- Don't count money like Enron: It's so easy to write down phantom savings. This dubious money plan works like this: I didn't really need two new printers, but I stumble upon a buy-one-get-one half off/free offer. But honestly, if I don't need new printers, I haven't saved money by taking the BOGO offer. In fact, I've wasted money. The same applies for clothing sales, shoe sales and office-supply sales. If I buy a sale item at a bargain price, it's a waste if I buy more than I really need. Therefore, my $2 a day savings plan will not include temporary sales insanity.
- Kiddie Savings: My children have become excellent savers and shoppers. And I've helped them to figure out if a deal-is-really a good bargain. Through our joint efforts, we've saved money. But is it fair to count kiddie cash savings in my total? Nah! That's like a writing teacher taking credit for a student's poem. The teacher may have helped but the credit goes to the student. Bottom line: My children' s piggy bank savings can't be merged into my challenge total.
- The stay-at-home shopper. I'm browsing through the Sunday paper store flyers and I'm clicking through the Internet. I've even made a list of every item I want to buy, but I wisely change my mind. So does this non-activity count as a savings? That depends: If I have my credit/debit/cash card out and I change my mind just before the transaction, I have really saved money. And almost daily, I have stopped myself--money in hand--before buying junk food, expensive coffee and other non-essentials. But If I'm just making a wish list, with no plans to buy, then those savings aren't real.
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