How to Stretch Your Dollars

Many people are scratching their heads trying to make their income stretch further. It seems there is too much month at the end of our money. For many of us a second job is out of the question, so what can we do to stretch our income?

A few years ago I was counseling a couple about their finances. They had a dream to travel to Germany. The husband’s parents had been born there and they had always wanted to visit his relatives near Frankfurt. The couple had been married for 35 years and had been holding on to this dream for that long. I asked them why they had never gone to Germany in the last 35 years. They laughed and said it was “too expensive.”  Maybe after they retired they would be able to do it. Sound familiar?

I sat them down at the kitchen table, took out a piece of paper and had them write down all the things they did each week that cost money that they did NOT have to do.  They thought for a few moments and wrote down; eating out, Starbucks, going to the movies.  All of those are good things and couples feel ENTITLED to those things as they work hard all week.  

The couple said they spent $ 40.00 a week eating out, $ 20.00 on Starbucks and $ 20.00 a week on movies. That comes to $ 80.00 per week. I asked them if they would be willing to fore go those three habits for 26 weeks if it could get them to Germany. They stared at each other and the husband said of course they could. They’d been waiting for 35 years to get to Germany, what was another six months. It did not sound like much of a sacrifice. I took them over to their computer and we looked on some travel web sites including Lufthansa, the German airline. I showed them that if they traveled in the off-season they could get two round-trip airfares to Frankfurt, Germany, rent a car, and still have $ 250.00 spending money if they could save $ 80.00 a week for 26 weeks. They would be staying with relatives so they wouldn’t need a hotel. Their eyes were transfixed. Needless to say they made it to Germany and since then have been to London and Ireland.

Keep in mind, they didn’t get an extra job, they didn’t sell anything, they didn’t use a credit card, and they didn’t borrow any money.  All they did was change their perception of their own lives and financial situation. In these days of tough times take a look at your own life and see where changing your perception may lead to a change in finances.

Gerry Hartigan invites you to take a look at for more great resources to help you with your finances and help you start on the road to wealth-building.

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