“It’s just $5 a day for a cup of coffee. It’s not that expensive”
“I don’t have time to prepare my meal so I buy my lunch in the cafe outside my workplace.”
“Oh, that top is cheap so I better get two different colors.”
“Friday night catch up with friends and we will try the new restaurant in town. I heard it’s not really that pricey there.”
“I found this in the Two Dollar Shop, it’s only a dollar each so I bought five.”
These may be resounding uproariously to you. They are heard too often that they become the norm. Actually, they’re the norm. It’s absolutely great to satisfy yourself with little treats here and there. As a matter of fact, many people believe that giving up a cup of coffee will never make you rich. A handful also suggest that if those things will bring about pleasure and enjoyment, then by all means reward yourself! Life is short so you may as well get a kick out of it.
Such arguments can be justified by those who can cough up a few amount without hurting their pockets as can also be quite thoughtless for those who are already debt laden. The fact of the matter is debt can be overwhelming and to wait for whatever is left in the paycheck to pay for it (if there is still something left) may not be a strategy that can help clear up especially the unintentional red inks.
For some people, to catch the bus or the train to go to work is inconvenient even with efficient public transport. To dry the clothes in the dryer is faster than to air dry. To grow their own produce is a lot of work. To make their own coffee is to not get that discernible taste of the one they grab from the favorite coffee shop. To bring lunch at work is dull. To use coupon in the grocery is not glamorous. To cancel the Netflix account is to not keep up with the new TV series that is the talk of the town. To miss dining with girlfriends on a few Friday nights is to miss out on a lot of things… and to be thrifty is to deprive one’s self of the good things in life!.
However, let’s take few of the aforementioned scenarios and digest them in a way that can be more practical and helpful in unclogging some of your debts. If you switch from car to bus or train, unless the transport’s route is completely out of your way and you are willing to wait a few minutes and walk a few meters, the cost breakdown is pretty clear. One woman from Christchurch says that swapping her car to bus saves her up to $100 a week in petrol, parking and maintenance costs. That is more than $5000 a year of savings! You may save less or you may save more but the crux of switching transport is you are saving money. Get your hands off your daily cup of joe once in a while and whirl away from the hard-to-resist popular coffee culture and you may be retaining more than $1000 in your wallet. Make an effort to take your lunch bag to work and enjoy it with your colleagues who do the same and you’ll be looking at another $1000-$3000 of savings a year. Get your girlfriends to your house and plan for dinner rotations on Friday nights or weekends so your $20-$30 can feed the whole girl assemblage instead of just yourself when you dine in even a fairly priced restaurant. And so are the other small amounts like taking advantage of supermarket discounts, planting your own vegetables, using natural energy, etc. They may only cost a few cents or a few dollars at a time but if you add them all together, you will be amazed that these small economies can be huge enough to actually unshackle you from debts.
For many years of working in a high paying job, a friend of mine indulges herself to buying her lunch every single working day. She also snaps up take-aways a few times a week for the family’s dinner. Last year, she and her partner who like her, has also a lucrative job and a similar financial behavior, saw a house that they fell in love to. They wanted to purchase it. Unfortunately, with minimal ace in hole and a huge amount of personal loan, they were not able to acquire the property. They were devastated. While the daily expenditures on take-aways and lunching out may not be the sole reason for their low reserve fund, it incontestably has an impact on their financial position. My friend has always thought to reward herself for all the hard work she’s doing.
The constant treats that you afford yourself too frequently that you think that can make you happy may not necessarily make you happy at all if these push your head forcibly under the water and you get financially hurt from its repercussions. It is crucial that you become cognizant of your priorities.
Many people take no account of the importance of small amounts. Many too smirk at the idea of frugality. For them, it is synonymous to being cheap. However, if you revise in your mind that frugality is a way of exploring and creating alternative options than just recklessly and unmindfully making small frequent spending, then frugality can take you a long way. The small amounts that you will start to keep, when accumulated, may get you out of debt sooner rather than later. It may not make you rich but it will take away the stress from debts. It is freedom by itself. It is being rich in its own sense. It may also mean an additional deposit for your first home or an opportunity to kick start an investment.
That is why, never underestimate the power of small amounts. It may be a cliche but always bear in mind that a penny saved is still more than a penny earned!