If you save money by accident, does it still count?
I was at a meet-up the other day for entrepreneurs, and upon plopping down my laptop and plugging my mouse into it, I immediately felt a pat on my back and hearty chuckle.
“Dude – what is this, 1998?” – a friend blurted out.
“Hah, I know – it’s weird using a mouse w/ my laptop huh?” – I shyly shot back
“Nah man, I’m talking about how OLD your mouse is. Is that a ball at the bottom of that thing???”
<insert even louder laugh>
“What, are you on AOL dial-up too????”
<others start coming over to join in on the fun>
I’ll admit it was all pretty funny (and don’t you dare tell me you don’t know what I’m talking about with those ball mouses – you youngins!), but it had never crossed my mind just how strange this is in a world where everything’s so brand spanking new all the time. And since it’s been well over 5 years since I last worked in any real office, I guess I just got used to it all as “normal.”
But while everyone assumed I was just way too cheap (or broke) to go out and get a new mouse, the truth is I’m just way too busy to be bothered by it. And the thing works just fine anyways, so why go out and waste both time and money? Even if I have to take it out every now and then to blow on it and get rid of those dang dirt lines around the wheel thingies, haha… I didn’t even get a chance to explain why I use a mouse in the first place – the track pad on my laptop broke 4 years ago :)
I started wondering if there was other things I do that accidentally save me money in the process, and here’s what I’ve come up with so far:
I haven’t bought clothes in like a year. I used to be obsessed with new tees every couple of weeks, but over the years both time and desire have drastically reduced since I got into the whole minimalism craze. While it still sucks to have my clothes wear out and get holey all the time, I have to admit it’s nice having a small wardrobe of only stuff you LOVE to wear every time you get dressed.
I cut my own hair. Most people do this purely to save money, but for me its more out of the annoyance of not wanting to take an hour out of my day to sit and watch someone do what I can do at home in 5 minutes. Now granted the requirements of my hair style is fairly simple – shave both sides and leave the part in the middle! – but I do have to say I’ve gotten pretty good using mirrors to keep the ‘hawk’s lines fresh ;) It works on facial hair too!
I still eat peanut butter & jelly sandwiches for lunch. Not only do I still enjoy the taste after all these years, but it’s so nice to be able to make your lunch 1-2-3 without waiting for anyone or getting into the car. I’d eat them even if they cost $5 a sandwich! (And I have two almost every day!)
I choose “walking” anytime it’s an option. I don’t care if it’s 1 block or 1 mile, if time permits I always prefer to walk to events/bars/houses when the weather allows. Walking is one of the best things in the world to do, for both your sanity and your health!, and it pains me whenever friends want to hop back into a car/uber or are just plain lazy. If walks cost money I’d be broke!
I only drink tap water now. Years ago I wrote a post about how I drink bottled water and I didn’t care how much it costs me (which, not surprisingly, got me into a heap of trouble with the Earth lovers), But at the time it was the ONLY thing that got me to actually drink water and so the hydration trumped the costs. A few years later a friend then turned me onto those gigantic bottles that are meant to hold all the water you need in a given day (8 glasses), and I haven’t stopped re-using it since. It’s one of the best $6 purchases I’ve ever made and saves tons of money and potential health issues in the process!
They also sell mini-bottles for kids too – my little ones LOVE being like dad :)
I’m sure there’s a host of other things I could come up with, but hopefully you get the point…
So does saving money still count even if it’s by accident? You bet your sweet ass it does. In fact, I’d suggest it’s even BETTER since many people save just for the sake of saving and are miserable! If you’re enjoying your life and not happening to spend money in the process, you’ve figured out something most of the country has not. And we need to be doing more of it in all areas of our lives!
What are some of the ways you’re #FrugalByAccident?
If you’re wondering about the hashtags, it’s my lame attempt to see if we can make this go viral on Twitter :) If you’re on there, share your answers there too using #FrugalByAccident!
[Photo cred: Stephen Harlan]
PS: Some of my favorite tools:
|Personal Capital (FREE) -- If you’re looking for a robust financial tracker, Personal Capital is the way to go! They’re like Mint, but on steroids and have much better tools for investment and net worth tracking. // Full review|
|Digit (FREE) -- A super easy (and automated) way to save. Every day Digit analyzes your income and expenses and will push money aside for you any time it sees extra sitting there. I've saved over $4,000 myself using them so far! // Full review|
|Acorns -- Having trouble finding money to invest? Check out Acorns – they round up all your transactions to the nearest $1.00 and drops the difference into an investment portfolio for you. Easy way to start investing! // Full review|