Last week in this column I published a piece by Brian Dean. his thoughts on thriftiness, and how to be truly free of money.
Ever since then, I can’t stop thinking about it.
I’m an impulse shopper, for sure. I buy magazines, candy bars and gum while waiting in line at the grocery store. I make snap decisions about most purchases. If I’ve picked something up or put it in my cart, chances are I’m going to buy it – it’s pretty rare for me to change my mind and put something back on the shelf, or walk into a store and then walk out again, empty-handed. I’m kind of the opposite of Brian, you might say.
I’m also definitely nowhere near my savings goals. I think that’s related to the impulse-buying thing. #sarcasm
In his piece, Brian says, “Your dollars are little soldiers. Knowing this is your first step to personal wealth. You send your soldiers out, and some of them come back to defend your realm, while others leave for good, going to defend other realms. The net soldiers protecting your realm as opposed to those of others, defines your relative wealth, and this can be extended out to your neighbourhood, your province, your country – this is the basis of the economic flow.”
My dollars are little soldiers. I like that thought! For some reason I imagine them as little wooden peg soldiers, painted in bright blue and red. They are in long lines, like dominos, just waiting to be deployed where I choose to send them.
(Is that just me? OK. Not awkward at all.)
I also liked what Brian said about budgeting: “This is the time to be reasonable: the number one reason people abandon their latest effort at a budget is because they get too optimistic, too aggressive, and forget reality. You need something which is livable, and which is easy to track.”
Holla! Over here! Yes! I’ve had so many different ways that I’ve tried to budget over the years, and each one I abandoned because it was too much work and so in the end, didn’t help me, really.
So, I’m trying Brian’s “piece of paper on the wall” idea. So far, so good. All I have to do is write shit down. But, it’s making me super aware of what I buy. Now when I buy something, I think, “OK, now I’ve got to keep the receipt til I get back home and I can write it down.”
Do you budget? What does it look like?
The other Frugal Friday posts on this blog:
- Brian Dean on Thrift.
- Alicia Lake on eating locally, for cheap
- Erika Shea on savings websites.
- Erika Shea on banking fees.
- Angela Mercer-Penny on how to make milk paint.
- Kate Oland on Frugal Friday at the Baddeck Library
- Erika Shea replies to reader comments
- Erika Shea on Do It Yourself sushi