Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Time to Spend

I read this article on The Dollar Stretcher talking about how we can have a dollar today or a dollar tomorrow. Basically, that if we spend our money today we will not have it available tomorrow. If we save it today at some time in the future it will have earned interest and be worth more than a dollar. I totally get the point of the article and agree, but also have thoughts that are not meant to be in disagreement but just points to ponder. Is this always true that our money will be worth more? Our banks are paying a horrible rate of return the last couple of years- way below the cost of inflation. When is it true that the dollar you have today is only worth $.80 in the future because of it's buying power?

We have watched the price of groceries and other products go up at an extraordinary rate. Would it have been better to have spent my money earlier before the rise in price so that my dollar bought more? My thinking the last couple of years has been, yes, to that question. I have made it a part of my quest to build an emergency fund, to have not all of our funds in monies but some of it in food, toiletries, cleaning supplies, medicines. If I can buy at the lowest price and stock up I do not have to spend more buying at full price when we run out and "need" it. It has been two fold- to get the best price, but also to have items on hand. If we should lose our job we have a lot of food to keep us from starving sitting in the pantry and freezer. In a way, I am making an investment in items we use rather that keeping it in the bank to purchase later at a higher price. It is a better use of that money. Now, this is not a good plan if you are buying things you do not need.

What are some ways that spending is saving?
  1. Maintaining our cars and home so we do not have expensive repairs. We pay more for a better tire for our Yukon so it rides smoother. It was about $50 more a tire, but is an investment in what we are driving. We have older vehicles so it is a way to enjoy what we have verses going out and buying something newer.
  2. Buying school supplies, office supplies, gift items, and other stuff when I see it clearanced. I buy backpacks at garage sales for $1 and have a few put away just in case we need them. I buy a lot of notebooks and supplies when they offer it for $.10 right before school starts.
  3. Investing in exercise and healthy foods so we don't get sick. I paid upfront for the gym membership and it is half price from what it would cost if I only paid monthly. I still had to sign a contract for the same amount of time commitment.
  4. Spending money on the garden so we can grow our own food. I have been "investing" in soil each year. I have a compost bin, but am not making enough yet to fill my four raised beds. I bought 8 bags of humus this year to add in with my compost and the soil that is already in the beds. It is money now, but hopefully I will not have to continue this many years. Slowly the Alabama red clay is turning into nice rich soil. I also have heirloom seeds which cost more upfront, but the seeds can be saved and replanted year after year. So, a little investment for the future. Right now it is the $50 tomato, but they are 100% better than store bought tomatoes.
  5. Buying quality clothing that lasts longer. I am not a clothes snob but some brands you just know will wear well and are worth paying a little more for. Osh Kosh for little kids, Levis,Gap, Ann Taylor, Liz Clairborne, Talbots, Dockers, Chaps, etc. I still find all these at garage sales and get great deals on them. My husband has foot pain and has had surgery on both his feet. When he wears regular shoes and tries to work all day his feet are in severe pain. We buy Echo shoes for him to work in. We have paid $120-$180 for them. A lot of money for me to even think about, but it helps him not to be in so much pain and keeps him working and making money.
  6. Buying DVDs instead of paying to go to the movie theater.
  7. Buying a pressure canner, bread machine, crock pot, or other appliance that helps you put up and prepare meals.
  8. I just bought two hydrangeas, a gardenia, and some bedding plants for the yard. Hydrangeas are one of my favorite flowers. I cannot wait to cut and use the blooms inside! And have you ever smelled a gardenia? Oh my, it is like Heaven. My nose gets all happy. The hydrangeas were $25 each, not cheap, but I hope they bring many years of happiness in their reward. I am going to try to start new bushes off these to fill along the fenceline.

I guess the question to ask is if you spend today is it an investment towards your goals, or is it skimming money from what you are hoping to do in the future? If you are spending today on things that hold no long term value then you will have lost the future value. So, sometimes it is the time to spend so you can gain benefits from your money, it is just a matter of what you spend it on and how you look at it all.

1 comment:

momstheword said...

Great post! Very thought provoking. I agree about buying things on sale, or clearance so that you'll have 'em when you need them (and don't have to pay full price for them).

I haven't stocked up on some supplies as well as I should have lately. I love that you have some of your EF stuff in supplies, instead of money!