Getting Down to the Necessities

Talk to anyone of the Baby Boomer generation and older, and it is easy to figure out why they were able to save for big purchases, vacations and more while living on mostly equivalent wages. Sure, the cost of living has risen some, but it is still mostly proportionate to what it was back then. Interestingly enough, we only have to look to household finances of that time to learn a few things.

Few families relied on credit cards then, and they did it without issue, but how? The answer lies in budgeting. If there was not enough money for “luxuries,” then they didn’t have those. However, they did manage to save money. Even the poorest of families often had a substantial “rainy day fund.”

While the principles are easy to grasp, they are not always easy to implement. It often means changing a few ways of doing things. Rents and mortgages are nearly impossible to change without more expense. However, things like land lines, cell phones, Internet, cable and satellite and even utility usage are usually adjustable.

If any subscriptions are under contract, sometimes the early termination fee is less to contend with than the remaining months of the contract, especially for expensive services. The final thing to adjust is the monthly food bill. Drop the boxed foods and prepare things from scratch. For instance, it does not take long to prepare larger amounts of freezable foods such as soups, stews, waffles, pancakes and even ground beef for future use. It is a lot healthier for the whole family too.

Once Your Goal Is Met, It’s Safe To Spend

Now that you’ve met your goal and saved up for weeks, months or even years on that family vacation or weekend outting, it’s time to have some fun!  For a short amount of time, your entertainment budget will be set aside for this one event that you’ve worked so hard to save for.  Here’s an idea: If your closest loved ones just can’t get enough of country music, the money you saved for entertainment will allow you to score some Alan Jackson tickets and enjoy his latest tour.

That kind of family outing is far too expensive for an everyday occurrence, but it is nice now and then. To further make attending such outings a reality for the family, look for tickets to concerts, theater and sporting events at online ticket-sellers like StubHub.com. Such sites work to bring the best pricing possible to make group outings like these more affordable.

There are sites similar to StubHub that sell, instead of event tickets, discounted gift certificates to restaurants, theme parks and other such family entertainment venues. The key is to treat these outings as a treat — not as regular occurrences. Doing so usually creates longer-lasting and fonder memories. That makes getting through lean times a lot easier than having to do without the entire time.