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Wednesday, May 6, 2009


Once again, I am inspired by Funny About Money, who, in a recent post, mentioned that her financial advisor opined that she had a talent for small savings.

I think I have a talent for microsavings. Many bloggers, whatever their take on frugal tips, declare that the big savings are what count: mortgage, insurance, travel, car purchases, and so forth. Elizabeth Warren and Daughter say the same in All Your Worth: The Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan" Count the Dollars, Not the Pennies.

Of course, I'd rather save dollars than pennies. But it's not always possible: only the microfrugalities have a guaranteed and steady payoff.

On insurance, for instance. I live in a state where some former Insurance Commissioners reside in prison. I have known several people who had insurance from smaller companies that went out of business, leaving them with unpaid medical bills and car insurance claims. Because of this, Mr. FS and I have always bitten the bullet and stayed with national companies. Post-Katrina, we had little trouble.

On travel,too. Yes, we use the on-line sites for deals. Often poor Mr. FS will spend hours on plane fares, only to end up saving $15.00, or worse, watching fares go UP. Sometimes he does quite well, but sometimes it's a waste of time. And it's never guaranteed.

On the auto purchases, yes we got the prices from Consumer Reports and used them well. But you can't do super-well on cars that are in high demand for good reasons. So we are happy with our Camry (1998) and Civic Hybrid (2003), both bought new for good, but not great prices.

But every week, I can save at least 20% on groceries, just by picking up the loss leaders. This amounts to pennies, but week in and out, year in and out, it adds up. I can always save pennies.

The only guaranteed way of saving dollars these days seems to reside in paying off your mortgage. I guess it's a good thing I already did that. I'd love to hear about other strategies.

So, dear Readers, do you think my concept of microsavings works? How do you microsave? And, if you have bigger ways to save, of course, please share.


Duchesse said...

That's how I once presented my astonished DH with a plane ticket to Paris on his birthday, and he had NO idea where the money came from. It came from giving up lattes etc. Microsaving is a lot more fun for me when I can sock the savings away for something desirable. Otherwise it just feels mean and life-denying, too much like my mother's type of saving.

FB @ said...

I do both.

Big savings = Rent decreases

Small savings = Not taking luxury items ALL THE TIME at the grocery store, saves about $5 - $10 a week.

I find when the purchase amount is large, people don't quibble over "small" amounts.

E.g.: Buying a car that costs $30,000 and upgrading all the luxuries to $35,000 or something.

Still spending $5k in my opinion, and if you don't need even an extra $0.50 luxury addition, don't get it.

I think just general awareness of what you spend, in large or small amounts, no matter the difference, helps.

But with that being said, I don't feel deprived whatsoever.

Funny about Money said...

"Microsaving": great term for it! Most of my microsavings are coming from...yup. Groceries, gardening, staying out of stores as much as possible, riding the train instead of burning gas to get to work.

I figure four quarters or two fifty-cent pieces add up to a buck pretty fast. It's surprising how quickly small economies turn into nice little piles of dough.

Thanks for the mention! :-)

Over the Cubicle Wall said...

I tend to micromanage my budget. I know that is a really general answer, but it causes me to look at everything from all kinds of angles.