A Cheapskate's Advice On Affording Anything You Want

"It takes the guts to be a cheapskate," according to photography hobbyist Ken Rockwell, who goes to great lengths to lay out his well-worn advice on how to afford nearly anything you really want.

Photo by JMRosenfeld.

In a fun article from 2008, Rockwell discusses how he's able to buy and put aside thousands of dollars' worth of expensive photography gear regularly, and like most well thought out solutions, his take is relatively simple but not always easy to abide by. In a nutshell, Rockwell explains that in order to afford the things you really want, you've got to prioritise. Half of the battle is only spending money on things that you actually want, and Kevin lists of all kinds of areas where people regularly spend a lot of money that he prioritises below what he really wants. For example:

The people who want to sell you a new car do everything they can to make it easy to take your money. It takes a great deal of self control to resist. Let's face it: everyone deserves a new car every couple of years, and if you can afford it, why not? Simple: because it costs you tens of thousands of dollars that you could spend on more fun, or even on better cars if you do your homework and buy used.

Check out his full article for an in-depth and entertaining read.

How to Afford Anything [Ken Rockwell via Hacker News]


    while i think that you shouldnt have kids if you dont want kids i think it is terrible advice not to have children for the sake of saving money, if you want kids have kids because we have an aging population which means eventually we are going to hit a moment were we dont have enough people for our jobs and we will have to get hundreds and hundreds of outsourcing which is bad for the economy

      this whole "have more kids today to pay for the old people who are the grown-up kids we had too many of decades ago" is a self-perpetuating cycle that will end in economic, environmental and social collapse.

      the viral rush to increase population and drive growth at all costs is the single greatest threat to our race.

      any decision (whether it be financial, moral or intellectual) not to mindlessly pursue these goals is to be applauded.

    I've been doing this ever since I've had a job. I always ask myself, is this item of want really worth the time I worked to afford it? and isn't said item just going to distract me from achieving bigger goals? or, is this item something that is going to distract me from going insane / highly beneficial to my quality of life?

    I was living off $220 a week (~8 to 12hr work weeks), managed to pay out a $8,000 car in cash. This purchase was mainly to keep me sane, as public transport and car pooling is far to unpleasant and unreliable (I actually started to develop some issues like loosing hair -I was in my teens at this time-). Plus, a car is very important to have depending on your location and is a huge boost in independence, and a big plus for employers.

    Even more of a boost in independence is renting. After carefully finding the right people and the right location. It was only weeks later that I was fully independent paying $145 for rent, food and internet for a week saving the rest away and getting smarter about social spend-ages (stronger pre-drinks, long life prepaid phone credit).

    Never had a loan, never had any issues with money. I still have a social life, I manage to go out every weekend and spend a maximum of $50 on average $20-30 for socialising, some weekends $0 even for a month if nothing is on.

    But I find the biggest concerns to be signing up to contracts/leases, because nothing can guarantee you future stability; anything can happen at any time, any day. That's not to say I'm paranoid and pessimistic, I simply spend a small amount of more time thinking in detail what I'm looking to achieve, and if the contract is really going to improve my reliability to myself and my career.

    Now I'm working a 9-5 job as an apprentice drafter getting a minimum $500. So now I'm working for a much lower rate and much longer hours, but bigger goals are becoming much more realistic and because I'm very busy during the week I find I'm actually spending even less because I'm completely distracted from my own wants.
    So I only can have the time to focus on what I need the most, and I never cheap out on these, cause it'll only cheap out on me and could cost me a job which is worth much more. You could even say spending that little extra can contribute to a promotion if you apply the use well enough, it'll pay for itself if it was a wise decision.

    You might think I'm just lucky, but no, I've failed too many times before but never failed the same thing twice. It was only but success through failure that I've gotten a real understanding. Heck I wasted $3,000 on a previous lease in which I lost my job a month after signing the lease. Also don't get me started on my HECS/HELP built up from doing some private college study, big rip off, and just wasn't for me.

    Just to make sure I've have my story relevant to this one, a very brief summary.
    Deep down my biggest wants were to be independent, social, and happy; my core goals.

    -Independence through rent costs me $145/w
    -Social life through weekends costs me $30/w
    -Happiness comes through everything working together, plus I still have more than half my pay going into savings for more social and beneficial investments. -$325/w

    @Tezz: While your argument isn't quite what was expected without more thought put in, you do have to put the perspective on yourself. If you were so cheap would that really stop your from wanting to have kids. I would find that people telling you not to have kids would only give the reverse effect. I really find it hard to believe that only one loose reason could really be the deciding factor for any one. (note: I'm only addressing your point it's not directed at you)

    @consumer: "be mindful" is certainly the most simplest form of advice in any situation, which is not to say you can't spoil yourself once in a while as long as oneself is "being mindful" about it.


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