Penny Wise, Pound Foolish: Preventative Care
It can be scary to get a medical procedure done that might reveal serious problems, and we all feel scared to a certain extent. The attitude of course is fear that we might have something wrong with us and like some sort of demented Schrödinger’s cat, we’re only not sick until we find out that we are. But we know this on some level not to be true. If we indeed are sick, it would make sense to find out as soon as possible so that we can get treatment for it. Emotions cannot be reasoned with, so it will be scary. It might even be terrifying. But it’s just a feeling–ultimately, we are better off ignoring our emotions in this case and getting treatment.
Many financial decisions are unfortunately made this way. Emotions can cloud our judgment and lead to bad decisions. I know that people often buy big ticket items without thinking them fully through; for example, should you get the extended warranty? People also end up impulse buying fast food because they feel that the effort of cooking would be too great. Sure, you save time (and therefore money) when you eat out, but you pay far more in the long run than cooking for yourself, even if it’s just an hour a week.
Consider this your wakeup call for budgeting and planning your spending better overall. Think out everything you do in as long of terms as you possibly can. If you’re buying groceries, how long do you expect to be eating them? If you’re buying a new computer, how long do you expect to be using it? If you’re getting a mammogram, how long can you rest assured that you are breast cancer free? When you distribute costs, you can see that you’re paying merely pennies a day frequently rather than a seemingly more reasonable low but continual payment. By that I mean perhaps you have to buy $50 of groceries but you can get something off the dollar menu at a fast food joint. Sure, that seems cheaper, but you don’t just pay $1 for every meal. You generally would end up spending $2-3 per meal, three times a day. At the end of the week, you’ve spent nearly $50 anyway, and you haven’t eaten nearly as healthily as you could have if you had spent money on groceries. Factor in waiting in line (or in your car) and total up gas mileage, and you can see how you’d easily save by shopping once a week and cooking instead.
Are you neglecting some good behaviors that can save you money? Let us know.