As I started to spend a couple minutes every month budgeting, I noticed a pattern of spending behaviors that became acceptable to me.
I have also witnessed my dad going above and beyond to save a few pennies or a few bucks. I never asked if this was a thrill or some sort of satisfaction by beating the game of what is the lowest price he can get.
Here are 7 actions that can cost you in the long run
- Driving several miles to save a few cents per gallon on gas – the time to drive the extra distance is just not worth it. I would drive an average of 5 miles more to save at most $0.05 per gallon. I was obsessed checking GasBuddy and making sure I got the lowest gas price. Although I am still an avid user of the app, I no longer start typing in nearby towns to get the absolute best price. Waste of time.
- Skipping out on personal maintenance for your health – if you are in the lazy camp like I am, this is much easier to do. Two common examples are:
- Not going to the dentist more regularly. As embarrassing as it is to say, it had been years since I had a deep cleaning and that snowballed into getting an xray because it had been so long. Luckily there was no cost to me thanks to my health benefits. If I had simply gone to the dentist more regularly, then the total cost would have been much, much less.
- Not exercising so you cancel your gym membership, do not exercise at all, or you do not have a simple home gym set up.
- Buying cheap fast food – I am not a huge health nut, but I do try to eat healthy. Emphasize on try, which basically means fail most of the time. I will not buy McDonald’s or Burger King and get a $1-2 burger just because I am hungry. I would much rather spend more time and/or money on something much healthier. The extra cost is worth it. Why would you not be concerned about what you put into your body? It is crazy to think about people being concerned with how their car looks and what kind of gas they put into the car, but yet they eat like crap. You are what you eat.
- Buying cheap clothing, cheap shoes – this might be personal taste or belief and certainly debatable. There is nothing wrong with buying clothes at a big box retailer, but my personal preference is in name brand, fashion designers. Certainly there could be questions to whether the extra cost really does last longer because 100% cotton is still 100% cotton. I do believe in (perceived) quality over quantity. I have a minimalist closet that I believe are of high quality and (unless I start to gain weight) will last a lifetime. I take good care of my clothes and shoes perhaps because I do have the belief in paying the higher cost so I naturally take better care of them. My occasional-wear dress shoes have lasted 15+ years. My everyday-beater dress shoes have lasted 5+ years. My dress shirts and polos have lasted 5+ years. The downside to all of this is that my clothes are more conservative than trendy.
- Overthinking about do-it-yourself (DIY) tasks – depending on how much you value your time and what you do with the free time, there are certain DIY tasks that will be more efficient use of your time to outsource. You can end up wasting a lot of time. One example I very quickly realized is better to oursource is cleaning my home. I have a slight case of OCD so it takes me nearly 1/2 a day to clean a 2 bedroom place. It is much more efficient for me to pay $100 to have my place cleaned in 2 hours. Those extra hours is much better spent either working on my side hustles or learning.
- Extreme couponing or driving around to get the best price – if I come across a coupon that I can use, then sure I will use it. I will not go out of my way to start couponing. I value my time a lot more than spending hours to save a few bucks. The latter is an example of what my dad does. He will literally drive miles to get the lowest price. Similar to the gas example above, it just is not worth the extra time spent to save a few bucks.
- Hotel hunting – I think everyone has gone through horror hotel stories. As a self-admitted overthinker and over-researcher, it is easy for me to rule out the cheapest options of a hotel. You can end up wasting time and getting really stressed by simply trying to save $25-$50 a night. Although I do rely on reviews, these have never steered me towards a nightmare of a hotel. Have I encountered hotel stays that could have been better, of course, but not to the point of walking out of a hotel after a night. It is hard to put a value on ease of mind and having one less thing to worry about, but it should not be ignored when calculating savings.