Tuesday, March 27, 2007

What We Don't Do

We talk about saving at the grocery store, about saving energy dollars, about saving on the clothes budget, but how many times have you thought about saving by not being charged for something? To explain what I mean, let me quote an email I received:

(I) don't know where this tip might fit on the site, but I had an experience recently that is going to blow a big hole in my budget. I got caught speeding. Even though the trooper was merciful, court fees alone are 90 dollars. Speeding isn't worth the risk in safety and cost.

Once upon a time, many years ago, I attended a personal finance seminar where the speaker claimed to buy all of her clothing second hand, use generic foods and pay off her credit cards on the first of every month.

You know what stuck in my mind? She recommended using the library extensively instead of bookstores, but she then went on a tangent about library fines. It seems that the librarian knew she would eventually return her books and so wouldn't charge her the replacement fee on her books no matter how long overdue they were.

After all these years, I shake my head in wonder.

Why bother to pay attention to generic apple sauce for ten cents less than a name brand if you're going to pay the library two cents a day for three books for a month, because you won't take the trouble to return them on time?

What about other times when we cost ourselves money?

Times like when we have to pay late fees on bills when we could have paid them on time, or administration costs on insurance premiums because we pay them each month instead of each quarter or half?

Parking tickets? Overdrawn accounts at the bank?

Sometimes it's what we don't do that costs us the most money.


  1. Good Post! In an effort to reduce library fines for my then, five children, I refuse to allow them to take books out from either the school or public library. Instead, I bought books from "Friends of the Library" sales. This developed first into a library closet, then a library room. I found that the children used the home library for school projects. They also were able to peruse the "stacks" for reading pleasure. I was able to have a book collection that was more in line with our Christian values. I did not have to worry which book they were reading. It was and still is, not unusual for someone to discuss the books they have just read. This encouraged others to read that book as well as fostering family unity. They used the home library through their school years as well as a couple of times for college! I must admit, that I did buy books that cost more than "Friends" sales, but by the time I did, I realized the benefits for my family. In retrospect, it was a cost that gave its own interest many fold. Today, my adult children all want their own home libraries and my grandchildren are enjoying the benefits of ours!

    PS: Our public library fine is currently ten cents per book!

  2. That's a really good example of using money that might have been wasted in fees to obtain something you can use.

    I agree, a home library is priceless. As a sometimes voracious reader myself, I can't imagine a home without plenty of books.

  3. Late fees are a problem with me, so I've started sending myself e-mails to remind myself to get things back or paid on time. I've also discovered paying by phone if I've cut it too close to get a bill paid on time. Unfortunately, sometimes that means a fee for using the phone--but a $10 phone fee is a lot better than a $35 late fee. (And some places, like my insurance companies, don't charge extra at all!) Still, I'm trying really, really hard to keep things 'on time.'