Is Inconvenience Holding You Back from Saving Money?

It is almost comical the trouble I am running into saving money lately.

For instance, I was shopping at a favorite second-hand store when I found a great purse. I was so excited to find something that was the right size, reasonably priced and in fairly good shape that I quickly paid for it and moved onto the next store.

Guess what I found there? It was the exact purse, in better shape, and at a cheaper price. I reviewed my options: I could purchase the second purse and take the other back for store credit, but I was just too tired and driving back to the other store seemed like a huge inconvenience.

Not a day later, it happened with coffee. I spotted the same cans of coffee that I just grabbed earlier at the grocery store for $4 cheaper at a drug store. Again, I just didn’t want to make the effort to cash in the savings.

I’ll admit these are trivial purchases and represent a small loss of savings, but they illustrate just how easy it is to give in to what is convenient. In a way, it is an inconvenience for me to stay informed of what’s on sale and wait to purchase, rather than just buying what we need at any time, regardless of price. The time it takes to read the circulars, plan meals, make a shopping list, and stick to it at the store, represent big savings for my family. Savings we need to hit our financial goals.

The inconvenience versus savings debate extends to two budget items my husband and I are discussing: reducing our garbage service and canceling our landline phone service.

Should we keep a service we don’t fully use because we might use it someday? Or is it wiser for us to save the money now, and pay a little extra should we need to dump an extra can of garbage once a year?

When considering whether to keep or reduce these services, we kept a few things in mind:

How much do we really use it? We have unconsciously moved most of our phone calls to our cell phones. Not only is it easier for clients and children’s schools to reach us, but we can be mobile. Before we had the cell phones, I hated being stuck at home waiting for a business client to call.

I made a point of unofficially keeping track of the minutes we spent on the landline. During a month, we had spent barely 30 minutes on the landline. In contrast, our cell phones shouldered more than 5 hours for the two of us.

Will we be inconvenienced when this service goes away? Thankfully, we get good cell phone service in our house, but some of our friends do not. Giving up the landline would mean they could not call for emergency help. Our hesitation to cut the landline also centers on the ability to call for emergency help. What if our cell phones aren’t charged to make that call for help, or an extended power outage prevents us from recharging the phones?

What will you save? The fear of not being able to call for help almost makes it worth keeping the landline. However, when you add up how much we save when we cancel – $375 per year – it makes me rethink how hard it would be to religiously charge our cells.

How much will it cost to reinstall? It is wise to consider reinstallation fees too, should you change your mind someday. There is usually a charge to install a service. For instance, to reinstall our basic phone service, it would cost about $17, not including taxes and other fees. In contrast, to reinstall my father’s high speed Internet, it would cost almost $100 for the professional installer to bring him back up to speed. But by canceling the service he barely uses, he would save almost $40 a month, or $480 per year.

Can you face making the decision? I’ll admit one of the biggest inconveniences of canceling or reducing a service is talking to the provider. These people are understandably reluctant to lose any customer and they often don’t make it easy. When my father reduced his cable services, he said he had to stick to his guns and insist they do as he ask. He was finally able to secure the reduction in services, thanks to a bit of perseverance on his part.

My husband and I are still mulling over what to do with the garbage and landline, but I believe we are close to making a decision on the garbage. The $120 we save over a year is certainly a smaller savings than that of killing the landline, but we would not miss much if we only have our garbage picked up every other week. And, that is $120 we can save or spend on something else!

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10 Responses to Is Inconvenience Holding You Back from Saving Money?

  1. S Adair says:

    This is a great article about saving money!I am seriously considering killing our landline as well! It seems we use our cellphones way more. I already took our landline service down to a measured line. I saved ten dollars a month with that alone!

  2. Frugal says:

    Yep. For me what I find is hard to find the time to walk to three or four local drug stores to see who has what on sale in a given week/lower base price for an unknown product before deciding to use coupons somewhere, only to find the product cheaper elsewhere. Bah

  3. baselle says:

    As in many other things, perfect is the enemy of the good. Enjoy your purse!

  4. Tightwad says:

    You’re damned if ya do and you’re damned if ya don’t.

  5. crazyliblady says:

    I don’t know about other drug stores like CVS, etc., but Walgreens has their ads, coupons, and rebates online. I just go to the website to browse before I go to the store. I do the same with the grocery store ads and also try to find coupons for as many items as possible. I also get email from Big Lots with coupons. I will grant that I never know what I will find at Big Lots until I get there, so I go to it and Dollar General before I go to my regular grocery store. Anything at those two stores is always cheaper than the reguar grocery store. Yes, it is a lot of work, but I consider it worth it.

  6. Frugal says:

    Yep Walgreens has their coupons on line and I’m in there/Duane Reade most often so I know their base prices, but less so Rite Aid and CVS in order to know that — not on sale anywhere, where’s the best place to buy it when I need X now? i.e. toilet paper

  7. Human One says:

    I went with an internet phone for the land line, Vonage. When it’s all said and done it’s about 22 bucks a month.

    My cousin has gone totally with wireless. There are also devices that can make your wireless “act” like a land line, and the bonus is they are then plugged in for charging, when they are pulling this double duty.

    I have a company provided cell, so i just don’t take any personal calls. My wife has Cricket, which is local only but unlimited minutes for 50 bucks flat.

    If i had a cell I was paying for id get rid of Vonage and get one of those gizmo stand things and hook it up to act like a land line.

    As for the purse, well if i got one of those the other guys at the office would probably paint my office door like a rainbow.

    However in my household there are NO unplanned purchases, period. The wife tells me she needs a purse and she hands me the research on it. If i like her plan, I add it to the budget.

    One more personal example of this was a shotgun I found, similar to your purse, this is a rare shotgun that accepts detachable box magazines and it was love at first sight. (Like the purse) but i walked out on my true love anyway because we were only budgeted for a Remington 870.

    To make it worse I was on vacation out of state. I got back to my room, and did all the research I could on this gun then got in the phone book and wrote down 10 different pawn shops and gun stores for the next day.

    Then the hardest part of all, I called the wife and asked her permission! Plead my case showed my research and was given approval.

    I burnt the entire next day of my vacation looking for something similar. The last place I went, just before dark I found one in a dank and musty pawn shop for 350 bucks less. This was close enough to the budget that it was a doable purchase.

    Had i not found the other one, i would have went back for the first, but knowing – Beforehand without regret – the price was on the high side, and knowing I had done everything I could to find the best deal even at the cost of a vacation day.

    If the gun was gone, then tuff luck. And it has happened, but I can tell you story after story on how i found the best deal, I only have one or two where that great catch got away.

  8. Lori Felix says:

    I know what you mean. My new plan is to only buy toiletries,cleaning products and non-perishable goods once a month and only go to the grocery store for perishable items.

    all my best, Lori

  9. Meaghan says:

    It is difficult and time-consuming to save money…I think there needs to be a balance. I like to check the store ads online and in the newspaper on Sunday and make of list of what I need from each store. If there is only one thing from a particular store, I will generally just skip it. The sale price probably isn’t worth the time and gas it takes to drive there for the one item.

  10. sandyM says:

    I got rid of my landline and subscribe to skype. The savings is awesome and makes me feel much better about having a place to use besides my cell phone which is prepay. This luxury gets funded if the extra is there.

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