Saving money is a frame of mind. Do you ever ask yourself how you can spend less, not just in general but in specific situations? For example: Today a friend and her daughter met my girls and me at a cafe. When I first woke up this morning, I considered another money-free way we could meet up, feeling slightly guilty that I would be spending money at a cafe when there could be another option. My idea? To have a picnic in a local park complete with two flasks of tea and some homemade banana bread I baked last night (using up two VERY ripe bananas and some slightly soured plain yogurt) and feed some ducks with bread from home. Yes, I'd probably have to pay for parking, which is almost £3, but it would likely be less than the cafe. I then realised it wasn't exactly a bright, sunny morning. I looked at the weather forecast for the morning on my mobile... 30% chance of rain. Hmm... perhaps the park isn't a good idea, especially in a country where you can't rely on the forecast. And I was right, it rained on the way to the cafe, so it would have been a wet picnic... no good. At the cafe, there was a specials board that listed a cup of tea or coffee and a toasted tea cake for £3. Not too bad, but then I noticed that a small latte and a yummy looking scone would only be 38p more... hmm... dilemma! I opted for the latte and scone. Then there was another dilemma... what to buy Older Girly and my friend's daughter to share. The cake that they wanted with pretty colors and sprinkles was a whopping £2.79! Ouch! They shared the slice so it was only half the cost but I still thought it was quite dear. Luckily I brought a bowl of grapes for the girls to share and some juice boxes from home, so I wouldn't have to add another pound to our cafe meet up.
Do you see how my mind works? It works like this almost every single day. Does yours? Do you contemplate every penny that leaves your wallet? Do you try to find ways to scale back and use less, or do you buy whatever you fancy? Would I have preferred for us to meet at either of our homes for a free
get together? Yes! But it wasn't possible this time and that's okay.
You may be wondering whether I've always thought like this... the answer is no. In general, the older I've become the smaller my disposable income has become. I am a homemaker, so we live on my husband's income. I've had to learn how to make fewer pounds stretch further. I've had to teach myself the best way (for me) to keep a budget and try hard to stick to it. I've had to find ways to stretch our money so we actually have some at the end of the month. Spending less, finding the pennies is a frame of mind. In fact all day I've been reeling at the £4.77 I spent on a very tiny latte (not worth it), a delicious scone (worth it) and half a piece of sprinkle-covered cake (debatable). Nevermind, I can't do anything about it now, but it's recorded on my budget... that's the important part.