Pinching Pennies, Pissing Away Dollars

Photo credit: Joel Robison

Photo credit: Joel Robison

My mother had a saying, “You’re pinching pennies and pissing away dollars” which was always directed at my father whenever he would do something like drive over to New Jersey to save a nickel per gallon on gas. “But they pump your gas for you too!” As if that was justification enough. Either way, my mother didn’t buy it.

Maybe my father just liked to drive, or maybe he was just that near-sighted that he couldn’t see how much of a waste of time and money his efforts were yielding. About 6 years ago, I found myself reciting this same quotation on my last day of training in my former job with the Gov in regards to, of all things, our government-issued vehicles.

If I’ve learned anything from The Fitness it’s that efficiency is key. If you can batch things together, get more done in less time, take a moment to devise a plan so that there’s no wasted effort, you save a lot of time (and money).

Saving money is cool. Everybody should do it. But take a step back first and make sure you’re not pinching pennies but pissing away dollars. Is coupon clipping really saving you money if you have to go to three different supermarkets to get the best deals? How much gas are you using up? More importantly, how much time is wasted driving from store to store? Look at the big picture. Is there anything you do currently that maybe provides a small savings in the short term, but will end up costing you more in the long term?

Take your health for example. Cheap food is, well…cheap. Fast food is cheap. Sure you’re saving money when you buy from the Dollar Menu, but the long term costs on your health are exponentially greater. Conventional meat is several dollars per pound cheaper than the grass-fed or pastured version. Conventional fruits and vegetables are cheaper than the organic equivalent, but what you save now on your grocery bill is simply being redirected to your physician and pharmacist’s copay. In the end, you didn’t save any money. You probably spent more.

Take a look at your spending and behaviors from 30,000 feet. Are you doing any of the things described above? What can you change to be more efficient with your time and money?

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