Monday, January 5, 2009

Frugality = Compromise

Happy New Year!

As you are making your New Year's Resolutions (I try not to make any because I never keep them), you may be making one to be more frugal this year.

As someone who lives a pretty frugal lifestyle already, I have one piece of advice for those who are looking to spend less: You HAVE to be willing to compromise.

There is a simple equation here: The pickier you are, the more something is going to cost you (both in time and money).

For example, let's say you're going on vacation. You need to book a flight. If you say "I want to leave at exactly this time on exactly this day and have no connecting flights" you are going to pay an arm and a leg. However if you say, "I can leave at ANY time on this day or maybe leave a day earlier, and don't mind an extra connecting flight" your price can drop dramatically. In making travel plans myself, I've seen my airline ticket fee drop $1,000 just by being flexible with my arrival, departure, and specifics.

Let's say you want to get a dog. You can be very specific and say "I want a tea cup yorkie that is AKC" and pay an arm and a leg from a "breeder" or you can say "I want a small dog" and get one at a rescue for a small adoption fee (and my local rescue actually includes the first set of shots AND getting spayed or neutered). You'll pay much more for your specific breed of dog than a rescue dog. Or you can have the best of both worlds and get your dog from a specific breed rescue! (Getting on my soap box here: I encourage everyone to look at rescues first. There are so many wonderful dogs sitting in rescues or in the pound that are loving and just need a place to go. All of my pets have been from rescues and they are phenomenal! Breeders only contribute to the current cat/dog overpopulation situation. Stepping down from soap box.)

Let's say you want to try out a new restaurant. You can go on a Friday night and order off their dinner menu and get some drinks and pay out the wazoo. Or you can maybe go at lunch (if they serve) and order something at a cheaper price and maybe forego the drinks! Bonus: It probably isn't as crowded at lunch.

Money aside, learning to be flexible can also win you brownie points in the customer service area. Many times when something doesn't go exactly as planned at a hotel, restaurant, etc. the staff approaches you as if they expect you to get mad and be furious and demand things. Recently I went to lunch with a friend. She ordered a chicken ceaser salad. When she got the salad, it didn't have any chicken on it. She politely asked the waiter if it was supposed to have chicken on it. He sort of freaked out and apologized profusely and said he'd get the chicken. Well, he forgot it and she went ahead and started eating the salad. When she was almost done, he came back and apologized again. She wasn't angry, just said "I'm ok. It's no problem as long I am not charged for it." He then went to his boss and got them to take off the entire entree. She wasn't mean, she wasn't demanding. She was sweet and flexible. And because of that, they took off the entree and then came back and offered dessert and extra service on the house.

Learning to compromise on certain issues will help you spend less over time.

1 comment:

  1. Another excellent article Frugal Fairy! You bring up a good point in your discussion of "compromise". I have to remember that just because I "want" something doesn't mean that I necessarily "need" it to be happy. I think it's called being a responsible adult. :) Also, to add my 2 cents to your soap box: The most wonderful pet I ever had was a stray kittie who actually adopted ME, rather than the other way around. We became great friends. Thanks for your blog. I always enjoy it!