A couple days ago, while chatting online with my friend, Gus, I asked him if using a hand operated washer to clean my laundry is a good idea.
He simply replied, “You’re going too far.”
Yes. There’s a possibility employing 3rd world methods to complete household chores is a bit extreme. But I’m not one to reject a safe and effective strategy to save money solely because it’s unconventional.
I stated my case to Gus.
Since I don’t have a washer and dryer in my apartment, it costs me three whole American dollars to do a load of laundry. For reasons not yet publicly available, I really gotta tighten up my expenses in 2012.
Still unconvinced, Gus tells me, “I’m sure you’ll have enough to wash.”
Frustrated by his dismissive tone, I defended myself with the lyrics from a rap song.
Less money we spend on bullshit, the more for the weed. ~ Juvenile, Slow Motion
Stay with me.
I was speaking metaphorically to prove a point. You can replace “bullshit” and “weed” with anything.
The point is you should carefully consider how you’re deploying your resources.
Are you putting your money to its best use?
There are two simple questions to ask yourself to curb wasteful or non-optimal spending.
How many hours must you work to pay for the expense?
I learned the importance of this question during my sophomore year of college.
A friend talked me into picking up some extra cash with her by performing an inventory count at the Claire’s near our university.
We performed manual labor for two hours, received $10 in cash, and promptly spent our hard earned money gaining admission to a nightclub we frequented. Were we not working, we would’ve arrived at the club earlier and not paid any cover charge at all, but that’s beside the point. Fortunately, this terrible business decision didn’t ruin our friendship.
We should’ve asked ourselves, “Is a few hours at the club worth two hours of work?” It’s not!
The more money you make, the less things cost relative to your efforts.
Let’s say you earn $100 an hour, after tax, and you want to buy the Super Plus Platinum Digital package from your cable company. You want everything they have to offer. I’m not sure how much cable television costs, but we’ll assume this package is $200 a month. At $100 an hour, you’ll work two hours in exchange for tens of hours of entertainment over the entire month. Earn only $10 an hour after tax, and we’re talking two and a half days to cover the cost.
What else can you do with the money?
The other way I deter myself from frivolous spending is to mentally pay for products or services with currency other than cash.
As I’ve indicated numerous times before on this blog, I’m a foodie.
“Foodie” is a pretentious term used by people who love delicious food just like every other person on the planet but thinks him or herself too refined to come right out and say, “I like to eat!”
Yep, I’m a foodie. I like experiencing great food and cheap wine at a variety of restaurants. After tax and tip, the experience probably averages $30.
Now, when I’m tempted to buy a pair of $60 boots, I ask myself, “Are these boots worth forgoing two dining experiences?”
These are personal decisions. You have to decide for yourself.
Since your time and money is limited, how you allocate both for maximum benefit is no small matter.
*Since I only have to walk down one flight of stairs to access the laundry facilities in my building, I think I’ll shelve the idea of hand washing clothes…for now.
What mental tricks do you use to keep yourself from wasting money?