I’m a frugal person. Always have; always will.
When I go shopping, I head straight for the clearance racks. Everything else in the store is usually ignored. I don’t consider something to be “on sale” unless it’s 50% off or more. Paying retail price is for fools.
With this in mind, you can probably tell that I’m the type of person who would rather spend hours searching for a free or cheap alternative to something than buying it at full price. I did this with textbooks during my university days, furniture when I moved, and even applications on my computer.
However, in my line of business, time is money. I can’t dedicate as much time as I used to just to save a couple of bucks anymore. I need to be more productive and efficient with my time.
As such, I started doing something new: paying for stuff.
One such thing that I’ve started paying for is education. I love to learn, but the high-quality courses and resources out there, by people with proven results, are usually not free. There’s a premium to learning the best things from the best people. Before, if I wanted to learn something new, I would scour the Internet for free resources. Free articles and Youtube videos that pop up on Google searches were usually enough for me. Moreover, I was downloading every educational freebie from every well-meaning webpreneur. To this day, I have folders upon folders on my Google Drive filled with e-books, videos, and podcasts on topics ranging from SEO to jQuery. However, since the information was spread out and not catered to my needs, I often had information overload. I would be learning advanced topics despite being a beginner, and I spent even more time Googling terms I didn’t understand.
This year, I decided to bite the bullet and pay for the good stuff. I was venturing off into new fields and I needed to learn new things in a short amount of time. After shopping around for the best deal, I finally did the impossible – I pulled my credit card out and bought a course.
I recently finished the course, and surprisingly, I feel good about paying for it. Even though it cost a pretty penny; the quality of the content and resources are a lot better than the stuff I get for free. It better suits my needs, and I don’t feel like I’m learning random, extraneous information.
I’ve also started paying for my website. I had my personal website on Blogger since its creation because hosting was free. Also, I could play around with the design, unlike the free version of WordPress. However, I didn’t have the freedom that I wanted with the Blogger account. Certain things couldn’t be done without first becoming an advanced web designer.
I decided to start paying for a hosting service and switched the site over to WordPress. I am so much happier about it already. My website looks nicer, I can do a lot more things, and customization is a breeze. On Blogger, I had to go through a million little steps just so I could do one thing like upload an image. Now, even though I pay a little more money each year, I save so much time and get so much more.
A few weeks ago, if I asked myself “What are the results of paying for these services?” I would only be thinking about the then and there – the short-term. Basically, all I could think about was that it would affect my bank account. I wasn’t thinking about how this would affect me in the long term. Sure, I lose a few bucks now, but I could gain more time (and thus, money) in the future. I needed to change my perspective and see that different things have a different value. Sometimes, it is well worth it to invest rather than cheap out.
Does this mean I’m going to start paying for everything? Heck no! It’s about reassessing your needs, using your resources efficiently, and thinking of the long term. When making your next buying decision, if it’s not something you need right now or in the foreseeable future, look for the cheap alternatives. If it’s something that’s going to benefit you in the long-term (even if you won’t see the results immediately), make the investment!