This piece was written for Families.com, where I blog regularly.
Sometimes its not the big expenses that shatter your resolve to save money, it is the small temptations that will get you. It is those small temptations that I, personally, most have to guard against.
For example, although my husband and I often like to stop at the Apple store and look at the iPads whenever a new one is released, we aren’t in danger of purchasing one any time soon. It just doesn’t make that much sense to spend that much money when our emergency fund isn’t, well, as fully funded as we would like and we still owe on our mortgage, and the oil tank will probably have to be replaced soon.
Often, though, we aren’t too good about avoiding the little expenses, such as overpriced cupcakes as a treat for the kids, a new kitchen device, a muffin from the cafeteria at work, or take out on the way home when we have perfectly good food in the fridge. While these are small expenses, they do add up, and what is more, they aren’t purposeful by any means. These small expenses tend to be spontaneous, a sort of I-want-it-I-get-it thing without much thought. While there is nothing wrong with little treats and luxuries, I want to get serious about saving as much as possible this year, and I want to spend less on the small temptations as well as the large.
There was a good example just yesterday. There was a Kindle book I wanted to read, right then and right now. Buying it would have been so easy. The cost was only $9. Instead I clicked over to our local library site and ordered the book plus its sequel. To make the trip worthwhile, we all went to the library as a family and selected books that we can keep for three weeks.
Okay, one small temptation licked. But then in the lobby of the library, were magazines for sale, all of those from the previous year. One bundle contained a year’s worth of one of my favorite magazines for only $2. Very tempting. In the past I would have purchased it no problem.
It doesn’t seem like much, the $2, the $9, but with some frugal living, those numbers could turn into homemade popsicles, a dinner made from scratch, or one tiny step closer to building up that emergency fund. Just $10 a day equals $3,650 a year, and while I may not experience a small temptation each day, with five of us in the family, it is likely that someone will.