It's that time in the new year again friends - a time for making New Year's Resolutions! Now some of us (like Frugal Freddie) NEVER make New Year's resolutions, while others (like Economia Nia) make, or rather, recycle, the same ones, year after year. And again this January, Mrs. Tightwad has dug up the same piece of tattered paper that she's been using for the past number of years, scratched off 2010 and replaced it with 2011. The list is typical: eat better, exercise more, learn to play the cello, publish her novel, overcome her debilitating fear of heights.
Well this year we, the Tightwads, decided to join forces and come up with our 2011 financial resolutions - meant to help us spend more wisely and save more effectively. Drumroll please...here we go:
1. We resolve to no longer spend money while at work. Work is a place where you earn money (and if you're lucky, feel as though you are making a positive contribution to society). Unfortunately for us, we work in a place with 2 fancy coffee shops, a gift store, and two restaurants / cafeterias. Our workplace is also situated in one of the most culturally diverse areas of the city which means a bevy of yummy, ethnic restaurants...fantastic. Well folks, let us let you in on a little secret. Buying coffee and lunch every day, no matter how delicious and convenient, starts to add up (and let's not even talk about the hidden cost in terms of extra calories...check out how many of those little energy units are in your favorite vanilla flavored latte...we dare you!). So, to keep our wallets and waist lines in check, we resolve to bring coffee from home and pack our lunch.
2. We resolve to no longer spend money because we are unorganized, ill-prepared and lazy (ouch, it hurts to admit that). All too often we find ourselves either eating out, ordering out, or stopping by the grocery store for "a couple of things" because we have not planned what we are going to have for supper. This isn't so smart when you have children to feed. So, we have committed to creating weekly meal plans and shopping for food based upon these. We are even color coding food groups...very organized, and pretty :)
3. We resolve to teach our children about money. Economia Nia's parents tried really hard to instill a sense of responsibility towards finances. Frugal Freddie had his first job when he was ten and quickly learned the value of a dollar. Today, you read reports about the enormous debt that young people (younger than us young people) rack up and how living on credit is practically the norm. Aside from the educational funds that we have set up for the girls, our daughters don't have bank accounts...they keep the money that they either earn, pilfer or receive as gifts, in various piggy banks and wallets around the house. So, as we become more financially responsible and savvy, we will work towards making them that way too. Exactly how we're going to do this...not sure...we're open to suggestions.
4. We resolve not to shop 'cuz we're having a bad day. (Frugal Freddie is giving Economia Nia a cold, hard stare). ..Okay, okay..it's only one of us who does this...but really, is there anything to be gained by pointing fingers.
5. We resolve to shop around for better insurance and mortgage rates. We're pretty convinced that we are the only people in the world (!!!) who don't do this, and really, how sad. We have no excuse. Every year, we say we will shop around for better rates..and we never do. But this year...we will !!! Seriously!
6. We resolve to set up a vacation fund. We love vacations (who doesn't), but how much easier will it be to plan a holiday knowing that we have set aside money for this very purpose, the way smart people do. Travel with an easy conscious - nice.
7. We resolve not to buy things we don't need, or even want, simply because they are on sale. Just because an inflatable seven foot snowman is on sale, does not mean it should find a home on your lawn at Christmas time.
8. We resolve to review our budget on a weekly basis . We're going to sit down with a reasonably priced bottle of wine and go over our nickels and dimes and pat ourselves on the back for a job well done (hopefully). We have already budgeted our monthly expenses, so now it's just a matter of sticking to it. This includes shopping smarter for food, toiletries, and other basic necessities of life, as well as money allocated for entertainment.
So, that's our plan. Ambitious? Maybe. But we think that with some effort, quite achievable. We'll let you know...and let us know if you think we've missed anything.
From us, to you, Happy New Year...and may 2011 be grand !