When someone tells you they purchased something and they saved $10 bucks doing so, unless that person deposited those ten bucks into a savings account, they really haven’t saved any money. They just spent less than they could have.
One of the main reasons why I am so successful in financially managing my money is because I make myself look richer than I actually am. I do this by spending less money that I have to.
(“It is better to look good than to feel good” quote from Fernando’s Hideaway)
My good fortune is all due to the fact that I spend less money than I have to for anything and everything. By my spending less money than I have to, means more of my money can remain in my saving investment accounts earning me interest and dividends. I make myself look and feel better about myself without clearing out my wallet, throwing myself into debt or tapping into my hard earned savings.
Here’s one of my many great financial accomplishments:
It’s about buying a house priced at $235,000 back in 1985 located in the tony Hamptons, Long Island NY and paying only $135,000 for it. I didn’t spend $100,000. I sold the house sixteen years later (2001) and made so much in equity I was able to retire. Last I looked, the home was valued at $1,250,000 by Zillow. Maybe I should have held on a bit longer but I moved on to greener and more profitable pastures.
Not all the money I didn’t spend throughout my lifetime has been so big or grandeur. Sometimes it’s the little but constant things we do every day to not spend money, when tallied up can make a substantial impact on our bottom line.
Here’s a sampling of what I didn’t spend just this past month:
1. Our recent model $56,000 luxury Dodge Citadel (that we only paid $20,000 cash for) needed a tune up. All 16 spark plugs (yup! sixteen spark plugs!!!) had to be replaced, filters had to be updated, oil had to be changed, tires rotated yada, yada, yada. Dodge Chrysler’s fee to do this work was $660. Hubby bought all the parts (spark plugs are good now for 100,000 miles) for $270 and did all the work himself in his “new” cleared out garage/barn. We didn’t have to spend $390 by hubby doing this much needed work himself!
2. A few weeks ago our 2 of 3.5 cleared acres needed its usual spring lawn clean up. Our landscaper of five years quit so we were on the hunt for a new contractor. We got price quotes of $1200, $800 and $200 with an additional $80 for the first mowing after the clean up. DH and I just looked at ourselves, realized DH being recently retired meant if we buckled down, we could possibly do ALL the work ourselves and not spend a dime. We did an hour a day. We cleared the land, raked the beds and leaves, trimmed the trees, tuned up our own John Deere (that we got for free from a moving neighbor) and wrapped up all the landscaping ourselves. How much money we didn’t spend, I’m not sure of. I just know we didn’t spend $1200 or $800 or $200 plus an additional $80 to do the mowing.
3. I’m in the process of fine tuning our grocery bill back to a more hands-on approach. I made my own salad dressing this week from ingredients I already had in the pantry ($2.00 not spent). I made my own breadcrumbs out of saved sandwich bread ends thus not buying panko ($2.49 not spent). I purchased whole chickens @$1.49 a pound vs $2.49 a pound for already cut-up chickens. By doing it myself I didn’t have to spend $10.00 for the already cut-up chicken. I purchased 3 bars of Jergens hand soap for $1.00 at the Dollar Store vs paying $2.00 a bar at WalMart. At .33 cents a bar from the Dollar Store, I didn’t have to spend $1.67 extra per bar thus I didn’t have to spend $5.01 for the WalMart bars of soap. These are classic things that many of us do. Unless we are putting the money not spent into a savings account, we’re just not spending as much money as we might have.
4. I scoured the local towns around my area for freebies. I signed up with the Chamber of Commerce and found several free events coming up shortly. The next town over from me is sponsoring a Frugal Living Workshop Series for the next three seasons (Spring, Summer and Fall) I signed up for the free lecture held in July entitled “Living On A Retirement Income & Loving It“. Yes, please! I also signed up for the free October lecture “Live Better On Less. How Spending Less Can Improve Your Life“. No matter how much I think I know about money management, I’m always on the hunt for new ideas and learning new skills.
5. I found a local Community Center offering a free, eight week training program on Canvas Painting. All the supplies are included. The lessons start June 19th every Wednesday and wrap up July 24th. What a wonderful way to enjoy part of my summer while learning how to paint while meeting some wonderful, new neighbors! And I won’t have to spend a penny.
6. We started RVing in national and state run parks this year. The money we are not spending is probably reaching the thousands by now. For example we are RVing for 8 weeks in Florida state parks this winter @$1600 vs $3000 in a commercial RV park. We’re not spending $1400. I’ve also carried this down to both our summer and fall vacations. By booking before Memorial Day and after Labor Day we’re spending $17.50 a night in state parks vs upwards of $134 a night at commercial RV resorts. The difference is that drastic. I estimate we’re not spending at least $532 on these two off-season vacations.
7. DH and I are again fortunate to have purchased a home in one of the richest neighborhoods in upstate New York, thanks to our 2001 sale, as listed above. Celebrities are moving in and paying anything to live here. It’s been interesting watching our equity rise and rise. We’re only in to this place for $170,000. Cash. We have no mortgage. Last I looked at Zillow, prices were hovering around $500,000 up into the millions here with no end in sight. We have no intention of selling. We enjoy living in a wealthy neighborhood again without any of the price tags that go along with it. So far, that’s $330,000 we didn’t have to spend because we bought the land and built the (modular) home ourselves. The smart real estate thing to do is find an up and coming neighborhood, buy low, sell high and invest the rest.
I may not be able to retire rich according to Fortune’s 500 criteria but I certainly can live as if I were rich. And that’s my whole Retirement Mission Statement in a nutshell.