Having been in some tight times, you tend to look at things a bit differently as far as what you can purchase, and what you can do without. Now granted, some people’s budgets are stricter than others, and it’s totally subjective depending on your point of view. I’ve known some people who have paid off thousands of dollars worth of debt on one job for the family and just saving big over a year and a half – some can’t save if their lives depended on it. I guess it just depends on what your circumstances are. Now some of these you might just say “well, duh ShockQueen…that’s how you do it”, but I’ll admit, I’m a little slower than some.
1. You don’t HAVE to buy brand new
Yeah, this is one of those “duh” things, but it’s really true! Case in point: We went appliance shopping, and we went to Sears & Lowe’s first – then we found a really nice used appliance store locally here in town. First, we bought a nice side-by-side fridge-freezer for about $350 (I think), and new price would be about $700-900 for the same thing. Has worked like a charm since day one, and cost much much less. We just got a nice cook-top stove (those flat ones) that has a bit of wear on it for only $225, which is far better than spending $500-900 on one!
Pawnshops and eBay are another great place to find things CHEAP! People sometimes scoff at these two thinking that you’ll never find anything good that way – ha! I call your bluff there. Now granted not everything is better this way (think of those scalping PS3’s and Wiis on there right after launch), but it helps.
2. Not everything costs money
One of the things that holds true from generation to generation, is that not every thing you can do costs money. There are some activities you can do that don’t require constant money input. I guess that’s why the golden age of arcades died the horrible death that it did – people wanted more money to play the games that we used to be able to play 25c/play for. Yeah, the graphics got way way better, but when you can BUY the game for the cost of playing it forty times, it really makes you wonder if the arcade experience is really the way to go anymore.
I love cycling, and I know people who do too, but it’s amazing how many people will shell out hundreds of dollars to have the top-of-the-line…..BICYCLE! I think the most I’ve ever paid for a bike is about a hundred bucks for a NEW one – yeah…got it at Wal-Mart, but it runs and gets me from point A to point B with not much fuss. Oh…and $15 for a gel seat for my sittin’ bones. You see people make it a point to buy BRAND NEW cars all the time, but I’ve learned to value the “back lot” at car dealerships, since you can find nice cars that have character for a lot less money as well – although those are dwindling due to people taking them, restoring them, then selling them for obscenely more than the NEW cars of TODAY go for.
I can go on and on and on about this one, but you get the general gist of it.
There are some plus points to living in a smaller area, such as things being…….closer. I still LOVE large cities, and I miss them greatly, BUT….it does make a huge difference when your commute is 30-45 minutes one way and one that’s about 5-10 minutes away. With gas prices being as insane as they are, I think people are reconsidering their options, and going with mass-transit (that’s even going up in price), smaller vehicles, and other alternatives. I remember when we did this back in the 80’s too. If you can telecommute, that’s great. I wouldn’t do it myself, but not for energy reasons – it’s called distractions, and even on a slow day that wouldn’t work. I’m just glad my job is close by.
I’ve rather enjoyed being able to relax in the 2-3 years since moving back up north. Some of my friends think I’m crazy, but it’s also taught me the real value of buying stuff online – it saves you gas and time. Maybe that’s one of the better points of the internet age. That, and it keeps the shipping companies in good business. We haven’t had to pinch pennies as much, and learned to live within our means for the most part.
Yeah…….life is good.