One year at Christmas, we cashed in a whopping $700 in rewards, and it has changed the way I shop ever since. You see, every year for Christmas, we use all the cash back rewards we have earned that year. It supplies almost all of our holiday shopping budget. I love feeling like Christmas is free. When we need to make a big purchase, I happily think about how many gifts that will buy come Christmas. Which is why we bought our mini van with a credit card. =)
I was in TJ Max buying clothes for my mom’s dogs. Every year she buys tons of gifts for my kids. So at Christmas I buy her dogs a new outfit. They are cute, white, fluffy little dogs who love to dress up. (Don’t they look adorable in the Santa sweaters I bought them?!) We had just cashed out our biggest rewards yet due to all the renovations on our rental properties that year.
I was trying to decide between two outfits. A $12 or $9 sweater. They looked about equally nice. Now I’m not very good at buying clothes for myself. So trying to pick something for someone else’s dog is a tough call for me. I just stood there for a few minutes staring at the options. Then it hit me.
Why am I so excited for 1-5% cash back, but think so little of saving 1-5% on an item?
I like getting 1% cash back. But for this $12 sweater, that’s only 12 cents. I am really excited about 5% rotating categories. That would be 60 cents. Right now Mr. Mt has the Discover card that will double all his rewards for year so his 5% categories become 10%! That makes me a little giddy truth be told. But 10% is only $1.20 on the $12 sweater.
Why am I not excited about saving 1%, 5% or 10% on everything?
The problem is I have contempt for those little savings.
The $9 dog sweater would have been like getting 25% cash back. I would have been thrilled about 25% cash back. But when I looked at the 2 dog outfits, that seemed equally nice, I wasn’t excited at all about finding an item $3 less expensive.
It made me wonder. What if I could pay 1% less for everything? Or 5% less. I know somethings are a rather fixed price, but it could average out.
Maybe I could adjust the temperature in our home to save 1%? Maybe I could try different generics at the store and lower our bill by 1%. On a $100 shopping trip, I really only have to find a way to save $1. Or $5 to match the 5% cash back my credit cards sometimes offer.
The problem is this: I think of that $1 as stupid and unimportant.
Yet I am really excited about my yearly cash back.
I think we struggle to see how little changes can add up to anything significant. Saving a $1 seems useless. But when we have $700 cash back, well, then we are excited. We can’t see how our little savings are piling up. We find a new affordable breakfast option to eat 3 times a week. We might save $12 a month per person.
I am trying not to despise the small savings. If items or experiences are equally good choices, I am getting better about going with the less expensive option. Even when it’s only $1 less.
How cute is he? I’ve never known dogs who love to dress up so much!
Ideas for discussion:
Is saving or cash back more exciting?
How cute are these dogs?! Now my mom is thrilled that her adorable dogs are being featured on my blog today. Thrilled. Beings, I haven’t shared my blog address with her, I assured her I would let her know every wonderful thing people commented about her dogs. So feel free to let loose. She has more pictures of her dogs on her phone than my kids. Priorities.
Have you ever tried to save 1 or 5% on a category? It gets fuzzy when the time vs ROI comes into play. What is the threshold to make it worth it?
And my new PDF guild to 6 Easy Steps to Taking a Year Off Every Decade is going to be sent out this Friday! Make sure you are on the mailing list if you want a free copy! (Right hand side of the screen, red button)