When I look over my expenses and consider what I am spending on most consistently, I start to notice a pattern. It could be a coffee/ dinner/ cab ride but in the end, all of these things are buying me the same thing: I’m really just paying for convenience.
I think it’s actually insane the extent to which we can pay for things to be done for us… for example: my boss buys precut and washed veggies trays for her kids instead of cutting them up herself!! Instead of spending $7-$10 on an array of kid-friendly veggies, she’s spending twice that for less food! This is a bit unreal to me, but when I look at my own life I can definitely see some parallels where I choose to spend for convenience rather than save money and put in some additional effort.
A few weeks ago I had a meeting after work and then was going to get drinks with some friends. Now this next part is almost embarrassing… instead of bringing a change of clothes with me to work, I bought a new top and pair of shoes while on my way to meet my friends. I look back and am astounded by how careless I was with my spending that night. The solution is simple: plan ahead and bring what I needed with me! And to be perfectly honest, this isn’t the only example that I can think of for myself; it could have been dinner, clothes, shoes, a book… the list goes on for items that I have purchased instead of bringing.
I posted a few weeks ago now on several DIY things that I am trying for Christmas this year and I was able to make those items at home to save money and I enjoyed doing it, but I have to tell you, some of those projects were time consuming. It was not the most convenient task – especially considering the holidays are generally a busier time anyway. I had to plan my time and make use of downtime to make sure I got what I wanted completed instead of running to the store to buy decorations.
I realized then that budgeting is about so much more than just writing down what you buy and setting limits on what you will allow yourself – it’s a process that includes planning your time and effort! I am starting to think that one of the best ways to save money is to commit to saying “No” to convenience items.
Don’t get me wrong – I know time is valuable and there are times when it is justified to rely on convenience items instead of spending the time doing it yourself. However, this is not always the case; I would encourage you to take a look at your spending habits and commit to a budget that not only tracks your money but also your time.
- Could you let go of that cleaning service and commit to doing it yourself?
- Could you leave the party half an hour earlier so that you can catch the last bus of the night
- Can you carry a backpack or large purse that will hold the supplies you need for the whole time you’re away from home?
- Can you try some DIY art or other project at home so you don’t have to purchase? (Bonus: bragging rights when you finish it!)
There are so many examples since we have become so accustomed to full service lifestyles but here is an opportunity for some change and maybe a way to learn to appreciate what we have more!
Let us know if you have any suggestions!