After listening to the national news this morning, my mind is on taxes, the economy, and family finances. I really like getting good deals and saving money, and I like to pride myself at being pretty good at it, but there are others who are so good at stretching a dollar (George Washington’s picture is on the dollar bill, if you did not get the title) that they inspire me.
For example, I have been following Mavis Butterfield’s blog, OneHundredDollarsaMonth, for over a year. Not only is this lady fun and energetic, she has been able to save tons of money over the last few years thanks in no small part to her backyard gardening skills. In addition, she barters, cuts coupons, and watches for amazing deals and sales for items her family uses. Another inspirational family is the Dervaes family whose web site is Urban Homestead, There is an article about this family from July 25th on Realfarmacy.com, so you might want to go there and read it.
I’m sure we all know the saying attributed to Benjamin Franklin: “A penny saved is a penny earned.” This is just as wise and relevant now as it has ever been. Instead of pennies, let’s think in terms of dollars: A dollar saved is a dollar earned.
If the dollars earned can be S T R E T C H E D through thrifty and smart money management, the needs of the person, or family, can more easily be met without requiring additional work hours, allowing more family or free time. Wisely stretching each dollar saves on the taxes that must be paid also. States have different combinations of sales and income taxes in addition to our federal income tax, but wherever one lives in the U. S., the more one makes, the more taxes one pays. If in a state that has a sales tax, the more one spends, the more taxes one pays.
By S T R E T C H I N G each dollar to get “more bang for the buck,” folks pay less in sales taxes. For example, if there is a 5% sales tax and a family, who is not careful about spending, has a monthly grocery bill before taxes of $600; the family will pay $30.00 in taxes. If, however, the family cuts coupons, compares brand costs, takes advantage of store weekly specials, etc., the grocery bill may be cut to $400 before taxes, saving $200 on food and cutting the tax bill for that one month by 33%. Those finding too much week or month left after the money is gone may seek to earn additional income through overtime or a second job (if available). Not only does this take away from family time, or much needed recreational time, the earner must pay additional income taxes on the extra money, and he or she will still pay sales tax at the point of purchase.
Consider carefully Benjamin Franklin’s quote in this context, and his wisdom becomes obvious. Saving money by spending wisely, carefully, and mindfully reduces the need to earn more at a great cost to our most precious individual resource: our time. Living within our current income reduces the tax burden that must be born. Is it not worth reconsidering how we S T R E T C H the dollar?
I would truly love to hear what kinds of things you do to save money and your thoughts on personal finances. Who or what inspires you?
How do you S T R E T C H George until he screams?
Have a blessed and happy day!