I love a good bargain, regardless of the state of the economy. Sometimes, I’ll chase a good bargain, regardless of the “economy” of doing so. Here’s the difference: if I am down to my last 2 packages of toilet paper, I’ll watch the ads for a good sale, and use my coupons to stock up. If I have 20 packages of toilet paper, then buying more, even at a great price, makes no sense, especially if a) I have enough, and b) I have run out of room to store more of it.
I’ve learned that in order to fund My Next Life, this life needs to be divided into Wants, Needs and Gotta-haves. Gotta-haves are the most basic: food, shelter, clothing and transportation. Needs are items that build upon the Gotta-haves; I could do without some of them, but it would make life more difficult: health insurance, home owner’s insurance, auto insurance, a budget for auto repairs/maintenance/gas, personal maintenance (haircuts, tailor, dry cleaning, shoe repair) home maintenance items (for cleaning and basic repairs). Everything else is a Want. All Wants are negotiable. And it is in this category that things get ugly, whiny and self-pitying. It’s where the self-bargaining is at its loudest and most insistent:
How can I do without premium cable channels? How can I do without cable TV? But we all need a cell phone! But I really deserve that new car! How am I supposed to spend less than I do now on groceries, when food is so expensive? How am I supposed to work out without a trainer?
I know this kind of thinking is selfish and short-sighted. I cannot depend on funding for My Next Life to come from any other source except myself. This means giving up having some things, making do and working with what’s on hand. It means taking the money I don’t spend and really saving it by making it as inaccessible as possible. It means knowing the difference between scoring a good bargain, and wasting time, energy and money for the sake of the chase.
In my next post, I will go into the more specific methods I am using to find and save more money.