuable lessons like time management and how to use certain skills to fit your needs best. Here are a few life lessons I hope my children learn when they play this game.
Things Are Expensive
Things that you would think cost very little to no money actually could cost much more than you expect. There are less expensive options for some items if you are willing to go with a basic design. If you pick the frugal characteristic for your Sim it helps you find coupons and discounts for classes and store items. There are even achievements that make travel less expensive, but you have to earn them. In short, things are expensive, and you need to look for a deal to get a deal.
You Need To Work
Your Sim must be doing something in order to earn money. They could write books, work a part time job, join the military, or teach a martial arts class. They can sell produce from their garden or fish from a fishing trip. They can even collect plants and bugs and sell them. It’s important to look for opportunities and use the ones that help you reach your goals
Any skill you learn in life is important. It could be home repair or cooking. Each skill has the capability to save your Sim money or make your Sim money. Some skills help with your goals, such as animal or child care. Without these skill your could be stuck with no money, overdue bills, and a very hungry Sim.
What games help your children learn the value of money?