Author Topic: Reminder: Tracking unit cost is impressive (see the Tightwad Gazette for pricebook instructions)  (Read 756 times)



Michael in ABQ

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Convenience = higher prices.

Buying in bulk = lower prices.


If an adult hasn't figured out these basic economic concepts by the time they're buying groceries or a household I'm not sure there's much that can be done.



I fully accept that if I drive three minutes to CVS to buy some children's ibuprofen or a gallon of ice cream they are going to gouge me for twice what it would cost at Walmart. However, is spending an additional 20 minutes of driving plus 10 minutes walking around in a giant store worth saving $5? No, in my case a half hour of my time (and a dollar or two of gas) is worth more than $5.

kelvin

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Convenience = higher prices.

Buying in bulk = lower prices.


If an adult hasn't figured out these basic economic concepts by the time they're buying groceries or a household I'm not sure there's much that can be done.



I fully accept that if I drive three minutes to CVS to buy some children's ibuprofen or a gallon of ice cream they are going to gouge me for twice what it would cost at Walmart. However, is spending an additional 20 minutes of driving plus 10 minutes walking around in a giant store worth saving $5? No, in my case a half hour of my time (and a dollar or two of gas) is worth more than $5.

When I was poor, I usually didn't have a car, which made buying in bulk almost impossible. I was able to manage it a few times, but those were the exception, not the rule.

When I was poor, I was busing between school and a full time job, which meant I was late for work about twice a week. I basically lived out of my backpack. The place I was staying was illegal, not up to fire code, and did not have a full kitchen. I mostly lived on ramen noodles, Ensure, and I bought myself lunch at the school cafeteria so I could see an actual vegetable. Was this a frugal way to spend my money on groceries? Hell no. It was the best I could do with what I had at the time.

Did I mention there wasn't a proper grocery store on my bus route? There were plenty of fast food joints, there were convenience stores and dollar stores, but going to a proper grocery store cost me 3 hours on a Sunday. 3 hours I could've been doing homework. I only went every two weeks, and everything I bought had to fit in that damn backpack.

"Cook all your meals on Sunday for the week" and "buy your groceries in bulk to save money" and "save when you're young, even if it's only $10 a month" are all fabulous ideas. I use them all now. But there are people who are poor enough that those concepts do not apply - I know because I was one of them.

Spud

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I love reading posts like this because it reminds people that the stock advice like “get a better job”, “cycle to work”, “shop at a different store” etc can’t always work because of circumstances. Circumstance can be a btch.

At the same time it reinforces the idea that the MMM blog is not aimed at poor people with a low income and a low standard of education who are really struggling. It’s aimed at high earning people, who are educated and have all the means at their disposal to turn their lives around very quickly, but are just too brainwashed or ignorant to realise it.

Poor people can absolutely benefit from internalising the core concepts of Mustachianism/frugality, but they may well have a much tougher time implementing them. They need to do whatever they can to break free from the cycle of poverty i.e. simply existing from day to day, and then begin to better themselves, usually by distancing themselves from friends and relatives who are a huge negative influence, and then learning some new skills to improve their earning power.

@kelvin - How did you break out of being poor?

jengod

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I love reading posts like this because it reminds people that the stock advice like “get a better job”, “cycle to work”, “shop at a different store” etc can’t always work because of circumstances. Circumstance can be a btch.

At the same time it reinforces the idea that the MMM blog is not aimed at poor people with a low income and a low standard of education who are really struggling. It’s aimed at high earning people, who are educated and have all the means at their disposal to turn their lives around very quickly, but are just too brainwashed or ignorant to realise it.

Poor people can absolutely benefit from internalising the core concepts of Mustachianism/frugality, but they may well have a much tougher time implementing them. They need to do whatever they can to break free from the cycle of poverty i.e. simply existing from day to day, and then begin to better themselves, usually by distancing themselves from friends and relatives who are a huge negative influence, and then learning some new skills to improve their earning power.

@kelvin - How did you break out of being poor?

Trent at the Simple Dollar is absolutely one of the best at articulating that frugality isn't the solution to everything, but it is a valuable TOOL for people at all income levels.

https://www.thesimpledollar.com/frugality-is-not-your-solution-frugality-is-a-tool/

kelvin

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@Spud It took a combination of things.

1. I worked my ass off. Some semesters I worked more than full time hours with a full course load. When I couldn't do that (health issues), I maxed out a line of credit and eventually used my credit card to buy groceries. I hated it.

2. Gave up a lot of things that other people thought I was crazy to give up. Constantly tried out different flavours of ERE style living. Can I live with roommates? Roommates hitched up and moved out, I lost the lease. Can I rent a cheap room in a house outside town? Car broke down. Can I hitch up with someone? Married my high school sweetheart, they became an addict, we had no assets by the time we divorced. Sometimes I would walk away from a perfectly stable job, because my living and transportation situations had both fallen through, and I needed something within walking distance of the new place I lived.

Living situation-transportation-work. If two of the three fell through, I was probably going to have to move again. Learned to live light, learned to accept a complete lifestyle change every semester or two. The constant change was exhausting. Learned to pass as "middle class", learned to lie about just how bad my situation was when dealing with people who were worth money to me.
 
3. Subsidized health care. I had very, very serious health issues in my twenties that prevented me from graduating, and sometimes prevented me from working. Getting them sorted took years of drugs and finally surgery. Couldn't have done it without a proper, civilized health care system funded by taxpayers.

4. I had help from family. It wasn't as much help as I needed, and I firmly believe in kids moving out at 19 and trying to make it work, but the truth of the matter is I was facing some pretty shitty options. I could be homeless and go to school, or else move back home and discontinue my education. Family paid my rent for about 8 months until I got my co-op (paid internship).

I firmly believe that no one should have to go through what I went through. There's "get a job" "pull yourself up by your bootstraps" on one side, yes, but there's also "free-market capitalism thrives on wage slaves". Student loan laws have been relaxed since I graduated, kids now have better access to cheap financing than I did at the time. A lot of our systems assume that a kid is safe at home and can retreat to their parent's basement if things go wrong. The folk this isn't true for - immigrants, kids from abusive situations, folks like me whose parents live in bumfuck nowhere with no job prospects and no access to medical care or education - these are the folks who fall through the cracks. My votes will always be to the left-of-centre, even by Canadian standards.

@jengod Seconding the recommendation for The Simple Dollar. Anytime this forum annoyed me I would go read his blog. His philosophy has room in it for the truly poor.

mm1970

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Just want to leave this here:

https://www.chronicle.com/blogs/linguafranca/2017/03/07/just-try-that-with-your-bootstraps/

I did not realize the origin of this term, until recently.