Lately I've been thinking a lot about the phase "Be kind to your future self." What I mean is, in the future, I want to be glad I made the choices I made today. If I am kind to myself today, it will favorably affect not only me, but those around me as well. If you've been watching Jim's videos, you will be aware that we just bought a good used truck. When we make a big purchase, we don't enter into it lightly or quickly. Money does sort of grow on trees for Jim :), but that doesn't mean it's easy to get that money. So how did we try to be kind to our future self? We tried to have money ready when the truck needed to be bought. Jim looked hard for a truck that wouldn't over-extend our budget. Below are some ideas we have found helpful:
1. Bigger, newer, better isn't always as great as it seems. Ok, let's be honest-it can be pretty great. But sometimes what we have to do to get it just isn't worth it. If it causes angst and loss of sleep and a restless soul, it just isn't worth it. It can be fun to see how we can make do with what we have. It really can be, especially if we have a goal in mind. A goal is the key.
2. We try to spend less than we make. This might seem obvious, but it really is just as simple as that, if you want there to be money left over. Because of this, we often do buy used or second hand. We don't mind, it's new to us. Yes, we have inherited other people's problems sometimes. I guess that is just a risk we are willing to take. Builds character.
3. We don't buy unless we really need something. Jim is especially good at this! I have often told him "why don't you just go get a new one..." His thinking is that the longer he holds off buying something new, more money is at his disposal when he really needs something.
4. We try not to waste. We are not perfect at this, but we really try to think about how we can use what we have and not waste. It costs money and time to throw things away. So we try to fix and patch and use up what we have, when we can. Right now, I'm trying to clean out my freezer, even though it's easier sometimes to just go and buy fresh at the store. It's much more fun since I have a goal in mind. Once that goal is made, I'm on it!
5. Get some advice from your kids or the younger generation. I've heard a lot of smack talk about the younger generations. But I'm telling you, we've learned a lot from our kids. They are smart with their money and understand things about how to make the most of their money from budgeting to investing. There are a lot of brilliant young people out there to get advice from. I thought I was supposed to be the smart one by now, but these young people have good ideas, so I might as well learn from them. I'm guessing they can learn from us oldsters too.
6. Take care of what you have. Now there is a great principle to live by that we really struggle with. We struggle with upkeep of the barn and house. It is wise to have only as much as you can really take care of. The more you have, the harder it is. More isn't always better. It's best to only have the buildings you really need. We've learned that kids grow up and move away and then you have a lot of extra space. But it is nice when the grandkids come! I guess everyone has to decide how they want to spend their time. Possessions can control us if they consume all our time and energy. As J.R.R. Tolkien said, " All we have to decide is what to do with the time given us."