In my life I don’t judge the state of the economy by all the economic indicators out there, nor do I listen to what the many political heads are saying. Instead, I rely on my own small business to give me all the guidance I need and this year that has unfortunately meant an indication that is not so good. While my business had been growing steadily over the past few years, I have stalled quite a bit this year and am only on pace to make a little more than half of what I did last year. This has forced me to come up with a game plan in order to save money and for that I looked to my past, during a time when I made far less money, to formulate my future money savings game plan.
One of the things that I did when I wasn’t making a good deal of money was complete tasks on my own that I might not have wanted to do myself rather than hiring someone else to do it for me. For example, I changed the oil in my own vehicles and cut my own grass. Even though I have gotten used to having some of these things handled for me, I did make the switch and am getting back into do-it-yourself mode. This has allowed me to save about $50 per month in lawn maintenance fees alone and every time I change my own oil in one of my vehicles I save another $25 or so. Now, as it was in the past, if I can figure out how to do something on my own, I will in order to save some money.
Finding the Free
Another big personal finance killer for me has been my ability to spend money on the weekends with my family. However, now that my small business is not doing so well that is no longer an option.
Again, digging into my past I once again embraced the method of finding the free. By this I mean finding things to do with my family that don’t cost money, or very little. Luckily, we live in sunny South Florida and have rediscovered the beach and fishing. This has replaced about three movie outings per month that would normally see me dropping at least $60 per visit after tickets and refreshments.
Digging for Deals
When things were going great with my small business I rarely gave much thought as to which brands I was buying at the store or even which store I shopped at. Now that the money is lean once again I have employed a tactic from my past that has my wife and I checking the newspaper circulars and online for the best deals on the items we intend to buy. This has really helped out with our food shopping and has actually allowed me to trim our food budget by about $50 per month.
Do What I Have to Do
While I am hopeful that my small business will pick up in the near-term and that I will not continually have to employ all these drastic cost cutting measures, it is nice to know that I can if I have to. For now, I’ll continue to do what I have to do and continue to look to my past to make a plan, which will save my family money, for the future.
More from this contributor:
First Person: Relief at the Pumps Short-Lived and Long Gone
First Person: I Switched My Health Insurance to Catastrophic Coverage to Save Money
First Person: I Avoided Tax Penalties and Trouble by Working With the IRS