Exploring Purchase/Usage OptionsI’m not one to jump the gun when it comes to purchases -- especially bigger ticket purchases. Not just going with the first option or product we come across has saved our family thousands of dollars over the years. And having the Internet as a money-saving tool has helped us in this area as well.
For example, we were recently in the market for a new set of tires for our SUV. My wife was all set to go with the place we had purchased them from last time, but I told her to hold off for an hour or two while I checked around for deals. We ended up finding the same tires we had purchased last time at a location closer to home and with whom we had previous work done to the vehicle. These tires were about $300 less than the other location. Taking that extra hour to explore our options and call around ended up saving us big time.
Living Below My MeansEven after graduating college and getting my first job -- when I was only making $9.25 an hour while at the same time paying off student loans -- I lived below my means largely because I had to. However, once I was promoted several times and making significantly more money, I continued to live below my means.
I didn’t do this because I had to; I did it because I wanted to. Continuing to live below my means when it came to food costs (avoiding name brands), utilities (keeping temperatures higher or lower to cut costs), transportation (driving used vehicles), vacation expenses (vacationing with family), clothing (buying resale), and similar budget areas allowed me to save money, stay out of debt, build up an emergency fund, and even eventually quit my regular job to become self-employed.
Thinking Long-termSo many people get caught up in the moment when it comes to money and finances, and I don’t blame them. With bills, work, family, and all the rest, just making it day-to-day can be hard. However, I’ve found that by forecasting and budgeting for the year, as well as multiple years, I can in a way, see the financial future.
While it might not be an exact financial future since so many things can come into play -- medical emergencies, car repairs, home repairs, etc. -- I can at least get a general idea of where our finances are headed and what bumps in the road we might encounter along the way.
I also use my tracking of things like income, expenses, utilities, home costs, and similar financially-related items to allow me to reference the past in order to better plan for the future.
Aiming for Happiness but Not SatisfactionI want to be happy and financially secure. However, I don’t necessarily want to feel satisfied with my situation. Being satisfied tends to lead me to complacency. And complacency leaves me in a rut. Therefore, when it comes to things like my money and my work situation, I am continually looking for ways to learn and improve myself as well as for new money making endeavors and opportunities
Again, by using the Internet as a resource to help me network, learn, and explore new work and money-making opportunities, I can look for ways to aim for happiness but not necessarily fall into that rut of routine.