Author Topic: How long do you call something a money-saver?  (Read 5000 times)

kander

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How long do you call something a money-saver?
« on: February 18, 2015, 02:14:32 AM »
How long do you see something as a money-saver?

For example, if you are used to buy sandwiches at work then it is a substantial saving to bring it from home. But if you make a habit of this, then there will come a point you won't call it a saving anymore, or not ?? At one time it has become your regular spending habits...

I feel like the first 80% of the savings can be made in 20% of my time, but the last 20% cost more time, energy and effort.... It gets more difficult to find new ways to save money.

deborah

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Re: How long do you call something a money-saver?
« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2015, 02:36:03 AM »
Depends upon how you are counting it - and what for. MMM says his bike is a money saver, and counts it for life. But, I guess, that is for the blog. If you budget yearly, you can count your lunch savings a money-saver for a year - but you can also say that your 2010 grocery bill went down in 2011, and again in 2012... and you are REALLY FRUGAL. And of course, you can say that your grocery bill went from the 2010 number down to the 2014 number and the money savers were.... to your friends.

Retired To Win

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Re: How long do you call something a money-saver?
« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2015, 06:32:07 AM »
How long do you see something as a money-saver?

For example, if you are used to buy sandwiches at work then it is a substantial saving to bring it from home. But if you make a habit of this, then there will come a point you won't call it a saving anymore, or not ?? At one time it has become your regular spending habits...


Sure, it has become your "regular spending habit"... BUT it is your money-saving regular spending habit. Over the past 8 years or so, I have instituted a plethora of money-saving changes to my spending to drive down my basic living expenses by 42%.  But I still see every one of those changes as a money saver.  My comparison baseline is what I was spending before I started on the road to that 42% expense reduction.  I really never let myself forget just how much I would be spending if I had not made the changes.

vhalros

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Re: How long do you call something a money-saver?
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2015, 06:45:31 AM »
Seems like it still saves money as long as you do it, even if it is a habit.

Retire-Canada

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Re: How long do you call something a money-saver?
« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2015, 07:08:24 AM »
I feel like the first 80% of the savings can be made in 20% of my time, but the last 20% cost more time, energy and effort.... It gets more difficult to find new ways to save money.

You don't have to find new ways to save money. If you've done a great job reducing costs why not take a break and find the easy 80% of ways to have more fun each day or some other challenge?

I think saving/investing and reducing costs are all worthy goals, but focusing too much time on money isn't healthy. Take care of those things and then spend time enjoying your life.

-- Vik


sheepstache

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Re: How long do you call something a money-saver?
« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2015, 07:14:37 AM »
Ha ha, yeah it is always money saving but I get the question.
What if I've always made lunch rather than buying it? Is it still money-saving?
What if my job moves to some place where there are no lunch places or delivery options so bringing it is the only choice?
What if my income drops significantly so that this is just keeping me in the black rather than literally saving money?

FarmerPete

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Re: How long do you call something a money-saver?
« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2015, 07:27:59 AM »
Doing something is always a money saver if the only alternative option is to spend more money.  If the choice is bring a lunch or go out, bringing a lunch will always save you money.  Every day that you're eating that PB&J, think to yourself, "I just saved __$X___ today".  Every time that you open up those leftovers from dinner last night, take a whiff and smell what cold hard cash smells like.

Of course, if you really want to be frugal, you could cut out lunch entirely and save even more money!!!

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: How long do you call something a money-saver?
« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2015, 07:29:05 AM »
In the end the only number that matters is your savings rate.

TheGadfly

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Re: How long do you call something a money-saver?
« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2015, 07:54:53 AM »
In my experience, committing to a Mustachian way of life tends to have diminishing returns as you get better and better.  That is, if you spend 80% of your income every year, getting that number down to 50% will feel like an enormous life-changing victory (it's also not very difficult, especially if you live somewhere with a low COL and necessities don't represent a huge chunk of your budget).

BUT once you get to a 50% savings rate, saving even more money takes significantly more effort.  I'm not saying it's impossible to save 60% or 80% of your income; however, it takes a great deal of discipline and conscious lifestyle changes.

I'm a red panda

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Re: How long do you call something a money-saver?
« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2015, 08:00:54 AM »
We measure our savings by our actual savings, not our habits that contribute to it.

It drives me crazy when I see advice columns about how much money I could save by not going to Starbucks or by not smoking.  How much money could I save? None- because I never did those things.

Not having cable also doesn't save us any money. What it does is not WASTE our money.

Counting these things as "saving" money is like when Kohl's tells you you "saved" $1,000 by spending $800.

All you are doing is not wasting money on these things.

BarkyardBQ

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Re: How long do you call something a money-saver?
« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2015, 10:15:56 AM »
@iowajes, if you cut these expenses and invest the result then it becomes savings.

