Tuesday, June 26, 2012

"i'm trying to save money"

as a newlyweds with a lot of plans for the future - you know, the whole buy a house, have kids scenario - sean and i have been really good about saving money lately. we've been putting money aside, staying home a lot more, cooking meals together, sucking netflix for all it's worth, reading books for the first time in months - and it feels great! 

yet, all that money we're saving means for the future means we can't do all the things we want to do now. and that's okay with me, but sometimes it can be awkward telling a friend or family member that you can't afford to do/buy something. just that phrase "i can't afford it" can be embarrassing and "can't" is such a negative word. but this morning i realized - it's all in how you say it. below is an excerpt from today's wise bread e-newsletter on How to Be Frugal (Without Becoming a Hermit).

Be Honest

Turning down invitations to dinners or vacations with “I can’t afford it” may be honest, but it also frames your lack of funds as a sort of affliction to which you’re forced to submit. Instead, try saying, “I’m trying to save money.” Then follow it up with an invitation to something you can afford later in the week. This way, it sounds like you’re making the decision rather than letting your bank balance lead you along. I also find this phrase strikes a different note when you use it. Rather than feeling sorry for you, people tend to nod emphatically, tell you that’s a good idea, and say they should really be getting into that saving business, too. Plus, by matching your rejection of their invitation with an invitation of your own, you can avoid looking like a jerk.

I love this idea. "I'm trying to save money." In our case it's actually true, because honestly we could "afford" to do a lot more than what we're doing, but I don't really want to. Buying a house and saving for a family is way more important to me than hitting up the bars or going on a shopping spree. if that makes me "boring" to some friends, then so be it. they'll be in our shoes one day too.

how do you save money? what helps you get through those tough "I want to buy everything!" days?


sandra lark said...

I play a grocery shopping game, as weird as that may be. There are some items that I will not budge on, brand wise or ingredient wise, but the goal is to make your average price lower each trip. Once you've checked out (sometimes I go to multiple stores) and have all your receipts, take the total price of all and divide it by the number of products you purchased. It makes you much more aware of item pricing and makes grocery shopping really fun (for me anyway)....

Jemibook said...

Things that help me save money : planning my meals for an entire week so I don't impulse shop at the grocery store - and it's always cheaper to make meals from scratch than by a ton of pre-made items.
When I'm feeling like I want to shop for clothes I always use my job to it's advantage, and bring in some items I'm not really wearing anymore and sell them and use the credit they give to get new items! [I'm not sure if you guys have a buffalo exchange type place in Jax yet - but you need to!].
If I'm feeling like I want to shop for make-up - I always make a trip to sephora, I can try lots of different things on and see if I can find some items I like - I write down the items I liked and do a saved search on ebay so that when it comes around on ebay in a price I can manage I swipe it up! Also a good trick at sephora is that they will give you samples of almost every thing - but getting them of perfumes you want to sample is the best for keeping in your purse for a little refresher during the day.
If you are crafty in any sort of way or make anything you can always try doing trades on etsy as well for things that you like - I've bartered with a few awesome sellers with my zines on etsy.
I've got more things but I feel this list is becoming a bit long! :) good luck!

Sarah Collins said...

@sandy - that's really smart! sean actually prefers to grocery shop without me because i am a sucker for a BOGO deal and always end up diverging from the list. i guess it's the consumer in me.

@jem - we plan our meals ahead too, but i sometimes fall victim to the "eh, i'm not in the mood to eat that today" scenario and end up indulging my cravings via delivery or dining out. we don't have a buffalo exchange, but i've been to the ones in portland and atlanta - and loved them. either way, i should definitely look into consignment or clothing swaps. i was burned once on ebay and haven't used it since, but maybe i'll give it another shot. i've also been planning to open my etsy store for MONTHS now, i just need to get on it!

thanks to both of you ladies for the great comments and ideas!

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