In this episode, Money Mechanic tells us what he won’t spend money on, while Chrissy and Ryan reveal the items they missed in Value Busters I. MM gets a little angry and ranty in this one! We hope you enjoy it!
- Todd from Twitter and Sam from England told us they’d like to know what Money Mechanic’s value busters were.
- They also want to hear the rest of Ryan and Chrissy’s value busters (which they couldn’t get to in the previous Value Busters episode).
Money Mechanic’s top 5 value busters
1. Lottery tickets (and other such types of gambling)
- It bothers him when people say they’re playing the lottery for their retirement.
- If they really thought about all the money they’d spent over the last 30 years, they may have thought about it differently and instead invested it.
- Hi grandfather said to him, “Never gamble with money you can’t afford to lose.”
- MM ans Ryan acknowledge there’s a difference between buying lottery tickets and spending your money at a casino—where it’s just as much about the experience.
- If you have fun and find value in that (and you can afford it) there’s nothing wrong with that.
2. Frozen convenience foods
- MM only goes down this aisle for frozen blueberries to make smoothies (or for the very rare time they have ice cream).
- Instead of buying expensive meals frozen in plastic and cardboard, they make their own batch-cooked frozen meals.
- He does understand the convenience of some frozen meals, like pizza, especially if you have kids. But with a bit of planning, you can can avoid them and make healthier alternatives at home.
- Chrissy accuses MM of being a pizza snob. He clarifies that he has nothing against leftover pizza—he just objects to freezing leftover pizza!
- It’s not hard to learn how to cook a few basic meals and make your own frozen dinners.
- Ryan says if you’re shopping for food that comes in a cardboard box in the frozen food aisle, you might not be doing it right.
- MM agrees that there are good, healthy options (like frozen fruit and veggies) in the same aisle.
3. Soda and sports drinks
- MM can’t believe that there’s a dedicated wall of sports/energy drinks at the gas station.
- Every one of them is $2 or more, which ends up being mindless spending.
- These people are not crossing a desert and can make it to a water faucet within the next hour! It’s money they don’t need to spend!
- It’s sugar-laden garbage and you have zero need for them.
- Buying these drinks then lead to more convenience store spending (with their brutal markups).
- If you want a Gatorade to give to your kid after their game, buy the crystals at the grocery store. Use your own reusable container and mix up the drink for 1/8 of the price.
- MM used to frequently stop at a Petro-Canada gas station that was the halfway point in his 5-hour drive up the island.
- He’s pretty sure they know and hate him!
- He goes straight to the bathroom with a full bladder and empty Nalgene bottle and comes back out with the bottle filled with gas station tap water.
- He then hops in his car and drives off without spending a cent.
- He’s happy to drink gas station tap water to save money and another wasted plastic container. The water on Vancouver Island is very safe and good quality.
4. Consumer electronics
- MM’s not a luddite, and does buy consumer electronics himself. But:
- He bought his laptop used for 1/3 of the purchase price.
- The stereo upstairs in the kitchen and in the FI Garage are $10 thrift store Sonys that have the old iPhone 4 plugins.
- He still has an iPhone 5 (which the guys at FI Garage tease him about).
- His TV was a demo model that they bought at a great price.
- MM shops for quality used items whenever possible to save money.
- He doesn’t believe in upgrading to the latest and greatest models just to have something newer.
- He’ll spend a lot of time to research the best way to replace devices that need replacing.
- Chrissy feels the same about gadgets, but her husband does like them. However, he’s not an early adopter and is willing to wait for things to get a little older before he buys them.
- Ryan wanted replace all the appliances in their house when they bought it. Three years later, he’s on the FI path and no longer feels the need to buy new appliances.
- MM’s stove is literally from the 60s. It works perfectly, except for one wiring fix which was no problem since he’s The Mechanic! If it works, and it’s sensible, why spend money to replace it?
- The Victoria area has a fantastic used market.
