Saturday, August 20, 2011

Conspicuous Consumption

We all do it to some extent.  The key is to identify where you're doing it and then CUT IT THE HELL OUT!

I am always amused to read most advice from the experts about cutting back.  David Bach's "Latte Factor" comes to mind.  His advice is to cut out one trip to Starbucks per day to save something like $1000/year.  I don't go to Starbucks anyway.  It's COFFEE, people.  You can spend $30 on a perfectly fine coffemaker that will last you 10 years and then buy whole bean coffee and grind it in the store yourself for $7/pound and I assure you it's a perfectly good cup of coffee. You could even spring for an expresso/latte machine and you would still be saving.  Admit it.  What you want is for someone to make you feel important.   I hate Starbucks more than Walmart.  Walmart certainly is hell, but they offer products people really NEED at a very low price.  Starbucks INVENTED a "need" and have sucked money out of people who have bought into the bullshit.  I don't need a barista who remembers my name and writes smiley faces on my cup to make me feel important.

OK, PER DAY?!?!?!  Are there actually people who go to Starbucks more than once a day? 

Again, this is fucking COFFEE.  COFFEE, people.  Get a fucking clue.

I have a coffemaker.  It was $23 on sale.  I spend about $14 a month on whole beans that I grind in the store.  I can set my coffeemaker to start brewing 10 minutes before I get up in the morning.  I can drink coffee all freaking morning IN MY JAMMIES for pennies.

If you go to Starbucks every day you better have 12 months of living expenses in a savings account that you don't touch ever.  If you have children you also better have four years worth of college expenses in a different savings account for each one.  If you have this and still go to Starbucks every day I need to NEVER EVER hear you whine about not having enough money. 

So back to the original topic.  CUT IT OUT!  A very long term friend of mine is a freelancer in the film industry.  She makes well in excess of $100,000 per year.  She has a pattern of receiving a check and spending it.  On guitars and keyboards (she doesn't play but wanted them in the house so if someone visited and wanted to play they were there).  On stupid shit like Hello Kitty crap.  On eating out every night because cooking something in her own well equipped kitchen is such a chore.  She has no 401(k).  She has no savings account.  When work doesn't come in she sells her miscellaneous crap on ebay to get through.  I earn half what she does.  I put 13% into my 401(k).  I put $50 per paycheck into a long term savings.  I have my debit card set up to put $1.00 into short term savings every time I swipe it.  And I've several times offered to lend her a few thousand to get her out of the mess she's in.  NOT RIGHT.

STOP SPENDING.  Every damned penny saved is a penny earned.  Last December I got rid of my landline.  For several years the only calls I got were from politicians and telemarketers.  I was paying $20 a month to keep the ringer turned off.  Do you really need 450 TV channels?  I miss my Travel Channel so much but so much of TV can be seen online for free only minutes after it airs.  I cut out cable in 2005.  I'm still alive. 

I eat nutritious, fresh food.  I want for nothing.  I have six damned cats who all have regular annual vet visits.  YOU CAN DO THIS TOO!  Just cut out the crap.

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