Ways Spending More Now Saves You Money Later
We can probably all agree that we’d like to save money, but exactly how to save money is something that inspires great debate. You can always get a group of friends or family members into a lively conversation about where to shop to save money on this and who to go to for the best deals on that. One concept I’ve had to learn to wrap my head around as I get older is spending more now to save more later. I come from such a budget mindset, always buying the cheapest clothes possible (I’m very good at thrift stores), not ordering one cocktail until happy hour kicks in (I’ll literally sit at the table sipping water for 20 minutes, procrastinating my order), and getting a lot of furniture by way of hand-me-downs. So shelling out a bit more, for any reason, is hard for me. That being said, here are ways that spending more now will save you money later.
Better health insurance
First of all, just getting a slightly pricier plan, but one that will bring down the cost-per-visit at things like your regular physician, specialists, and the emergency room, is a very good idea. In addition to that, strike a balance on the monthly premium to deductible ratio. If you know you will not remember to put aside $3,000 a year, on your own, for a deductible, should it kick in, then go for the higher monthly premium so you automatically tuck that away.
Dental insurance. At all.
Too many Americans do not have dental insurance. And while going in for those bi-yearly cleanings and annual exams can prevent a lot of issues, some day, we all learn that we need a few thousand dollars worth of dental work done. And if we can’t pay for it aka we can’t do it, things can get much worse—fast.
In general, go for the better sunscreen. Go for the higher SPF, because you know you don’t remember to reapply the lower SPF sunscreen enough. Invest in the more expensive but waterproof sunscreen because, well, sweat counts as water and you tend to wear sunscreen when you are—you guessed it—sweating. So that means it becomes almost useless if it isn’t waterproof. And that puts you at risk of skin cancer.
Having a cocktail party? Invest in the higher-shelf alcohol. You know you can’t handle that cheap stuff like you could in college. It leaves you reaching for painkillers all day the next day, plus Gatorade. Then you order delivery because you’re too lazy to cook. You may even skip out on work. That costs you money.
Look, the jury is still out on GMOs, but let’s just say the conversation around them touches on the development of food allergies, leaky gut, and cancer. It’s much more affordable to just go for the organic strawberries today than treat an illness tomorrow.
Fresh, not frozen
Though those frozen meals are convenient and cheap, the blanching process involved in freezing food drains it of much of its nutrients. So you’ll just need to buy more vitamins to make up for that (or develop a nutrient deficiency that is costly to address.)
Better car insurance
Like health insurance, car insurance is worth paying a bit more for. Just a bit. Some of the cheaper plans cover, say, up to $10,000 in physical damages done to another person involved in the accident. But if you think about the people you know who have been injured in severe car accidents, you know their hospital bills looked a bit more like $20,000 to $40,000. That includes all of the follow-up visits, associated chiropractor visits after the emergency room, and more.
A locked-in lease
You could go for the place where the rent is so cheap it seems too good to be true, but it’s month to month. The issue there is that, at any given moment (or month) the landlord could increase your rent drastically, sending you out on the apartment hunt again and moving (which is expensive). Or, you could go for the place that has slightly higher rent, but is offering a three-year lease. Translation: you’re guaranteed that price for three years.
At the very least, invest in better quality shoes, purses, and jewelry. If you get quality shoes, they can last you a decade. If you skimp and go for the $30 pair, you could spend $50 to have them repaired every three years.
Groceries in bulk
It can feel odd to spend $100 at the grocery store, but if it feeds you for a week, that’s actually pretty good. Meanwhile, if you keep each shopping trip low-cost, you probably have to return to the store several times a week, and since time is money, that’s a loss. You may also lose out on the savings you get when you buy certain items in bulk.
Preventative services for a pet
Don’t skip preventative products and services for your pets. Flea prevention can cost as little as $15 for a one-month treatment. Meanwhile, if your pet gets fleas, having your home treated can cost hundreds of dollars. Heartworm prevention can cost very little, too. Meanwhile, treating heartworm disease is very expensive and painful for your pet.
Putting down more on a car
Cutting a big check to a car dealer can feel gross. You hate seeing that chunk of money leave your bank account. But remember that the more you put down, the lower interest you’ll pay. It’s like ripping off a Band-Aid: hand over a big check today, and enjoy low monthly payments for the length of this lease (or until you own it).
Putting down more on a home
There’s a lot to consider when it comes time to buy a home, and it’s not right for everyone—for some, it’s a nightmare. The amount of money we spend on a mortgage can be truly grotesque. So, really consider only buying a home for which you could afford to put down a massive payment.
A better mattress
Don’t forget to swap out that mattress every seven to 10 years. And when you do, get a good mattress. This is really an investment in your wellbeing. A bad mattress can lead to pricey chiropractor visits later.
Better insulation, energy efficient light bulbs, and timers on lights. All of these can lead to huge savings over time on your utility bills. Even though you may not want to pay for the upfront costs, remember that, you’ll always need to use electricity, so these items will save you money for a long time.