Frugal living tip #35. August 31, 2009Posted by ourfriendben in Ben Franklin, Uncategorized, wit and wisdom.
Tags: frugal living, frugal living tips, frugality
Mondays in 2009 here at Poor Richard’s Almanac have been set aside for Frugal Living Tips in recognition of the hard times so many of us are going through right now. So our friend Ben was astounded to see an article in our local paper focusing on how to get the frugal-minded among us to let loose with their hard-earned cash.
Say what?!! As a card-carrying spendthrift, our friend Ben can’t even conceive of someone who refuses to spend money out of fear. If it glitters or comes in book, movie, or CD form, our friend Ben is after it like a bulldog on a pork chop. If it weren’t for the ongoing efforts of Silence Dogood, I’d be out of meat and borrowing meal, as the old-time saying had it.
But apparently some people have the opposite problem: They’re so afraid of going broke that they can’t bring themselves to buy an extra pack of toilet paper to make sure they don’t run out. They predicate every treat on “What if I can’t do this later?” As in, “I shouldn’t take my spouse out to dinner now in case it means I can’t take him or her next month.” “We shouldn’t go to this movie, even though we all really want to see it, since if we wait to rent it we’ll save at least ten dollars.”
Well, obviously, if your bank account’s empty, you’re living on credit, and your paycheck’s not due for a week, it makes sense to postpone even small pleasures ’til later. (Our friend Ben encourages you to continue buying toilet paper, however.) But if you have the money and you actually want to do whatever it is, carpe diem. Tomorrow might never come.
Getting back to those of us who’ve never seen a [your favorite here] we didn’t want, our friend Ben has come up with a three-point checklist to help us keep our collective hands out of our billfolds. It’s based on that old three-question restraint for gossips, that before saying something you should ask yourself: “Will saying this do harm?” ”Is it kind?” “Does it need to be said at all?” If we actually used this exercise, most people would probably never talk at all. But I digress.
Next time you’re thinking about buying something, ask yourself these three questions:
1. Why do I want it?
2. Can I afford it?
3. Do I actually need it?
If the answer to the first question makes sense to you—whether it’s “I’ve been waiting to see the new Sherlock Holmes movie for a year!” or “My shoe has a hole in it and I need a new pair”—and the answer to the other two is yes, go for it. Otherwise, buyer beware. The money you save will be your own!