Observations - Money Saving and Value Added

adellabedella_usaMay 1, 2013

I'm not sure how to word my comments. I'm just making observations based on my experiences. I've noticed several differences of opinion in this forum regarding what is money saving. I guess to me it is a balance regarding output of money and value of the money spent relative to how I live. There are times when I need to do whatever is the least expensive money wise and then times when saving that money really doesn't add anything to my life because it costs me time or something else that is of more value to me than the money. For example, when I was younger and more cash poor, I looked for cheap or free entertainment. Now that our family is more developed and careers have advanced, we can afford more expensive forms of entertainment and don't have have to look at the cheapest options although we don't necessarily rule them out. I can cook at home and use inexpensive ingredients and have a wonderful and healthy meal, but sometimes it feels great to spend more by going out a nice restaurant and eat a wonderful and healthy meal prepared by someone else. I could possibly have cooked that meal at home, but I saved that time and energy, possibly got to dress up in nicer clothes and got to enjoy that time with friends or family. At some point, eating out on a regular basis would become ill advised because we are not independently wealthy and that money could be used for clothes, college or something else. On the other hand, if eating out was my limited form of interacting with others and my assurance of getting a decently prepared meal, that eating out on a regular basis might be the better value.

I still watch the money I spend overall, but I balance that with the end result of having something meaningful that I enjoy and gives me value elsewhere in my life. My choices don't always reflect what would be the least expensive money wise, but I feel like I traded my money for something of value which, for me, is usually time.

If I needed to go back back to the rock bottom dollar amount I could. If I wanted to use more extreme measures to save money just for the joy of saving money, that would be value to me and I would do it. Regardless of what my chosen method of living, It is probably most important that I not waste resources within my means of obtaining them.

What do you think?

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Yep - there definitely is an evolution of 'money-saving'.
DH and I have changed in that regard over the past decades.

And things we would never spend money on years ago... well, we are fine with now.

For example, we got a phone call at 9am today... Do we want two tickets for tonight's Penguins hockey playoff game?

Ages ago, there was no way we would say yes. Too frugal to blow that $$.
Years ago, we might consider it, but realize that the money could be better used elsewhere.
Today, we said "sure!" without hesitation. We love hockey, and it IS the playoff! We are traveling into Pittsburgh in three hours...

Money well-spent, in our eyes!

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 1:14PM
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What a great subject for discussion!

I can see the "evolution" too. When cars were much simpler we did a lot more shade tree mechanics than today. We've done all our own home remodeling, built a 3-car garage and everything that goes along with the effort. We added a lot of value to our home when we sold it without paying for labor.

Back then, we actually enjoyed doing these things, but now we look for qualified professionals for many of the things we once did ourselves - for a lot of reasons. I'm not going to shingle a roof anymore and cars are way too complicated for us to mess with. This is money well spent in our eyes.

Being thrifty, saving money and seeking out value isn't simply about budgeting, although that is part of it. I honestly believe it's a character trait. That trait, in practice, means you often defer gratification because you look into the future, not just think of "the moment".

For instance, once we had a paid-for used car, back when we were first married, we realized if we continued to put that same amount (or more) away in the bank, the next time we purchased a car we would have the money and would save a lot of $$$ by not getting a loan for it. A good lesson on paying yourself FIRST.

Most people pull out the credit card for a vacation and perhaps pay it off just in time to charge Christmas on it - we saved and paid for the vacation to the debit card account first, and then took the paid-for vacation.

We've never put Christmas on a credit card - we've always saved for it. Set a budget, found bargains long before the first Christmas music has been played in the stores, and am ready to enjoy the "season" by the time Thanksgiving has arrived. I'm always amazed by people who can't seem to remember Christmas is December 25th -- EVERY YEAR -- and how it sneaks up on them...

I think my depression and WWII era parents instilled the value of avoiding debt, waste not - want not, ideology. I remember them saving dollar bills and change in a canning jar to buy a refrigerator rather than putting it on payments. That was a valuable lesson. Neighbors who bought savings bonds every month so they could retire in comfort - and they did.

Our big deal, if I had to name the top one, is to avoid debt. It's not just about bargain hunting or getting a great deal. What have we gained by avoiding debt? We have more freedom to do things we find important, but can also pay for them without sacrificing all that we've worked for.

From AESOP, " The Ant and the Grasshopper":
"It is thrifty to prepare today for the wants of tomorrow."


