Penny wise, pound foolish
When I was a boy I remember my mother used to spend time cutting discount coupons out of magazines and newspapers to save money on her shopping. This went on for many years while I was growing up.
We lived in a Council house until I was 27. My parents were working class so they never thought they would be able to afford to buy a house in East London where I grew up. Classic working class mindsets! Well, I had different plans for them!
I was only in my twenties and still living at home but the Right To Buy Scheme had been available for a few years. I kept pressing my mother to buy her maisonette and after browbeating her for a couple of years she finally relented and my parents bought their first house when my father was 60 and my mother 50!
I was flabbergasted to discover that the council only valued the property at £38K! This was in 1986. As long-term Council house tenants they received a whopping discount of nearly 50% and bought the property for just £20K! I reckoned the property was worth £70K! A few years later they sold the property and bought a nice 3 bedroom semi-detached property in Chelmsford where my mother has lived happily ever since. Sadly my father died in 2012.
The interesting thing is that my mother had spent years scrimping and saving small amounts from discount shopping coupons whereas a huge money saving opportunity was literally on her doorstep yet she had overlooked it for a few years!
Now my mother was not foolish. Far from it. However, she didn’t grasp the opportunity until I persuaded her otherwise. Interestingly she said she was reluctant to buy the property because she didn’t think she would be able to sell it! Well their ground floor, 3 bedroom, 2 floor, terraced maisonette with a small garden is situated at the Shoreditch end of Hackney Road in Columbia Road. Shoreditch is now a trendy place to live. I estimate the property is now worth at least £750K and it is definitely sellable!
Interestingly I still observe many people who spend far too much time on saving very small sums of money yet spending little, if any, time in getting discounts on their larger purchase such as houses, home improvements, cars and holidays. It always surprises me. That, for me, is being penny wise and pound foolish which is really just code for poor time management.
Remember time, not money, is your most precious resource. It’s the one thing that diminishes minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day. You are only on this earth for a finite amount of time. Spend your time wisely and become Pound Wise and Penny Foolish. You know it makes sense.