I’ve heard that it takes money to make money, but now we’re hearing that it takes money to save money?! Well, if it takes money to make and/or save money, what’s a person without much money to do?
I always thought that it took work to make money and discipline and sacrifice to save money. Boy was I wrong! Apparently it doesn’t take work, discipline, or sacrifice – it just takes money! Cash, credit cards, second mortgage, third mortgage even; if you can spend it, it’ll “save” you money. That’s what the new fad is, so it must be true, right?!
There are just too many words to describe that theory, so I’ll only list a handful: ridiculous, outrageous, irresponsible, dangerous, and wrong. Let’s take a look at how spending money to save money really works.
Let’s say that you want to save money on your electric bill and the government offers a 30% tax credit for installing solar panels. That may sound all well and good. You get $10,000 worth of solar panels, you save money on electricity, and you get $3,000 back. Wow, $3,000 back for “saving” money… until you look at the flip side of it. You spent $10,000. You get $3,000 back. So, you just spent $7,000 out of pocket in order to “save” money.
Maybe it’s just me, but I thought that saving money meant not spending it. If you save $35 per month on electricity, it’ll take you 200 months just to break even. So your investment won’t really pay off for almost 17 years. If you had just put that $7,000 into a savings account paying only 1% interest, after 17 years, you would have earned almost $1,300 in interest and still had the original $7,000.
That’s a pretty significant investment, and I sure wouldn’t be able to afford it, so let’s take a look at a more reasonable money-saving idea: a high-efficiency toilet. You can easily get one of those at Lowe’s for around $100, so we’ll use $100 as the example.
You spend $100 on a new toilet. It saves you $5 per month on your water bill. Your investment starts to pay off in only 20 months. That sounds pretty reasonable, but you’re still spending $100 up front.
Aren’t there ways to save money without spending money? You bet there are!
If you want to save money on electricity, use less electricity. Hang your clothes to dry instead of using the dryer. Cook in a slow cooker instead of roasting dinner in your electric oven. Put on a sweater, and turn off your electric space heater. It may not be an earth-shattering savings, but every little bit helps.
Want to save money on water? Use less water. Take shorter showers. Only wash full loads of laundry. Instead of buying a new toilet, adjust the fill line of your tank or put a brick or bottle of water in your toilet tank to take up extra space.
Want to save money on natural gas? Turn down your thermostat. Roll up a towel, and put it at the bottom of a drafty door that gaps at the bottom. Cook in a slow cooker rather than on your gas range.
There are tons of ways to save money without spending money. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t upgrade your appliances or install solar panels if it’s necessary and you can afford to do so. I’m just saying that you don’t have to spend to save. It’s quite possible to save just by saving!
Article by Randi Millward