Change Your Spending Habits to Save Money

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Posted by The Savvy Retiree on August 18, 2016 in Money Saving Strategies, Personal Finances

Tom Kerr writing on financial freedom

When I lived in Houston, Texas, the city used a metric called the “Garbage Index” to track its economy. The index monitored the volume of trash discarded by residents, and a decrease was interpreted as bad news – whereas an overabundance of garbage was welcomed as the sign of a strengthening economy.

What is new today, is tomorrow’s rubbish.

Consumer societies consume like an insatiable omnivore, but the diet of retail purchases generally consists of empty calories instead of wholesome, energy-giving nutrition. However, you can save money and declutter when you quit buying cheap goods in favor of quality items that last. True, you pay more at the outset but over time the investment will pay off.

If you buy inferior products, you’ll soon learn, as I did, that cheap can be expensive. I used to buy second-rate work boots at least once a year for $50. They’d wear out, and I’d buy another pair the following year for $60 – because retail prices always increase.

Then, a friend who worked as a woodland surveyor for the U.S. Forest Service gave me some advice. He said it would be more cost-effective to purchase a pair of high-quality boots for $200. His reasoning was that they would dramatically outperform and outlast the ones I was accustomed to buying. He was right.

They cost four times what I was used to paying, but I’ve never had to repair them, and they have lasted 15 years. If I had not bought quality, I would have paid more than $800 to replace worn-out boots during that time. These $200 boots are still in such great shape that I expect that they will last another 15 years or more. In the long run, they have proven to be much less expensive than the cheap kind.

I invested in a set of cast iron cookware that I have used for decades. The longer I use my cast iron, the better it performs – which is the opposite of most household items. Copper pots and pans are expensive, for sure. But the biggest downside is that those wonderful items will spoil the cook – who will never again be satisfied with ordinary, bargain-priced cookware. They will outlast you and probably your grandchildren while increasing in value over time.

Buying superior quality is a lesson that my grandmother, who lived to be 106, always emphasized. She did not have a lot of clothes, but her exquisite suits and handmade Italian shoes were gorgeous – despite being almost as old as she was. Instead of paying to replace trendy clothes every season and cluttering up her wardrobe, she bought classics of high quality. And if her size changed, she just hired a seamstress to adjust the clothes for an always-flattering fit.

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