    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 4:20PM
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I think your life is very well balanced and you are enjoying what you have. Good for you. I am very grateful that I don't need to watch my pennies, but at the same time I don't waste it. I don't deny myself many things, but then again I don't have expensive wants, except maybe electronics and hulled sunflower seeds for the birds. LOL

This post was edited by EmmaR on Wed, May 1, 13 at 16:21

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 4:20PM
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Grainlady, my tomorrows are slipping away in a hurry, not many left. I don't worry about it, but I am certainly not saving anymore.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 4:24PM
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I think, as with most things, saving means different things to different people. For most of us it is a means to a goal: whatever it is that is important to us: a house, a car, a college education. For a few of us I think the saving itself has become the goal. I'm thinking of those reality TV shows like Extreme Cheapskates and Extreme Couponing . I remember one show where the lady was a millionaire and she was reusing toilet paper, and eating out of dumpsters. Her goal had literally become not to spend money on anything.

EmmaR, you reminded me of my Aunt who always used to say that she no longer bought green bananas. My husband and I are in our sixties, and our motto has become "if not now, when?"

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 8:57PM
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Bumblebeez SC Zone 7

There certainly is a balance between the "you're only young once" and having enough for retirement, which I don't think most people do have, at least the people I know. I don't know how they are going to live on ss only.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 11:15PM
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I'm usually frugal, but a couple of years ago I paid for a road trip to Alaska on my credit card. I did it because we couldn't afford to pay cash for it and my husband's health was failing. He passed away last November. I'm still paying for that trip. It has really put a strain on my finances as I lost half of my income when he passed. I don't feel bad about it at all. He got to take the trip of a lifetime.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 1:56PM
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A lot of people will be living on SS, but for those who are not, they should do things and enjoy their life's savings.

Almost every one I know have good incomes or large savings,or both, but they pinch pennies and are afraid to spend it. They might need it.

One of my friends was groaning because she went with a cheaper insurance to save a bit of money, only to find out she has to pay some out of pocket now. I asked her why she is so worried about money. Her and her husband both have pensions from aircraft employers and social security plus savings and they are fully insured except for an umbrella policy. I asked her "where do you think your money is going to go". As long as it is not invested in the "the market", how is she going to loose her savings. She just looked at me and said, "I had not thought of it like that". People get into the habit of saving and can't seem to shift modes to spending and enjoying life to the fullest.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 9:04PM
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Yorkies2, that's exactly the kind of thing worth splurging on. Sure you're still paying, but it didnt bankrupt you either. And those memories are priceless! Now if you did that every month and had to take out three mortgages to do it, well that might not be such a hot idea :-)

We've adopted a similar philosophy, though the spending part is still hard. We each have a weekly allowance that can be used in any way, no questions/objections. We are not so good at spending it though. We just don't need much. But we do have an appreciation for opportunity costs and making trade offs for convenience. As long as you understand the cost/benefit ratio and make an informed choice, that's the important part.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 12:45PM
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I equate having money or decent savings as possibilities or having choices. I don't think I'd like to live like a total miser, but I don't think I'd need to spend all of my money either as long as I had a certain quality of life that was acceptable to me. As long as you have money in savings, you can pick and choose what you want to do. When the money runs out, so do your choices. I can't really fault someone who wants to pass their money or assets on to the next generation. My grandparents did that for their kids. It was their way of showing love and passing on a legacy. They could have had 'better' life if they had spent the money, but they probably would not have found it to be as enriching. Their leaner lifestyle made them happy.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 2:14PM
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I was just thinking about this today.

I'm widowed. Money is tight. I needed remodeling that I can't do. I know a guy. He's very good, and charges $350 a day, plus materials. He's sober. He takes care of his house, his truck, his family, his business.

My boss needed a bathroom remodel. He wanted names of possible contractors. I told Boss about Mr.$350. Not interested. He interviewed one contractor after another who didn't show up on time for an interview, couldn't navigate the Home Depot website to evaluate toilets, or didn't call back with a quote. The only determining factor he used was finding the lowest price.

The cheapest contractor was hired, and he took unannounced days off, sometimes left early, showed up hungover, took days off because his truck stopped running, and left the house so messy Boss and his wife spent days cleaning it up after he finished.

It wouldn't be worth it to me, but...

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 11:42PM
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