Save More by Spending More, What?

Save More by Spending More, What?

Ever wonder if you can truly save more by spending more money? The answer is simple yes. This post describes the ways that people can save more by spending more. These are ways that many people tend to tag as expensive but fail to realize the fact that the collective future savings of these will far outweigh their current costs.

How many people have told you that in order for you to save more you need to spend less? I bet the answer is a lot of people. I have to agree that the statement makes complete sense. In an ideal world, the less money you spend, the more money you can put towards your savings.

On the other hand, how many have told you to spend more so you can save more? You can probably count with your fingers the number of people who have told you that.

There are cases when spending less can cost you more in the long run. For example, buying disposable utensils constantly over a number of years will cost more collectively than making a one-time buy of a set of stainless utensils. In addition, purchasing brake pads for cars from time to time will cost you more collectively over time than purchasing brake pads with a lifetime warranty.

Save More by Spending More

Having said this, there are ways that you can adopt to save more by simply spending more. Some are quick and easy to do but some may require more patience and willingness.

1. Use credit cards more often

Gone are the days when credit cards were just cards that you used to only make purchases. Nowadays, many credit cards come with rewards in the forms of cash back, airline points, and bonus. The more you use your credit cards, the more rewards you get.

This doesn’t mean that you should spend more than what you can afford. The concept behind using credit cards more often is simple and straightforward. Instead of paying bills or making purchases by cash or debit cards, use your credit cards and pay off the balance when they are due. In this case, you are just substituting credit cards over cash or debit cards as a payment method.

In 2015, I earned around $150 in cash back using my American Express Blue Cash for buying groceries and $200 from Capital One QuickSilver for paying all my bills (excluding groceries). That’s $350 free money.

“Save more by spending more” key takeaway: Your credit cards can be your best friend if you use them wisely and responsibly. Use them to pay your bills and for purchases but don’t go over what you can afford. If you do, then, the fees you’ll get charged will far exceed the rewards you’ll get from these cards.

2. Buy more healthy food

Let’s face the reality, that is, there are probably more junk, pre-packaged and pre-processed foods than healthy foods in the market. Almost all the grocery stores and supermarkets, the ones that I have gone to, have less dedicated spaces for produce and healthy foods. I can’t blame them because a lot of people (unknowingly) choose to eat unhealthy foods for many reasons such as convenience, taste, and price.

Many people believe that these kinds of foods are cheaper and that healthy foods are way too expensive. But this is not always the case according to a study published by the US Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service. The study states that the expensiveness of healthy foods depends on how you measure the price. The study found that foods that are low in calories (i.e. fruits and vegetables) appear to have higher prices when such prices are measured by calories. On the other hand, less healthy foods such as those with added sugar and high saturated fat cost lower when measured by calories.

Aside from the cost itself, you also need to worry about the effects of these foods to your body. You may be saving a lot of money now because you are purchasing low-priced junk, pre-packaged and pre-processed foods but they do take a toll in your health. Sooner or later, your unhealthy choices of foods will catch up to you by negatively affecting your health and will cause you more in medical expenses.

“Save more by spending more” key takeaway: You may be spending a lot more in healthy foods but you will save more in the long run in the form of less medical expenses due to not consuming unhealthy foods. The savings may not be immediate, but the savings will add little by little.

3. Educate yourself more

It is a known fact that college graduates earn more money in their lifetime that those who have high school diploma. According to National Center for Education Statistics, bachelor’s degree holders earned 63% more than high school graduates in 2013. If you want to earn more so that you can save a lot more money, then, you should educate yourself by going to college and obtaining a degree. You may be spending more money now in the forms of college tuition and fees but you are more likely to get a better paying job once you have completed your college education.

For example, lawyers are some of the highest paid professionals in today’s job market. They make way more money that those employed in fast food restaurants (i.e. cashiers and servers). If you want to be a lawyer, you need to go through a process. You can’t practice law if you don’t go to law school and pass the bar exam. You can’t go to law school if you don’t finish your college. On the other hand, you only need a high school diploma to work in a fast food restaurant but your pay will never be as high as a practicing attorney. I’m just throwing this out as an example to prove my point.

“Save more by spending more” key takeaway: You are likely to earn more money if you finish college, assuming that you finish a degree that can land you a good paying job and/or you are responsible enough to pay your student loans. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule of “better pay by educating yourself more”, one of which is if you get a degree that has few job opportunities (e.g. degrees in drama and recreation/leisure studies).

