The Pool Rule…
It will help you save money and actually improve your quality of life.
Fact: Starbucks coffee tastes the same as Walmart’s ‘Great Value’ brand coffee. According to Consumer Reports, when blindfolded, subjects actually enjoyed both brands equally – but Starbucks comes with double the cost. Imagine you didn’t know this.
Imagine that each day of your life you drank the same expensive Starbucks coffee without knowing there is a cheaper, equally tasty & healthy alternative. What a waste of cash, right? You would feel like quite an idiot, right?! Right. If this is you, then WAKE UP (with some Walmart coffee ;)) because you’ve been duped by the marketing tactics of Starbucks. They sold you on the silly idea that Starbucks is the premium choice and for that ‘reason’ alone you should buy it. Why else did you?
This ushers in your need for what I’m calling, The Pool Rule. Let me explain…
When you first learn how to swim, you start in the shallow end. Touching the firm bottom of the pool reassures you that you’re not getting yourself in too deep. If you jump into the deep end first, you’ll probably drown. We don’t want that. So in money terms, what I’m suggesting is that instead of choosing an expensive brand right out of the gate (deep end of the price pool thus possible drowning your finances), try the CHEAPEST brand first (the shallow end of the price pool). It’s the safer alternative. Try the cheapest stuff first and then move up in price until you’re 100% satisfied. Maybe you will stay in the shallow end and have a great time! Maybe you won’t be completely satisfied and you’ll slowly swim out to the deep end. You’ll likely find a happy medium.
I’m not telling you how much money you should spend on an item. Each person’s situation is unique. What I am just saying is you should try the cheap stuff first because if you don’t, you’ll likely be wasting buckets of money.
Also, with the pool rule it makes spending money not hurt so much. When I spend cash after considering the pool rule I think, “Well, this is exactly what I want and this is exactly how much I have to pay, so no need to stress over spending the money.”
My dad’s friend recently bought a Mercedes SLK350. Now, before you think this man is an a-hole, he’s really not. He’s frugal (usually), humble, and self-made.
One night he came to resent that little Mercedes. It was the night his friend arrived to his house in a <$30k Subaru something-or-other SUV. This grocery-getter possessed all the gadgets his Mercedes had. For half the price! Not long after that, my dad’s friend was ready to part ways with the rather silly Mercedes. Also, one time his radio broke and it cost $5,000 to fix… 🙂 Had he known about the Pool Rule, he wouldn’t have wasted his time buying the Mercedes in the first place.
So many people are wasting their money without even knowing it.
Your Pool Rule Challenge…
My challenge for you is to look through all your spending habits. Ask yourself: Have I tried the cheaper options first before assuming the more expensive choice is better?
Did you buy an iPad without considering a cheaper alternative? Do you buy name-brand root beer without realizing the store brand is actually way tastier? Have you not realized your car performs the same with 87 octane as it does with 91? THINK ABOUT THIS STUFF! THINK ABOUT THE POOL RULE! Be intentional with every purchase you make and this whole money game is actually quite easy. Heck, even go beyond simple material purchases. Do you live on campus when living off campus is actually cheaper AND nicer? Do you shop at Target even though going to Walmart in the AM before all the crazies are out is actually just as pleasant of an experience*?
Use this ‘Pool Rule’ method. Once you do, you will know that all the cheaper alternatives are cheaper because they are worse. You’ll know you’ve made the optimal decision. The peace of mind feels GREAT!
Come back and let me know how much $$$ you saved with ZERO sacrifices!
Note: I don’t drink coffee or drive a Mercedes or a Subaru so I’m pretty impartial in all this. 🙂 Hot chocolate FTW, anyone?
*Don’t hate on this Walmart thing. Go to Walmart early in the morning. It’s actually a really pleasant experience. If you want entertainment, go late at night. 😉