There are thousands upon thousands of reasons to save money. There are also a few reasons that saving money instead of spending it would be a very bad idea.
No Reason At All
One of the worst reasons to save money if for no reason at all. Why is this bad? Because there is no goal use for part of your assets. Be saving for a rainy day, save for retirement, save for a new boat ,or a trip to the Bahamas, just save with a purpose or goal in mind. Money without a goal is as useless as old tools rusting in a forgotten shed.
The Not Good Enough Reason
There are plenty of reasons that aren’t good enough to spend your money. Another trip to the vending machines during lunch can most likely be done without. There are other times we need to use our money (get the car fixed or go to the dentist) and we don’t spend it. We are stubbornly saving and not even our health will stand in the way of that.
I agree that you can’t buy your way out of every little bump in the road, but some situations are emergencies. This should be considered good enough to spend savings.
You buy a used car, but you saved so much it broke down on the way home and you don’t have the money to get it fixed. Now you have two cars and neither of them run. Another example of this is taking a cheap class with no accreditation or certification. You have paid for the class, but have very little to show for it.
Some deals are amazing at saving you money. Others will seam like a great idea until you’re stuck on the side of the road or realizing this training would be meaningless on your resume.
There are many good reasons that people spend money. There are a lot of bad reasons we spend money as well. We know that it’s a bad idea, but we do it anyway. Why would we do that?
To Feel Better About Life
When the going gets tough, sometimes the tough get shopping. We know that we don’t have a whole lot of money. We know it’s a bad idea to drain our bank accounts. We do it anyway because circumstances in our life are not fun and we deserve a little fun. We are tired of living on a tight budget and, in spite of what we can’t afford, we are going to get something of higher quality.
Wanting better stuff is not a crime and is actually one of the reasons that we try to save money and live on a budget. The problem is usually instead of getting an upgrade on an item we try to get the best and most expensive product. It’s far better to slowly progress with what you can afford than jump to spending much more than you can afford.
To Blow Off Steam
Shopping, is a stress relief to many people. We can go wander around a mall for a few hours and forget the unpleasant things that may be happening in our lives. This could include our financial situation and leads us back to spending money to feel better about life. It may not have been our intent when we started window shopping, but it happens.
Find other ways to blow off steam. Don’t just do what everybody else is doing (like yoga) either, if it doesn’t work for you. Find out what does and run with it. It’s true that many of the best things in life are free. Look to free classes or activities to find your non spending stress relief.
To Keep Up With The Jones
We feel we need higher quality items in our lives because our peers have them. We feel that because we don’t have all the bells and whistles in decor, car, or home we are somehow failing in life. No one wants to feel like a failure, so we spend money we don’t have and do our best to make the payments over time.
While the public firmly says that these items don’t equal success, it’s hard to overcome the accepted mentality that they are. Shifting our points of view to see success is equally difficult, but can be done. Start small. Instead of buying something new we should learn to repair or refurbish what we have already. Then we put the quality in our care for an item rather than its age.
Many of us do it. If you’re like me you even rationalize it. I spend money on nothing. At least I used to, until I realized what I was doing.
Whether it’s that new cow on a Facebook farm or a new outfit or pet in my favorite MMO, the fact of the matter is that I have spent money on nothing. I realized this the other day when I spent $40 on a couch…that was digital. I may have picked up a few other items as well, but in the end what I bought was useless to me in the long run. I agree that games can be fun and relieve stress. I also know that spending too much on them can cause financial problems for those on a tight budget. My digital furniture can’t even be liquidated. In fact, many of these purchases are only for a limited time because some day the game will be canceled.
I buy Facebook credits for certain games. I buy credits to bid on auctions. I limit the amount of real money I have by investing in fake money. Really it isn’t the smartest thing that I have done with my money. Sure I can make purchases with my fake money, but it limits what I can buy and where I can buy it. In the end I’m stuck taking what a company wants me to buy. Instead I should look for deals on what I really want to buy and use real money. In some cases (like the auction bids) the amount of fake currency inflates so much I would be better off using real money for a product.
For some people gambling can be a real problem. They get addicted to games and watching their profits rise and fall. For others it’s not so much a problem, but it’s still a waste of money. Even when I find a game to play for free, I’m tempted to throw more money into the slot machine, digital or tangible. There are much better things I could be doing with my money. Even allowing it to build interest in a savings account would be better.
Taxes are definitely a pain to file. I JUST got ours done and so glad that chapter is closed for at least a year. Every year people either love or dread this time determined only by the fact if you get a refund or not.
Sorry if you don’t 🙁
Yay if you do!
But not so fast! There are smarter ways to spending it rather than blowing it shopping or even a family vacation.
1. Pay off debt! I can’t stress this enough. Think about it this way. If you pay off two items that you pay on monthly, that much money is freed every month for something else. It takes so much pressure off your family. Don’t know what to pay off? Start with the highest interest items.
2. Refinance your house. Home mortgages are at an all time low. However, to refinance, you usually have to pay some money down. This is a great use of your tax refund. You can potentially save hundreds of dollars a month.
3. Invest it. It’s always a good idea to invest more into your retirement account.
4. Home improvements. If you own your home, any time you can do improvements is awesome. Even a small improvement can give you a much larger return in equity. For example, my parents spent $4,000 a few summers ago on some home improvements which was valued at over $10,000. It really helped when they sold their home.
5. Give! This doesn’t just benefit the receiver. Your gift is tax deductible! Start the year off right by giving to others and benefiting others.