@thegadfly, true! cause the first $1400 we cut last year was easy... finding the pockets of savings this year has been tough and sometimes accidental.

@OP
We calculate this by determining how a specific choice will effect our over all savings/spending/recategorization. If we eliminate something and it's a regular spending item, or we figure out a cheaper alternative and that will be the norm for the foreseeable future that we calculate that savings into yearly, 5 year, and 10 year future value of how that will save us.

We got married last year and started cutting, $1000 on restaurants, carpooling, haircuts, etc, all add up. To the effect that we cut $1400 from our monthly expenses. We continued that this year and have figured out how to cut $312 a month so far from our budget. We can reallocate these to our savings rate or utilize some for other things like travel and hobbies.

We keep track of it in our spreadsheet and continue to update it as we optimize. I assume eventually we will not be able to optimize much more but we keep looking. We started trimming last year and consider this the first of our 10 year plan. So those cuts have major value, even $312/m has potential to add $54,000 in savings over 10 years.

« Last Edit: February 18, 2015, 10:18:46 AM by zdravé »

Zikoris

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Re: How long do you call something a money-saver?
« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2015, 10:49:58 AM »
It's kind of funny. A lot of times people ask us what some of the things we do to save money are, and it's difficult to come up with stuff because they're all so auto-pilot by now that we don't really think of them as "money savers". I usually stare a bit and say "all the usual stuff, I guess? Cooking, shopping with a list, doing things ourselves, stuff like that?"

madamwitty

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Re: How long do you call something a money-saver?
« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2015, 11:32:33 AM »
I would consider something a money saver for as long as you are specifically doing it to save money. If you would still prefer (even occasionally) to do something a different way, then I would say your habit is a money saver. If you start to like your habit as "the best way", than I would say it is not.

Example: I recently realized our family should reduce eating at restaurants in order to save more money for early retirement. It was easy for me to fall back into the habit of cooking at home. For awhile, I would look in the fridge and think, "I don't feel like cooking dinner, I wish we could go out!" At that time, cooking dinner at home was a money-saver. But eventually I realized that going out to a restaurant with 3 young kids sucks. I actually prefer to have dinner at home. Now when I look in the fridge I think, "I don't feel like cooking dinner. I wish I could heat up a pre-made lasagna." And sometimes I do. So now, the money saver isn't "cooking at home", it's "cooking from scratch." Still working on that habit.

2ndTimer

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Re: How long do you call something a money-saver?
« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2015, 12:18:44 PM »
Recently, we neglected to fill our thermos with coffee before going out.  Wound up stopping at MacDonald's.   Cost us $3.00 just like it always did.  The fact that we have been filling the same thermos for over a year is irrelevant.  If not filling it would cost $3.00 it's a money saver.

Terrestrial

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Re: How long do you call something a money-saver?
« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2015, 12:49:22 PM »
I think something is a money saver if it's better than your next best option.  In your bring your lunch example if the next best reasonable option is buying a $5 lunch every day then bringing a sandwich is indefinitely a money saver. 

In my mind it is irrelevant that it's not saving you more money from what your situation was in the last week/month/year you were using that tactic, only that it's saving you money over another reasonable option.

madamwitty

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Re: How long do you call something a money-saver?
« Reply #15 on: February 18, 2015, 03:04:43 PM »
I think something is a money saver if it's better than your next best option.  In your bring your lunch example if the next best reasonable option is buying a $5 lunch every day then bringing a sandwich is indefinitely a money saver. 

In my mind it is irrelevant that it's not saving you more money from what your situation was in the last week/month/year you were using that tactic, only that it's saving you money over another reasonable option.

I definitely think a person's preferences have to be taken into consideration.
1. "Reasonable" is in the eye of the beholder
2. "Savings" over the next reasonable option may be negative
3. Saving money vs. wasting money are opposite sides of the coin, and it depends on your point of view.

Take for example - the post above regarding coffee. Apparently bringing coffee in a thermos is a money-saver for that poster. But if I forgot to bring coffee to work, my next best reasonable option is to go without coffee. To me, home-made coffee is a luxury, not a money-saver.

(Back in the days I worked full time) I came to prefer bringing my lunch to work. It was the best option! Tastier, healthier, cheaper, and faster than a cafeteria or a restaurant. To some extent, I considered the occasional time I bought lunch in the cafeteria to be a money- (and time-) waster.

Preferences may change over time. I would agree that as long as preferences don't change, a money-saver continues to be a money-saver.

dragoncar

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Re: How long do you call something a money-saver?
« Reply #16 on: February 20, 2015, 05:28:33 PM »
I eliminated by diaper costs decades ago, so I'm saving like $1000/year just from that.  Won't last forever, though...