Pay More To Get Less <Click to tweet!>
That might sound like heresy to all of the extreme frugal people out there, and maybe even just a bit counterintuitive to most others. But I stand by it. There are definitely times when it’s much better for your pocketbook (not to mention your health) to spend a little more to get a little less.
I have a nighttime sweet tooth. (If you don’t – quit gloating, it’s just not becoming.) But I still try to be pretty healthy about the way I eat. So one of my favorite ways to indulge my sweet tooth is with a Skinny Cow ice cream sandwich. With (peanut butter, mint, or vanilla) ice cream sandwiched between thin chocolate cookies that stick to your fingers as they melt, it’s hard to believe that they’re only ~150 calories each. (Sorry for the pitch, I love these things!) And at 6/box for a little less than $6, they register pretty high on my “affordable treats” scale.
The problem is, when they’re in the freezer, I eat them too quickly. If I buy a box of six, I will eat one a night until they are gone. So if I get in the habit, I’ll buy a box every week at the grocery store, eat all six, and then repeat the process the next week.
Doing this for a month is $24 (4 boxes at $6/box), but worse it’s 3,600 calories! So what seems like a harmless indulgence can pretty easily pack on the pounds and cost you a decent amount while you’re at it.
What do I eat instead? Skinny cow singles cups. Each cup has about 5 ounces of ice cream, and like the ice cream sandwich is about 150 calories or so. At our neighborhood grocery store, they’re $1.49/cup so I buy these one at a time. Adding the requirement that I leave the house to fulfill my sweet craving means I do it much less often. Now it’s just about once a week that I need a Skinny Cow, so I drive to the store (err… convince Mr. PoP to drive to the store) to buy a Skinny Cow cup.
So now it’s just $6/month ($1.50/cup, 4 cups per month), and only 600 calories.
I still feel like I’m satisfying my sweet tooth often enough, and by spending a little more per ounce, I’m not spending $18/month and preventing an extra 3,000 mindless calories from going into me. Not bad, eh?
But it’s not just sweets and vices where it can pay off to spend more for less.
Eat Yo’ Veggies
Sometimes you buy too much of something because it’s a “great value”, but then have so much that it ends up going to waste. I’m a bit ashamed to say, for us, it’s carrots.
As stupid as it sounds, Mr. PoP and I can’t buy “normal” sized carrots any more. A 2lb package of carrots at our gorcery store is $1.89, so that’s 11.8¢ per ounce, whereas baby carrots are $1.79 for 12 ounces, about 15¢ per ounce.
The truly sad state of affairs is that Mr. PoP and I will eat just about anything in the house before we take out a carrot peeler and knife to peel and chop a “normal” sized carrot for a snack. Anytime we buy them, they just sit in the veggie crisper in the fridge until they are anything but crisp. Gross? Absolutely. And also a complete and utter waste.
The Problem Is Really With Us
- Would it be cheaper if I could just have the willpower to limit myself to one Skinny Cow per week even if there’s a whole box in the freezer?
- Wouldn’t it be cheaper if Mr. PoP and I weren’t so lazy that we’re almost incapable of peeling a carrot?
Of course! And we can aspire to change these habits. But until we do, what’s wrong with not setting ourselves up for failure?
What are some of the things that you end up spending more in the short term to save in the long term? How do you know when you’re ready to buy something “in bulk” knowing you’re not going to waste it.