However, marketeers* would have you think otherwise. Just take a look at the bottom of your receipt from the grocery store some time. It’s usually says something along the lines of “You Saved $6.78 by Shopping At Kwik-E-Mart!”. This is not true. To find the truth, please look upward on your receipt to the part that says “Total: $42.09.” See, you spent $42.09. That will be the amount that will be deducted from your checking account. You’ll also note that $6.78 will not be added to your savings account. That is because it isn’t savings, it’s a trick.
Yes, a trick. You see, marketeers know that we “consumers”** grip our money tighter than a gecko grips glass (which is to say, snugly and via van der Waals force.) We need to percieve value from the product we’re about to trade our money for before we are willing to part with rewards of the sweat of our brow. One way of getting us to feel good about our purchases is to get us to think that we traded our money for something that’s much more valuable. One way to make something appear more valuable is to increase its price.
And the savings print-out was born.
So, how do you know when you’re saving money? Usually, by budgeting. Add up your income and subtract your expenses. The diffrence is you profit. Do not spend your profit and it will become savings. You could also have the money you want to save automatically deducted from your paycheck to your savings account, and then do not spend the money. You’ll notice that the “secret” of saving is not spending money.
So, for maximum clarity: spending money is not saving. Not spending money is saving.
Why go on about this? You wouldn’t believe the number of times I’ve heard someone tell me that they went shopping and saved so much money. This is a nasty area in which to be confused, because confustion usually results in retailers having the money and you having excess goods. Here’s a link to someone who likes to save money by spending. While I compliment her on her ability to get items at low prices, I wonder if she ends up buying things that she doesn’t really need to “save” this money.
* Yes, I know the technical term is marketer, but marketeer is so much more enjoyable. Let’s go with it!
** Isn’t it wonderful, being defined by one’s warewithal to consume mass-produced products? I, personally, love being reduced from a complex indiviual with unique interests and personality traits to a faceless corporate commodity. Don’t you?