8 Ways Convenience is Screwing Your Finances
Our collective hunger for more is great, motivating us to keep pushing the limits and never settling for the status quo. Because of this desire, we've found ways to make everything from finding the nearest gas station to staying in touch with a distant relative easier and easier, but all that convenience comes at a cost too.
The U.S. median income in 1900 was $438 a year, and it shot up to $23,602 by 1999. You might look at this 5389% increase and say "WOW. Life has got to be good." Yet, life isn't all that great right now. We are barely recovering from a recession (most say we are still in it), and everybody from the government to our schools to our neighbors are having a tough time making ends meet.
I know there was inflation, but that's hardly the whole problem. Here are a few reasons why we can't seem to keep our budgets in check even though we keep getting huge raises. (See also: If Budgeting Isn't Fun, You're Doing It Wrong)
I'm guilty of this one, because I love my house cleaner. She comes every three weeks, and she makes everything sparkling clean. There's nothing I couldn't do myself of course, but if I can spend time sitting on the couch watching TV and doing nothing, why should I actually exercise and work?
I have an eight-month-old daughter named Sara, and I can't wait for the day when I have to deny her request for a cell phone. My excuse will be "But you don't need a cell phone..." I wonder what her response will be when she realizes that I have one, and I actually don't need it either.
It's common nowadays for a household to have two, three, or even four TVs in the house. Of course, each one has got to be hooked up to paid TV service too, right? Oh, I need to watch TV when I take a bath, for god's sake. What else would I be doing when my house cleaners are cleaning? (See also: 8 Alternatives to Cable TV That Will Keep You Entertained)
We love brand new cars, especially with all those options that signifiicantly add to the cost. Premium sound, a sun roof, a navigation system, heated and electronic seats, V6 turbo, and performance packages are all necessary, because you know, how else will we be able to get to work?
I love eating out, and I'm a good tipper too. If I cook at home, how will all those waiters/waitresses survive? Not paying for the markup of the dining service is only good for my own family's budget.
Why would I need to wash anything when I can just replace it? Wipe and throw them away. The trash man will collect them, and I'm saving money because I'm sure my house cleaner would want to be paid extra if I asked her to wash diapers too.
It's not like I can use anything reuseable, like my computer, to remember appointments.
I can see why a small population of people won't like credit cards, but I bet most people won't spend more with that convenience. I mean, why would anyone buy more things when they always have money available? Why would anyone buy more when credit card companies send countless marketing materials to get us to buy more, travel more, and do more?
Back in the 1900, a pound of butter might have set you back a quarter. Nowadays, it probably costs $3 for the same thing. That's inflation, but our income more than made up for that. On the other hand, people washed their clothes by hand back then, costing almost nothing. Nowadays, a washer costs $600 dollars and a dryer costs another $600, not to mention that many of us end up all going to the dry cleaners anyway.
Convenience is great, but watch your wallets before you conveniently lose your fortune.