Thrift: Cut Luxury Expenses

Another good way to cut optional expenditure is to target "luxury" spending. You know, those goods or items that are typically sold by telling you that you are special, deserve it, etc. Often, these goods offer little value compared to their competition - thus, they must rely on the whole luxury angle. Good news is, this kind of spending should be fairly easy to prune - if you are willing to "down-grade" a little. Savings can then be rolled into something more substantial.

Example 1: In  early 2008 I was shopping for a new laptop and my first AR-15. Now, I love good computers, but I ultimately bought a refurbished Dell for $570 and spent the same on an AR-15. I easily could have spent $1,200 on a laptop, and many of my friends did then and still do. And at the time (and since then) I got a fair few snarky remarks from my Mac toting friends. But that Dell, while not being cool, did work well for a long time. It has since given up the proverbial "magic smoke", as have many electronic devices from 2008. But I still have that AR-15, and it hasn't lost a lick of value during that time. And it can still do what it does best. 

Example 2: iPhones may be nice, but they are also very expensive. I'm using a cheap ($120) Moto E and have been very happy with it - in terms of performance it's way better than my older high-end Samsung and has so far proven very durable. It makes phone calls and lets me do emails on the road, though it falls short when it comes to showing off or looking cool. But it has a great battery life. It does everything I need at a very reasonable price. And I saved enough on my phone, verses getting a nicer one, to buy my wife a S&W Shield. Guess what: that phone is either going to get lost of end up as a toy for the kids. The gun? It will probably still be around in a couple decades. 

There are times and places to buy high buy premium or luxury level items (tools for earning money and life-or-death items would be one area). But you'd better have a good reason when you do; don't do it because some ad copy somewhere said "you deserve it" or "all the cool kids buy this brand". Determine your needs and buy accordingly. This will probably result in saved money - quite possibly a fair bit of saved money. This can then be put towards something useful.