First Person: Conservative Spending Saves Me $6000 a Year

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"Out with the old and in with the new" seems to be a way of life. Yet, buying the latest appliances, most recent smartphone or newest car models can quickly ruin my budget. Unless I am purchasing a more energy-efficient appliance or avoiding costly repairs, I will typically use my "old fashioned" products until they stop working. These conservative spending habits save me $6000 a year.


For quite some time, both of my family's cars have been paid off. My husband's car is a 2001 model with over 125,000 miles on it. Besides basic maintenance, his car has never had any major repairs. My car is a 2004 model with about 100,000 miles on it. It has had a few repairs but nothing over a few hundred dollars. According to, in 2012, "the average new car loan monthly payment was $452." Although new cars have a lot of great features like heated seats and keyless entry, I'm not willing to take on a $452 car payment for these little luxuries. When our cars start having more costly repairs or are no longer safe, we will purchase a used car to get from point A to point B. This saves us over $5000 a year.


When it comes to technology, I would love to have the most up-to-date gadgets. However, having the newest iPad or T.V. isn't necessary. I purchased the first edition of the iPad and haven't upgraded . My Apple computer is about eight years old. In addition, I have a basic cell phone. I have thought about getting a smartphone. However, there is nothing wrong with my phone. Smartphones are convenient. Yet, a data package would cost me an extra $30 a month. Eventually, I will get a smartphone. However, I won't make the switch until my regular phone breaks.


I have friends that get their hair done every four weeks along with monthly pedicures. When I get my hair cut and colored it costs me over $130. For me, a manicure and pedicure costs $35. Thus, I do most of my beauty upkeep myself. I get my hair done professionally three times a year which equates to about $400 a year. According to, women spend an average of $850 on haircuts and coloring a year. The Los Angeles Times reports that women also spend an average of $50 a month on manicures and pedicures. I get one to two "mani-pedis" a year. Compared to most women, I consider my beauty spending habits to be conservative.

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