Psychological Trick to Reducing Expenses

by Chi_FIRE

We don’t talk a whole lot in this sub about expense management, despite the fact that it is a critical component of financial independence.

Some expenses are harder to reduce than others. For me, it was eating out at work. Nearly every day I’d spend about $8.50 for a mediocre burrito, sandwich, or some other culinary money trap.

It took a while to get into a routine of making crock pot meals to remedy this, but when you do some quick math, it becomes real hard to justify my previous habit.

I’m able to get 4 meals out of a crock pot that also costs about a total of $8.50. Previously, 4 lunches would have cost me $34, so this saves me $25.50 each time.

This is amplified if we look at the time cost. Picking up the extra groceries only takes a few minutes a week, and the prepping+dumping of the food into the crock pot doesn’t take much time either. It totals about 20 minutes.

So I’m saving $25.50 for 20 minutes of work. That’s $76.50/hour, way more than I’m currently paid.

BUT this is all after-tax savings. If we assume a 30% marginal tax rate, it’s more like $109.29/hour.

So basically, every three crock pot meals I do is like making 110 bucks an hour. Not a bad gig.

I know I’m not the first person to think about expenses in these terms but if we can flip the thought process of reducing expenses in terms of pre-tax income, it makes it more fun. It flips the narrative from “cutting back” to “earning more.”

Anyone make any similar expense cuts? I’d be interested to see what sort of value it translated to.