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How to Save Money by Spending Money

Saving money doesn’t always save you money. Everyone has heard the phrase a penny saved is a penny earned. Sometimes that penny saved ends up as a penny spent over and over again.

So how does spending more save you money? It’s a cost over time equation. Look at LED light bulbs, for example. The upfront cost for good LED bulbs is slightly more than the old incandescent bulbs. But they use less energy, run cooler, and last 25–50 times longer. Over time, you could save hundreds of dollars per bulb. Think about the cost of replacement, the energy to run them, and the added heat in the room; it adds up.


LED light bulbs. Added attic insulation. High-efficiency appliances. Hybrid or electric cars. Some of these cost pennies more than alternatives. Others cost thousands more. But in the long run, they save you money. An LED bulb can save you $200 over twenty years. That’s one bulb.

But it isn’t just the efficiency of things. It’s for you, too. Take a few minutes to invest in your day. Plan out what you need to do and follow the plan. You'll spend less on gas getting around town. Less on last-minute take-out food—less on stuff you don't need. And you'll save time.


Buying the thing you know you want is another way to spend to save. If you want a bicycle, don’t buy any bike. Spend time looking at your options, deciding what you want to use it for, and thinking about your decision. And this isn’t only for big-ticket items. Maybe you need a new belt or water bottle—the item doesn’t matter. If you know it’s the one you want, you’re more likely to use it and get your money’s worth.


Buying something you know you’ll love should involve an assessment of quality, so it lasts long enough for you to enjoy it. Furniture is a good example. You should like your furniture. It should last generations if you reupholster it on occasion.

Clothing is also something where quality matters. Keeping up with the latest fashion can be tempting but doing so by shopping at bargain stores is going to cost you. The items those store sell are usually made from cheap material and have poor quality. If fashion is that important, build a core of timeless, well-made pieces. Accent them with one or two new items each season. Quality clothing also has resale value. Donating clothing to those in need is nice but getting paid to clean out your closet is nice, too.

Do it right

The summary of this article is to do it right the first time. Focus on what you’re doing or buying. Spend money with intent and on things you’ve taken the time to research and learn about. Painting a room is something almost anyone can do, but it's often not done well. Buy good paint. Invest in quality brushes and rollers. Take extra time to tape and mask the room. Not only will you save time by having less clean up and touch up, you’ll also save on materials in the long run. It goes beyond painting though. The philosophy of doing it right the first time will save you more in the long run.


One of the best ways to spend to save is to learn new things. You’re spending your time acquiring skills instead of your money. While time does have inherent value, learning how to do something can save lots of money in the long run. If you’re learning from someone else, you have the added value of investing in that relationship. Once you know how to do something, you can pass that knowledge on, increasing its value.

Keep in mind these are examples. There are plenty of times when spending a little more will save you money in the long run. From doctors to investing; take the time to find the right options. Researching which ones work best for you is going to save you a lot of money over time—even if it costs more at the moment.

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