- MM especially likes ReStore that’s run by Habitat for Humanity.
- There are also lots of thrift stores near his house, so it’s very easy and worthwhile for him to shop there first before having to go to Home Depot or Lowe’s to buy a new dishwasher.
- Ryan gripes about how new appliances come with screens and apps. Instead of buying an appliance for life or 20 years, people now feel they need to keep upgrading so their fridge can connect to WiFi.
5. Fast food establishments
- MM doesn’t like the food that much, and like with frozen meals, he feels that good planning can help you avoid most fast food purchases.
- He’ll even go to the grocery store before work just to pick up groceries for the next few days at work.
- He channels his inner Mr. Money Mustache and pushes himself to last another hour until he can get himself home and make a meal there.
- Ryan makes a living delivering to fast food restaurants… so clearly Money Mechanic doesn’t want to see his family survive the long winter!
- MM thinks fast food is a lifestyle choice. He forces himself to refuse that convenience and come up with a better choice.
- Chrissy also tries to avoid fast food, but it can be hard when you’re out with kids, especially when they get hangry.
- Fast food is definitely a value buster for a family of four.
- When she goes out with her sister and their kids in the summer, they always bring coolers full of fruit, sandwiches, dry snacks, and water.
- It’s so nice to find a nice spot to sit outside to eat lunch.
- When travelling, they do the same with a cooler in the car.
Chrissy’s other value busters
Drinks at restaurants
- Whether it’s alcohol, pop, or juice, she and her family avoid ordering drinks at restaurants unless it’s a special occasion.
- Ryan delivers pop bibs for his job in food service. The entire bib doesn’t cost a lot for the amount of pop it can make.
- Restaurants clearly make a lot of money from these drinks.
- Chrissy’s family also avoids buying drinks when they travel to theme parks.
- They just bring water bottles that they refill at water fountains for free throughout the day.
- People love those bottomless cups that you can buy at these parks, but all that sugar is so bad for you.
Personal care services
- This includes spas, manicures, pedicures, eyelash extensions.
- They’re expensive, and Chrissy doesn’t care enough to spend money on them.
- They’re also a lot of fuss to plan for (you have to find childcare, time, and deals).
- She received a spa massage as a bridal shower gift, and it was just okay.
- She hates lying around doing nothing. Even when watching TV, she’ll be folding laundry or doing some mending.
- Chrissy knows moms who get eyelash extensions. Though they look pretty, but she would never get them because they’re expensive and bad for your real eyelashes.
- MM feels fortunate that he doesn’t live or work in a world where he needs to have fancy work clothes or be perfectly coiffed to fit into a corporate culture.
- He suggests that we all sit down and think about what our true cost of living is.
- Ryan says there’s a difference between fixed, recurring visits to the nail salon or random once or twice-yearly visits.
- If it’s once in a while or for a wedding, go for it.
- But if you need to go every Friday because it’s for your job, you’d better be compensated for it!
- He felt the pressure at RBC to come to work in a different suit every day (even though he only made $14/hour).
- He certainly wasn’t compensated for those suits. It’s a huge value buster just to work there.
Ryan’s other value busters
- Ryan has RBC accounts and doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with using their products, but you should never step into one of these retail banks expecting customer service (even though you can get that).
- There’s propaganda and displays everywhere and the staff will approach you like at the Apple Store and try to sell you on TFSAs like they’re the newest iPhone.
- Chrissy is baffled by this and has never experienced anything like it. She and MM have never been sold to by a teller at a bank.
- At Ryan’s job as an RBC teller, he would swipe customers’ client cards then hit a ‘View All’ button to see all the different products that could be sold to them.
- If he managed to get their butt into the seat in the ‘advisor’s’ office, he’d receive a commission.
- He didn’t like having to sell to people, especially since his branch was next to a senior’s home… so he quit.
- Value Busters (the first episode with Ryan and Chrissy)
- FI Garage
- Habitat for Humanity ReStore
- Mr. Money Mustache
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