How many of you have seen this meme?
When I’ve bought lettuce in the past, the frugal side of me would scoff at buying the pre-washed and bagged kind. I’d buy the full head of lettuce or romaine and feel so proud of myself for saving money. More often than not, I’d bring it home, leave it in my crisper drawer, and… forget all about it. I’d come back to soggy, moldy lettuce that ended up being thrown away. I’ve done it over and over.
The other day, I bought a bag of lettuce because we wanted it for dinner and it was already 4 pm. We ate it with our dinner that night as planned, and I used the rest for lunch the next day. We used the entire bag, and none of it got thrown away. It might be more expensive upfront, but a bag of lettuce that I’ll use is way cheaper than the head of lettuce I never find time to cut and wash, and ultimately forget about.
This wisdom goes for so much beyond lettuce. For example, as someone who’s big on crafts, I get sucked into sales at Jo-Ann’s like nobody’s business. I think, “woah! That fabric is 80% off? What a steal!” And don’t even get me started on the remnant bin. I buy fabric because it’s a “great deal”, and it sits in my craft storage, unused, forever. If I plan my projects ahead of time and only buy what I need, I don’t waste my money. Sure, I might miss the sale, but who cares? If it’s money spent on something I’m not going to use, it’s money wasted.
Here’s the deal. A good deal isn’t a good deal if it doesn’t get used. We’re not exactly rolling in dough. We have to carefully consider purchases before we make them. With our tight budget, we can’t afford to buy things we don’t use. I’m betting most of you can’t, either. With that being said, I’d love for you to consider this question: What are some of the other ways “good deals” can trick you into wasting money?
Do you buy clothes you feel indifferent toward just because they’re on sale? I know I’ve been guilty of this. I’ll try on a shirt and think it looks okay, but then when I check the price tag, I get excited about how cheap it is and buy it anyway. More often than not, it sits in my closet for a few years then gets donated, tags sometimes still fully intact. In cost per use, I’ve gotten totally ripped off. But the clothes I’ve loved, that were high-quality and flattering, but have been a little more expensive? I wear them all the time, so in terms of cost per use, I’ve gotten a much better deal.
Here’s one my husband’s often guilty of: Do you buy a big bag of apples that you don’t find the time to slice up for snacks, then find they’ve gone bad? Just buy the pre-sliced ones instead. I know, I know, they’re so much more expensive! But if you’ll actually eat them, they’re actually way cheaper. I know I’m not the only wife to find a whole apple in a lunch bag that’s been forgotten about to the point it’s gotten disgusting.
How about dollar store toys? It’s not a bridge I’ve had to cross yet with the Squish, but friends of mine with older kids tell me how much they hate toys from the dollar store, because they break immediately. If you get a toy kids play with once a week for a year that’s $20, you’ve still spent less in cost per use than that hour they were able to play with their toy from the dollar store. This is a good lesson to teach kids in saving their allowance for things that they can enjoy for longer than an hour.
There are a lot of ways to save money, and an important one is to mindfully spend it. By buying only the things you use, you’ll save a ton… and on top of that, have less clutter around your house. Win-win!
Tell me: What are some of your sneaky money-wasters?
I’m a twenty-something LEO wife and stay-at-home mom to a one-year-old little boy. I enjoy writing, reading, taking my son for walks and runs in the stroller, and crafting. My goal is for Love and Blues to be a resource for first responders and their families. I write about marriage and family topics, as well as about the quirks that come with being married to a man in law enforcement, firefighting, or emergency medical services.