Top 5 Things I Wouldn’t Do to Save Money

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In order to save money we all employ various tactics and strategies. Some of these are ‘common sense‘ (at least in the personal finance people’s world), while others can make us cringe. Just as beauty lies in the eye of the beholder, some things we do to save money can be ‘shocking‘ or normal for others – so I’d like us to take a relaxed look (no judging here) and see how we all fare.

Without too much ado, here are my top things I wouldn’t do to save money:

1. I wouldn’t eat food that’s no longer fresh (or with ingredients that I don’t trust)

In this matter there are 2 main reasons to do this:

  1. I am VERY picky with food and can easily get quesy if something is not to my liking. Yes, I am the ‘dudette’ who throws food or plainly refuses to eat something that doesn’t ‘smell’ good.
  2. I fear getting sick (the real deal) and needing to go to the hospital. Knowing my luck, the moment I leave my guard down, my liver might be interested in an overnight stay at the hospital. And knowing how most hospitals here look like, no thanks.

As you can guess this gives our budget a HUGE blow. I think groceries are one of the biggest expenses in our household. The good thing is that we mainly eat at home (this helps us save money by not eating out), but we clearly ‘waste’ money by looking for the best ingredients and produce.

2. Leave the thermostat alone!

Our utilities bills can really get out of hands, especially during winter (we are ‘blessed‘ with some cold winters here), so cranking down the thermostat can really seem like a terrific idea. Yes, it can save money (even having one does save about 33% of your heating bill – husband says this, he’s in the ‘business‘).

While having a lower temperature in the house can be a great idea for savers, I am VERY cold. Let’s say that my ‘comfort zone‘ is about 75 degrees. Which is huge, I know. We keep our heating system at about 72, but I suffer tremendously, having to wear my t-shirt and a ‘hoody’. I am one of those people who expect not to have to wear too many layers of clothing, so when husband sends me to the closet to get something warmer to wear, I start yelling ‘turn on the damn heat‘.

3. I wouldn’t purchase second-hand clothing to save money

In our household the biggest ‘spender’ when it comes to clothing is our baby. She’s the one with a pretty big closet (especially since she’s outgrowing everything in weeks) and for her we buy only new clothing. Same for us (we do it only when we get a really great deal or need something, so the expenses are smaller).

While I have no problem with the idea of wearing pre-owned clothing to save money (it’s indeed a huge saver), this is an issue that comes from my childhood.

When I was a teenager my folks really struggled financially, so I’d get a lot of hand me downs. Back then I promised myself that, when I grow up, I’ll purchase the clothing I want to wear, not something I have to just because it’s what I received or could buy from a thrift store.

Yes, it’s a silly preconception, but it’s mine. So, instead of saving a lot of money by shopping smart at thrift stores, I still do ‘retail‘.

4. I wouldn’t trade time for money

We are not talking here about the fact I’m actually a web designer, so I do trade time for money, since I work for my clients. What I’m trying to say here is that I’d rather save time sometimes that money. As an example, I’d have nothing against hiring help at home, when the cleaning would take too much of my time (right now we’re managing to do it alone) and, even closer to my current situation: I’d rather pay for disposable diapers than save money with reusable ones.

In the past months I have realized that money is indeed important (we couldn’t afford the lifestyle we have), but TIME is something I’ll never get back.

Most of my day is spent together with my baby, playing together, taking care of her etc. Since time with her is so important (and impossible to get back), I try not to waste any minute with anything that could be ‘solved’ otherwise. So I’m taking shortcuts here and there, even if this means I cannot save money as I’d like to.

5. I wouldn’t give up traveling to save money

The two of us are pretty frugal when it comes to some aspects of our life, but travel is clearly NOT the ‘area’ where we save money. Living for 20 months abroad and having our ‘regular’ vacations meant having to spend some serious money, but we never had an issue with this, since it helped us gain a lot of lifelong experiences and fun.

Our summer vacation blows a big hole in our wallets, but we wouldn’t trade the memories we’re building together (now with out daughter, too) for anything. Of course, we’re not wasting money on useless crap in our vacations either (find out how we were able to save a third of our budget even when traveling), but still, we love to indulge in our little ‘escapades’.

So .. what are your TOP 5 things you wouldn’t do to save money?

16 COMMENTS

  1. Your list sounds about right 🙂

    I’m not a very picky person when it comes to food, but I do throw away anything that has been sitting in the fridge for too long. I also look for special offers when buying food, but if it’s about to expire or if it looks too weird to me, I prefer to spend an extra buck, rather than save money and get sick.

    As far as no. 5 goes, I found the perfect way to save money even while traveling. We have ‘invested’ in some cooler bags that we use to carry water and some snacks with us whenever we travel on a city break, so we won’t have to stop at every autogrill or eat in restaurants and spend a fortune on a lousy sandwich 😛 Seriously, some prices they have should be illegal! 😀

    • He he, agreed on that. Some restaurants and fast-food joints are indeed overcharging. We also have a ‘car fridge’ that has done ‘miracles’ in saving us quite some money.

  2. I definitely think you should choose to do things that makes you comfortable and secure such as having thermostat at a point where you’re comfortable in your own home. This way you cut out other things and maybe going out. I have the opposite thought of hand me downs since my brother’s clothing was always in great condition. I did for a period of time was a huge spender and brand label guy that got me into big trouble with debt.

