Monday, January 28, 2019

How to save money

I know that articles like this are basically click bait, but I’m as likely as anyone else to click on the ones that don’t look like a scam immediately. I never click on the ones that say “you won’t believe ...” and I never click on the ones that say it’s s heartbreaking story. Why would I put myself through that? Who wants to read something that will break their heart?

The ones I read just to shake my head at are the “50 things” type, like 50 things women over fifty shouldn’t wear, or 50 ways to save money.  Oh, but I never click on the ones that say “you’ve been doing this wrong your whole life.”  

Anyway, I keep thinking aniut one I just read that enumerates all the things you waste money on, and gives you alternatives, so you can “save tons of money!”

The presumption is, I guess, that most people are too stupid to know that they do things that aren’t strictly necessary, and that they could save money by not doing them. A couple of the stupidest ones are traffic and parking tickets and overdraft or late fees. You mean if I just drive a little slower or don’t park in no-parking zones I wouldn’t have to pay, or that I could actually avoid the late fee by not paying things late? Who knew?

A few of the things are slightly useful, like pointing out that store brand or off brand items are generally located on the top or bottom shelves at the supermarket, so they aren’t as easy to notice as the brand name items. 

Some of them seem to assume you’re a complete idiot and things like this wouldn’t occur to you:
  • Wasting money on electricity? Turn off the lights!
  • Wasting money on eating out? Cook at home!
  • Spending too much money drinking at the bar? Drink at home!
  • Spending too much on meal delivery services? Pick up your take out meals yourself!
  • Wasting money on car detailing? Get out the bucket and sponge!
  • Spending too much on that gym membership? Exercise at home!
  • Drinking soda or bottled water costing too much? Drink tap water!
  • Spending too much at Starbucks? Make coffee at home!
Those reminded me of the suggestions that wealthy people were making to the government workers who were furloughed during the shutdown. “Not getting paid for working? Get a loan! Have a garage sale! Sell your possessions on eBay!”

There are many reasons why we choose to do things. Certainly it costs a lot to buy a daily espresso at the coffee shop. Sure it might save money to watch television rather than going out to a movie, or cook at home rather than eating out. But if buying your caffeine fix each morning, going to movies or eating out are things you enjoy, and can afford, then you should certainly go ahead and do them, assuming aren’t too stupid to realize that if you didn’t do them, you would save money. 

Some of the suggestions aren’t just patronizing, they’re just ridiculous. The article says that if you love to read, you’re probably spending too much on books, and suggests that instead of buying books at the bookstore you go to Goodwill where you can sometimes get books for twenty-five cents. Assuming, I guess, that if you love to read then it doesn’t matter what you read, and that any old book is the same as any other. 

This one (and the number one suggestion) was my favorite, though:

Getting a manicure or pedicure costs an average of $20 after tip, just to have your nails look good. If you work in a professional environment where you feel as if you need to get your nails done to keep up appearances, that’s one thing, but most women get manicures simply because they enjoy it. If you want to save money, start doing your nails at home with a bottle of nail polish, or get reusable press-on gel nails for around $8. Reserve professional nail treatments for special occasions.

In the first place, I’m not sure where you can get your nails done for $20 including tip, but nevertheless, I find it funny that the article says that unless you are a high powered professional woman, your nails don’t need to look nice. Just get some press-on nails at the drugstore! 

But the kicker is: “most women get manicures simply because they enjoy it.”

think “enjoying it” is a perfectly good reason to do something for yourself.