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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A Rebuttal to Comments Regarding Ways To Save A Ton of Money On Groceries And Household Items

After writing my commentary, "Ways To Save A Ton of Money On Groceries And Household Items," while I did not get many comments directly on my post, there were some "circles" of friends and family who wanted to provide a verbal rebuttal to my entire concept that time is money, and not taking the time to shop multiple stores, maintain an inventory, and forget convenience was simply wrong.

But you and your wife do not have kids. We do not have time to go to different stores. We cannot always shop price. We just need to get it done.

I can sympathize with that argument, and I can also appreciate it. But what does it really boil down to for me? And let's be clear that I am not trying to be argumentative or mean when I state this.

You are making this claim with very little true knowledge of the value of your money, and the value of your time.

I stated in my commentary that if the average person wasted an average of $1,000 every single year just to save time, and just for the sake of convenience, that if they made $15 an hour they would need to work an additional 67 hours each year to pay for the cost of just getting it done and saving time.

To that end I decided to break things down a bit more, simply because I was curious what the true cost of saving time happens to be. My numbers are slightly rough, but they also hold a lot of truth. My calculation here is as follows:

  • What if I wasted just a mere $1,000 each and every year for the next 30 years? If I would have instead put my waste into the markets, for example, and earned compounded interest at 5% year (a conservative figure based on historical results), how much more money might I have had? Or conversely, how much money did I actually potentially lose just to save time?
In 30 years you have of course wasted, at the bare minimum, $30,000. A small number. And let's keep in mind that the total waste not adhering to some of the ideas I presented in my "Ways To Save A Ton of Money On Groceries And Household Items" is actually significantly more than that for a very large number of people. The real number is probably somewhere around $3,000 - $7,000 a year of wasteful spending depending on your income, and the size of your household. Even those figures may be substantially conservative based on your own lifestyle, the types of products you buy, and of course whether or not you are buying brand name items or no-name items.

If you would have followed the principles, and instead of wasting the money at the cash register, put the money into the stock market, or a simple mutual fund that earned a very conservative 5% annually, at the end of 30 years that money would have accumulated to a whopping $66,643.82. Not only would one have wasted $30,000 in 30 years, their wasted money would have lost the opportunity to gain $36,643.82 of accumulated interest.

Again, more people waste more than $1,000 annually, so this number actually doubles and triples and quadruples. If we were take into account the real numbers we'd be looking at figures more around $266,575.28. If at the same time you were still sticking to your retirement goals it is easy to see how after a mere 30 years of working, following sound money management principles, being disciplined about your spending habits, and following a few simple extra steps to ensure that your money is spent wisely, justly, and with a well mapped out plan for at least the everyday spending, you could be looking at assets that top $1 million or more. Perhaps not quite enough to retire after 30 years of gainful employment. But surely much closer to the prize than if you simply decided you'd rather save time in the short term than save a TON of time in the long term.

Why do people fall into these traps? Why do people easily accept these "justifications?" Because they think in terms of the here and now. Because they do not run the numbers. Because they do not understand the basic idea of the intrinisic value of money. It is the fault of no one. They don't teach this stuff in school and most people don't take the time to learn it on their own.

There are other ways to consider how this $1,000 a year could be "reinvested" as well. One could pay down debts. One could pay down mortgages. Both of these things are also very good uses of the "found" money, and would significantly reduce the actual number of years you are required to work, and save you a massive amount of time overall.

The bottom line? The time you are saving today to make your life easier is costing you tens of thousands of dollars of more time working to make up for it in the end. If you are okay with that, then maintaining the status quo is fine. But the finish line comes up much sooner if you understand how money works, how waste affects you, and how convenience actually costs you more in the end.

It is said than an apple a day keeps the doctor away. That is disputable. But an hour extra a week could actually put retirement in your grasp YEARS earlier. I think the numbers I have presented here speak for themselves. There is much more to be gained by saving money than by saving time. I think that speaks for itself and the numbers make that all too clear. In my life saving time is worthless if in the end it costs me money...

And increases my working life.

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