Ways I don’t save money

I don’t consider myself “cheap”. There are a lot of things I do to save money, but there are also a lot of things I wouldn’t do to save a couple bucks. I think it’s important to realize that you don’t have to eat rice and beans alone in a dark room to live within your means.

When I go to a bar, I always order a drink. They’re a business, and while many money-saving articles will encourage you to just order water and enjoy the company of your friends without spending anything, I think it’s unfair and frankly ridiculous to enjoy their space and not purchase anything.

On the same note, I always tip, usually 20%. Sure, the whole fact that tipping exists is bizarre, but refusing to tip isn’t taking a moral stand or an easy way to save a few bucks. It’s just denying someone a significant portion of their livelihood.

If a friend invites me to go out somewhere, I always say yes. Saving $10 isn’t worth missing out on time with someone I care about. I might order something more inexpensive, but I’m going to go. When they just ask to hang out, though, I might invite them to my place to enjoy some Trader Joe’s wine and popcorn.

I buy things that are decent quality. I like my clothes to fit well and my apartment to feel cozy, so I try to focus on quality instead of trendiness.

It costs about $80 in gas round-trip to visit my family. I know that, but I don’t worry about it. It’s not a consideration when I’m deciding whether or not to go home for the weekend, because spending time with them is way more important than the money.

I pay $10/month for Spotify Premium. It’s nice, it’s how I listen to most of my music, and it’s particularly convenient on road trips, but I mostly keep it around because my little brother uses it constantly. Plus it keeps him indebted to me, which I figure never hurts.

Travel. I’ve spent thousands and thousands of dollars on travel over the last five years or so. I try to do it somewhat cheaply (staying with friends, cooking some meals), but I like to take advantage of any opportunity to explore that I have.

I don’t do anything ridiculous as far as minimizing my bills – my apartment is heated to a comfortable level, I use hot water and electricity and have wifi at home.

How do I manage to not worry about spending on all those luxuries? Simple: I pack my lunches, use the library, don’t get manicures/facials/massages, don’t pay for a gym membership, don’t go shopping out of boredom, am slowly learning to depend less on convenience food at home, only buy coffee about once a week, and generally make sure all of my purchases line up with my priorities.

How do you make sure you’re being frugal, not cheap?


5 thoughts on “Ways I don’t save money

  1. Tim M says:

    I think you hit on something that many people struggle with. It’s OK to spend money as long as its on things that are important to you and the expense fits into your budget. Frugal doesn’t mean crazy.


  2. zhangah says:

    Great article! Thanks for reminding us that it’s okay to spend money on the little things that make life more enjoyable with the people that we care about. I also like your point about supporting businesses that create valuable experiences vs. saving a few dollars.

    I’ve certainly had a point in my life (post-graduation) where I had to count every dollar. Now I only wish I used the time spent on penny pinching to come up with creative ways to increase income or build alternate revenue streams. Thanks again for sharing!


  3. alyssawindell says:

    I love this! Oftentimes, I read articles and it leaves me walking away feeling guilty about making any purchases whatsoever. You focused on an incredibly important point here that you can find a wonderful balance between spending and saving! My fiance and I really enjoy going to concerts (ticket costs keep rising, holy cow!). How do we afford that? Instead, we run outside and do at-home workouts versus having gym memberships. I forego the monthly manicures. We fortunately live 5 miles from our office which allows us to make & eat our lunches at home each and every day – as well as carpool together to save on gas! Thank you for sharing this. 🙂 I think it’s wonderful to highlight that you can spend money on what is important to you by maintaining a balance that’s perfect for you.

    Liked by 1 person

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