Something I’ve recently embraced as a PF enthusiast is the idea of paying more money up-front in order to save money in the long term (or get more value out of a product). I actually have two examples from the past 48 hours to illustrate how I’m making this principle work for me. And interestingly, both deal with two of the loves of my life: wine and pizza!
Example #1: Wine
Yesterday, reeling from the news that my money pit…er, car, would be costing me some major money this week, I went grocery shopping. In order to get the best possible prices, I usually go to Trader Joe’s and Safeway every week. Some items are cheaper at Trader Joe’s and some items are cheaper at Safeway, and luckily they are each only about a half a mile from my apartment, so going to both each week is no big deal. I had already buzzed through Trader Joe’s and was on to Safeway. As soon as I walked in the store an employee approached me and informed me that today there was a major sale on wine. All bottles were 30% off, and, if you bought six bottles, you would receive an additional %10 discount. At first I immediately thought of my car costs and thought, no thanks! Don’t these people know I have almost $500 in car repairs coming up this week?!
But as I shopped for my other groceries I realized that I usually go through about 2-3 bottles of wine per month on my own and frequently bring wine to social gatherings. Since it’s unlikely I’m going to give up this simple pleasure despite my car troubles, why not take the discount while it’s being offered? I ended up opting to get the half-case, and paid $44.03 for it. That averages out to about $7 per bottle of wine, when buying the bottles individually would have cost me at least $70. Thus, I saved money in the long-term, even though I had to shell out over $40 at once.
Example #2: Pizza
So, the first round of car repairs happened after school today. I had the brakes fixed, the battery installed, and the oil changed, to the tune of $33o. Ouch. But I was ready for that. I wasn’t ready for how freaking long it took to do! I got to the shop at 3:25 and didn’t leave until almost 6:00…and I had a 45 minute drive home! Needless to say, I was in no mood to cook and was way too hungry for a PBJ. I decided to crack open one of those new bottles of wine and have a glass with some pizza. There’s a fancy-schmancy pizza place across the street from my apartment and I was dying for one of their specialty pizzas.
So on my way home from the car place I called to order a small pie. When the total came to $16, I balked…then decided to ask how much a large pie is. When the nice girl on the phone told me it was $21, I did the quick calculation and decided to order the large. I know that I can get 3 meals out of a large pizza, bringing the price per serving to $7, whereas I would maybe get 2 meals out of the small. Realistically, I probably would have only gotten one serving out of the small, since I would probably have just scarfed the whole thing down. So buying the large saved me at least $1 per serving, probably more. I’ll bring one serving for lunch tomorrow and have another in the freezer for later use. Nice!
Now I know what you’re probably thinking: TeacHer! You were just complaining about your unexpected car costs! Why are you buying pizza and wine?! You should be eating beans and rice and drinking water!
I get it: if I was really in frugal mode, I wouldn’t be buying these treats at all. I’m pulling the money for these purchases out of my discretionary money for the month, so I am accounting for them. But the larger point is this: be smart about your splurges! Think about cost per bottle/serving/unit, etc. before making a final purchasing decision and be sure you’re getting the best deal. Don’t just go with what appears to be cheaper. Do some simple math and figure out what the actual best deal is.
What was the last really smart purchasing decision you made?