Don’t Buy Free Things

Greetings, everyone! After my **amazing** last post about Acorns, I am back and ready to give you more advice. I’m not a money expert, but I take my investing very seriously and together my wife and I are trying to budget more wisely. Today, I want to talk to you about one of the pitfalls we all stumble into while shopping: free merchandise.

What’s better than buying things to get free things? The answer: NOT buying things (because you got them for “free”)! I was in Target today and needed toilet paper. There was a deal to buy two packages and I could get a free $5 Target giftcard. Did I really need two? The thought of having plenty in the closest for those “just in case moments” sounded really good. Clearly, the answer was to get two because then I would have extra… not to mention my free “money” gift card. I checked out, got in the car, and picked up Kellie at the doctors from her prenatal checkup. We got home and I noticed, to my horror, I never got my free gift card!!! And might I add, this happened after the gallon of milk I just bought decided to fall out of the car and explode all over the driveway (hello neighborhood cats). The gift card would have bought me another one. Oh well.

Did you just say to yourself, “Toilet paper is an essential so that is a good deal!”? Of course it is, but you, hopefully, won’t be going through that many rolls in a week even two or three. Plus, the five dollars that you could have saved could have been in an investment account earning more money. The problem with most of our shopping habits today is that when there is a deal or a surplus in the budget, we think it is extra and should be spent! This is the reason there is no savings for retirement. This is the reason people get behind in their credit card debt or miss a utility payment. Every extra dollar should have a place whether it is in an investment account, paying those other bills, or in an emergency fund. I’m talking about your house on fire emergency or car accidents or hospital bills not the emergency where you friends call you up to go dancing and it’s $10 admission.

The point is that my splurging on extra toilet paper was not necessary. I spent MORE than I needed just to get a gift card. It is enticing and will draw me back to Target, but who runs in to get one item at Target? It’s Target. The best, brightest store in the world, (though they could do a better job with discounts like Best Buy with their video gamers club). I could have saved that extra five/six dollars I spent (before tax) and tucked that away for a rainy day or, more likely, transferred it to my ACORNS account to be invested. Every dime adds up. I never thought dimes would, especially if those dimes are actually pennies, but it is true.

Think of a lemonade stand. A child sells each glass for $0.10. The child only needs to sell 10 to make a $1. Once the dollar is made, the child only needs to sell another 10 to make another whole dollar. Each sale was a small tiny dime and 20 total glasses were sold. The number 20 seems huge to anyone especially when you hold a dollar in one hand and a twenty in the other. The child saved and saved and didn’t “treat” himself and by the end of the day, the two dollars felt heavy in his hand. Two dollars don’t seem like much to us now. And 20 glasses sounds like a lot of work for so little, but when you have a plan and you break it down, making small gains over time… you look back and count the total, you can be proud because it adds up in the end. Even though each ten cents seemed like nothing at the time.

Next time I’m at the store, I need to avoid the urge to treat myself by buying extra and instead, save and plan ahead. I am in the generation that doesn’t save and that doesn’t plan ahead, but I will not be like that. I want to be the guy who laughs and smiles and who is retired early and then laugh and smile at those who need to work longer into old age because they were spoiling themselves their entire life. That’s right, I said it. Join me as I travel on a path to smarter savings and investing.

And again, here is a link to help you start planning and saving money with Acorns. I don’t work with them or for them, I just think their app was a great first step for my family to begin investing painlessly just by doing our normal routine. By signing up with the link provided, Acorns will deposit money into your account after your first investment is made: https://acorns.com/invite/BQGBAQ. If links from sites scare you, this link will have you download the app and not just have you type in your info. A+!

These posts, every Friday, are meant to save you money, to have you invest your money, or teach you to not spend your money. I hope you listen with your ears and not your feet. 🙂

The Man Behind the Camera,

Beckett

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