What is one financial goal you have for yourself this year?
When our house sells, we will be moving into a completely different life. By that I am not referring to the farm/rural/new area that we will be discovering. But I am referring to a debt-free life. And debt-free in the very best of ways: mortgage-free. I can not put into words what an enormous gift we are being given to own a house completely. We have never had a paid-off house before, and I assumed we would be debtor to a mortgage company until we got to retirement age.
So lately I have been thinking about the responsibility we have to stay out of debt. I want to embrace the concept that "with great priveledge comes great responsibility". How foolish it would be to take such a gift and use it as a springboard into mindless spending. I don't want this conviction to develop into a burden or an obsession. A gift is a gift and should be enjoyed. Nevertheless, I want to be a good steward where I can.
I find that frugal living is a teeter-totter for me. It can quickly become too time consuming, a little obsessive, and eventually an idol that does more harm than good. For example, coupon cutting can quickly take up more time than I have to give. And the coupons usually lead to the necessity to shop 4 or 5 different stores a week. It does NOT work for my schedule and commitments. So I compromised, when I have time/need to save I just shop at Aldi. No coupons, just amazing prices. For me, discernment is key. Sometimes saving money doesn't pay if it is not the use of time that the Lord desires for me that particular day. (For example, sometimes loving someone-whether my children, a relative, or friend-is much more pressing than the saved $30.)
I was thrilled to find a way to save a fairly significant amount of money with very little time investment. I am so NOT a granola girl, so don't be impressed. I stumbled on this little recipe and just gave it a try. It's homemade laundry detergent. I did the math and figured that I wash around 8 loads a week, including linens. For a family that washes 8 loads a week, the savings is over $1000 a year! Can you believe that amount? The breakdown in cost, along with the recipe, can be found on this guy's blog. The detergent only required three ingredients that I easily found at Kroger. And making the detergent took 5 minutes for at least a month's supply. I washed my first load, and the clothes came out clean and fresh. On the topic of laundry, I learned another helpful tip recently. If your towels or laundry have soured, throw in a cup of vinegar and it takes the smell away!
I am going to try his homemade dishwasher detergent, too. But the homemade deodorant is absolutely out of the question. That's where I draw the line. I had a ballet instructor once who made her own deodorant. NOT a pleasant memory. If anyone else has suggestions for easy, quick, money-saving tips, let me know!