Saturday, December 1, 2007

Junk Junkies

Tis that time of year of spending pressures. Everyone feels the pinch of gift giving. There is a surfeit of books on the market who all offer the following advice in one form or another. So here tis my "two cents" on budget and mayhap it will also save you the price of a budget book as well.

1. Have a plan: create a budget and stick with it. Make a list before you go shopping and stick with it.

2. Don't go shopping or window shopping for recreation. Tis temptation in the flesh. In the old days, the Church called this "avoiding the occasion of sin."

3. If you have telly, mute it on the commercials. If you get catalogs, do not sit and browse through them: toss them or take them to a senior home or other place (remove your address and other personal info on the order form and the outside of the catalog). Telly and catalogs present the same temptations as window shopping. Millions of $$ are spent on advertising that specializes in creating a psychological profile and manipulation of those profiles of potential customers. Some of it is quite subtle.

4. Again, stick with your shopping list. Avoid the end caps of aisles that advertise "specials". 99% of them are not specials at all.

5. Every time you get the urge to spend money on a spontaneous item, learn to stop yourself and put that money in a special section of your purse/wallet or write down the amount. When you get home, deposit that money in a piggy bank or on the way home deposit the money into savings at the bank. You'd be surprised at the nest egg that develops in a very short time.

6. Online temptations exist too. Ebay and other websites can drain a budget quickly. Don't shop at night when you are tired. You are much more susceptible to advertising psychology tactics when you are tired. Shop when you are well rested and have an agenda of other tasks to complete that day. When you need to pay bills immediately after shopping, you will be less likely to spend unnecessarily.

7. Buy American-made products when you can. They may be more expensive (sometimes not) but when you add up all the money saved instead of spent on unneccessary junk from other countries, you still come out ahead and you support your country's economy.

8. Support education or charities as a gift. Subscriptions to informative magazines such as "Scientific American" or a devotional magazine such as "Magnificat" are less expensive than the latest gadget and tis a gift that can be enjoyed all year. Charities too, can be a wonderful gift and tis tax-deductible. They often provide gift cards to mail. Many people have said they appreciate a donation to their favorite charity rather than having to stand in line to return a gift they do not want.

9. Having a skill such as baking, woodworking, book-binding, knitting, crochet, or sewing (to name a few) can be the source of wonderful homemade gifts that are easier on the budget. These too, are more appreciated than the latest gadget that will soon be outmoded and updated to a more expensive gewgaw with the next model year. Rather than sitting in front of the telly with it's advertising temptations, use that time instead to create homemade gifts. Tis a good activity too, to keep your brain sharp and your mind nimble. Thus you will not have to spend money on meds or games that say they promote mental acuity. A brain in motion can still form notions.

One famous study by a researcher named Snow, examined results of autopsies on nuns who remained alert and active well into their 90s. Even though their brains had shown signs of deterioration, their brains "rewired" themselves around the damaged areas. How? In monastic communities, no nun is allowed to be idle. Even the most aged/infirm are given simple tasks to complete and have constant social interaction. The lesson? Pursue your hands-on hobbies; learn a new skill; join a club that promotes those skills and gives an opportunity to make items in a group. Tis much more effective, fun and far cheaper than a hand-held brain game made by a video game company.

That's me away then.


Michelle-ozark crafter said...

Very good advice! My hubby carefully budgets everything AND we have a savings program where every purchase is rounded to the next dollar and goes into a savings account. Really helps with an unexpected need that might arise. We tuck back a bit of money for our hobbies too and are very careful spending it. I am NOT going to buy expensive specialties items or fabric for my cross stitching. way to expensive. Most hobby supplies we have on hand were bought clearance and save tons of money that way or were traded with someone else. When you are on a fixed income you have to squeeze those pennies! Even if I weren't on a tight budget I would still pinch em!

Lilder said...

This is some useful advice.
I hope you don't mind, I've tagged you for a meme. God Bless!

PlainCatholic said...

Glad I am that I can serve the Lord for you!

Matthew 5:16 So let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

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Ut in omnibus glorificetur Deus

Ut in omnibus glorificetur Deus