5 Impractical Ways To Save Your Family Money In 2013

2 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack,

From first glance, we look like a pretty normal American family. If people only knew…

As for this time around, I would like to focus on 5 impractical ways that our family saves money…

I’ve heard it said that Generation Y parents are predicted to become much like the penny-pinching generation who was our age during the Great Depression.

Well, I believe it. Here’s the how and the why.

These are 5 impractical ways we as a family save money:

1. We don’t pay for cable or satellite TV. Instead, we pay $7.99 a month for the Netflix streaming plan. We have unlimited access all the shows you love, like Thomas & Friends and Sesame Street; for Mommy and me, there’s Lost and The Office. That’s not even mentioning all the movies that are available.

2. We don’t pay for Internet on our phones. Since we’re already paying for wireless Internet for our house and because our jobs don’t directly depend on it, it’s difficult for us to justify paying even more for Internet so we can play Angry Birds on our phones while we’re bored. Because honestly, as your parents, we never have time to be bored. I wouldn’t mind that, though.

3. We hardly ever go out to eat. By hardly ever, I mean, on a bad month, about twice. While the documentary Food Inc. conveys a message that a family of 4 can eat for less on McDonald’s Dollar Menu, that’s not accounting for the fact there won’t be leftovers the next day. Shunning restaurants saves money.

4. We don’t update our electronics or possessions that cost over $100. My iPod has a cracked screen and its charge only lasts about 2 days. The screen of our 2006 model TV is only 30 inches wide, yet the length of it is nearly just as long. Oh yeah, and it’s been struck by lightning, so parts of the screen are discolored. Mommy and I have had the same cell phones for well over 2 years, but because Verizon recently started charging an “activation fee” for their “free phones,” we decided to just keep our old ones. In other words, if it ain’t dead, don’t fix it.

5. We live by a strict weekly budget, on an Excel spreadsheet. Like financial guru Dave Ramsey says, “If you don’t tell your money where to go, it will tell you where to go.” It’s impractical to account for every dollar spent, but knowing that we are projected to reach “debt free” status in 2013, I don’t mind living an impractical lifestyle.

So what if we shun credit cards and cable TV like the plague, or perhaps more relevantly, like high-fructose corn syrup? Mommy and I are obsessed with telling our money where to go.

We’ve learned the hard way. Just a couple of years ago, our money was telling us where to go. As for 2013, Lord willing, we will finally be free of debt.

Somehow, becoming debt-free is one of the most practical things I can think of.




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  1. by Lydia Beiler

    On January 2, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    Loved this post!

    Kudos to you on becoming debt-free in 2013! We hit that status last year and it feels amazing. All the sacrifices it took to get there feel so small once you are on the other side.

  2. by Nick Shell

    On January 2, 2013 at 7:10 pm

    Thanks Lydia! We look forward to it :)

  3. by Lydia G. Fowler

    On February 3, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    We LOVE Dave and all that he stands for. We were debt free two years into our marriage after paying off all our student loans (our only debt). Then, two years later, we bought a house, and we are currently “living like no one else” to, Lord willing, pay our house off in 10-12 years. It’s a long-term goal, but we are excited as we begin!! Best of luck and motivation and stamina to you!! :)

  4. by Nick Shell

    On February 3, 2013 at 9:54 pm

    Thanks Lydia. Your words definitely do excite and encourage me!

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  6. by Why I’m The Cheapest Parent I Know | The Dadabase

    On April 22, 2014 at 10:07 pm

    [...] I’ve covered some of this before in “5 Impractical Ways To Save Your Family Money In 2013.” [...]

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