Every time I think I need something I write it on a post-it note. For instance, here’s what a recent post-it note said on my refrigerator:
* Vitamin D
* Dress shirt
These aren’t things that I need immediately; these are things that I can do without for a while (If there were no food in my kitchen, I would not write “Eggs” on a post-it note). Then, I go on living, looking for opportunities to get these things for free or at a greatly reduced price.
My credit card (Capital One Venture) gives me two points for every dollar I spend. Once I build up 5,000 points I redeem them for a $50 Amazon gift card. I recently used one to buy batteries, WD-40, Vitamin D, and scissors.
Then, I remembered that a couple years ago my brother got a brand-new suit from his boss that he never needed. He also had two dress shirts he no longer wore that I liked.
Then, my friend noticed I had a torn-up Patagonia backpack. He said I could send it back to Patagonia and they’d fix it, for free, even though it’s ten years old.
Total savings: $400.
Sometimes I need to bite the bullet and buy the things I need (underwear), but often I save a boatload of money by being intentional about those needs.
“But Ryan,” you respond, “If you have the money, why don’t you just spend it and stop all this nonsense? After all, you can’t take your money with you when you die.”
This is shortsighted at best. Read this.