5 things you should stop wasting money on

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A few weeks ago, we posted an article in our facebook page that generated some healthy discussion. It was about greeting cards and how millennials [once again] are being blamed for the decline of that industry. I know. First it was face-to-face interaction, then marriage, then the tuna fish industry and now this!

Honestly, our position was a snarky one because greeting cards have been on our list of silly things people spend way too much money on for years. We kept that point-of-view to ourselves until we came across that article and almost blew a gasket. But after doing some research, we found a conflicting article stating the exact opposite and highlighting how millennials are actually keeping the industry alive.

Welcome to the click-baity mis-information age ladies and gentlemen!

Why do I have so much eye-roll inducing disdain for greeting cards?

Well, let’s look at the process.

Assuming you’re mailing it to someone you have to put a stamp on it which will cost you another 50 cents. Then you put it in a mailbox where it’s picked up, put on a truck, sorted, then maybe put on a plane, then another truck, then a delivery truck until it’s finally delivered to a person somewhere in the world where it finally arrives all bent out of shape and scraggly. Oh and you have to guess when to put it in the mailbox to allow for enough time for the delivery process which is always questionable UNLESS you’re willing to pay extra to have it tracked. If you’re annoyed at how ridiculously long and clunky that paragraph was then you should be just as annoyed by the US Postal Service.

In a world where we can push a button on a screen and actually see someone’s face in real-time, the process of sending greeting cards seems more like a wasteful commitment to clutter and inefficiency than a heartfelt notion.

Another reason I got no love for greeting cards is because they’re ridiculously expensive for no damn reason. Of course, if you opt to get a box of cards, it’s a lot less expensive per card but then you’re stuck with a generic greeting or no words on the inside at all.

A good greeting card can run you upwards of $5 each depending on the brand, size and flair affixed to it. Assuming you buy them for the holiday season, birthdays and at least one other special occasion, that’s a built in $15 per person you’re celebrating, per year in your life for fancy paper and glitter. Oh and if you have a toddler, you have to pretend your kid also bought a greeting card for whoever is expecting one because God forbid they just sign yours. I’m tempted to build out a table right here, right now that quantifies how much the average person may spend on an annual basis holding onto this tradition, but I won’t.

Ok, lemme take a breather. With each keystroke, I know I am getting tragically closer to spending my days yelling at squirrels and kids to get off my lawn. Woosah.

Do, I literally hate greeting cards? Of course not.

Well, at least not as much as I hate the excuses some people make for not having enough money to save and invest. In my mind, if you’ve got money to spend on little things like greeting cards then you damn sure have enough money to invest. But since one of our facebook followers asked, here’s a list of other things we think people should stop wasting their money on.

Cable and cable internet

When we moved into our new home last year, we upgraded to a promotional cable internet-only package for about $40 a month. This was the first time we’ve had cable internet since 2012.

Cable internet is the luxury resort of web connectivity. If all you need is a clean sheets and a bed, you should probably explore less expensive options. Click To Tweet

All those years during our debt payoff journey, we used a less-expensive AT&T high speed DSL to keep our Amazon Echo, two Apple TVs, four iPhones, two laptops, 1 Nest and two iPads going with no issues. Once we figured out how much bandwidth we needed, we were good to go and rarely had an issue. For television, we used Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Video that came free with Prime…and we survived.

I’d rather spend hours reading, exploring new genres of music and up and coming artists on Apple Music than committing to follow another TV show, but that’s just me.

Kitchen appliances

Marketers have perfected the art of convincing people they don’t have to actually learn how to cook and that all they need is this new gizmo to create mouth-watering restaurant quality cuisine. Having tried some of these gadgets, we’ve concluded they are mostly useless chunks of cheap plastic that all do something a simpler and less expensive tool already does. You really don’t need more than a few pots, pans, cooking trays, spoons and a good knife to get the job done.

I aint one to judge, but I’m definitely side-eyeing the people who splurged on a fancy blender with a mini-jet engine to make the occasional smoothies in.

Start saving money and eating BETTER today

Basements

The lower level of most people’s homes is basically a cemetery for home design dreams. Basically, it’s the place you store all the crap you bought and have no use for, or it’s the floor of shame where unfinished projects go to collect dust. Now for the people who truly use their basements to entertain, work from home or workout in the mornings, this is no issue. But for those who are holding onto the hope that one day they’re going to finish the basement as soon as they have enough money, it may be time to let that dream go.

What’s interesting is despite the data showing most people only use 40% of the space in their homes, we’ve seen an increase in new build homes that are including finished basements.

Storage units

When we completely renovated our old home [now rental property] we had to move everything out of that property and into a storage unit for a little over a month before moving it back in. It was the first time we’d been to one in years and it was eye-opening to see just how much additional space outside a primary residence people need to store their stuff.

Sure, there are definitely valid reasons for storing stuff outside of the home but in far too many cases, it’s because people just have way too much stuff they’re holding onto. We’ll let George Carlin take it from here.

I’m gonna stop here because otherwise, my wife may divorce me or submit a claim to the Social Security office since I’m having senior moments. My point is, aside from the people who are in truly desperate circumstances, I’ve never met a person who couldn’t cut back somewhere.

I’ve met people and had hour long conversations over rounds of drinks only to have them tell me it “must be nice” to save as much as I do. Really? I could’ve met you at your place or we could’ve just talked on the phone bro! I will never be one of those people that shame others for drinking Starbucks, eating avocado toast or wearing Jordans but…

we should all be mindful of the excuses we tell ourselves and the mental backflips we go through to avoid discomfort. Click To Tweet

Whether it’s finally pulling the plug on a stalled career, quitting a cash-draining hobby turned business endeavor or realizing that we may actually never grow into our home; there are likely better decisions we could all be making with our money.

For some, it could be one big thing. For others, it may fifteen little things that create a big cash cushion. At the end of the day, committing to regularly take a good honest look at your spending is critical to creating that cash cushion.

4 comments

  1. Instead of greeting cards try Postagram or Ink – for $1-$2 you can send customized with photo cards all through your phone! This price includes the stamp! Since my friends are awful about printing pictures I think it is much appreciated!

  2. I buy boxes of note cards because I love sending people personalized notes but I won’t buy the fancy greeting cards. Can I just tell you that I went through the pile of toddler birthday cards given to my child at zir 4th birthday and my eyes were bugging out??? The number of fancy birthday cards with bells and whistles that cost anywhere from $3-8 a piece? I was holding on to about $80 worth of birthday cards by the time I was done collecting them. Those folks are really in another circuit from us 😀

  3. I don’t buy birthday cards, but I am FIRM believer in Thank You cards. I send them as often as I can, but usually deliver in person. It’s part of my gratitude practice and it makes me happy to recognize the good in the world. I buy them on clearance in boxes (thank you target) and usually pay less than .02 per card. I keep a stash in my car and write them on the fly when I am stuck waiting in school drop off lines or at doctor appointments. I also buy Christmas cards, but only so I have a way to share my kiddo’s picture to out of state family and friends- I don’t share his pic on social media.

  4. I too used to think a life without cable TV would be difficult but when I actually tried it, I was pleasantly surprised that I managed quiet well. There’s a lot of extra stuff on TV we never watch and the news can be followed online through an app. It’s so much faster to read the news than to listen to it imo.

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