Personally, I enjoy being productive. I like accomplishing things, being active, and generally staying busy. Doing so makes me feel good, and I’ve learned over the years, it also helps save me money.
The other day I read an interesting article on wisebread.com titled, “Become a producer to put your consumption in perspective”. It got me thinking how, as I’ve grown older, I’ve begun to work more toward becoming a producer than a consumer, and in the process, found that while I enjoy the independence this provides, so do my finances.
The more I do, the less I spend
There are multiple facets to the “the more I do, the less I spend” attitude. First off, this attitude helps vastly with those little repairs projects and updates around the house. From paint touchups and mid-level plumbing repairs, to low-level electrical fixes and stone patchwork, there is a variety of work that I can do myself that saves us $50 here or $100 there. And with the Internet at my disposal, it’s easy to look up all sorts of repair instructions for my DIY work.
But more than this, staying busy ensures that I’m not out spending money on other things to keep myself occupied. I read an interesting comment on a personal finance article the other day by a woman who had recently retired. She was amazed at how much money she was spending on little projects here and there that she never had time for when she was working. When she was buys in her office all day, there just wasn’t time for spending money. It was a key point that staying busy with work means that there is often less time for being bored and looking for things to do that cost money.
Teaching the next generation
Sadly, for all that we learn, such information isn’t always passed along to the upcoming generations. Sometimes I find myself wishing that my parents had taught me more about the projects they were doing when I was a child, which would have saved me money as an adult. This is why I attempt to involve my own children in much of the work I do or errands I run.
In this way, I’m attempting to provide them with a well-rounded background of things that they might do as adults or jobs they might take on. And heck, teaching them that there is a world outside just the standard “go to college and get an office job” route, could not only open the doors of opportunity to them, but save both sides money on a costly college education. According to collegedata.com, “In its most recent survey of college pricing, the College Board reports that a “moderate” college budget for an in-state public college for the 2012-2013 academic year averaged $22,261. A moderate budget at a private college averaged $43,289.”
While both my wife and I are college graduates, we’re seeing a trend toward good-paying jobs for which a degree isn’t a necessity. So we’re not bound to a standard college plan for our children, and we’re willing to accept that the military, a two-year or technical college, or even no college at all could be acceptable routes for our kids depending upon their interests, skills and abilities. Helping to teach our kids to be producers rather than consumers could not only save us money but help them save and even earn money as well.
An eventual career change
Like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., I have a dream as well. My dream however, entails working toward future self-sufficiency. To be a true producer as opposed to consumer, I’d like a future in land management. And by land management, I mean owning acreage for things like growing crops, fishing, and the possibility of hunting, logging timber, raising livestock, or at least renting land to those interested in doing this. In this way, I have the opportunity not only to save money by producing our own food and energy sources (heating our home with wood), but possibly making money by offering these options and more to those who don’t have land of their own. Land is still cheap in many areas of the country, and being able to harness these natural resources — especially those that are renewable — could make for a much more secure future for our family.
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The author is not a licensed financial professional. The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute advice of any kind. Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader’s discretion.