Thursday, February 14, 2013
Don't just do things CHEAPER, do them BETTER!
A lot of people on a quest for early retirement and financial independence will get very zealous about saving money, at least in the beginning. This drive is a good thing, but if not controlled and directed in a useful manner it can result in a lot of 'cheapness' that isn't necessarily helpful in the long term and may not even really be saving you that much money.
I have written before about the difference between being frugal and being cheap. What's interesting is that most of the people who are super 'cheap' continue to be poor, and everybody can tell too. The true "Mustachians" are often living off just as little money, many times LESS money, yet they appear to be the same as everybody else from the surface. They still have decent houses and decent cars, clothes aren't rags, they still have vacations, etc.
So what is the difference? how can the 'cheapskates' be spending so much time and effort to do everything as cheap as possible and still come out behind the real experts?
Because you need to do things BETTER, not just CHEAPER.
The cheapskate is only concerned on paying less right now. They often buy things simply because they it is way below retail, like at a garage sale, regardless of if it will save them money in the long term, or if they even need it.
The 'mustachian' buys less, but buys smart, so they actually usually have nice stuff that lasts forever and actually works. They can often resell their items for as much as they paid for it, or almost as much.
One example I often think of is people who wash out their Ziplocs. instead of buying expensive plastic bags and going to great and unseemly lengths to reuse them and make them last, buy 1 Tupperware for the same price as a box of Ziplocs and use it for 20 years. No body will think you are a weird cheap hobo for washing it out and reusing it either.
If you look at thrift stores and garage sales you can even get that Tupperware for .50 or so, maybe less. Anything you can put in a Ziploc you can put in a Tupperware.
As a student, i remember one substitute teacher talking about how he stripped his car of all the seats but the drivers seat to save weight and thus gas. Why do all that work, remove functionality from your car, and look like a crazy person, when instead you can use simply drive less, and use hyper-miling techniques when you do drive and get 20% or more increase in MPG?
So remember, focus on doing things BETTER. not just CHEAPER. You'll save more time and money, and increase your quality of life.
-The Money Monk