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4. Spend more on healthy lifestyle

Eating health foods can only do so much for your body. To keep your body active and healthy, you need to adopt and keep a healthy lifestyle. It’s so easy to succumb into excessive drinking, smoking, partying, and doing other activities when you are surrounded by swarms of people who engage in these activities. Remember that anything excessive is unhealthy.

You need to proactively exercise to keep your body active and build your strength and stamina. You may want to take vitamins and other supplements and visit the gym for exercising. If you do find the gym membership expensive, you can always go to the park and do some running and exercising and work on chores in your house.

“Save more by spending more” key takeaway: Bottom line is healthy eating plus healthy lifestyle equals healthy living and good health, which means less cost in medical expenses and more money to your pocket. The healthier you get, the better you will feel about your body and mind.   

5. Spend more for lifetime warranty

If you happen to purchase any kind of item that you think you’ll need for a very long time and there is an option to purchase a lifetime warranty, then, it may be in your best interest to you purchase that option. It’s your product protection just in case the product breaks. Lifetime warranty (subject to exclusions, restrictions, and requirements) allows to get your product repaired or replaced at little to no cost to you.

I remember that my brother-in-law would always buy lifetime warranties for his hardware tools. I personally saw the benefits of having these warranties. He would always go to Lowes and/or Home Depot or call the manufacturers to get the products replaced. He didn’t have to buy the products again because of those warranties.

The cost may be a little bit more than what you plan on paying. But remember the potential cost you would incur if you decide to buy the same product or similar product with the same functionalities over and over again because you don’t have warranty on it. You may think that you are saving money because you are buying it at a cheaper price than buying it together with the warranty but it may not be the case.

“Save more by spending more” key takeaway: Always ask the merchants if they have lifetime warranties for products that you are buying. Whether these warranties are for car parts or furniture in the house, I believe that it’s always worth spending more on lifetime warranty if you are going to use the products forever or for a very long time.

6. Spend more on energy-efficient appliances

For those who bought their houses with outdated kitchen appliances, it’s probably best to replace the appliances with energy-efficient ones not solely for aesthetic purposes. Yes, you may be looking at shelling out a few thousands of dollars on microwave, refrigerators, and oven. But think about the future savings in utility costs these appliances will provide you.

Of course, not all energy-efficient appliances are expensive but they do still cost a few hundreds of dollars. Here are some of the ways that you can apply to get the appliances at lower prices:

  1. Wait for the holidays to get better deals or discounts.
  2. Search for rebates for energy-efficient appliances.
  3. If you are in the military or are a retired military, present your military ID card to get 10% discount at Lowes.
  4. Buy appliances as a set to get more discounts than buying them individually.
  5. Buy floor models so you can get a bit of discount, provided that the models are the last ones in the stores’ stock and the merchants are willing to sell them.
  6. If you find lower prices for the appliances you purchased within a given time period, contact the credit card company and ask for reimbursement for the difference between the amount you paid on your purchases and the new lower prices of those products. Some credit cards do offer this benefit and they call it price or purchase protection.

“Save more by spending more” key takeaways: Energy-efficient appliances can save you money in the form of lower utility cost. The immediate impact in your utility bill may be small but if you compute the savings for an extended period, you may find that it’s worth investing in these appliances. In addition, if you ever plan on selling your house, new appliances can help increase the value of your house. It’s just a side note worth introducing. 

Conclusion:

The next time people tell you to spend less to save more, always remember that there are exceptions to the rule. Just because the common school of thought when it comes to savings is to spend less you can save more doesn’t mean that such statement is set to stone. Are you now convinced that, sometimes, you can save more by spending more?


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Allan Liwanag

Allan Liwanag is a personal finance blogger who paid off at least $40K debt in 3 years by adopting simple and extreme saving techniques while ensuring his family's needs were taken care of. An analyst by day and dedicated blogger by night, he loves to share his thoughts - based on his research, personal knowledge, and experience - on topics related to family, life, and money. Allan lives with his family in Maryland, USA.

13 Comments

  1. This type of unconventional advice can be a great advantage for people in that intermediate stage of personal finance.

    Take for example credit cards. They CAN be a route to disaster, but once you set up a budget & have a track record of executing on that budget, then that plastic will earn you a lot more money down the road.

    I wish I spent more on healthy food & a healthier lifestyle, but I’ll admit I get lazy and throw the frozen pizza in the oven far too often.

