My last post explained one of my cardinal rules of practical frugal living of never paying to watch sporting events. This generated a fair amount of interest and discussion, with more than a few comments to the effect of, “I never thought of it that way.” I was also asked whether I have other examples of expenditures that simply should never occur if one is to master a practical frugal lifestyle. Not surprisingly, the answer to that question is a resounding, “Yes.” In fact, I’ll easily consume my next two posts on this subject. So read, dear friends, and learn:
Concerts – I realize people use rock music and other concerts as an excuse to spend large amounts of money, but I’ll never understand why. The basic principle here is the same as with sporting events: why pay to listen to a performer sing his songs once when you could purchase the songs and listen to them repeatedly, to your heart’s content, in the comfort of your own home, or any place else you choose? The reasons against concerts are, in my opinion, far greater since the quality of live music is almost always far worse. Think about it, how many times in your lifetime have you heard a live version of a song that you actually thought sounded better than the recorded version? For me, it’s a number that can be counted on one hand. So why spend two or three bills for the pleasure of packing into a crowded coliseum, buying the obligatory alcohol, and listening and watching to stoned people make fools/nuisances of themselves?
Cigarettes – Let’s face it: it has now been over a half century since we confirmed that cigarettes, without a doubt, cause cancer (and a host of other health problems). And not just cancer, but a terrible form of the disease that is basically incurable and that assures a long, painful death. We are decades past the point where people can claim ignorance or hope there is some possibility that doctors might be wrong. If the certainty of the physical suffering weren’t enough, I would think that the expense of this habit, which is hammered by taxes, would be a further deterrent to this method of suicide.
I realize it is an extremely hard habit to break, but you have to do it for yourself, your family, and your budget. Oh, and by the way, for our friends in Washington and Colorado, marijuana is even more carcinogenic than tobacco. So let’s forget about pot purchases while we’re at it.
Tattoos – For many years I wondered whether professional basketball players were overpaid. Then I came to appreciate just how expensive the head to toe tattoos that they are seemingly required to model are. I figure these guys should also be compensated for the grief they will someday experience when they are sitting around at the age of 50, staring at their fat-distorted designs, wondering what on earth they were thinking when they ruined their bodies with this “art.”
In all seriousness, do the people who invest large amounts of cash into have ink designs burned into their flesh ever stop to think about such things? I truly believe that the next wave of American multi-millionaires will be the folks who perfect and deliver a method of tattoo removal that is easier and less painful than the limited methods available today. For a light moment on this topic, enjoy these words from Dr. Richard Turlington. Then, please, put that cash into a mutual fund, a CD, or anything other than self-mutilation.
Body piercings – Please see above discussion on tattoos. Also, for the women of the world who feel the need to have navel rings placed, it’s a completely unnecessary expense. If you are a reasonably attractive woman with a good figure, trust me, men will be happy to look at you in a bikini, with or without the jewelry.
Firewood – I love a real wood fire as much as anyone. (Woodstoves, by the way, are a great way to say on heating costs.) But there is no need to buy wood, no matter how much you burn. Why? Because all it takes is an attentive eye and an occasional perusal of Craigslist to find people giving the stuff away. More and more people have realized that the cost of tree removal can be substantially reduced by arranging to have a fallen tree removed by persons other than professional tree services. Just check under the free section of Craigslist – especially after a good winter storm – and you will find great opportunities to stock up for free.
QUICK ADDENDUM: Just today, in fact, I took advantage of a Craigslist ad offering to DELIVER firewood to my home for free. This was no joke; just some folks who were having some major tree removal done and did not want to see large loads of Maple wood dumped into the landfill. I emailed them to request a load and, sure enough, I have enough sitting in my yard to keep me busy all winter with splitting and stacking.