Over the last few weeks I made a big change in my career, and with this slumping economy I decided not to go out for the next month or so. The only time I went out was for my brother's birthay, which I couldn't miss. But otherwise, I respectfully turned down my friends, chosing to stay home with my family.
The funny thing is, I'm not even upset about being a homebody. When I was a teenager I used to itch with restlessness every Friday and Saturday if I wasn't out somewhere. I'm in my early 20's now and many of my friends go out religiously. Every single time I go out I realize I spend anywhere from $15-50, if not more. (I live in NYC.) What's the point of going out so often if you're spending so much? As a young person, you have work so many hours to replenish that money.
Today I stumbled on an blog about a couple, both in their 60s, who decided not to leave the house except to go to work or to church. (See the article below.)
The blogger was completely taken aback by the couple's "hermit" tatics That blog was written in October 2008. Now, in January 2009, I am not as shocked by this couple at all. To me, it makes sense, especially if the couple is in debt. Many of my friends and my parents' friends have lost so much money, and are so deep in debt that they cannot even afford to think about going out.
Instead of thinking about how hurt you are by not going out, try thinking about the benefits of staying home.
1. You have more time to spend with family (if you live with or near them).
Think about sitting with your family in a crowded restaurant or walking around a mall. Even traveling is tiring and annoying, especially if you are traveling with young children. And who said the only thing you can do at home is watch TV? About two years ago our house lost power and my family sat together playing cards for over two hours, having more fun than I could ever remember!
2. Create a better living space by investing the money save.
If you stay home and save money instead of going out, you could invest more into your house or apartment. A better living space will be more inviting, it will make you want to stay home more, and it will improve your overall mood after a long day at school or work.
3. You finally have time to do all those things you wanted to do.
Remember all those things you have always wanted to know about? All those rooms you wanted to organize? All those recipes you've been dying to try? How about your dream of learning to play the guitar? Instead of going out, maybe invite some friends over and watch free tutorials online. Websites like youtube.com and expertvillage.com have all sorts of tutorials about anything you could possibly want to know about.
4. Spending time at home and saving money will better prepare you for future economic troubles.
Everyone is afraid of getting a pink slip with their name on it. Even those who own businesses quiver in fear at the ringing of the opening and closing bell on Wall Street everyday. Putting money away will buffer any economic problems you may face in the future. Taking time out to think about new job prospects or simply marketing your small business will help you plan for the future. Build a website for yourself or your company. Webhosting is not very expensive, and building a website with free templates is easy. Other ways of marketing your small business is to advertise at religious centers, cultural organizations, etc. Go to the library and check out some books on improving your skills. Your tax money goes to libraries and that's what they're there for!
Think about it: You will not have to worry about racking up debt later if you cut back and plan ahead now.
Lastly, the best advice my parents gave me about living frugally is to only buy with cash when you can. Some people say that those who buy with cash spend 20% less than those who buy with credit or debit cards.
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