As we consistently work to learn more about saving and managing money, we’ve learned to think in a new way about how to save money by planning ahead. Saving money by planning ahead isn’t just about putting aside a little cash each month for Christmas or car insurance. You really can save a ton of money by thinking differently about how you plan ahead.
How to Save Money by Thinking Differently
Saving money by planning ahead requires you to think outside the box a bit. It can be easy to think short-term regarding money savings and really bite your budget in the tail from the long-term perspective. This is what happened to us recently. We were focusing so much on saving money that we weren’t looking at the big picture, and this is what I mean about thinking differently.
For instance, if you need to replace your drill, you can buy a cheap one, but will you be buying another one in 6 months? If so, it might be better to go with a higher quality choice. Or, vice versa: we recently bought a rather expensive manual can opener. It’s cool looking and was a brand I thought I could trust, but after 3 months or so, it’s not working any longer. As a temporary replacement, we brought out Rick’s $2 super basic camping can opener to use until we can pick up a new one, and you can bet your booty it’ll be another $2 basic can opener. Spending more didn’t turn out so well in this case.
If you want to save money by thinking differently, you have to learn to acquire and use wisdom in all cases, looking at the long-term potentials of any expenditure as well as the short-term potentials.
Spend Money When Expenses are Lower
Since we spend less on energy costs and the like during the summer months, we’ll use that money savings to buy things we’ll need come winter.
For instance, we’ve talked here about how last winter’s Polar Vortex caused our heating bills to double from what they were in previous years. This really put a nasty dent in our budget. So in order to make sure this doesn’t happen again, we’re doing a couple of things that will help winter heating bills be more bearable, even if we do have another abnormally cold winter.
1. We’re putting in a wood stove. We did have some wood chopped, stacked and dried, but we’re getting more put away as well this summer, and the wood stove will be installed by fall at the latest. This should save us a good bit of cash.
2. We’re stocking up on food and pet supplies. For instance, even though the horses don’t get much grain in the summer, we’re still buying our regular monthly winter amount of grain, stockpiling now so that when more expenses come in the winter, we won’t have to spend money on grain. We’re doing the same with other pet supplies, and with food as it goes on sale.
We’ve planned well, and made a list of the things we need, and the things that are more expensive during winter, and we’re stockpiling as much as possible so that any additional heating expenses will be offset by things we won’t need to spend money on, such as pet supplies.
Search High and Low for DIY Options
This is why we’re growing our garden. We’ve roughly doubled, and in some cases tripled, its size from last year, so that we can provide as much food as possible via our garden to tide us over through the winter. We took the veggies we normally eat (green beans, peas, carrots) and planted LOTS. We planted lots of tomatoes in hopes of canning dozens of jars of spaghetti sauce, and tons of cucumbers in hopes of canning lots of pickles. We’re growing lots of green peppers and onions, and vacuum sealing and freezing them, so that they’re ready to use in casseroles, potato and meat dishes.
We’re also working to fund any house repairs that need to be done, and doing it ourselves in order to save on labor costs. This can be a bit overwhelming and scary, but once you start fixing things yourselves, you’ll find that you’re a lot more handy than you think you are. 🙂
When it comes to learning how to save money, it’s important to look at your budget – your current budget, and your future budget – from all angles. Find out by spend-tracking what your spendy months are and what your not-so-spendy months are, and plan accordingly, working to even out your budget and save when the inexpensive months are, so that you have more cashflow when bills are higher.
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