What do you plan to do with your tax refund?
Extreme couponers spend about 6-9 hours clipping coupons. Not to mention all the time they spend shopping for food. But sometimes you need to take a little break. Sometimes the break will give you the rest you need to tackle larger thrifty projects like getting rid of your personal debt. If you are getting to the point where being Thrifty is becoming too much for you, it’s time for a break and regroup.
There are some things that may have suffered because you’ve been living the Thrifty Divas way. Here are some examples of things you may be missing.
Do you never go out to eat anymore?
Go and eat a big steak and order more than water.
You are wearing shoes you bought 5 years ago and you think duck tape is adequate to fix it.
Go buy yourself some proper shoes.
Was your last vacation to your uncle’s funeral an hour away?
Seriously it’s time to have fun, you can still be frugal, but at least go do something.
Are you freezing in your home because you dont want the heat bill?
Turn it up and enjoy some warmth. It’s not worth being cold to save money. It’s just not. And it can quickly make you feel burned out on “saving”.
Instead of hanging out with your friends you are clipping coupons.
There is no amount of money that is worth you not getting the human interaction you need. Drop the scissors and go out!
When’s the last time you actually went to a theater?
Go watch the latest release and maybe even enjoy some popcorn!
Some other advice for taking a frugal break.
You may be putting away a lot of money every month to pay off a large debt. Instead of doing that one month, take half of what you’d normally put make and add some extra to your fun money. You can still be on goal, but the extra fun, will help with your attitude in the long term.
Living the Thrifty Diva life doesn’t have to be pain and suffering, but sometimes it can be stressful. Take a break, have some fun, spend some money, laugh, eat dessert and buy something for full price. Then get back on the frugal wagon with a renewed since of hope!
This seriously helps me every time!
Here at Thrifty Divas, we tell of you a lot of things not to spend money. However, there are things we think you should spend money on. Of course, these are just one Thrifty Divas’ opinion, but these are things that have been true for my family and I.
1. A good mattress. I used to think you couldn’t buy sleep, but you can. When I got married, my husband and I decided to buy a brand new mattress from a real mattress store. We spent a ridiculous amount of money without much research and a year later we were both miserable. The name brand company refused to honor their warranty and we are out of luck. I’ve scared you haven’t I? However, after this we did our research by reading reviews and talking to friends and decided to take the plunge one more time and buy a Temperpedic. Best. Money. I’ve. Ever. Spent. We get nothing from the company to say this either, but it’s so worth the cost. Mattresses are one of those things you don’t buy often, so when you do spend the money, get a good one so you spend less in the long run.
2. A good slow cooker. This may sound silly, but I am so glad I spent the money several years ago on an amazing slow cooker and didn’t opt out for the cheap one. I am a firm believer that the more convenient you make cooking, the more you will cook and the more you’ll save by eating at home. Having a crockpot with more settings, easier cleaning options and lid latches makes my life easier!
3. Debt. Yes, spend money on debt! Pay it off! The wisest thing you can do is spend whatever you can out of your paycheck paying off debt.
4. Organic produce. Again, this is just a personal preference, but I do think there is a difference between organic vs. non-organic. Although a study recently published says there is not nutritional difference, there is a difference in the amount of pesticides used and what you are exposed to.
5. Things you really want. No, I didn’t just tell you to buy anything you want. I do the 3 day test. If there is a more expensive item that I REALLY want, I go to the store, wait three days and then after that if I am still thinking about it, I buy it. Once there was a purse that I really wanted, but I passed because of the price. I thought about it for weeks and finally decided to go back to the store and it was gone. Obviously three years later and I am still thinking about it and regretting it. Being a Thrifty Diva doesn’t mean going without your favorite things.
What are some other items you should spend money on?
Definition: The amount added to the cost price of goods to cover overhead and profit.
The truth is almost every product you come across will have a markup in it’s price. That’s how companies make money and keep rolling out the goods. But have you ever wondered about those markups and how much they really are marking products up? I know I have so I did some research. These may shock you!
1. Bottled water.
4,000% markup. My brother made a joke one time. He said, (in a French accident no less) “Those naive Americans, they drink our tap water.” He was talking about Evian and in case you missed it, it does spell naive backwards. With a 4,000% markup and the fact that you are drinking municipal water 40% of the time leads me to bring my own bottle and fill it up.
2. Movie buttered popcorn.
I can hear my mom right now. “I don’t care if they charge me $50, I am having my movie popcorn,” she would say. My mom will go to the theater get popcorn and take it home. She really loves it that much. I am not that extreme, but I do love me some movie popcorn. But with a markup of 1,275% you’ve got to really want it or at least understand that there may be no substitute for it.
I think most everyone knows that coffee places like Starbucks are marking up their products by as much as 400%. And with that information, you may want to check out a blog from a while back that we posted about making your own specialty coffee.
4. Pre-cut veggies and fruits.
Here is an easy one you can almost always avoid. This 40% markup can easily be avoided with a little prep time and planning. Don’t let someone else cut up your produce. Do it yourself and save the 40%.
5. Sodas in a restaurant.
According to Toptenz.com, “A 12 ounce glass of soda costs the restaurant nickels, but it is sold for dollars; and it is half filled with ice! It’s no secret that you can buy a soda from a soda machine for between fifty and seventy five cents and that same soda will cost $2.75 in a restaurant.” I am not sure this will make me cut out our soda habit, but if my mom takes us out for dinner, she always looks to see how much they charged her for a soda and if we drank it!