Thursday, July 25, 2013

Keep It Simple

I have been hesitant to post about finances, but I think our generation has a severe lack of understanding what is necessary and what is extra, and maybe it's time to start talking about getting back to the basics.

Before I start explaining what we do and why we do it, I want to be very clear: This is not an attack on anyone else's lifestyle. You can choose to do things differently, and that's just fine. This is meant as an encouragement for those that desire to lower their monthly bills, but feel trapped by the social norms. Annnnd, go:

1. Cellular Devices: People are always shocked that Patrick and I shared a cell phone for the first year+ of our marriage, and we still carry two of the most pre-historic cell phones around. We simply do not need an astronomical cell phone bill due to bells, whistles, and data charges. Since just about everywhere has free wi-fi, we did invest in a Samsung Galaxy Tablet this year without the data plan. 

2. Housing: We just moved into our first actual house. It's still a rental, but until now, we've lived places that were not our ideal, simply because we believe it is better to save your money for the right opportunity rather than spend what you don't have in order to live somewhere 'comfortable'. I consider doing laundry in my own home a luxury and a privilege.

3. Good Credit: While it is an asset to have 'good credit', credit card companies reel you in by making you think that you NEED to have a credit card to build 'good credit'. There is a way to keep a credit card responsibly, but it is also a slippery slope and once you start to charge things like a Venti Double Triple Espresso Mocha Caramel Whipped Soy Latte (that probably doesn't exist, but if it did, it would be called the 'I Have A Newborn') because you don't really have money for it in your bank account -- there is a problem. 

4. Television: We have never had TV channels anywhere that we've lived. In fact, our television is so old that it isn't compatible with even the three "basic" channels that everyone is supposed to get for free. We don't actually watch a whole lot of TV anyway, so we mostly use it for movies - but one awesome thing is Netflix! We can watch Netflix streaming through our Wii, and while we may have to be the LAST people to see the final season of The Office - oh well! It's not really the end of the world!

5. Kids Cost A Lot: This is true. My hospital bills were astronomical. Diapers cost an arm & a leg. BUT, I think that people inflate in their minds what is "necessary" for babies/children based on what the media tells us. Do we really need everything in Babies R Us to keep our babies well fed, safe, and happy? Thanks to the generosity of friends and family, I received LOTS of awesome things for Molly at my baby shower, and we saved gift cards to help purchase the things that we still needed. I almost never purchase things new from a store. I always check yard sales, consignment shops, and online for anything from clothing to toys to yes, even diapers! And lets be honest, Molly would prefer to play with a toilet paper tube and some packing peanuts over most of her toys anyway.

This blog post took me about a week to complete, working in 10 minute intervals. I'm trying out this new thing where I limit my time on the Internet while Molly is know, to help with my productivity. ;-) At any rate, the next post will not take this long to go's already in process!