When my husband and I moved to France and sat down to plan our new family budget, it was a bit of a shock. We were going from being a two-income family in the U.S. to a one-income family in France—which was a huge difference considering that my husband’s salary went down roughly a third in the process. I couldn’t believe how little “wiggle room” we had, at least on paper. Our income pretty much equaled our output, not an ideal situation for a family trying to save money for the future.
Things have since improved as I’m working now (at the time I was a stay-at-home mom), but we still have to be very deliberate about the purchases we make if we want to have anything left over at the end of the month. I’ve learned that if I want to buy something, I need to first think “outside the wallet”—to consider how I can get what I need or want without having to spend money.
For me, inserting this step into my mental process before making a purchase has been a huge part of learning to live frugally. And I’ve found that it works both ways—not only do I think before I buy, but I think before I toss. How could someone else use what I no longer need? How can I get the most use out of this item, both for myself and someone else?
In this series of posts, I’m going to be looking at areas of my budget where I am able to do this to the best advantage. I’ll try and share ideas and links that I know of, and I’m hoping you will share some of your own as well.
So my question for you is: What topics would you like to see highlighted in this series? In what areas of your budget are you looking to cut corners?