If you’ve read a lot of finance blogs, you’ll see articles that give you 30 ways to save $3,000 or 25 ways to save $2,000. Often times each of the ways are legit. Occasionally they are stretched a little bit. For instance, you’ll often read about the $5 cup of coffee that can be made at home for a few cents. I’m not much of a coffee drinker, but Energi Girl is. The last time I was at Starbucks, her drink didn’t come to more than $3. I think it might have been $2.65.
The real kicker is that after you’ve read one of these and made some adjustments, reading future versions of these don’t help. The second time I read that I can save by eliminating coffee, it’s not helpful. The last 25 or so of these articles that I’ve read have led to zero applicable savings for me. Yet the articles almost always assume that all savings can be applied. This is the real crux of the pet peeve – the part that says, “Now that you’ve saved $2500…” Occasionally that will be followed up with my #1 Pet Peeve and that $2500 will be compounded for 30 years at 10% interest to $43,500 per year.
I’m sure I’m not the target audience for these kinds articles. However, it seems like most of the time personal finance bloggers are preaching to other personal finance bloggers. In the end I think I’m sour to go through the entire article and come up empty.
Leroy Brown says
I think you hit the nail on the head, when you said that you’re not the target audience for those lists. The average Joe who throws away lots of money on useless crap is. Now, does Joe read those lists? I’m not sure.. but he is the target, for what it’s worth.
Whenever I post a list like this, I try to find something I haven’t seen anywhere else, so that experienced folks will get something out of the article. What’s the point of just recycling content you find everywhere else?
English Major says
I agree! I often (though not always) also find that bloggers tend to skip the cost of the alternate behavior they’re suggesting when calculating savings. So instead of “If you make a cup of coffee with steamed milk for $0.60 instead of getting Starbucks for $3, you save $2.40,” there’s a tendency to say, “Skip that $3 Starbucks! You can make your own coffee. Savings: $3”
Can I vote that the next pet peeve is comparisons of saving money to dieting? Because that’s real annoying.