Be a Hetty Green, not a Donald Trump.
By Guest Blogger Allie Eklund
Once, a friend referred to me as a modern day “Hetty Green.” I’ve been called cheap, frugal, and even a tightwad, but I remember thinking who the heck is Hetty Green? It could have been an insult considering Green’s nickname was the “witch of Wall Street,” but after a quick google search, I read that Hetty Green, a woman from the gilded age, amassed a fortune as one of the first women to invest in the stock market. She was a self-made millionaire who managed her own finances, picked her own stocks, and kept her own money. Most of all, she was known for her “extreme frugality.” (Disclosure: I share her frugality, not her fortune.)
It’s interesting that when men employ the same conservative tactics and extreme wealth, society has taken a different, more positive view of such behavior. Consider: living legend Warren Buffett has never been berated for his conservative ways that brought him to wealth. Or how about J.P. Morgan? Often ruthless in his pursuit to extreme wealth, he is remembered as an American hero in textbooks. Alas, the Trump. This is a man who has made money from the likes of real estate to reality tv…who coined the phrase “you’re fired!” Yet, he is still considered by some charismatic enough to run for the oval office.
While the world continues to take heed from Warren Buffett, J.P. Morgan, and Donald Trump, I propose we could all take a lesson in penny-pinching from the late and great Hetty Green.
Thus, I present to you a few of my most coveted bargains in and around Sac. The following cash saving hacks won’t necessarily yield a fortune of several millions dollars, but dollars and cents add up.
Trim your trim. Think twice about that pricey salon haircut. I did. When my boyfriend can walk in off the street and get a haircut for $10.00 which includes a tip, I realized I need to cut this expense. For regular trims, I go to Great Clips… yep. I said it. I do it. I pay $14.00 for my regular haircuts. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the Great Clips on Folsom Blvd. in East Sac. I’ve never waited more than 10 minutes.
Sun salutation for less. Yoga, pilates, yogalates, whatever specialized fitness class you take- I get it, I love them too. However, the average non-student rate for a drop in class is $15.00, or a 10-class pass usually equates to $10.00 classes. Ouch! Try streaming a free yoga course from the dozens of Youtube fitness channels, like this one. Grab your mat, wear what you want, and start your class on your own schedule. Still want that community feel? Check out Yoga in the Park at McKinley Park in East Sac on Saturday mornings, year round (donation suggested).
Skip an eyebrow waxing. Besides the fact that it’s human torture, it costs a lot! I can get by between eyebrow waxing by using these eyebrow shapers. A pack of 3 is third the cost of one eyebrow waxing service.
Cut the cord. In today’s world, you can stream nearly anything for cheaper than cable packages. Older generations think I am mad that I don’t have cable, but I just don’t miss it. And if you think you cannot do it, consider the following: what are you getting that you cannot get online for cheaper and better? I’ve dropped cable in exchange for the many streaming services that I connect to through Google Chrome, which streams what’s on your smart device to the tube. Oh, and podcasts are free if you didn’t already know. Did someone say Serial? My message to Comcast in four word: Never. Getting. Back. Together.
Bulk up. Getting a Costco membership was one of the best financial decisions I’ve made. Buying in bulk truly saves money. To put this in perspective, the other day I bought a certain brand of coffee at the neighborhood café. For the 12 oz. bag of beans, it was $14.00. At Costco, same brand, same blend, 32 oz. which is nearly three times as much, it costs me $13.00. It cost less for more at Costco. If you’re a carnivore, then it’s hands down the best deal in town to buy meat. Added bonus, you don’t have to give up your ethical ways…they now sell wild caught fish and organic meat, if you’re into that kind of thing. Tip? Skip the crowds and long lines by going after work on a Monday.
Know your happy hour hood’. Notice I am not recommending that you eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner at home. That’s because if you are a Sacramentan, it’s nearly impossible to do with the amazing restaurants available to us. Instead, know the best happy hours in your neighborhood. Here are a few economical choices that don’t compromise taste or service: Lou’s Sushi. All day happy hour Sunday and Tuesday. Azul Mexican Food & Tequila Bar. $1.00 tacos for taco Tuesday. Lucca, all night happy hour every Thursday at 17th and J. Living within your means doesn’t have to mean living without fun.
Buy what others aren’t. If there is one nugget that you should take with you, take this. Our world is run on supply and demand, it’s this very relationship that drives the cost of everything. Hetty Green understood this. Warren Buffett gets this. If something is highly advertised or prominently displayed in a store, it’s like it’s not a steal of a deal. Best example of this? Black Friday. Advertising dollars pour into Black Friday. News flash, you aren’t getting that great of a deal. Everyone and their mother is shopping for Christmas (and themselves) on this day. Where there is a great deal of demand, prices will be higher. Let this principal guide you and your consumer ways and your wallet will thank you.
To be frank, I’m not proposing to live like a miser the rest of your life, but to think twice when spending your hard-earned money. Remember the age old adage: “a penny saved is a penny earned.” No truer words were ever spoken.
Allie Eklund is a twenty-something Northern California native. After graduating from Sac State, she went into finance, and finds great joy in being a financial advisor at Auburn Tridea. She also founded InspireMidtown, a local group that brings women together to encourage leading with confidence. Adjectives Allie can’t disassociate herself with are: passionate, practical, and conversational. Find her in Midtown enjoying a cold beer over a deep conversation with her partner in crime, Wesley.