My life philosophy and blog manifesto are displayed in the upper right hand corner of my website. I call it Frugal Decadence, and describe it like this “The art of enjoying the many pleasures and luxuries of life at a fraction of the cost others will pay. Life is too short to deny yourself, and too long to use up all of your money living today. Never go without, but never pay full price. No compromises.” Life is only lived once, and so it is up to each of us to find that delicate balance between overspending on today at the expense of tomorrow, and over-saving for tomorrow by sacrificing today. When I first began my blog, I was deep in the struggle between these two, erring on the side of over-saving for tomorrow at the sacrifice of today. In fact, I still struggle with these two extremes, placing retirement savings well ahead of anything else. But what made me excited about my blog was chronicling a lifestyle through my writing and experiences that showed myself and my readers that you can have your cake and eat it, too.
By being able to overspend now while over-saving for tomorrow, you would have the things and all of the experiences that you wanted today while stashing away enough cash for future comforts and necessities. And it is possible to do this (I hope I have shown you that thus far), but you need to think outside of the box. Making this lifestyle possible means that I need to utilize resources other than money when making purchases of any kind. These resources include smarts, strategy, time and energy. Some examples of this I have written about are some of our DIY home renovations instead of paying someone else to do them (input on top of money is time and energy), learning how to play the drugstore game (strategy, time, and energy) and layering deals (strategy, smarts, time). As you can see, saving money on purchases today typically always takes a bit more time than to spend money without any thought. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I needed/wanted something, entered the first store I encountered, and walked up the cash register empty-handed (except for the product and my wallet).
What I am learning now is how to prioritize my precious time in order to get the most bang for my buck instead of just sacrificing my time for every deal to be had. Our new plantation shutters are a great example of this.
Deciding Against JCPenney Plantation Shutters
When we first moved into our home I knew that the large window above our bed in the master bedroom would look absolutely splendid with plantation shutters. I knew that it was going to be expensive, though I had not prepared myself thoroughly because when I saw an ad for JCPenney plantation shutters at 40% off, and found out that 40% off still meant a little over $800 for one window I nearly lost it. Still, these shutters were important to me, something that I had prioritized, so I kept looking and thinking about them. We priced them out at Lowe’s and it came to $437 for custom-made and custom-installed. This is the best price that I found, but surely I didn’t want to pay the $437 out of pocket.
What ended up happening was a series of very fortunate events that led us to pay just $19 of actual cash for these shutters. In the mail we received a $25 off $250 purchase coupon from Lowe’s, and applied this to the order. After the contractor came out to our home and measured for the shutters, the store called and the lady was kind enough to let me in on a little hint: if I waited just two weeks to order, these particular plantation shutter were going on sale! So, we waited the two weeks and had another 10% knocked off of the asking price. Since we were going to be renovating our master bathroom soon (we are in the middle of this one), we knew we would be spending a hefty sum in the near future. So, we took advantage of Lowe’s Tax Return Gift Card deal, and put $1,000 onto a gift card for the bathroom renovation, yielding us a free $100 on the gift card from Lowe’s to put towards the shutter purchase. Finally, we had $250 worth of gift cards at Lowe’s from credit card reward points (due mainly from our spending on the wedding, which we put on our card for the points and then diligently paid off before there were any finance charges). This miraculously brought our price down to just $19 at the cash register, of which I gladly paid cash.
And just last weekend these beautiful, charming shutters were installed!
This was a major win for me, and also helped to solidify that my life philosophy works well for me. In the future I plan to further prioritize my time and make sure that I am using it in a way that is most beneficial to me and that saves enough money to be worth my time. For now, I will enjoy our shutters.
Have you had a big win with a purchase? I’d love to hear about it—it just feels so darn good!