    • Hey, Jason, welcome to Personal Finance Today and thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      Good call on the clothing. I did get some hand me downs from a very good friend of mine for instance and had no problem with them. But I wouldn’t just go and purchase such clothing. It’s true we don’t buy too much and our budget is not that limited anyway.

  3. Totally agree about food. The quality of the food/nutrition we put into our bodies has tremendous impact on our well-being. On the rare occasion that I eat at a restaurant, it has to be someplace very special. I am willing to pay well for an incredibly delicious meal.

    Moving from home with central heating to cottage without it is taking some adjustment. I have been used to wearing only a camisole and modal pj bottom at home so adding a cardi and fleece pant is a change I am getting used to.

    Seeing other parts of the world, other cultures, and how people in other countries live changes our world view and even how we see our own country and ourselves. I can live out of a carryon suitcase for months. Keep traveling!

    There can be no substitute for my husband’s pricey shampoo. It is worth every penny for the scent that is just Him!

    • I would have a problem with the heating conditions you mention, but you’ll probably adjust just fine. As long as you don’t need too much clothing anyway, it’s still OK.

      I also think food is VERY important and, by eating crap food, we compromise our health, which can turn costly 😀

  4. I’m actually more comfortable with a lower temp. in my home, so I guess I’m lucky, but I never looked at it as a big money saver before!
    As far as rotten food and used clothes go, that’s a big no-no in my book! I try to buy fresh groceries every 2-3 days, rather than buy in bulk and risk my health. And clothes, well, God bless whoever invented sales!

  5. I agree, saving money is really, really important but there are certain things in life that you just cannot sacrifice to save a buck! Food and clothing – totally my first 2 on the list! I wouldn’t give up on my hobbies either, we are human beings, if you like to travel, you should be able to do it without feeling guilty about it.

  6. Here are my tip 5 things I wouldn’t do to save money: education, house, hair, health,and car. 1) I believe that the mind is one of the greatest things you can invest in. Having to have a PhD is not a necessity but at least being able to take some online classes is a start. 2) I grew up with brothers and sisters and still live with them for now. For as long as I can remember I have always had to share my room. When I do manage to get my own place I want to own a house, not rent an apartment. 3) There are plenty of things I can do but hair is not one of them. If I need it cut, I will go to a professional. 4) My health is important to me. Without it I can’t do much. That means not spending my money on quack medicine. If need be I’ll buy generic as a last resort. 5) Being able to have a car is something I’m working on. There have been to many instances where I will find a nice paying job only to find out it is too far to walk or take the bus, I must have a car. Having a car would be my means of being more independent and free to go to places.

  7. Health is something we should never cheap out on. I would much rather spend some money and have my regular check-ups, than wake up one day with a terrible disease and have to spend a fortune on doctors and drugs!

  8. As for me, I can only think of 3 things I wouldn’t do to save money. These are:

    1. Buy low quality clothes: I seldom spend for clothing but when I do, I make sure that the items are made of high quality materials. Brand is not that important though. I can still find quality clothes that cost less if I really look around. I also tend to choose classical pieces so my clothes will still remain trendy in the coming years.

    2. Skip my meals: I would never skip meals just to save money. While money is important, I don’t think people live just to work. That said, our lives have more value than any amount of money. Putting myself at risk in exchange for a few dollars just doesn’t make sense.

    3. Buy cheap medicine: The logic for this one is similar to number 2. I don’t think it makes sense to save money on cheap medicine especially if you’re not sure it will work. If things get worse, you may even end up spending everything you’ve saved on buying the medicine.

    Every person has their own quirks when it comes to saving money. Ultimately it boils down to priorities.

  9. I did trade time for money, many times even, but only if it was worth it! I sometimes gave up on partying with my friends on New Year’s, because I was asked to go to work, I did it for the money and, at the time, it was worth it. However, now that I’m older, I realize time is indeed something I will never get back!

  10. I would trade time for money, but it depends how I use it. For instance, I’d rather take my time and cook a good, healthy meal, rather than eat out or order in because it saves time. But I am also very picky with my food, I rarely eat out. Which, funny enough, saves me tons of money 🙂

  11. This is a pretty interesting list. This got me thinking. Hmmm, I could only think of a few things. One of that is about buying clothes in thrift stores. I don’t mind hand-me-downs, but I noticed that there is a proliferation of ‘ukay-ukay’ stores in our country. (Ukay-ukay is a thrift store, where you literally have to dig in at piles of clothes to look for a good find). I’m sure, they’re a pretty legit business, but I somehow can’t help think that the used clothes are meant for relief. So, I’d rather buy new and spend more than buying from ukay. Much like yourself, I’m pretty picky with food. When I’m out of the country, I can’t truly eat street food even when they’re much cheaper.
    tabby recently posted…my stock market journey with COL Financial IncMy Profile

  12. Things one wouldn’t do to save money. I never actually thought about this before! I guess, all in all, I wouldn’t trade quality for money, when it comes to food &clothes. Especially food.
    I’d also not try and save money when it comes to health, mine or my family’s. My regular dentist checkups cost a fortune (compared to others), but I trust he does a great job every time. Well worth the money!

    • Good for you! I bet things will truly cost more if one will try to save on dental coverage. I’m with you on not scrimping on dental check-ups. Shelling out big once in a while can actually turn out to be a great saver in the end. The cost of fixing the damage usually is greater than what one pays with maintenance and upkeep. 🙂
      tabby recently posted…how to withdraw funds from COLMy Profile

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