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:
- 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.
- 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?