April 01, 2015

How Saving Money Can Cost You

Credit: iosphere at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I bet you thought I’d lost my marbles when you read this post’s title, but the title is as I intended. Saving money is wonderful, and I often preach the value of saving until I am blue in the face, but not always. Sometimes (hard swallow) saving money may not be so good for you. Saving money can be bad if…
  • You buy something with a coupon that you would have otherwise not purchased. You didn’t save money; you got a good deal on an unnecessary expense.
  • You buy something that is incrementally or insignificantly cheaper than a higher quality or longer lasting product. I’m talking canned soup, car batteries, air filters, toilet paper, Oreo’s, and other products like these.
  • You already have an adequate rainy day fund yet you keep adding to your cash account that is earning you little interest while you have credit card debt, student loans, car loans, and home loans that are costing you lots of interest.
  • You already have an adequate rainy day fund, and you are not contributing to your employer’s 401(k) or retirement plan (or you are not contributing enough to get your employer’s match if they offer one).
  • You already have an adequate rainy day fund, and you are not investing anything in the stock market. Whether through annual IRA contributions or deposits to a taxable brokerage account, you need to be investing sooner rather than later so you will have a longer time frame to reap the rewards of long-term growth.
  • You already have an adequate rainy day fund, but you do not have or adequately have life, disability, property and casualty, and/or excess liability insurance. Having no premiums or low premiums is nice until you need your insurance!
Finally, there are two currencies in life: money and time. Saving money is really important, but so is utilizing time. I once had a meeting with an elderly client whose health was beginning to fail, and he asked me what he was supposed to do now that he had all this money and no time to enjoy it. His degree of saving and holding onto his money was self-imposed, so I didn’t feel guilty, but I did feel sad for him. I’ll probably never recommend that you risk your financial security to make a memory, but it is important to be careful how many times you say, “No” or “Next time.”
Anything in enough excess can be bad for you. This includes fanaticism for a sports team, chocolate, and saving money. Keep saving, but not too much.

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