Growing up, everyone around me thought our family was rich. We drove nice cars, dressed neatly and never hinted at our money woes. It was strange because we couldn’t be more middle class when it came to our household income but the truth didn’t matter, there was no point denying.
One day, I asked my mom about this, and she told me that though we didn’t have doodles of money, we stretched every dollar like it was noodles that wouldn’t snap. Here were a few of her tricks:
1. Don’t Buy Everything
I forgot where I heard the quote first, but I love the saying of “You can have anything, but you cannot have everything.” We often bought quality goods that lasts for a long time without showing wear, but we were never allowed to buy everything we have our sights set on. We force ourselves to contemplate again and again whether something was really worth our hard earned dollars before we made the purchase. Strangely enough, not taking our wallet out as often made every purchase more special too.
The 30 day rule helped, but just the fact that we didn’t buy everything right on the spot cut down the majority of our spending.
2. Never Spending More for the Same Thing
We just got used to spending the time to look for bargains and see if we can do more with less. If there was another item that costs less but offered comparable benefits, we usually opted for the cheaper version. Not only did it save us money over the long run, the research involved in the whole process also made us more aware of the quality of the items we were buying, helping us narrow down the vast number of choices out there.
It didn’t start off that way though, as we were paying for features we didn’t even want (or know about) like everybody else. Eventually, looking back at our past purchases helped. Did we really need to spend that much on the TV we bought when something much less would have worked just as well?
3. Don’t Keep Buying the Same Thing Over and Over Again
Buying quality products isn’t enough. You still have to take care of what you purchase if you want it to last. Cherishing what you have also helps reduce the chances that it gets lost and needs to be replaced.
We owned a nice car, but we drove it for 10 years. Let me give you an example of how the math works to illustrate my point. Let’s say you changed a $30,000 car every three years. Usually, the typical car you buy would depreciate to roughly $10,000 – $15,000 after three years. Let’s tilt the numbers to your side and use $15,000. This means that you are still losing $5,000 a year. After 10 years, that’s $50,000, enough to buy a much more luxurious car.
This works for cars, but it pretty much works for everything too. Instead of replacing your computer all the time, why not take care of it by cleaning it up every once in a while? How about your clothes? If you wash them as instructed by the labels, they will last longer and look nicer. Shoes? Take some time to clean out the dirt before it starts chewing into the fabric. The list is goes on and on…