Over the weekend, our biological father emailed and asked me to purchase a $2.00 money order on his behalf for an FAA certificate (he’s a pilot) and mail it to him in Japan. While I wasn’t sure how much a money order cost these days, my initial reaction was “What a waste of money to buy a money order for $2.00.” But it was a busy weekend, so I just planned to go to the Post Office this week to buy the money order and gave it no further thought.
When I got to the post office this afternoon and told the clerk that I would like a money order for $2.00, he told me, “OK, but it’ll cost you $1.50.” At that moment it occurred to me that I could have just made out a check for him instead. It was quite embarrassing to not have made the realization sooner, but in front of someone else who must think me a simpleton for not having thought of it before going all the way to the post office. (Luckily, I was also going to the library next door and could also ask how much postage I would need for 1st Class Mail to Japan, so my trip didn’t seem totally in vain.)
The funny thing is, I’m usually very vigilant about the ways I could do something differently to save money, but for some reason – out of busyness or pure absentmindedness – failed to do so this time. Now I wonder how many other things I could be doing differently to save money in my daily life that I haven’t yet thought of. This was a good reminder for how vigilance and a little bit of thinking are a must for truly frugal living.
I’m not saying that one should be consumed by money-saving thoughts day and night, for that can’t possibly be healthy, but perhaps just once a day, when you are doing something that costs money (either directly or indirectly), just spend a few moments thinking about how you’re doing it and what you could change or do instead to save a little here and there. You’d be surprised at what a few minutes of reflection can yield. You may even find ways to improve the way you’ve been doing some things.
Remember, a few cents here and there by themselves may not seem like much, but added up over time, they do make a difference (see From Pennies One Million Dollars Grow). Besides, thinking is free … and it’s good for you, too.
P.S. I checked the FAA website upon returning home to make sure they accept checks.brain, cents, check, checks, consumers, dollar, frugal, Frugal Living, Frugality, le penseur, money, money order, money saving, pennies, rodin, saving, saving money, savings, spending, the thinker, think, thinking, thought