Within the past two weeks, I have experienced two different instances of my frugality being questioned by my peers.
It got me thinking about my spending habits, about their spending habits, and about people and interaction as a whole.
At job number one, a while back, my coworker was telling me about this new game app that he thought I would like, and at the time I had an iphone 4s, straight outta 2012, no case, but with two screen protectors it was still in excellent condition. (If we 3900egard the fact that its battery was slowly becoming more decrepit each day.) Anyway, I tried to download it, but it wasn’t compatible with my phone- meaning my phone was so old the poor thing had no idea what I was trying to do to it. I told my coworker and he was amazed that I had such an old phone and in such great condition.
Fast forward about a month later, against my will- I had to upgrade. My old trusty old phone had finally bitten the dust. The next time I saw my coworker, I made a point of telling him I finally arrived in this time period by purchasing a new phone, but only because I got a sweet deal. He then asked me what carrier I bought it from, I told him that I use a prepaid provider, so I bought it off craigslist- which totally blew his mind.
So I’m standing there thinking, I pay about $30 less a month for phone services than he does, while probably getting the same type and amount of services. Is saving 30$ a month a bad thing?
Did he know that if he were to put $30 a month into a jar and not touch it for a full year, he would have saved up $360? That’s a plane ticket or a concert for two including food and drinks, that’s a few new tattoos, it’s a repair on my car, it’s anything I want it to be. What if he put $30 a month into a savings account at 1% interest? That’s $1.66 “free” dollars he would have earned!
Next point: Why would I go to a fast food restaurant, shove some crap into my gut, feel hungry in about 2 hours, and pay way too much for it? Often, I ask myself Who does that? Oh right, lots of people, all the time, every day. Let’s face it, fast food may be convenient: no mess to clean up, no leftovers to package, no food prep or cooking required. But since when is spending the time and effort to cook a bad thing? Imagine if you spent $15 at the grocery store instead of at McDonald’s: you’d be able to buy rice, canned goods, fresh herbs, a protein or two, plus snacks like yogurt, nuts, or pretzels. You could make your own dressing or sauce, steam all the rice, fry some later, cook one protein a day and have 3-4 days worth of different meals each day!
Imagine if you spend $15 a day, Monday through Friday, at a fast food restaurant for your lunch breaks. That’s $3,900 a year. ($15 a day x 5 days a week x 52 weeks a year) Please refer to my earlier statements about what else you could do with that money.
Am I the only one that thinks this is absolute insanity? Imagine if you switched to a prepaid carrier AND stopped eating fast food? That’s $4,260 a year you’re saving! Imagine if you put it in that same 1% interest savings account, that’s $19.59 “free” dollars that you earned by doing not a damn thing.
At that rate, in one year just from switching to a prepaid carrier and not eating out at work everyday, you’ve saved a grand total of $4,280.59. That’s a second hand car, that’s a vacation to another country for two weeks, that’s a couple months of mortgage, that’s something nice for your loved ones, that’s new furniture, that’s your personal emergency relief fund, it’s whatever you want it to be!
Even if you can afford to not make any changes in your lifestyle, why wouldn’t you? Wouldn’t you want to take an extra vacation once a year? Wouldn’t you like to know that in the case of emergency, you’ll have two months of recovery money stashed away instead of only one? Wouldn’t you like to not have to worry about bills in case you lose your job?
I’m no financial adviser or anything like that, but through my own experience in budgeting, finding ways to make my money work for me, saving everything I can, and remaining persistent and vigilant, I’m able to live comfortably in a nice part of town.
I just don’t understand. Why are people so quick to spend their hard earned money when they can still live a fulfilling lifestyle without throwing money at everything and everyone all the time?
It’s not being cheap, it’s being frugal.
In my opinion, frugality is a virtue that we could all learn.