Maybe it’s the part of me that remembers how excited I felt to still be awake at 12:30 AM as a teenager, but I still think Top 10 lists are fun. From those I’ve created here, two of my favorites are:
- Top 10 Most Annoying Ways to Lose A Little Money - an article that garnered some additional suggestions (feel free to add yours)
- Top 10 Excuses For Not Saving – One of my most viewed early posts.
If you’re already living Beyond Paycheck to Paycheck, making any of the following decision is ludicrous (not that I haven’t occasionally been guilty of such behavior myself).
Others may be in a financial predicament which compels you to make some of the otherwise poor choices below. As such, this list highlights just a few ways you currently sell yourself short by not moving Beyond Paycheck to Paycheck. What do I recommend in that case? Another top ten list, of course: The Top Ten Saving Strategies.
The Top 10 Ways to Save a Little Money While Ruining Your Life
(Or, said another way:)
Ten Ways to Be Cheap Yet Financially Irresponsible.
1. Comparison-shopping cold medicine
If you’re sick, your significant other is sick, or your kid is sick and you need medicine, go to the store and get some medicine. Period. That’s it. You don’t first go to the drug store, then the grocery store, and then visit drugstore.com to see who has the best price. You buy the freakin’ medicine. If you want to save money on OTC medicine, do so before you need the medicine.
2. Opting out of a night out with friends
Question: “Why spend money I don’t have on a place I didn’t choose?”
Answer: Because you only live once. If you like the people going out or even if you just need a change of scenery, go out. You don’t have to order something expensive and you don’t have to agree to split the bill equally if half the group orders fillet and the other half (your half) asks for soda water with a slice of lemon. You don’t have to spend a lot to have a good time, but you do have to leave your house every once in a while.
3. Using a dial-up Internet connection
I’d love to explain to you why this is such a short-sighted decision, but then you’d have to wait even longer for this page to load.
4. Not replacing old shoes or sneakers (or tennis shoes for you Midwesterners who call all “sneakers” “tennis shoes” even if they’ve never heard of Wimbledon)
Because I buy new sneakers so infrequently, I just re-learned how great new sneakers can feel. But it wasn’t good for my feet (nor would it be for yours) to wear shoes to the point we don’t recall what an arch looks or feels like.
5. Driving an Unsafe Car
I’m all about driving cars until they drop. Want proof? I’m well into my thirties and I’m still only on my second car. Ever. I got seven years out of the first one and my current car is now over eight years old. The no car payment strategy isn’t for the flashy. After all, few young ladies were impressed with my red Plymouth Neon back in the day, and no one awes my Saturn sedan. However, if I ever felt my car was no longer safe to drive, it would be gone. I can’t imagine putting my safety behind my desire to avoid a car payment. You shouldn’t consider it either.
6. Not giving to the important causes in your life
We all have a soft-spot for certain missions. Find the special causes that speak to you and give to them. Give time but also give money. You get back more than you put in, often in ways you don’t understand. Withholding charity costs you far more than the check you would have written to help others.
7. Not updating sporting equipment
Thanks to multiple ankle sprains and torn ligaments, my weak ankles require that I wear ankle braces whenever I play basketball. I’m smart enough to take the extra ten minutes every time I play to put on the braces. But I’m still an idiot because my ankle braces are more than four years old and were, therefore, not effective in preventing me from spraining my ankle (yet again) a few weeks ago. You might not need new gear every season, but you do have to replace your equipment periodically. Don’t be so cheap it costs you.
8. Delaying a visit to the doctor to save the co-pay
Even if you have a high co-pay like I do, it’s not a good idea to delay seeing the doctor if you are sick or have sprained your ankle – again. It may cost you more in the long-term, since your illness might become more serious and costly or require additional physical therapy – again.
9. Not purchasing water before a hike
I don’t care to purchase bottled water. (You know what Evian is spelled backwards, right?) Nonetheless, I drink a lot of water. When I’m home in NH, this is easily accomplished without buying a bottle. But since I don’t like filling up a thermos from a public restroom, you’ll probably see me with a bottle of water whenever I’m on the road.
But that’s because I’ve matured (at least in that regard).
Many years ago, my girlfriend and I would often go on lengthy hikes and invariably forget to bring water. But without a container and not wanting to spend money on bottled water, we usually just went without. But water is kind of important on a warm summer day on a long hike, even in Michigan. Dumb – buy the water.
10. Skipping a vacation
If you can’t afford a vacation, don’t go on that vacation. Go on a vacation you can afford. If you can’t afford any vacation-related expense, then take time off and spend it locally. If you have paid vacation time, you can afford a vacation. Find one. Life is too short.
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What other ways have you (or other people you know) saved money while ruining, or at least damaging, their lifestyle? Let’s grow this list.
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If you liked this article, there are plenty more. Check out the archives to the right – I’ve been blogging for over two years. You can also follow me on Twitter.