#3 – Don’t Spend More Than You Have To
Don’t Spend More Than You Have To… Well, Duh!
You’re thinking that this is so blatantly the whole point of thrifty living that it’s not even necessary to mention it, aren’t you? And you are right, of course – nobody feels good about throwing money away on over-priced goods and services. Just the same… there is more to this Thrifty Principle than meets the eye. Hear me out.
There are (fortunately) many ways to cut the cost of something –
- use discount codes, take advantage of special offers, shop through a cashback site
- shop around for the best price
- make it yourself
- shop seasonally and buy it when it is at its cheapest
- get into the routine of regular maintenance so the things you already have last longer and avoid having to replace them for longer
- buy second-hand
- buy an un-branded version
- get it for nothing through sites like Freecycle or by developing a devil-may-care attitude to rummaging in skips
See? That’s eight right there. The key is to ask yourself how much you can afford and how much this is worth to you and then find a way to get it at that price and no more.
The thing is though… it’s not just about spending money. Shopping around, DIY, trawling charity shops, clipping coupons, checking in with Freecycle – all these things take time. Having less money than you would like doesn’t necessarily mean you have time to spare. And time is not money. You can’t save it up for later. You can’t beg, borrow or steal someone else’s. You can’t earn extra. Everyone gets exactly the same amount. Whether or not you use it, you lose it. When your money runs out you are poor. When your time runs out, you are dead.
For my money, time is the really limited resource; we should never waste precious time just to save cash. So before you commit to spending time to save money, ask yourself, are you being realistic about how much time you have available? Is this going to cost you time you could spend on other areas that you value more than the thing you want to get cheaply? And are there other things you could do with that time that would be more cost-effective – either by saving you more money or by earning more than you could save?
How To Live Well Without Spending More Than You Have To
Look, I am not saying that trying to spend less is a waste of time. I am saying take the focus off the “don’t spend” part. Not Spending is kind of an empty achievement – it has no value in itself. It’s what it allows you to do (clear your debts, pay the deposit on a house, build up an emergency fund) that has value. Focus instead on the “have to” part. Cost is negotiable – the cost in money and the cost in time. Somewhere between spending time and saving money there is a sweet spot. Find yours – and don’t spend more time or money than you have to.
How To Get Into The Habit
These are the habits to get into if you want to live well without spending more than you have to.
- Batch a snack
- Batch a lunch
- Batch a main meal
- Make soup
- Make Something
- Grow Something
- Try A New Free Or Cheap Activity
- Preserve Something