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Savings secrets are better than normal secrets because they’re meant to be shared unlike gossip, road rage, and STDs.
Sometimes sharing isn’t caring.
The tightwad next door may seem like their hoarding saving secrets right along with their free sauce packets, but they’re not. I can attest to that because I’m the tightwad next door even though I don’t have a card-carrying certification.
I do have coupons. A lot of coupons.
The easiest saves come from not doing things.
Not going shopping, turning on lights, and flushing toilets too many times.
In a lifetime far, far away, shopping was my hobby. As much as I want to deny that, I can’t. I have proof in the form of a newspaper clipping where I stated shopping as a hobby.
Ironically, it was a time when I had terrible health and financial habits. Drinking, smoking, partying, and living paycheck to paycheck was how I lived my life like I was about to cash in my cookie jar tomorrow.
I lived for the moment with nothing saved for the future.
The short-term view blew up in my face during college. A strange place to learn adulting skills, but that’s where I started with simple saves. After college, my finances changed drastically, so I had to keep learning ways to save that were simple and easy like taking a nap to evict the cranky lady in my head.
A listicle of my favorite saves that I started and have since doubled down on:
- Using fewer lights, water, and heat
- Washing a bigger laundry load versus many smaller loads
- Consuming free fun like music on YouTube and books from the library
- Dumping subscriptions
Along with saving money, frequently it saves the planet too.
Going out to eat, trips to exotic locations (up to and including anything outside the house), and shopping for new instead of priorly owned at a second-hand store, are rare events, not a daily affair.
While rumbling around in my 6-week furlough, I wanted to partake in mini excursions like a proper vacation, not just government-induced frustration. One item at the top of the shortlist was dining at a fancy restaurant in a historic building on the banks of Mighty Mo.
We explored the town last year but never got around to dining at the tiny town’s finest historical establishment. On a random Wednesday, I called for reservations on Friday. Turns out, Friday had a special event where a 5-course dinner would be paired with a local brewery tasting. The package included a night’s stay in the historic hotel.
We discussed the options (with and without the stay) and went big with the whole package. The dinner and beer tasting was an obvious choice, but we picked the room reservations too because driving back home (45-minutes away) in the dark after drinking (which we rarely do), seemed like the adult thing to do even though it cost more.
As the tightwad next door, this simple pleasure was more pleasurable because it’s occasional. A chunk of fun for this event was spent on the anticipation. For the rest of the week, I was excited about our special date night. The event was deliciously delightful, but sometimes the wait is better than the event. If this was another scheduled routine, the enjoyment would have been sucked out of it faster than a huckleberry lemonade on a hot day.
A secret to saving is the erratic treatment for treats. If eating out, gym memberships and expensive toilet paper are in the daily subscribed category then saving would be rarely prescribed.
Money is only as valuable as what we choose to spend it on.Becoming Minimalist
Ready, Set, Save
I love watching cubs play.
Their rough and tumble play is how they learn skills to survive every day. They bite, grapple, and pounce on their furry sibling or sleepy mom. They learn through fun.
Humans are the same. I remember taking orders from my grandpa on what he wanted for dinner. I was a terrible waitress; he never got what he wanted.
But, I was playing with adulting. I played plenty of adulting skills back in the day and I continue to play today in a different way.
I play with saving.
Sometimes playing looks like following up on a wrong charge or asking about a bill or instead of buying something new replacing it with something from around the house. It could be trying to get an item as cheap as possible with coupons, discounts, and rebates.
Either way, saving secrets are best learned when playing with what could happen and learning from what didn’t.
In an unconfirmed opinion, I look normal.
I drive a normal, older car, wear a typical government-issued uniform, and take the organic bucket to the compost like a normalish human.
Saving secrets seem simple because outside of a brash tightwad proclamation, I look like anyone you would see in the grocery store, at the pump, or embracing temporary homelessness by camping. I may look average, but the savings are compounding which is anything but normal.