Thriftstyle Convenience: Pay less with a little extra work!

Life in this day and age is a lot more convenient than it was even 5 or 10 years ago (not to even mention how much more convenient it is compared to the lives of our grandparents or great-grandparents). If you live in a larger town or big city, there are hundreds of ATMS, stores, and businesses located everywhere so you don't have to travel far for things like groceries or cash. And, with the internet, you don't even have to leave your home for most things: you can bank online (and now you can even deposit your checks with your phone), you can pay bills online, you can pay the money you owe your friends online and you can buy just about anything (including groceries) online and have it delivered directly to you.

The issue with the new convenience of life is that sometimes you have to pay for it -- pay A LOT for it.

Shipping costs can drive up the cost of simple purchases. Banks sometimes charge fees for transfers and other things. And, of course, we are all familiar with the infamous Ticketmaster convenience fees.

But even without these added fees, doing what is more convenient can sometimes cost us more money. For instance going to the store that is closest to us, even though a store that is a bit further away might have cheaper prices for the same sort of products. Or taking a cab home when you could take public transportation instead. You pay a little more so you can be a little lazy.

My dad always said its worth it to pay for convenience and I agree in certain situations such as taking a cab home late at night instead of waiting for a bus when you're out with friends (although, really, this is more of a safety issue than a convenience issue for me). Or paying for a direct flight instead of one with a bunch of stops. Or taking a plane instead of a longer train ride. Or walking to the CVS on the corner to get something you need immediately instead of getting in the car.

But in most cases it pays to go out of your way to save some money -- depending, of course, on how far out of your way you need to go and how much you'll save by doing so. For instance, since I work downtown in the Theater District, I'll gladly walk three blocks to a box office location in order to save $25 in online Ticketmaster fees. But it makes no sense to go to a store miles away if I'm only going to save a few bucks (although last night I DID drive to Trader Joe's to get some food and wine instead of buying it at the store nearest me -- hello $4 Green Fin wine!). The calculation of how much effort you're willing to put in to save a certain amount of money is up to you.

For the most part, I highly advocate things like public transit instead of driving or taking a cab, going a bit out of your way to visit stores with lower prices, and buying things at physical locations instead of online to save on shipping costs (unless it works out to be cheaper overall online or you can't find it at the physical store).

So make an extra effort to save some cash when you can, thriftstylers. Because I'd rather spend my $25 on delicious cocktails than put it in Ticketmaster's bank account.

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