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20130608-104627.jpgNot too long ago, I heard the description of an individual who could pinch pennies until they squeaked … and squeeze a nickel until the buffalo pooped. Hopefully this week’s character trait doesn’t go quite that far!

Thriftiness is letting myself and others spend only what is necessary. Frugality in spending money or resources. Being wisely economical. Without being stingy, thriftiness spends with a prioritized plan in mind.

This topic is especially timely given that the past couple of weeks have been expensive with car trouble. Bald tires and a front end out of alignment. A dead battery. An older vehicle developing a list of odd quirks. We’re trying to save toward the eventual replacement costs while spending what we have to in order to keep them running safely today.

In the never-ending struggle to balance our regular budget, we have to plan ahead for the unexpected expenses. And that leads to thrifty decisions about what is really necessary.

For example, when I bought the new tires, I had to decide between the cheapest, entry level tire or one that would last twice as long for a little more money per tire now. I had to pay the required state disposal fees, then decide if I wanted to add a warranty or not. Is it worth the extra money in the long term or should I go for the lowest price out the door?

We’ve always lived on a tight budget, pay off our credit card balance every month, and work hard to keep our boys in a Christian school while paying the regular bills. Yet, we’ve included a vacation, sports, activities, and some out-to-eat money in our planning in order to keep a healthy balance. But, in light of the recent expenses, we’re taking another look at our spending.

What about you? Do you have a balanced budget or spend money you don’t have? Is there such a thing as too cheap? How do you find a balance?

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