It seems these days that so many families get into financial difficulties through debt. You decide to finance a big purchase one day, then you get into the habit of borrowing money to buy things. Before you know it, all your income is going toward making minimum payments on all your credit cards, and little or nothing is left. Debt settlement is a great solution when you find yourself in a tough financial situation, but a little prevention could be part of a long-term solution. Let’s look to how older generations handled money; in particular, it’s time to get back to following mom’s advice.
Save Ahead For Big Purchases
We live in a culture of instant gratification. We see something, and we want to buy it today. But mom had a different way of doing things. Mother’s advise to save ahead for big purchases. If you have your eye on a new tractor mower, for instance, start putting money aside each paycheck that is earmarked for the tractor. Then and only when you have enough for the tractor should you go ahead with the purchase, with cash in hand.
Take Advantage of Lay-a-Way Programs
Because of the economy, many stores are now offering lay-a-way programs, just like they did when your mom was younger. A lay-a-way program lets you put money toward your purchase a little bit at a time, so you don’t end up going into debt over items for the household, or clothing items.
Economize Where You Can
Mom always knew that some things can be economized on. When it doesn’t make a big difference in quality, it pays to get the least expensive version. Mom also economized in the kitchen. Instead of buying disposables like paper towels and paper napkins, mom used kitchen towels and cloth napkins. Mom made a delicious pot of coffee at home; she didn’t run out to Starbucks for every cup of Joe. She didn’t rely on baggies to store food. Instead, she used washable Tupperware, and she always found a new way to serve leftovers.
Buy Quality When It’s Important
Of course, mom knew when it makes sense to invest in quality, too. She knew that leather shoes last longer than cheap plastic ones. She new that a quality mattress will last years longer than a cheaply made mattress. Mom didn’t have to buy a new blender every few years because she bought a good brand that lasted a lifetime. You can save a lot of money when you aren’t buying replacement items over and over again throughout your life.
Don’t Buy the Latest and the Greatest
These days, people aren’t happy with “last year’s” TV. It’s not enough to have a plasma TV. People have to have a curved plasma TV. Enough is enough. If your TV works, then going out and buying a new one just doesn’t make financial sense. Your mom didn’t buy a new vacuum every time a new model came out. Resist the urge to constantly upgrade, and you’ll save money.
Understand How Much It Really Costs
Mom knew that there are hidden costs to things. (Maybe that’s the real reason why your family never bought a boat!) When you consider purchases, think about the hidden costs. Is that new dress going to need to be drycleaned every time you wear it? Does that fancy new razor need expensive blades? How much will repairs and parts on a foreign car cost, compared to a domestic car?
You’ll be surprised how much money you can avoid spending when you think back and just go about things the way your mom always did. Happy Mother's Day to all of our hardworking, financially savvy moms out there! Enjoy your special day.