So, around here we talk about money, a lot. We’re always trying to make sure that our resources are focused like a laser on our family priorities, and nothing that isn’t. Around here tithing is first and savings/debt repayment are second.
The rest of the money goes for buying “things”, groceries, electricity, haircuts, and so on. As we discuss where we cut so we can add in other places, I’m always thinking about what’s “normal consumption,” why it’s “normal” and if there is any way to cut it. I know what the Pedroza family luxuries are: electronics and vacations. At least that’s what I think our only two luxuries are. We are planning on renting a two bedroom apartment. For some families as small as ours that would be a luxury, AJ could sleep in our room or we could put his bed in the family room, and not have that space. It would save us, possibly $100 a month on rent to get a one bedroom and not two. We’re also not looking in the very worst neighborhoods. We drive one car now, to go down to none would require a very long commute on public transport, not to mention imposing on our friends for rides to and from church activities. It could be done though. It will be easier in Riverside, where the transportation to and from work by way of public transportation would not nearly be so onerous. However, we’re not even considering it. I suppose some people would think that tithing is a luxury, but that’s non-negotiable. If it’s a luxury, so be it.
So, in my head there are 3 categories: luxuries, standards, and scrimps. I think that our electronics and vacations are our luxuries. Our one car, and our grocery budget are probably our biggest scrimps. I’m the first to admit that scrimping on groceries can be a short term plus, long term negative. We’re trying (John and Denise, each of a little differently) to make sure that it’s a short term plus AND a long term plus. Everything else, I think, for better or worse, is pretty standard. I’m sure John will be on me to turn all of our non-luxuries into scrimps sooner or later.
Whenever I see a list of people’s self-assessment of their own luxuries, vacations often make the list, sometimes electronics. How about it, do you have the same luxuries as us? Or different ones? Anyone think that they don’t have any luxuries? How about your scrimps? As discussed above, all these things are relative. In my experience, people mostly assess their luxuries and their scrimps in relation to their neighbors. (One reason why choosing a neighborhood has a bigger effect on your finances than just the amount you spend on your rent/mortgage!)
(This Post by Denise)