3/27/17

Have Your Cake and Eat It Too... Just Don't Eat The Whole Cake

It's okay to enjoy a night at the bars-- especially with a great $2.50 beer of the month deal!

Do yourself and us a favor and make sure your grandma isn't reading your screen right now. And if you've been listening to your grandma's frugal financial advise your entire life, you might want to sit down for this one. We have a profound idea that hasn't been widely accepted since before The Great Depression. Ready?

You are allowed to enjoy your money. Just don't be an idiot about it.

Contrary to your reaction to that idea, no we are not prophets. We simply have a solid understanding of reality and realistic expectations for humanity. Now we're sure we know what's going through your mind. That's great, but what exactly constitutes "being an idiot"? The best way for us to illustrate what we mean is to run you through some examples in our lives.

Have a Little Fun

Like many college graduates, we decided to take a trip during our downtime between graduation and starting work. We went to the east coast with a couple of friends to watch baseball in New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington D.C. It was the experience of a lifetime, but we took some important steps to stay within our means

  • We drove Christian's car instead of flying or renting a car.
  • We were fortunate enough to only stay at a hotel for 1 night of the entire trip! Thanks again, Pelletiers and Alan! The Pelletiers even doted on us to the point of making us breakfast and dinner during our stay with them in Maryland.
  • We bought cheap tickets to all 4 games. We generally abide by this principle when we go to games.
We both purchased cars before starting our full time jobs. Many financial experts would be enraged at the thought of signing up for car loans with our financial numbers at the times that we did. But again, we weighed our options and limited our risk to a great extent. Also influencing our decision was the fact that the combined age of the cars we had previously driven was higher than our combined age.

  • Christian purchased a used Ford Fusion during his junior year of college. I purchased a new Ford Focus which was more or less necessary for my sanity and peace of mind during my impending 45-minute work commute. 
  • We both ran our numbers and knew exactly what we were comfortable with for our loan amounts, loan terms, and monthly payments. 
  • Again, we bought a Focus and a Fusion. Not a Beemer, expensive F150, or even a Taurus. Our cars accomplish exactly what we need from them, and we both spent under $20,000 to purchase them.

Enjoy the Small Stuff

Those are a couple of large examples of luxuries we enjoy without going overboard. Our brains are wired to evaluate our daily decisions using this same principle of enjoying our money but just not being idiots.

  • We can often be found at the bar on a Friday or Saturday night (see picture above). But we're not afraid to take advantage of a good deal. You'll never catch us looking to the top shelf for a drink. There's just something about a $2.50 Killian's pint that tastes just right!
  • When we go to an Indians game, which we've been known to do up to 10 times per season, we almost always opt for the cheapest seats available.
  • When planning travel, we scour the internet for flight and lodging deals. We are big proponents of Airbnb; HOWEVER, we wouldn't recommend staying at a sketchy place in LA just to save a few bucks. We did feel somewhat safe having 4 guys in the room, but it probably wasn't the best idea.
  • I generally don't buy my workday lunches more than once a week.

 What Can You Do?

Take a look at your financial tendencies outside of the necessities. Think about what you value the most and where you could make some sacrifices to stretch those dollars a little further. Would you rather go to a fancy steakhouse once a month or a sports bar once a week? Would you rather take 1 expensive vacation or bargain shop for 2 cheaper vacations? Can you cut out some small purchases that don't even provide you much benefit in the first place?

Whatever your answers are to those questions, it's okay. You should be making the financial decisions that provide you the most benefit and joy. The point is that you should be thinking about that benefit and joy, or the value your spending actually brings in return, and avoiding throwing money away on things like mindless, reccuring small purchases. Our goal is just to equip you with the tools you need to start thinking about your options and potential tradeoffs.

So go ahead and have a little fun! Just don't go crazy. You can tell your grandma that Smart Money Seed officially granted you permission to enjoy your money. 

2 comments:

  1. Being frugal, such as Walter White.

    If you recall, before heading to work at the laundry, Walter would make himself a PBJ sandwich, always carefully cutting the crust off, then put it in a brown paper bag and write his name on the bag.

    Walter knew how to acquire wealth and keep it!

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    Replies
    1. Haha Walter certainly knew how to leverage both the income and the savings side of finances!

      Let's just hope you're finding more enjoyable uses for your money than Walter. And possibly more ethical methods of acquiring that money.

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