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Are You Missing The Big Picture?

I was reading Daniel’s post, Why Squeezing Every Last Penny Out of Savings Accounts Isn’t Worth It, and completely agreed with his sentiment. He ended the post by asking “Readers, have you ever been so intent on saving money that you forgot to take a look at the big picture?” Oh boy, have I ever.

I overanalyze money on a regular basis and very often have to kick myself in the butt. I don’t have the specific problem he described in the post since our two checking accounts always have $1000 in padding, but I have given myself several headaches over inconsequential things before.


The first one that comes to mind is couponing. I’m not an extreme coupon clipper, but I do cut out the ones for whichever items we will most probably use. When I first started this, I’d spend an hour or two a week making the ultimate shopping plan to save about $5 biweekly by only buying certain things at certain stores at certain times.

I have since heard of the Grocery Game, which seems way easier than what I was doing since they simply give you all the info, but I have given up. I rather spend the extra $10 a month than worry about the extra 50 cents I could have saved on Hershey’s Syrup if I went to Wal-Mart last week instead of Kroger on my way home from work. I have decided to err on the side of my sanity.

Rewards Cards Benefits

Another tiny money matter I worry about way too much is our rewards credit cards. I have actually stood in line to return an item simply because I accidentally used the “wrong” credit card to buy it. Our Discover More card gives us an extra one year warranty on electronics, but I bought our backup hard drive with the PenFed Visa instead in a moment of lapsed concentration. I then waited for 20 minutes to return and rebuy the dumb drive just so I could get that extra warranty time.

Maybe it will matter and maybe it won’t, but I still feel silly.

Rewards Cards Cash Back

I also feel pretty dumb about the times I have freaked out when my husband used the “wrong” card for buying gas. He sometimes uses the Discover to pay for gas (1% cash back usually) instead of the PenFed Visa (5% cash back on gas all the time). He just forgets and swipes.

Will it kill us not to get the extra $1 in cash back? Nope, not at all. It will probably not change our life in any significant way. I am working hard not to act like a crazy person over that anymore.

Have you ever missed the big picture? Any funny stories out there?



  1. Crystal – you know how I feel about saving at the grocery store! However, I have 3 starving kids so I am sure my grocery bill is a lot higher. As a matter of fact, just last night I refused to buy something I needed because I didn’t fill out my rewards card info yet and wouldn’t get the discount. I will say though that on average I save 35-45 percent on groceries and probably 50 percent at CVS, so it is totally worth it to me. If I was shopping for just my husband and I, I don’t know that I would go through the effort. (Although I actually consider it kind of fun. Kinda sad, isn’t it?)

    I too get mad if I have to buy something with the wrong rewards card, especially if it is gas/groceries. (I get 5 percent back using Amex and only 1 percent using Visa.)

    • @Everyday Tips, we are so alike that it is scary. I have also left stores if I forgot my store card for the discount…we are going to give ourselves aneurisms…

      I think I’d find couponing for a fantastic deal way more fun if I had the time. At this point, I’m just out…I may have overscheduled myself, lol. Enjoy the hunt!

  2. Most of the stores around here will give you the card discount if you ask at the register. My husband doesn’t even carry his because he doesn’t like carrying a lot of cards (and he does most of the shopping). Bed Bath and Beyond will usually honor one of those coupons if you take your receipt in with the coupon and tell them you forgot (DH has also discovered).

    One thing we’ve done is when DH does something he feels guilty about in the sweating the small stuff category, is he’ll just take the difference out of his allowance. That makes our joint funds whole again and takes away any guilt.

    Oh man, I get paid tomorrow. I am so excited. Summer is so LONG and unpaid.

    • @Nicole, woot for a paycheck! Yep, most of the stores around here will give you a temporary pass if you ask too, but one Kroger is a pain. I love that Bed, Bath, and Beyond policy – it saved us almost $20 when my husband surprised me with a few kitchen items but didn’t know about their magical 20% off coupons, lol.

      Mr. BFS offers to cover the difference out of his fun money, but we blow it off unless it’s a big amount.

  3. Wow, and I thought I was credit card savvy!

    Sounds like you and your hubby have the credit cards down to a science!!! I know this isn’t your message in this post, but I have to say… I’m very impressed!

    • @Money Reasons, hahaha…yep, I’m anal and hubby humors me. Though he may complain about the system once in a while, he never seems to complain about the gift cards he gets out of the cash back, lol. ;-)

  4. Last night when I was shopping, I caught myself buying things I wouldn’t normally buy because I had a coupon for it. Bad Sandy. Of course, I didn’t realize it til I got home and it was all junk food. I think it was because I went after work, it was dinner, and I was hungry. Shame on me. I should have known better, but I always think I’ll have more self control than I really do.

    I personally hate it when my mom makes me drive across town for one item that’s on sale. It usually costs more in gas than the money we’re saving.

  5. I used to be like this as well. The only place where I’m still like this is grocery shopping. And, like Kris, it’s mainly because of CVS! But we stock up on so many expensive items for pennies at a time, that it becomes worth it to us.

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