Pay less and win the game of personal finances.
Todd at Harvesting Dollars contacted me today to tell me about a new meme he’s starting. With the upcoming summer Olympics, what financial games or tricks do you use to keep your finances in order? He saves his raises and doesn’t buy into lifestyle inflation. If you are good at that game, you are going to do pretty well. It’s a tough game to play and requires a lot of self-discipline.
My game: Can I Pay Less for That?
I don’t know too many who subscribe to the philosophy of “I like to pay full price whenever I can.” I honestly know a few, but they are pretty rare people in my circle. I’m very firmly looking to maximize my dollar in every area of my life that I can. Here are just some ways that I play the “Can I Pay Less for That” game:
- Books – Library or Paperback Swap have the same books.
- Movies – Netflix, RedBox, DVD Play, your cable’s On Demand (if you already have it) are fantastic alternatives to movie theaters if you realize that you are simply time-shifting the viewing of the movie. Plus I’d rather introduce my wife to The Godfather than run out to see Mamma Mia.
- Transportation – I’ve already written about how I save money on cars. Now you can add save on gas to the list.
- Clothing, Homes, and even Alcohol? – Want to pay less on other things? I covered a lot of my major savings in my save money round-up.
Despite the picture I chose to include, the key to almost all these tips to pay less is that I give up very little quality (at least in my mind, do what’s right for your mind). The books and movies tell the same stories. The cars get to me the same location. I have decent clothes for when I need them. I can trick my friends into thinking that my wine is expensive, since it’s actually good quality. It really adds up over time.
Photo Credit: St.VincentVolunteers
One of the games I’ve played with myself for a number of years now is tricking myself into thinking that money is “tight.” I always keep a buffer in my checking account that’s not written down, so as to avoid ever having a check bounce, even if I have to temporarily drop below a zero balance. Then, whenever my checking account has excess money in it, beyond what is necessary to pay the next couple of weeks worth of bills, I transfer the excess to a high yield online savings account, so when I look at my checkbook I don’t think I have a bunch of extra spending money to waste on purchases.
Early Retirement Extreme says
Clever idea casting it in the framework of games. I think that is really the right way of seeing it. Especially for those frugal people that could easily buy it at the store.
My favorite game is “can I get this for free?”. There is little there is more satisfying to me, at least in terms of acquisitions, than to barter and trade stuff for stuff or services or just get something for free. The second best thing is to get the thing used. That saves resources as a new unit does not have to be built. It also tempers my purchases as it is usually harder to find something used compared to new retail.
I play Jon’s game too. It works surprisingly well.
Re: paying less for something – do you ever bargain the price down? I’ve been thinking about needing to do more of that…
I am with JON as well… I have done this for years and I think it is one of the most effective ways to reduce spending. Out of sight, out of mind…