Fast-paced living has become the norm in our society. Work, family, and other responsibilities may have you feeling as though there aren’t enough hours in the day. When free time is a luxury, who cares about saving a few extra dollars, right? Wrong. You’ve heard the phrase “time equals money,” and it’s absolutely true. In a seemingly unrelated article, NPR unveiled the true value of pizza. After visiting 3,678 pizza places around the country, their study revealed:
“One 16-inch pizza has roughly the same area as 1.3 14-inch pizzas or 4 8-inch pizzas. To get the same amount of pizza you get in a 16-inch pizza, you’d have to spend an extra $2.35 on 14-inch pizzas, or an extra $16.41 on 8-inch pizzas.”
Why is an extra $16.41 important? The value of pizza illustrates the far-reaching theme of American culture: we spend too much and save too little. If you don’t feel outraged about paying more for the same slice of pizza, it’s time to change your ways. Maximize your cash with the following strategies. They will help you redefine the way you spend money.
1. Count the hours.
Challenge yourself to save by doing some calculations. Review your budget and attempt to find one cost-saving measure for every expense. For example, Stephanie could save more than $55 per week by shopping for vegetables at the local farmer’s market rather than the grocery store. On a grander scale, she could save an average of $5,000 per year in mortgage interest by splitting her monthly payments into bi-monthly installments.
After tallying your projected savings, calculate how many hours you work to account for your inflated expenses. In Stephanie’s case, she determines that she could save $400 a month by overhauling her lifestyle. Her job pays $25 per hour, resulting in 16 hours of wasted labor. What could Stephanie do with an extra 16 hours? Find a part-time job? Spend more time with her family? Devote her attention to a long-forgotten hobby? The possibilities are plentiful. Even salaried employees can take advantage of this strategy by using saved cash to plan for retirement, pay down debts or even work toward a dream vacation. By translating cash into labor, you’ll see the error of your ways. Let your calculator shed some light on your budget and strive to make the most of your hours.
2. Assess value.
As we learned from the pizza scenario, some slices cost more than others. Of course, this doesn’t mean the pepperoni is better or the cheese is cheesier; it simply means that some people are willing to pay more for the same product. Don’t be a member of the “more” club. Respect your money by assessing the value of things before buying or investing. If you’re shopping for a house, learn to negotiate before agreeing to the asking price. Even the simple task of shopping for groceries can yield savings with a little knowledge and foresight. The moral: mindset is everything. Develop a new perspective and good habits will follow.
3. Protect yourself.
On the road to a new perspective, it’s wise to think of money as a life tool, and at times, a life-saver. You’ve probably felt the strain (or even panic) of limited funds its effect on your life. Whether you’ve had to pinch pennies, pay bills late or even been forced into bankruptcy, the art of saving can carry literal meaning, saving your life from hardship and credit repair burdens.
The bottom line: Before saying yes to spending, think about the long-term implications of your decisions. You’ll never order pizza the same way again.