I have been contemplating what it means to SAVE. Reading frugal blogs and websites I see the word over and over again. We say we went to the store, bought our goods using coupons and purchased items on sale and SAVED so much money. But where did that money go?
I say I SAVED thus and such all the time and get that frugal rush of beating the system and feeling like I came out on top. But what happened to that $5.74 that is listed on the grocery receipt? I for one do not take that "SAVINGS" and put it into a jar or account. Since I live on an extremely limited budget, I remain within my budget. But I have come to a new realization. If I spend so much time and energy or if it is my lifestyle to be frugal, I should take those SAVINGS and put them some where special and celebrate my efforts.
What would happen at the end of the year if all the money that was SAVED on grocery receipts was actually set aside? How much would it be? Would it be the retirement money I wish I had? Would it make a significant addition to my savings account? Would it create an emergency fund? Would it add to my preparedness stores? Think of what you could do with all that money!
So thinking about SAVED money I had to face the reality that what I called SAVED money is often a choice I am making to use one method or service over another. For example, I am using free wood free firewood to heat my home this winter and therefore SAVING on my electric bill . I canceled my trash service and now walk my trash to my Mother's home three doors down and SAVE on that bill. I cut my electrical usage and again SAVE on my electric bill. I do my laundry and use the dishwasher at night to SAVE. Am I just gettting an emotional rush from the grocery receipt when some of those items are not really needed and were only purchased because they were on sale or because I had a coupon? The list goes on and on. You know the drill. My contemplation brought me the awareness that I have been missing a huge opportunity to really SAVE money. Instead of just creating a more lean budget, I should budget the actual cost of some of these services take the difference and apply it to a real SAVINGS account. Am I the only one who has not really done this? Was I absent the day this was taught in school?
Are all you Frugalistas and Coupon Queens really taking those receipts and putting those SAVED pennies and dollars inot a jar when you get home? At the end of the month when I look at my checking account and add up what is left in my wallet I just simply smile, feel great, pat myself on the back for a job well done and forward the balance to next month's budget and realize I have a cushion. What I really should do is take that cushion and move it to a SAVINGS account.
This ephiany came to me in the bathroom like a hit on the head. I happen to like to read in the bathroom and always have a magazine handy for my quiet moments. In this month's Woman's Day, (the subcription came from my Mother who was offered two subscriptions for the price of one) the cover boasts SAVE $2,010 in 2010 read article . There were some great ideas for the normal family. But since I don't daily buy coffee out any more or buy paper towels or have childcare costs or have a gym membership or dry clean clothing some of the ideas did not apply to me. I did pause on what could I do to SAVE $2010 in 2010 and became excited about the prospect of setting a goal for myself and finding ways to achieve my goal. Now remember I live on a very low fixed budget and most people will think it is a miracle if I achieve my goal. See that inspires me to succeed even more!
So I do declare to the Universe that I will SAVE $2010 in cash in the year 2010.
I am participating in the January Pantry Challenge so whatever I have left from my usual $200 food budget will begin my SAVINGS fund. I will collect the change from my wallet at the end of each week and add that to the jar. This has proven to be a very passive way to collect money over a period of time and I will continue this practice. I will recalculate my budget to make it more realistic to what I would be paying for bills if I was living in a conventional manner (is that a good way of saying a non obsessed frualistic manner?). This will be an interesting goal to be working on and the results can only be good and beneficial. I will keep you informed how much I save monthly and will report in on any new ideas I come up with. Just think my goal is SAVING $167.50 a month not that I have to accomplish this each month but it is a way of seeing it as achievable.
So what do you do with the money you SAVE being frugal?