I read a lot of blogs. Currently, in my blog reader, I have blogs in the following categories
- Personal Finance
- Celebrities (Yes, I know)
- Friends (these being the blogs of people I know and love and the ones I’m sure to always read)
And I’ve learned a lot from all of these blogs. But the most important thing I’ve learned?
Take everything you read with a grain of salt.
There are a lot of great tips out there of ways that you can save money in your everyday life. But there are also a lot of absolutely horrible tips. Or tips that are just not practical. For example, one tip I see a lot is “Reduce your living costs and find somewhere less expensive to live.” Well, first, this probably only works if you rent and don’t own. I mean, you could always sell your house and buy something smaller, but that’s not a cheap endeavor. And it’s also dependent on where you live. I live in the Washington, DC area. There is tons of housing here, especially if you’re willing to live further out from the city (assuming you have a vehicle if you live outside of the area where public transportation runs). But if you live in a small town, cheap housing isn’t as easy to come by.
Okay, this isn’t a totally terrible tip. I’m just trying to avoid outing a blogger who I do enjoy reading.
Here’s another bad tip I read recently. “Save money on pet food by buying the cheaper brands or what’s on sale. I’ve found that my pets love the cheap brands even more than the expensive brands!”
Well, sure they do! You’re feeding them junk food! You too could save money on food by buying all your meals from the McDonalds dollar menu, but it wouldn’t be good for you. Buy a decent quality food for your pet and save on vet bills. Please.
Some tips are probably decent ones, but they aren’t things I plan to try anytime soon. Such as “Check the curbs on trash day for thrown out furniture!” I am no longer willing to pick up a couch off of the curb. I do not know what is wrong with it or if it has bedbugs or a family of raccoons living inside of it. Thank you, no.
And don’t even get me started on the whole Freegan movement. Dumpster diving for my meals? No thank you. Do I think that stores and restaurants probably throw out food that’s just fine? Yes. Do I want to eat it? No. No no no. No.
These are all extreme examples. But what I’m getting at is that not every tip you read is a good one, and even if it is a good idea, it may not be an idea that will work for you. For example, I love DIY blogs. I read This Old House magazine. But I am not a DIY-er. I don’t own a saw, so I’m probably not going to be building my own table out of wood. Yes, the tables others have built are gorgeous, but I know my limitations. While buying a great old dresser from the thrift shop and refinishing it seems like a good idea, I have no place to work on said dresser other than my backyard. And unless I set up some sort of tent to keep it dry, that’s not the world’s best plan either. Plus I would just end up with bugs in my varnish.
So pick and choose what works for you. Don’t feel like you have to do something because everyone else is doing it.
(And please don’t eat dumpster food. At least not because you think it’s a good way to save money. If you like adventure, sure, go for it. But don’t come crying to me when you feel awful.)