When my husband Rod and I were when raising four daughters, including Heidi, affected by Down syndrome and autism, I frequently felt tired and broke. Heck, I hoped just stretching our dollars counted as my workout. We welcomed Heidi, disabilities and all, and vowed to build a good life.
Having frugal parents helped us learn that self-discipline is usually the foundation for financial freedom. We created happy, quality lives. Thankfully, Heidi is 30 now, and life is still good. To parents walking a rocky financial road, here are some A-Z tips to “Keep it Up.”
Ask Up: After my recent eye exam, before paying for my expensive trifocals, I randomly asked if there were any specials. The receptionist brightened up and said, “Yes, if you’ll contribute two school supplies, we’ll give you a 10-percent discount today!” I walked next door to Target, picked up some crayons and scissors, and saved a lot on my glasses. (Glad I asked.)
Bake Up: Home-made birthday cake vs. bakery-made cakes create substantial savings. We’ve done fun birthday cakes with creative themes or miniature toys on top.
Cut Up: Buying haircutting scissors and an electric clipper can reduce salon haircuts fees for families. Watch online videos and observe good barbers/beauticians.
Dig Up: Plant perennial flowers. Annuals have the life-cycle of only one season, but perennials grow back year after year, saving you money and time. Ask to distinguish the difference.
Eat Up: Going grocery shopping hungry affects your decisions, so eat beforehand. Also Farmers’ Markets are usually more economical, plus it supports local families.
Fess Up: People want to appear financially comfortable, but pretending to keep up with friends’ and relatives’ income leads to misfortune. It’s flattering to be invited on grand vacations together — but seriously consider everything — and admit if you can’t afford it yet.
Give Up: Smoking, alcohol, and chewing tobacco are proven to break down the body and drain your budget. If this is your challenge, please get help quitting, and encourage others to never start.
Hands Up: Volunteering at an upcoming Special Needs conference or event is one way to waive entry fees.
Ice Up: Emotions run high after an injury and folks want to run to the emergency room. Breathe deeply and recall the R.I.C.E. Treatment (rest, ice, compression, and elevation). Then reevaluate.
Juice Up: Fresh raw juicing is a powerhouse vs. expensive vitamins. Anthony Williams, Medical Medium, has good information on foods that heal.
Keep Up: Just as there are no shortcuts for health recovery, there are no shortcuts to get out of debt. We really like Dave Ramsey’s “Financial Peace” program and his Biblical advice to pay tithing.
Look Up: There are countless people who know praying over their finances helped them manage their money. We agree.
Move Up: Buying cheap gasoline is tempting, but a mid-range grade helps our vehicles last longer overall.
Notch Up: An acquaintance is reducing her family’s impulse-buying tendency by placing her grocery orders online, then she drives to the pick-up location. Smart mom!
Open Up: Some parents want to spare their children’s feelings of worrying over money, and “shield” them. However, it’s actually wiser to start a savings account, college fund, etc., when they’re younger.
Pass Up: Invitations to home-based, demo/selling parties (like clothing, jewelry, or kitchen items) are fun, but you’ll always feel obligated to purchase something. Think about this.
Question Up: Finances are baffling for some of us, so don’t be embarrassed to ask experts to explain concepts clearly.
Read Up: Reading can lead to a successful life. My father learned tons by simply reading. He learned five languages, knew health-recovery methods, world history, and even how to pitch a baseball. Money-managing books are free at any library.
Spiff Up: For cleaning household windows and mirrors, a gallon of automotive window-wiper fluid ($1.00) lasts forever. Simply refill your spray bottle.
Team Up: Consider participating in a neighborhood garage sale. (I’d have to be careful to not get other unnecessary things!)
Update Up: A friend told me her teenagers had accidently pressed “agree” to more features on her cell phone than she originally wanted. Periodically confirm your media plans, please.
Value Up: People love their pets, but every critter you care for is an added expense. If reigning in your budget is a problem, you may need to rethink this. When raising our children we agreed to one cat, and Cheeko was loved and spoiled.
Write Up: Most people treasure a beautiful greeting card with a sincere handwritten thought. Honestly, we don’t always need to purchase gifts. Make a “coupon card” like, “The bearer of this coupon may redeem it for 1 free foot massage.” My favorite birthday gift? A heart-felt card.
Xerox Up: Import financial documents should be copied up and put in safe, organized places so they’re easily retrievable. You also never know about emergencies or natural disasters, so a flash drive is a wise move.
Year’s up: Since we were newlyweds, we always had some food storage on hand, but often failed to rotate and eat items before the expiration recommendation. Now I post a note near the can-goods indicating the year, and that’s helped.
Zip Up: Money isn’t just for our needs, it’s for enjoyment, too. When you’re doing something good (but expensive), don’t continuously grumble or worry about it. Relish it!
Elayne Pearson is a C.A.S., Special-Needs Preparedness Specialist. She loves sharing information and inspiration strengthening family resiliency. Instagram: @hiddentreasuresofhealth Email: firstname.lastname@example.org