I was always good at figuring percentages back in grade school. Perhaps that is why I enjoy thinking in terms of percentages saved on this and that. I was encouraged in this habit by Andrew Tobias, author of the first personal finance book I ever read. Yes, the great Andrew Tobias who advised his readers to participate in the futures market by buying cases of tuna when it was 50% off. He noted--correctly--that that was a larger return than you could earn safely in an investment.
Today Big Lots had one of its sporadic 20% off everything sales. So exciting! I love Big Lots, where I find all sorts of organic foods and staples. I managed to miss the last two by being out of town on the special day.
So, I girded up my loins and went. I came back with all sorts of things even though I am on a no-stockpiling diet: Tazo chai tea, canned pumpkin, canned tomatoes, imported pasta, etc. I even bought a large box of Wheat Thins (an occasional treat for Mr. FS, who scarfs them down without any sort of control). The Wheat Thins were to distract Mr. FS from the fact that I had broken the no-stockpiling rule. It worked, too.
I noticed that my receipt added up to...DRUMROLL...around $20, which meant that I had saved....DRUMROLL...$5. 20% sounds so exciting. $5 not so much.
I feel somewhat deflated. All those little savings add up over the course of a year, but I now see that I need to think in terms of dollars as well as in terms of percentages.
Oh, here's the masterpiece by Andrew Tobias.