“A simple fact that is hard to learn is that the time to save money is when you have some.” – Joe Moore
Of late, I’ve become a bit miserly with my finances, even a little obsessed with how to save money wherever and whenever possible.
A little history. Before meeting my wife, saving money was rarely a priority.
I was a member of the “I want everything now” generation – convincing myself that I worked hard and “deserved” to treat myself whenever possible. A recipe which often leads to financial irresponsibility.
But age and maturity have changed the way I look at money. It’s no longer about instant gratification but what Moore states above – “the time to save money is when you have some”.
Here are two recent examples.
Over the weekend, my wife and I tried stringing Christmas lights on our 30-foot ash tree (as we’ve done for the last five years). I readily admit that my patience was lacking due to a sleepless night, and after about forty minutes of struggling, I tossed the light pole to the ground and stormed inside like a five-year-old throwing a tantrum.
Perhaps it’s my age, the fact that the tree only seems to get bigger or the reality of what could happen if I fell off the ladder, but I no longer felt comfortable nor interested in spending hours trying to string lights from one branch to another.
Later in the week, I noticed a neighbor (and fellow DIYer) had hired someone to clean up all the fallen leaves on his property. In what seemed like a flash, the crew had cleared every last leaf from the ground and stowed them in the back of their truck for disposal.
I sighed as I looked at the piles of leaves littering my property and the effort it will take to clean them all up.
While both of these to-do-list items could have easily been rectified with a few phone calls, my mind once again drifted towards the notion of how to save money.
Yes, I could pay to have the tree illuminated with Christmas lights. But I just can’t justify the cost given the return on my investment is only a month. While our new design may not look as impressive as the tree once did, it’ll suffice.
I also could hire someone to maintain my property – especially taking care of those pesky leaves. But quite honestly, a little physical activity is good for me. Heck, it’s good for all of us!
I’m thankful my body is still agile enough to cut the grass, rake the leaves, garden and the list goes on and on. While they’re certainly chores, they’re not worth me paying someone else to do while I sit inside idly watching. Not at this stage in my life.
Now let me be clear, I’m not saying I never splurge on things. But lately, my financial decisions involve a great deal of thought about priorities and a lot less spontaneity.
Besides, I come from a long line of DIYers who’ve taught me that a little elbow grease and eventual self-satisfaction keeps money in my pocket for something more worthy of the spend.
For as Robert Kiyosaki once said, “It’s not how much money you make, but how much money you keep.”