While the local animal shelter may love it when you drop off sheets each year for the dogs to nestle into, it’s not doing your budget or your calendar any good to keep shopping for cheap sheets.
Employees looking to balance work and family while also budgeting may feel hemmed in by their options. They may avoid options to save time because they think they are too expensive. But there may be some magic to luxuries after all. For example, consider grocery delivery. If you dig into this simple service, it might seem like a luxury to be able to avoid the parking lots, especially on a day when a four year old does not want to hold your hand ever ever again. But there’s more to the grocery delivery than saving your relationship with your cranky toddler. Instead, having grocery delivery allows the shopper to buy a list of groceries in a fraction of time that traditional grocery store shopping would take, thus its time saving aspect. But here’s another catch, by having a house stocked with fruits and veggies, easy to cook (or even already cooked) meats or proteins can drastically reduce how often a family opts for delivery from a restaurant or fast food. The cost of the luxury of grocery delivery, for a family of four, is lower than the cost of eating out twice a week.
Other luxuries that save you in the long run include better housing. Sure, saving on rent by living in a smaller area helps with budgeting, but if the expense of living smaller means an increased commute, or the need for a car, then living large could end up saving a small family in the long run. As anyone whose paid for a separate storage facility to accommodate a lackluster amount of closet space can tell you, spending extra for a larger apartment can avoid the monthly storage fees (and nightmare of trying to find items at the last minute).
Better materials just last longer. Sure, that shirt from Banana Republic may cost three times what you can buy it for at Costco, but you’ll still be wearing the elephant label in a decade, long after the Costco shirt has become mere shreds. The same is true for work bags and shoes. Buying “luxuries” that are well-made makes sense. If you don’t have to dip into an emergency fund to cover a new pair of shoes for the perfect job’s surprise interview, you’ll have that emergency fund extra for a vacation. And the time saved by not having to mend, repair or replace the more cheaply bought item can add up over the course of a decade. And this goes for sheets and towels as well. While the local animal shelter loves when you drop off sheets each year for the dogs to nestle into, it’s not doing your budget or your calendar any good to keep shopping for cheap sheets.
One of the best luxuries that can save money (and time) is to opt for a once a month visit with a personal trainer, followed by emailed workout plans, rather than a gym membership and class fees. A personal trainer will charge their standard hourly rate to write up individual workouts for a week or a month, but most can provide four to six workouts for an hour’s rate (in the $50 to $75/hour range). If your local gym costs more than $150 a month for a safe place to workout, try opting for a once a month home visit coupled by weekly emailed workouts.
The expensive insurance plan is also a luxury that may save time or money in the long run. Sure, opting for the health insurance plan with a smaller deductible seems equivalent to lighting your money on fire and then putting the flames out with your best sweater, but for those with tight budgets, a small monthly increase in premium fees can keep from digging into emergency savings for unavoidable accidents.
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