Every Day

What You Spend Is So Much More Important Than What You Save

Everybody is always talking about how much they saved when they tell you about a purchase. I’ve been guilty of this over and over again.  I show my grocery shops with coupons and Ibotta and Checkout 51 savings.  Perhaps it would be better if I just showed what I spend.

Unless you actually put an equal amount of the savings into a bank account for 1-2% interest or invest it in the stock market, you haven’t really saved anything.

If I buy a Coach or Dooney Bourke handbag at 40% off of say $325., I still spend $ 195. for it. I did that once in my life many, many years ago. Then I realized that I was paying for the name. I now never spend more than $65. for a handbag which is about what I paid for the one I am using. I got it at TJ Maxx marked down. It is wearing just as well as my Dooney Bourke one did. I still have the DB bag which I really need to let go.

Over the years, I pretty much tried to ignore all commercials. But that is hard because you are just bombarded with them. It has gotten to the point that there seems to be more commercials than there is show. So a year or so ago, I quit watching cable TV. It is so much nicer to watch You Tube or Amazon Prime shows. But even those I only watch in the evening when there is nothing else that I am doing.  You Tube is where I can learn to do some things that we would otherwise have to hire out. So that is not a waste of my time. Amazon Prime has some movies that Hubby and I can choose from for our weekly, at home, movie night. BTW, even though it is going up, we have decided that it is worth it for us. Not only for the movies but for the “free” 2 day shipping. We order enough during the year to make it worth it for us.

Now there are exceptions to everything. For example, if you find a top or pants marked way down at the end of the season and use a coupon, the $ 2.00 – $ 5.00 you spend for them is definitely worth it.  If I get an item at the supermarket that is free after coupon then that is worth it. 

But if you are spending $ 200. a week after coupons for groceries for two people, you should be cutting your spending. That is a tremendous amount to spend on food when you only have two mouths to feed. So monitor how much you are spending for any category that you spend money for. In order to do that, you have to track your income and outgo. If you have never tracked how much money you are putting in your family’s mouths each year, you may be in for a shock when you do. Include money spent on all restaurant meals and you may be horrified.   

Coupons will not up your net worth. Only saving income week after week at a steady pace will up your net worth. So many young people these days are saving to retire early. We didn’t retire as young as they did, but we did get out at 54 and 53. I think these young people have the right idea to save 65-75% or more of their income for 10 or more years to get out of the rat race and do whatever they want. I don’t know if we could have done it but if we had to do it over again, we might have tried.

If you are “saving” a lot with coupons and not paying cash or paying your credit card bill in full every month, you are throwing your “savings” out the window. I have known people who charge groceries every week who only pay minimums on their credit card bills. At 9 to 28% interest, they are not saving. They are paying a fortune in interest!  But they always tell you what a great deal they got and what their savings is. They just don’t get it. These people should be scared to death because eventually that credit shopping will leave them with nothing.

So the next time you go shopping, think about how much you will actually be spending. Sure grab your coupons but think about the bottom line. When I make a grocery list, I then go back over it a second time and cross off anything that I can substitute something else for. I also cross off anything that I can make cheaper from ingredients that I already have on hand. 

When I went clothes shopping last week, I had a budget that I set to work within. I also took a list of the clothing items that I needed and my coupons. When I was making my selections, I made sure that the tops could be worn with many different slacks or jeans. I also kept an eye on the pricing of the two pair of jeans I purchased. That is why I only spent $120.+ for all of the items. When I go back next week to spend the $20. in Kohl’s cash that I got, I will buy a needed item as close to that $20. after coupon as I can. Of course the Kohl’s cash is all about getting you back into the store to spend a lot more than the $20. But I don’t play that game! 

When you go out to dinner, have a certain amount in mind that you are going to spend before you go. Also, going out to dinner once or twice a week is a big waste of money. You can make it so much cheaper at home. Hubby and I had NY strip steaks that I purchased at $6.99 a lb. for Mother’s Day dinner. While Hubby grilled them outside, I put a few frozen French fries in the air fryer.  I also steamed some broccoli and sauteed portobello mushrooms in butter for the steak.  A dinner like this would have cost us $20. each or more before drinks and tip depending on what restaurant we went to. Our dinner cost us a little over $10.00 for both of us. It was so much better than going out on a holiday with the crowds and slow service. Our experience has been that the food isn’t as good either.

I am not saying never go out to dinner. I am saying to be mindful of what you are spending each week or month on eating out. Hubby and I like an expensive restaurant in the area. Their food and service is top notch. So we go there to eat about 4 times a year. If we feel the urge to go other times, we go to a local restaurant or one that we have a gift card for.  But most of the year, we cook at home.

So the very next time you are going to spend money on food, transportation, clothing or a myriad of other things that aren’t bills that you pay every month like your mortgage, insurance, taxes, electric and gas, etc., think about what you are spending not the savings you are getting. Doing that will free up some money that you can add to your net worth that you can use for goals that you may be working on: paying down all your debt, a down payment on a home, a new to you car, college and/or private school, a trip you have always wanted to take etc. This way of looking at money will get you thinking and you will have less stress in the long run. It actually becomes a game to see how fast you can fund your goal.

I am having a rough time this week thinking about my dental appointment tomorrow. I am very nervous about getting those 4 teeth pulled. So please cut me some slack if I am not on here every day.

9 replies on “What You Spend Is So Much More Important Than What You Save”

I always look at what I spend after a coupon and percentage off. So many times, as you say, it is not worth spending too much to save a little bit. Good luck with the dental appointment. Why are you having four teeth pulled, or did I miss that?

Thanks for the good wishes. My permanent bridge is coming out because it has failed. The 4 teeth holding it in need to come out so that I can get a partial denture.

Oh, I remember. I would have to be sedated to get me to the doctor plus while it was being done. Usually, I decided I am spending too much before the purchase.

Hi Liz, this is Chris. I will say some prayers for you today about your teeth. I hope it isn't too painful. I wish I lived close by b/c I made chicken barley soup yesterday that would be nice for you after all that. Good article. I feel the same way you do about coupons. Now that the economy is better, the coupons that come out are not as good as the ones that came out then, IMO. I have mostly been shopping the store perimeter for quite awhile.

I sent you an email yesterday about our progress on our mortgage payments. We are getting closer to having it paid off. 😀

Hi Chris,

Thanks so much. Oh chicken barley soup sounds wonderful. I will be making that. I am going to be eating soft food for quite a while. I ma off to check out your e-mail.

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