Save to Live, Don’t Live to Save-Saving Money Ideas

by David Bakke

saving money ideasMy wife and I had planned an outing for our family over the weekend to visit a festival that was being held in one of our state parks. It was your garden variety festival, one where all types of different vendors set up their tents to sell their food or their arts and crafts. The home-made fudge and the hand woven figurines, so on and so forth.

Of course, whenever we decide to go to these types of things, we at the very least pack a good deal of snacks, if not a complete lunch. We do this for two reasons. First, because the prices for food at these festivals is ridiculous and second, most of the time they don’t have food that were interested in (we usually try to eat only healthy foods).

So anyways, we packed our picnic basket and off we went. Well, if you know anything about Atlanta, you know that a traffic jam can pop up at any time, and sure enough, we found ourselves stuck right in the middle of a doozy. It was a Saturday afternoon but from the looks of this thing it was a Friday at 5:00 o’clock. We didn’t move for about 15 minutes.

It soon became apparent that we would miss the entire festival if we decided to wait out the traffic (we got a little bit of a late start).

So, we had to go to Plan B. And Plan B was visiting our favorite downtown shopping district. With this new plan, obviously there really wouldn’t be a place to set up our picnic food and sit down and enjoy it. Well, I ‘m sure we probably could have but it would have looked quite strange.

All of a sudden I felt this stress building inside of me. Normally, when we visit this spot, we almost always make sure to eat first so were not tempted to buy food at this place either. The restaurants are good but fairly upscale so once again, the food is a little pricey (of course, we have visited their restaurants, but only when we have a coupon). My stress came from realizing that we would have to get something to eat, and from the looks of it, we would be paying full price for wherever we went.

Well, not soon after, I “mentally” stopped and took stock of the situation. If I let this building “stress” of mine get to me, the whole outing would be ruined. Then, as I thought more about the situation, I thought, you know what-who cares?

I have jumped in head first to the whole rebate/coupon/shopping for good deals game, and I have saved myself and my family an immeasurable amount of money over the past several months. So now I am presented a situation where I know I’ll have to pay full price. Once again, I soon said to myself-who cares?

Now that I am firmly on track financially and usually don’t miss a deal with anything that I buy, it is easy to let this mindset take over your life. Really, it is. One can easily stay up till the wee hours of the morning looking for every last deal on every last thing that you buy. Well, if you let it get to this point, I think it takes away from the quality of the life that you are living.

I try to save as much money as I can so I can get closer to living the life that I want to, but I also understand that sometimes you just need to forget about it. Of course, I don’t mean abandon the mindsets and attitudes that got me to this point; I just mean that I refuse to let it overtake my life.

For all the money that I have saved over the past several months-ONE trip to ONE restaurant paying full price is not going to kill me.

I managed to wash these thoughts away from my mind; we all strolled into one of these upscale restaurants, sat down and had a wonderful meal. Wonderfully overpriced, but a wonderful meal.

So when formulating your list of saving money ideas, life your life first, then save your money.


1 Douglas September 16, 2009 at 12:14 am

Great tips – as a new saver, I find these very helpful! Thanks a bunch!!!

2 Kerri September 16, 2009 at 1:30 am

This is a refreshingly honest post. I can relate as I have found myself getting worked up from similar “plan B” situations that arise. Plans don’t always come to fruition; it’s a choice whether to be tense about unexpected expenses or simply enjoy the beauty of a different kind of day. If you are smart, plan ahead and save a lot of the time, enjoy an overpriced, wonderful meal once and a while. Great conclusion to the article, too!

3 David September 16, 2009 at 3:14 am

Doug, thanks a lot, check back more often, I am always trying to add new tips, especially for the newer savers…thanks for reading my words

4 David September 16, 2009 at 3:15 am

Kerri–Its nice to know I’m not alone in my semi-neurotic feelings. You’re right, we need to enjoy these things every once in a while!
Thanks for reading my words

5 sasikumar October 1, 2009 at 11:14 am

Really Great tips , very helpful! Thank a lot.

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