Wednesday, January 27, 2010

All About the Benjamin's...

So why a blog about saving money? I started to notice that one of the habits that I consciously developed over the past year was my attempt to pinch my valuable pennies. I am aware that this is not a new idea, and in fact, everyone around me is religiously practicing frugalness. We are all aware that the economy is a cold dirty river, and we are just a bunch of awkwardly swimming rats, trying to keep from drowning in the turmoil. We don’t want to swim, and we don’t want to struggle, but we all have to keep our heads above the water.

However, I’ve come to realize that out of the certain types of families in our society who are swimming through the economy with me; I’m probably one of the luckiest of us rodents. I’m not married, I have no kids, and I’m in grad school. I have a stable, part-time job in heathcare that is under no threat of layoffs, and is very flexible with my class schedule. I probably won’t lose my job unless it’s through some fault of my own. (By writing that down I just realized that I should learn not to be late for work so much.)

What’s the point with the personal details? I hope to illustrate that I am part of the group who has the most room to choose where my dollars go. I’m not saying that I have loads of “disposable income,” but do live comfortably, for the most part. I have a decent place to live, vehicles to drive, food in my pantry, and enough clothes that allows avoid laundry for a month. It all seems peaceful and comfortable, and so I thought….

About a year and a half ago, the outside influence of our beaten economy, started to bruise my peaceful existence. Jay lives with me, and he started losing some of his income. He works at Applebee’s, and when people don’t have money, they don’t eat out at restaurants; therefore, there was little need for Jay to cook at the restaurant. Jay’s hours at work were cut, and in turn, so was our sustainable income. Then, I got in over my head during my senior year of college, and I had to voluntarily give up some of the hours that I worked. There just weren’t enough hours in the day to meet the demands of senior projects, tests, and papers. Therefore, through both of our lost hours at work, we ended up with a 40% decrease in income, and everything was threatened.

So, we followed the bandwagon and started to think of ways to cuts costs in our lives. Jay and I began to think of creative ways to buy, save, make, and create both the things we needed, and the things we wanted. The results are not fantastic or life changing, but more realistic than anything. There’s this sort of phenomenon that I’ve noticed, and now the movement is that it’s cool to be cheap. Everyone is swapping stories and ideas about how to save money in their daily lives. It’s not about “keeping up with the Jones’s” or Kardashian’s anymore, its hosting potlucks with the Smith’s or shopping at the Johnson’s garage sale.

My entire attempt at cutting costs in the past 18 months or so has been challenging and rewarding, but also a lot of fun. In this blog, I hope to share not only my golden ideas, but the ideas of others because no one can think of every good idea themselves. I will give credit where credit is due though. I will not focus on just my single, 20-something demographic, and I will provide ideas for everyone. I may have kids, but like everyone, I know people with kids. I may have a job, but I know people who don’t have a job. I may not have a mortgage or a car payment, but I know people with them. Therefore, this blog is for everyone, unless you’re a Hilton. But then again, even Paris might like to make her own dog toys.

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