Free 2 Day Shipping With Amazon Prime

Monday, October 14, 2013

Staying Within Budget 2

Staying Within Budget 2

This post is an update to: Staying Within Budget, posted October 12, 2013,
There are many good reasons to save money or resources.  There is, however, such thing as going over board: here are some examples from my years of growing up.   
Back in the mid 1950’s when we lived in Texas my stepfather discovered what is known as Gleaning.
Gleaning (also called scrounging) is the act of collecting leftover crops from farmers' fields after they have been commercially harvested on fields where it is not economically profitable to harvest.  Some farmers embrace the practice because it gets the fruits removed (that were not ripe when the harvest took place) rather than rotting on the tree.
We always had delicious fruit desserts that were free of cost in exchange for spending a few hours out on the orchards as a family unit picking fruit to take home.  Plenty of oranges, lemons, water melons, cantaloupes, tomatoes, and grapefruits.  I can’t begin to put a price on the amount of money that we saved.
Another favorite trick of my stepfather’s was to cross the border into Mexico (Matamoros, across from Brownsville) once a month on a payday to purchase our red meat supply.  The prices were much cheaper than in Texas.  We also purchased other items that were cheaper in Mexico like alcoholic beverages, and we always included a meal (feast) at a nice restaurant (about 10% of the cost in Texas). My stepfather also started buying Mexican manufactured cigarettes, again at a fraction of the cost.  In case you are wondering about the length of his life with his alcohol, and cigarette habit, he lived to the ripe old age of 96.
When we finally moved to the Pacific NW in 1959 he immediately went from earning $60 per week to near $260 per week plus a home supplied by the employer (a nice 4 bedroom home out in the country).  In retrospect, his pay, back than as a foreman for a 9,000 acre farm, was only $2.25 per hour, plus a home and pickup truck, but his hours were unlimited.  He was a true workaholic, and he averaged well over 100 hours per week.  Well, all that good fortune didn’t translate to easy street for the family.  A lifetime habit of pinching pennies is hard to break.
During the cold winters our oil furnace would get turned off at bed time (around 10:30 at night).  That’s right, not turned down, but actually turned off at night. Whom ever got up at around 4 am would light up the furnace and run back under the covers to wait for the house to warm up.  I swear winter nights were just as cold inside our house as it was outdoors.  Personally, I am the kind of person (family provider) that places a lot of emphasis on family comfort.  I don’t smoke or drink, so my disposable budget goes to added family comfort.
Besides, as I get older I am not as tolerant of cold or hot temperatures.  I like to provide as much comfort to my children as a way for them to set high goals to live up to, once they strike out on their own.  Our mother could have driven us to the school bus stop (a mile away), but my stepfather insisted that we walk and save the gasoline (22 cents per gallon).  For many reasons including safety, I won’t let my granddaughters wait for a school bus or even walk to the park.  You might say that I am the butler to the 3 princesses.  There are many other areas where we can cut corners that don’t have anything to do with children’s safety.
Always remember not to be penny wise and dollar foolish.  Make sure that your savings are real and not just savings with money costing consequences.  For example if you turn off the heater at night, you will be required to run the heater on high in the morning to warm up the house, and that could cost you more than you save by turning the heater off.  Instead lower the thermostat to 65 degrees.  Better yet if you have the right kind of thermostat you can program it so it lowers the temperature while you sleep, and turns it back up one hour before your alarm goes off.
When it comes to money matters, there is more than one way to balance the budget; you can reduce your money out-flow (decrease your expenses), or increase your money intake.  I’ve always chosen a balance between reducing costs, and increasing cash intake (part time job or side business).  I am the first to admit that not everyone has a solution to a money problem.  When you reach a certain age with a limited income. You find yourself having to turn to family, the church, or the State; in that order.  The best is yet to come…

No comments:

Post a Comment