    Being patient with holiday spend is such a great tip. Whenever i need a new coat, I always look in the hot summer months. We also looked for a grill this past winter and found some great deals.
    Distilled Dollar recently posted…Personal Finance is SexyMy Profile

    • I totally agree that credit cards can be disastrous if not handled properly. I think credit cards are great for those responsible and disciplined enough to use them wisely. Credit cards may be evil to some but when these are used properly, they can be used as ways to earn additional dollars through rewards or cash backs.

  2. Good post! While spending less to save more is generally still the best option, investing a little more up front, especially when buying certain products can go a long way in making the product last. What good is a $20 product that you have to buy 3 or 4 times when you can spend $40 on a better version and just buy it once? Great advice!

    • I know a lot of people who buy cheap stuff because they say they want to save money now. Little do they know that they really are spending a lot in the future because they keep on buying stuff again and again.

  3. Investing in yourself by eating healthily and pursuing education is definitely money well spent. I believe that you can do both of those things on a budget though. Produce is typically cheaper than meats. So you can eat a more plant-based diet. You can also educate yourself through free library resources. Great post!
    Aliyyah @RichAndHappyBlog recently posted…4 Personal Finance Tips for MillenialsMy Profile

    • Yes, a clever mind can always find a way to make things work in a budget. There are ways to work around your budget if you want to eat healthy. You can always plant or re-plant your veggies, which we’ve done so many times. You can always buy in-season veggies and fruits so they don’t cost a lot compared if you veggies and fruits that are out-of-season.

      Yes as well with education. As a matter of fact, there are a ton of resources now that are free aside from the library. You can browse through the MIT courseware and other universities’ courseware, which a lot of them are free.

  4. This is a great post. I especially like the point on investing in yourself and buying healthy foods. In this ever changing, knowledge based and highly competitive economy that we live in, if you don’t keep up with the changing times and educate yourself, either formally or informally to keep up to speed, you will quickly become irrelevant and less competitive each day. Gone are the days when a bachelors degree was enough, then you move on to work in the same job for 40 years and retire with a nice pension. The hustle is real and educating yourself is the best way to stay ahead of the game.
    I also feel like that there is a misconception of healthier foods being more expensive. You have exposed that myth quite brilliantly. Also, the more you spend on healthy foods now, the less you would spend on even more expensive hospital bills later (so to speak).

    • Yes, re-education is key if you want to stay relevant. Doctors continue to educate themselves and so other professionals. Whether we like or not, we need to continuously educate ourselves to stay competitive in this ever-changing world.

  5. Excellent thought-provoking post! I really love point #2 about buying healthier food. Around the beginning of the year, my wife and I had the realization that we didn’t want our now-18-month-old son, who has been eating more and more regular foods, to be eating the processed garbage we were eating. The epiphany was that, if we didn’t want him eating it, why in the world were we?!?!

    Since then, we have drastically changed our diets, eliminating as much processed foods as possible and eating a healthier, more-well-rounded diet. I’ve shed 21 pounds to date and feel better than ever. Honestly, I don’t even think that we’ve been spending any more money than before. Fresh fruits and veggies do require more frequent trips to the store but are far more filling and satisfying. Plus, I’ve gotten better with portion control, resulting in eating less food overall. Therefore, I think it all kind of balances out and has resulted in a win-win situation.
    Nurse on Fire recently posted…Personal Finance & The Lion KingMy Profile

    • What you said are all true. I remember that when my wife and I, we didn’t have a kid yet, changed our diets, we drastically improved our overall health. We used to catch cold like every single change of season but now we barely get sick. Thanks to better, healthier food.

  6. Too often people can be penny wise and pound foolish. I think a frugal person would take into account the value of something rather than looking purely at the dollar amount because sometimes it does pay more to spend more. I definitely need to heed your advice about healthier food and healthier lifestyle!

  7. These are all great ideas! My husband and I have several of our bills on automatic payment to a credit card that earns us airline miles. We also use that same credit card to pay at the grocery store, restaurants and more. At the end of the month we pay off the credit card balance so it doesn’t accrue interest. It’s amazing how fast the airline miles add up! 🙂

    • Yes, that’ an awesome way of doing it. My wife and I do that, too. We just basically charge everything to our cards and pay off everything before the closing of the cycle. This way, we get the points, rewards, or whatever it’s called but our credit score remains good because we have zero in balance.

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