Savvy Saver vs. Penny Pincher: 4 Rules for Spending Smarter

by Connie Mei · 4 comments

The other day, my boyfriend and I were in Home Depot, since we’re in the process of moving and need to get some boxes. Before we arrived at the store, we decided we needed exactly 10 medium sized boxes.

The only thing was that they were all out of the medium and only had small and large boxes. That certainly threw a wrench in our plan. So there we were, standing in the middle of a random aisle in Home Deport deciding whether to go with 6 or 7 large boxes.

After spending more than 5 minutes debating, my boyfriend said “Why are we wasting our time on this? Buying an extra box for $1.50 won’t kill us”. Yes, he is totally right.

This is just one small example of something many of us are guilty of doing all too often: obsessing over saving money. Of course, saving is a good thing — most of the time. But is it possible to obsess about it too much? Definitely. As TV shows like Extreme Cheapskates have proven, thinking about every last penny isn’t always beneficial.

How do you know when you’re being a savvy saver vs. a penny pincher? It can be hard to tell but keep these 4 rules in mind.

Time Is Money

To get a good deal, you might go out of your way just to save a little bit of money. Sometimes, it makes sense. But in certain cases, it just doesn’t. Remember time is money.

Even if you save a few bucks, is it worth it to spend extra time to do so? Consider the effort you need to put in. Your time may be better spent elsewhere, even if you have to spend a little extra.

Allow Yourself to Enjoy Life

We can get so obsessed over saving that we forget to have fun. Budgeting and finances in general can get really tedious. And sometimes, we get so caught up in it that all we think about is the bottom line.

Allow yourself to enjoy life every now and then. This doesn’t mean you should splurge on any and everything. But allow yourself to enjoy little pleasures in life without stressing over how it’ll affect your budget.

Cheaper Isn’t Always Better

When trying to save, you might be drawn to the lowest prices. While it’s always exciting to find a good deal, cheaper isn’t always better. Look at it this way: you get what you pay for.

You often don’t need to spend a lot to get good quality. But in some cases, it’s worth it to pay a little more upfront so it will last you longer down the road. Think of it as a smart investment.

Don’t Be a Financial Hoarder

For a lot of us, our objective is to the save as much as possible and put it towards other financial goals. You should always have savings to fall back on in case of an emergency. But yes, there is such as thing as saving too much.

Don’t be a financial hoarder. Having a significant amount of money sitting in a bank account isn’t doing much for you. Consider how you can invest it and make your money work for you.

The fact that you’re thinking about your future and planning ahead, financially, is always a good thing. But every once-in-awhile, give yourself a little breather. It’s more than OK to splurge sometimes, as long as you understand how it impacts your financial goals.

Are you a savvy spender or penny pincher? What’s another important rule for spending smart?

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  • Josie says:

    Hello. My name is Josie, but it should be Red Face! I recently discovered the hard way that often “you get what you pay for”. I once purchased a box of cheap garbage bags, and I do mean cheap! They were flimsy and tore easily, much to my disgust. I was forced to spend the money on name-brand bags that cost half again the price of the cheap bags. In the end, I learned it’s a poor idea to substitute quality for lower cost .

  • John says:

    You should have gone to the local liquor store for boxes. They come in a size that is really easy to handle and are very strong.

  • Our Next Life says:

    While I think we are mostly savvy savers, we’ve for sure had our moments! We’ve argued over whether we should leave an extra dollar tip at a meal who knows how many times, but then splurged on something random that offset that stupid dollar many times over. One day at a time… 😉

  • Brian says:

    Great advice on the importance of investing rather than simply sitting on an eternal lump sum.

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