How to Spend: Spend Less (Podcast)

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By default, most of us would make impulsive purchases. We see it, we want it, and we purchase it. There is a satisfaction in satisfying the need quickly.

However, if we cultivate a different habit, we can make thoughtful purchases our personal norm.

On Friday, July 8, 2022, Megan Russell was interviewed by Michael Morton of Financial Planning for Entrepreneurs podcast . Michael Morton is the founder of Morton Financial Advice where he provides hourly or subscription-based financial planning and wealth management.

In this two-part mini-series, we discuss the two sides of learning how to shop more effectively. This week, we talk about how to spend less money. Next time, we will discuss how to buy more value.

The episode was released on Tuesday, July 19, 2022. You can listen to the audio here:

Show Notes

How to Spend: Waste Nothing

  • Presume that there is always more fun to be had.
  • The best is the one you own.
  • When faced with a new need, solve the problem with items you already own.
  • Consider alternatives.

How To Spend: Take Care Of Your Things

  • Extend the life of your possessions by taking care of them.
  • This is both a mindset and a set of behaviors.
  • If you find that something is wearing out frequently, find a solution.

How To Spend: Use Only Just Enough

  • None of the containers provided with products dispense the correct amount. They are all designed to make it easy to use too much of their product.
  • Remember the 1950s slogan: “A little dab’ll do ya.”

Utilize Buy Nothing Groups

  • You can use these groups to acquire used items or to borrow one-time needs.
  • Don’t take your items to the dump.

You’ll Get By with a Little Help from Your Friends

  • Shopping in a group can easily entice you to buy more than you would normally.
  • Taking along a frugal friend will help you resist.
  • Spending money is contagious.
  • If a budget isn’t a team effort, then one family member will end up holding the purse strings and everyone else will be resentful.

Noteworthy Quotes

Kitchen Sink Salad (5:48)

Every so often, you go to the grocery store, you stock up, and you get a whole bunch of stuff for your fridge. At the end of that period, you’ve got some old spinach left over and there’s a cucumber that’s half cut. What are you gonna do with that old spinach and that old cucumber?

When you have a “waste nothing” mentality and the mentality of “The best one is the one that you own,” it can help you stretch the value out of something that you otherwise would’ve thrown away.

For example, do you have the stuff to make a salad? Maybe it’s an odd salad.

In our house, we call them “kitchen sink salads” when they are a mixture of a whole bunch of random things. The idea is that you’ve put everything in and the kitchen sink. So we call them kitchen sink salads. And on our last day, we’ll often have a kitchen sink salad for lunch or for dinner that is just a hodgepodge.

Sometimes, it all really works together and you find out “Man, ham and oranges are actually surprisingly tasty on a salad together.” Sometimes, it doesn’t work as well, and maybe I’m gonna eat around those olives because they don’t really match the flavor of the rest of the salad.

However, the mentality of using all of the value will serve you well.

On Raising Rich Children (19:16)

It’s very hard for kids who come from families of means to learn to take care of their things, because they have a mentality of “I can always get another one.” This is a challenge to overcome.

When you’re a kid who grows up in a family that doesn’t have very much, you can’t get another one. So you’re going to protect what you have.

If your ball breaks, that was the ball and the ball is gone.

But when you’re in a family of means, you might have three or four of them already even before one breaks. So when one breaks, you’re like “No big deal. It’s not my money. I didn’t buy that ball. I’m not out anything.” Whereas the parents are the ones who are feeling all of the pain of the ball breaking.

Unless children have that buy-in where they are the ones who would need to buy that replacement or feel the scarcity that an adult would feel when something is broken, I don’t know that there’s a super great way to motivate them.

When Things Break (23:37)

Anytime that I’m buying a replacement of something, I like to have a moment when I think about what has happened that’s brought me to the point of buying another one.

If it’s that spatula that’s broken, what did I do to break it? Was it not high enough quality? Did I use it in an inappropriate way? What’s a feature I could get that would mean I wouldn’t have to buy another one?

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash

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Chief Operating Officer, CFP®, APMA®

Megan Russell has worked with Marotta Wealth Management most of her life. She loves to find ways to make the complexities of financial planning accessible to everyone. She is the author of over 800 financial articles and is known for her expertise on tax planning.