How to save money

Hung out to dryYesterday I came across the most ridiculous “article” I’ve read in a long time. Browsing through the (currently) 6,500+ comments, it was evident my reaction was not unique.

The author talks about the many sacrifices her family plans to make to save $12,000, such as:

  • Eating ground beef instead of steak at family cook-outs
  • Taking a $400 vacation instead of a $5,000 vacation
  • Not giving their house the annual paint job they normally give it
  • Doing yard work themselves rather than hiring someone else to do it for them
  • Eliminating their annual $1,400 “summer clothing budget”
  • Saving $3,500 by not remodeling their deck

My favorite comment: “That’s nothing! I plan on saving $250,000 this summer by NOT buying a 2nd vacation home.”

Obviously, the author of this piece does not inhabit the same realm of existence that I do. I’ve been fortunate to make it through these rough economic times with a good job and steady income. Many friends and family I know have not been so lucky. Some have had their home foreclosed, others have turned to unemployment and food stamps to make it through (and thank goodness that little bit of help exists in our country). The last thing they’re concerned about is not having steak for their cookouts or a new $1,4000 summer wardrobe.

Lots of people out there give advice on personal finance and budgeting (a lesson I myself and woefully poor at adhering to). The two “systems” I’ve most often heard praised by my friends are:

What has helped you REALLY save money? What are your biggest struggles?

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