Money Monday: The Power of Cash



This week was another tough one for us as we continue to adjust to the zero based budget idea and how close that takes us to the wire every month --and this is not necessarily bad since funds are allocated to savings, etc, but can still cause the "more month than money" phenomenon if you are not on top of things.

Our house was plagued with the stomach flu last week (causing us to miss out on Thanksgiving...boo, sniffle) and we let things slide. I've come to realize that in order to keep our budget from breaking, I have to be vigilant about checking our bank balance and envelope balance on Inzolo.

Well, due to the above circumstances (and a little bit of laziness), I didn't check things enough. We didn't get into much trouble (and it was easily corrected), but still...I was bummed out that I let it get out of hand (which goes to show you just how quickly that it can happen). I'm glad that it wasn't a "painful lesson" like it was a few months back when our overdraft ran out and we racked up bank fees at an alarming rate.

Last week was also eventful because we had another amazing thing happen! As I mentioned, things are tight at the end of the month. While it's not so bad that we can't buy milk and the basics, there isn't anything for "wants" or "super great deals we can't pass up." And of course, that's a terrible place for me to be (bargain shopper that I am) around Thanksgiving with all of the deals of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Thankfully, a refund check from my husband's union dues arrived on Friday and it was a little like Christmas. That check saved the day and not only made our household budget breathe a little easier, it allowed us to grab some of those great deals and pay off two unexpected bills that also arrived last week.

This is just more evidence of how God provides for us and the perfection of His timing. I wouldn't trade this journey/lesson for anything. I know that my parents (who read this blog) sometimes worry that we are "doing without" and they want to make our way easier. I totally get that and I appreciate it. They have bailed us out of some tough financial times in the past and even recently. I'm not sure where we would be without them.

However, I really do feel like this season of "lack" as it may seem is so good for me. I'm relearning what's essential. And more than that, I feel like it's been an amazing opportunity to remember what it feels like to be utterly dependent on God. Yes, it can be scary. But, it's such an awesome thing to know that you don't have the resources to do something, and then see God make it happen.

That's more precious than winning the lottery in my book!
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So, this week's recap is actually from a few week's ago when our class did a "double-header" in order to allow us to skip a lesson for the class session after Thanksgiving. So, while That's Not Good Enough: How to Buy Only Big, Big Bargains is this is week eight's lesson, I'll discuss it here for this week.

Apparently Dave Ramsey is a big bargain hunter. He shared stories of trips to retailers with wads of cash that have netted him some pretty amazing deals. In this credit-crazed world, retailers are often happy to take a percentage off the total to not have to lose money on credit card merchant fees.

Ramsey encourages us to make getting a bargain a way of life. He shared a book recommendation to learn more about this -- "Getting to Yes," by Roger Fisher (a professional negotiator).

He also shared Three Keys to Opening the Door to Huge Bargains:

1. Learn to negotiate everything


2. Practice patience


3. Know where to find deals

Ramsey shared a lot more about how to negotiate and how to make your cash "talk" for you (and this is one of those times where it's so worth it to actually be in the class and not get info secondhand). I'll readily admit to not realizing the power cash has or ever utilizing that technique. I'm definitely of the "Plastic Generation."

He also shared some places to find great deals.

1. Individuals
2. Estate sales
3. Public Auctions
4. Couponing (yes!)
5. Garage sales
6. Repo lot
7. Flea markets
8.  Refunding
9.  Foreclosures
10. Pawn Shops
11. Online Auctions
12. Classified Ads
13. Consignment sales
14. Conventions

Really...it goes back to the idea of being fiscally responsible with our money. Just because we can "afford" to pay full price for an item, should we? If we could spend a little bit of time researching options or clipping a coupon that would save us 10%, 20%, 50% or more, shouldn't we make that investment?

If I've learned anything, it's not really so much about "saving money on a deal," although I admit to loving the knowledge that I rarely pay full price for anything. Rather it's about understand what you can do with that savings. The potential for savings and investment is vast when you are willing to be patient and let it work for you over time.

I wish I could see what that would look like over a year...to take all of the savings of what I've couponed and then put it in a savings account and see what that would net me in my later years. Using one of Ramsey's own charts, if I save $200 per month (and I know I do and more), I could invest it at 12% and in 25 years when I'm 63, I could have $187,885!!  All for the cost of a little bit of my time.

I think that's a bargain!

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To read more about our journey to financial peace, read related posts here:
http://www.mosaicmomma.net/p/finding-financial-peace.html

For more info on Financial Peace, visit:
http://www.daveramsey.com/fpu/preview/


For info on Inzolo -- an online and mobile "envelope system," tool, visit:
www.inzolo.com

For more info on The Blessed Life, visit:
http://theblessedlife.com/

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