Could You Give Up the Goods and Buy Less?
I must have certain things in life aside from food and shelter. I like to get my hair done every few weeks at a nice salon. I occasionally go for some shoe therapy. And I love my once-a-week smoothie from Robeks. If you asked me if I could live without these things, I'd probably say, "Yeah, definitely. I'm not that materialistic." But could I really?
That's what Jeff Yeager challenges people to do in his first book, "The Ultimate Cheapskate's Road Map to True Riches." He says Americans buy way too much and thinks we rely too heavily on material things for happiness. We work long hours for big paychecks to keep up with our love of cars, electronics and designer clothes. He, on the other hand, lives a frugal life, only buying the things that he absolutely needs to survive. He rides his bike everywhere and grows some of his own food. I heard the Southern Maryland resident talk a little more about his lifestyle on Sunday. Here are a few of his tips:
Tip #1: Go on a week-long fiscal fast. That means don't spend a single dime on anything. Not sure if this means cutting off your cable and phone service, but Yeager says to utilize those ketchup packets you stole from McDonald's, use those tiny shampoo bottles you swiped from hotels over the years, use public transportation and ditch entertainment to re-connect with the fam.
Tip #2: Live forever in your starter home. People used to do this in the old days and it's just in the last few years that families upgrade to larger houses.
Tip #3: Eat healthy foods. Yeager says fruits and vegetables are far cheaper than the bad stuff like cookies and soda. So being a cheapskate at the grocery store will make you healthier.
Tip #4: Most of our spending is unnecessary so wait one week before you make a purchase like a pair of shoes or a new television. There's a good chance that you won't go back for it.
Tip #5: Don't buy any food that costs more than $1 per pound. That includes fruits, vegetables, meats and seafood. Yeager says it will force you to eat only items that are in season and you'll end up trying foods you never would have before.
Tip #6: Use your stuff until you just can't use it anymore. That includes shoes, clothing and cars. Yeager says we replace stuff too quickly, donating perfectly good items to second-hand stores.
Tip #7: Negotiate for lower prices on everything. Yeager says most retail chains are open to negotiation or to at least matching their competitors. The best time to ask for a lower price is on Fridays, especially before a three-day weekend, because salespeople are anxious to make a deal and end their week on a positive note. He sometimes just simply asks for a discount because he's a nice guy and he claims it actually works.
So what do you think about buying less? Will it make you happy to give up the "nice to haves" in your life and just buy the "must haves" like food and clothing? I like the idea but certain splurges truly make me happy. And many of Yeager's suggestions are unrealistic in my eyes. I challenge you to find any food that's selling for less than $1 a pound. Yeager also doesn't have kids, which add to the expenses. What could you live without and what splurges do you absolutely need? Could you "fast" for a week? Post a comment below.
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