When money silently trickles away

Frugal Zeitgeist (love her blog!) mentioned an interesting article by Kiplinger on what some major 20 money waters are. Here are her picks from that article.

$1 — Buying new instead of used, wastes money

This is particularly true for cars. They lose most of their value in the first 3 years. If you buy a car 3-5 years old, you’re saving a ton of money.

I bought a 10 year old car (now 11.. haha), but it still runs great. I took it to the mechanic recently, and he told me the car would last another 3-5 years or more if I took care of it.

I only paid $2000 for it, flat, in cash and will get another year extra of use out of it.

$10 — Wasting electricity, wastes money

I should show you what our apartment looks like for electricity. BF went hardcore this time…

EVERYTHING we have plugged in, including our microwave, are all on power strips. The oven is the only exception. When we go to sleep, we shut off the power strips, therefore, cutting all energy vampire suckage while we are conked out.

My tips are as follows:

$21 — Avoid Upgrade-Itis

When you just need a 25″ TV for example (I don’t own one), don’t spend the extra $500 on a 50″ TV. Save the $500, even if it’s what you feel is a small amount (*choke*) when you are spending $1500 anyway.

This applies to planning a wedding day, going on vacation, spending on a frivolous electronic item (dum dee dum..), using that phrase as your supposed “once in a lifetime” excuse is just asking for trouble.

Instead of being satisfied with your 3 star hotel room for your honeymoon, you now want to upgrade to the 5 star suite and pay an additional $1200.

It’s one day!

It’s my big day!

Just splurge.

We only live once.

$22 — Not to even try to look for deals, or to compare prices

If I didn’t compare prices between online websites that sell contact lenses all the time, I’d be out $50 at least!

Check out sites like: RetailMeNot, Fat Wallet, and other coupon sites for online shopping.

And as for IRL (in real life) shopping, take the time to check out all of the big stores that sell similar items within walking distance.

I’ve saved $15 – $20 just by taking out 2 minutes of my day to check another store.

Also, don’t assume Wal-Mart is the cheapest. Check occasionally with your grocery store, local pharmacy, or other places you go to buy items that you’d normally purchase there.

$23 — To write off the membership fee from Cost-Co or Sam’s Club as “not worth it”

We bought a Cost-Co membership for $50, and we’ve already saved more than that amount by buying food & household stuff in bulk & finding items that would normally sell for $300, on for $50 as a “no-name” Cost-co brand.

$24 — To avoid looking for alternate uses or substitutes

You may not even need an external hard drive. Have you ever thought about using your iPod to carry your data instead?

I didn’t have my entire 80GB iPod filled up, and had about 30GB left over. Had I wanted to, I could have used it to carry files around, instead of buying another external hard drive.

(Alas, I have too many files to do that, and 8 external hard drives standing by but it was a thought that crossed my mind).

$25 — To care too much about your image

You refuse to buy a card from the dollar store, because you’re afraid that if it doesn’t say “Hallmark select” on it, people are going to devalue your gift.

Maybe it’s true for some, but not for me. It’s just a card. It’s the thought that counts, and then it gets tossed.

I just keep the gift or the cash inside, and scan the card in.. then poof, bye bye.

How about wearing an item or outfit once, and then tossing it into a donation pile, in fear that someone will see you wear the same item again!?

Or how about my post on that guy that is spending $4 on a business card?

To me, that’s a waste of money, but then again, I don’t keep business cards. I read them, take down the info, scan them if I wish, and then toss them.

I get that the card is cool (Ginger from Ginger Won’t Snap says she’d keep it!), but for most people not in advertising or marketing.. we probably wouldn’t keep it because we aren’t “creaming our pants” for it. (Ginger’s words, not mine)

Or how about this last example?

Refusing to shop at a dollar store or a low-cost grocery store, because you don’t want the plastic bags you use when you shop there to be in your kitchen cupboard to put trash in, lest your friends see it!!!!

True story.

Someone I know, has friends who REFUSE to shop anywhere but at high end grocery stores like Loblaw’s, Whole Foods or other fancy food places, because looking like you can’t afford to buy food at a full price premium, and trying to save money is “dirty”.

So c’mon, read the tips & give me some of yours!

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.