Cutting back on things you love

One Snarky Chica with Issues made a good point a while back on her blog about people cutting back on items in an effort to be more frugal, but in essence, cutting back on the wrong things!

Blurb from her post:

I know someone that loves coffee. I am talking about serious love here.

To embrace frugality, she started drinking cheap coffee. She has said that she does not like it as much. The brand that she prefers is about twice the cost. And she goes through a LOT of coffee so it adds up.

Read the rest of the post here.

What I had commented was that I didn’t understand why people cut back on things that they truly enjoy and love.

Take me for example.

I truly enjoy and love eating good food.

Like chicken. I am not talking about loving St-Hubert, Swiss Chalet or Kentucky Fried Chicken quality… don’t get me wrong, those are okay once in a while, but I am talking about organic, grain-fed chicken that is just bursting with flavour with every bite and needs very little seasoning. Plus I cook the food myself.

For me, if I cheaped out and bought chicken that was not as tasty, looked kind of grey, but was $1.50 off at the supermarket because they’re trying to move it quick, I would have saved more than the $1.50 (because better chicken costs more), but I would have not as been happy eating my food.

I would rather cut back on entertainment such as going out to eat, going to the movies (of which I haven’t done in a year and a half), or whatever else I deem not to be as high as a priority as my food.

What I find people cut back on, the minute they have to be frugal is in the food category: Groceries, Coffees, Teas, Lattes or Lunches Out.

I can totally see why.

People cut back on groceries because they are the fastest, quickest way without a lot of work to cut back on.

All they have to do is compare prices between a regular chicken and an organic, grain-fed chicken. Never mind the pasty grey colour of the regular chicken, it’s $1.50 cheaper!!!!!

What kills me, is not really the fact that people do this because they cannot afford to buy higher quality food

(I am DEFINITELY not trying to target families who are already trying to make ends meet on their meager income)

but it’s the fact that they continue to keep a budget that allows them to eat out at a restaurant, blowing $50 a meal, when that could really go the mile at a grocery store.

$50 / $1.50 = 33.333~

You could essentially take that $50 eating out budget put it towards your grocery budget, and if you normally buy 33 regular chickens, you can now buy 33 high quality chickens (as the difference) instead!

Now, I completely understand that if you LOVE to go out and eat, there ain’t no one stopping you from doing that. But the key point to remember is that eating out then becomes your PRIORITY luxury.

So in the coffee example above, she’s saving what… $50 a month, maximum? Maybe a bit more or less?

But every time she sips that substandard coffee (something that gives her great pleasure every day), she feels a bit cheated and resentful at her new budget.

Everyone, this is NOT the way to cut down on your expenses and to clear your debt quickly, or build a fat savings fund. If you feel resentful at your budget, you will be 90% sure to cheat on it and feel like a failure.

It’s a lot like dieting actually. Why deprive yourself (within reason)?

In conclusion:

Spend on what you want, don’t over spend what you cannot afford, but prioritize what is most important to you.

Ask yourself what makes you happy, and work towards it, or continue doing it but cut back on other parts in your budget (gas, eating out, entertainment, telephone, cellphone, internet usage, TV) that don’t give you as much bang for your buck.

Oh and by the way….

I am SO not giving you or anyone carte blanche to go out and spend like mad on a pair of sexy Loubous just because it gives you pleasure to go shopping and wear a fabulous pair of heels.

I am telling you to make intelligent choices that fit with your lifestyle and work FOR YOU.

Don’t listen to the PF pundits (PF = Personal Finance) who tell you that saving money on buying expensive coffee at Starbucks is the way to wealth.

It may be, for people who don’t love coffee, or for people who want to voluntarily take up the proverbial whip and punish themselves for having debt, but this is not what I believe works for everyone.

I am most DEFINITELY not your average PF blogger.

About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.