Michael on August 3rd, 2009
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I received an email the other day from Jenny F. of New York City:

Was thinking of you yesterday as I was bragging to my husband that I saved us $350/year just by switching my drug store prescription into a mail away one. Not only am I saving money but it’s so much more convenient, arrives at my house which means no trip to drugstore. Which really means, I’m saving more like $470/year because walking into the drugstore always means I’m going to spend $10 on stuff I really don’t need (toy car for my daughter, Kit Kat for me, etc…). Anyway, not sure if maybe you’d already suggested this in some of your writing but I had to tell you about it!

Jenny’s kind note got me thinking.  First, I couldn’t remember extolling the virtues of acquiring your recurring prescriptions via mail (although I can remember planning to extol said virtues.)   Second, what other saving strategies could I share that would save you direct and indirect money?

You: Direct and indirect money?  What do you mean?

Like saving in two different ways but as the result of only one decision.

In Jenny’s case, her one decision is to take advantage of the mail-order option for her prescription medicine.  Her direct savings are due to the lower co-payment required by ordering through the mail.  Her indirect savings arise from the fact that she isn’t tempted to buy impulse candy and toys since she’s not in store in the first place.

Here are a three additional examples of saving tactics which save money directly and indirectly:

1.  Choosing a home with a small yard and/or a short driveway

Direct savings: Lower home price, lower property taxes

Indirect savings: Less money spent on landscaping/snow removal

2.  Keeping your current cell phone/PDA/electronic gadget

Direct savings: No charge for equipment you already own

Indirect savings: You don’t buy all those accessories that don’t work with your new gadget and you don’t sign up for a new, more expensive monthly plan

3. Taking the family out to dinner

You: What?!

Hold on.  Keep reading.

Direct savings:  You’ll probably go to a less expensive place than if it were just “the two of you,” especially if you instead go to one of those “kids eat free” places

Indirect savings: No babysitter!

Admittedly, while eating in is even cheaper, I use this example to show that it isn’t all or nothing when trying to save.  Figure out what you really want to do, and find a way to spend less doing it.

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Jenny started us off. What one-time decisions can you make (or have you made) that enable you save money more than once?

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