I am constantly looking at how and where I spend my money and deciding whether what I am doing is worth it or not. There needs to be balance between enjoying live but at the same time living well within ones means and achieving ones financial goals. All it takes to be conscious about what you spend. I have come across times though when I think I am saving money when in fact I am not.
Hosting people vs Going out
The first instance is the fallacy that entertaining at home is cheaper than going out. This can be true, but not necessarily all the time. It is great to host friends and family and one should enjoy every moment of it; life is too short not too. I am definitely not implying that one should not host people in your home, but the point of this post is about saving money. If you specifically decide to host people at your home instead of going out (in order to save) then you need to ensure that you do actually spend less money.
Think of the average restaurant bill that you would be paying if you went out, and now look at what you are about to spend in order to host your friends. Flowers, candles, snacks, wine, groceries, dessert, etc… It is easy to go overboard and spend more than you would have. (Especially if you’re married to a chef, which is the case for me.) The point is not to be stingy though. If you wish to save money then calculate the costs of going versus what you would like to spend when entertaining and chose the cheaper option.
A picnic vs lunch out
As with the first example, if you decide to go on a picnic in order to save money (rather than an expensive restaurant), then be sure to do some calculations. It’s funny how in our minds we convince ourselves that because we’re taking the cheaper option, we can now spend more. A bottle of bubbly, expensive cheeses, some tapas, etc… It’s really easy to spend more on the picnic than in a restaurant.
The point of these examples is that if you choose to do something in order to save some money, keep that in mind and be sure to actually save! Don’t let yourself be tempted to buy the more expensive items to compensate for the cheaper option. You will actually end up spending more.
Now, take the money you calculated you would save and immediately transfer it into your savings account! Do it now before you find something else to spend it on!