This is part of a series on finances. Here’s Part 1: How we live on just $1000/month.
Living in a super tiny indoor space (and a park-like outdoor space) as well as having a careful budget, has really helped to understand what is important and what is not. It has helped me to weigh in whether or not this or that purchase is really worth those valuable dollars, resources or space. In 300 square feet, even a new pair of shoes can take up a pretty large amount of real estate. As I have discussed before, many of our modern problems could be alleviated by simply not buying as much stuff! And we subscribe to this philosophy quite a bit.
But sometimes in this modern landscape we do still need to buy things. This is a point when you need to be careful where your dollars go if you are serious about becoming financially savvy and financially independent. But there can be lots of temptation and marketers that would have you believe that spending gobs of money is the only way for you to get your goods. I recently saw an ad posed as an article in a magazine that made me laugh out loud.
At first glance it seems innocent and common enough. There is a list of the must-haves for going to the beach: Laura Prepon’s supposed picks. A tote bag, cover-up, bangle bracelet, bikini and wide brimmed hat. What made me laugh though, was when I totaled up the cost of these items: $298 for the tote, $98 for the cover-up, $75 for 3 bracelets, $225 for a bikini top and $150 for a bikini bottom, and $40 for the hat. Or a total of $886! And that is not including tax which in Puerto Rico would be about $102! So around $1,000 just to wear very little to the beach?!
It got me thinking about my beach gear. Like Laura Prepon, the swimsuit from Marshall’s was the most expensive item at $25 (and both the top and bottom! Imagine that! You don’t have to choose whether to go topless or bottomless -haha). The hat from Me Salvé was $1.99. The tote bag I’ve had for about 15 years and I think cost something like $15 back in the day. The cover up I recently got at a clothing swap, so essentially cost me just cleaning out my clothes that no longer fit me (this is the best idea ever! -thanks Ocean State of Mind!). Regarding bracelets, for one thing I don’t wear any jewelry to the beach, but I just threw them in to be comparable. The green one I got at Kohls in Greeley for about $2 and the bead one was a gift from my momma (thanks Mom!) that I think was something like $10. For a grand total of $53.99! With tax that would be about $60 total. Quite a difference especially when you look essentially the same as if you had spent what the magazines want you to think you need!
So be careful what you buy and be careful what you read. Sometimes just reading or watching things like in magazines, catalogs, TV, internet, etc can make you want things that you would never have thought about before and also plant in your mind a sort of normalcy for spending outrageous amounts of money. Remember, if you are seeking financial freedom, your dollars are your freedom fighters so use them wisely! And while bargain shopping can be a game in and of itself, the truly best way to save money (not to mention the resources it took to make the items!) is to not spend it!