10 Things to Buy Today to Save Money for Tomorrow



We like to think of frugality as a linear event where we save a few dollars here in order to compound that amount down the road. However, saving money isn’t always as easy as a linear event. Lots of things we do today will save us money down the road. Here are a list of things that can save money for tomorrow if you splurged on it today.

1) Floss

A funny tidbit about flossing: 62% of wealthy people floss everyday according to Rich Habits 1. According to Rich Habits, 62% of rich people said that they floss everyday whereas only 16% of poor people admitted to flossing everyday.

Flossing your teeth once a day reduces inflammation. Schedule a dental cleaning because oral health matters to your overall health. Yes I know, a string tucked between teeth is unattractive. But my husband flosses his teeth routinely and religiously…and you know what? His dentist told him during his last visit to come just once a year now instead of twice a year. I’m so jealous!

Looks like taking care of your smile and flossing is already paying off!

 2) Sunscreen

Sunscreen is essential as a preventative measure against aging. Admittedly, sunscreen grosses me out. There’s a tin-y texture to it that if I put on my face, I will smell it constantly for the rest of the day. But sunscreen is good for you and can reduce risk of skin cancer down the road. I don’t put on sunscreen enough. Thankfully I live in Seattle where sunlight exposure is negotiable as long as I continue my blogging schedule of 12AM to 4 AM Pacific. Did you know that anything over 35 SPF is unnecessary? Those 75 SPFs are marketing more for paranoia than utility.

I don’t want to see wrinkles and dark spots on my face either ten or twenty years from now. What you do to your skin today matters tomorrow. If you are not a heavy sweater but hate the smell of traditional sunscreen, I would recommend getting those spray ons. Either way, slather it on because you’ll thank yourself later (and me, don’t forget me. ;p)

 3) Insurance

Insurance is an ugly topic but it’s as important as paying your utility bills. Picture a one-income family with children and a mortgage who just lost the family breadwinner. Not only will the children and spouse be emotionally devastated but if there’s debt and your family will be financially ruined. Besides the skyrocketing medical bills and additional emotional toll – funeral are very expensive too. Get a good life insurance for the loves of your life!!!

4) A College Degree

Order, order in the court!

*Slams my rubber gavel*

I like our higher education system as much as the next student loan ridden, underemployed millennial here. There is no way you can convince me that my major needed a class on Homer’s Iliad to become a well rounded adult. I could have just watched Troy with naked Brad Pitt in it and gotten the gist of the story. I could have saved myself a few thousand dollars per credit right there.

But I’m looking at the statistics and as of right now, college graduates are still making higher salaries than their high school counterparts so it is (statistically) more worth it to be a college graduate 2. Although it seems college is expensive, colleges are a business. In fact, it’s a very profitable business. The ball is in higher ed’s court and they get to name the price essentially because the demand is there. You can up the employment odds if you study a major that doesn’t depend on high education to give jobs.

Related: How I Paid Off $20,000 in Student Loans While Working Part-Time

5) Early Holiday Shopping

Christmases and birthdays happen every year. Even weddings give you a few months of heads up. There shouldn’t be such a common thing as: “oh no! Christmas is next month and I don’t have money to buy presents!


Christmas is not a surprise guys! It happens every year in the end of December. Therefore, with proper planning, Christmas also shouldn’t be detriment to your bank account.

Instagram has a large debt-free community. It’s only September and there’s already Christmas financial planning taking place within by the community. It’s a very proud sight!

We’re about 2 months away from Christmas. Setting aside money now from every paycheck until Christmas won’t feel like a financial burden for the family. Plus, holiday sales are overblown. Good deals happen year round so it’s good to keep your eyes open and active. I happily purchased my Christmas gifts back in May. Jared, my husband, on the other hand is still empty-handed right now. Last year, he made a pass to piggyback on my gifts by trying to sneak his name on the card.

Dirty rotten punk.

He scrambled something together last-minute but it was painful to watch him panic. He hasn’t learned his lesson yet…and I am still not sharing!!!

P.S. while I was writing this, we booked a sweet deal on an one-way-flight on Christmas Day to California. It was less than $150 for TWO adults with a free checked bag! Lucky ducky! Last year we paid $250 in October of around this time!

6) Fruits & Vegetables

Healthy living goes hand in hand with frugality. Have you guys noted the latest price on tobacco? Yikes. The worst excuse in the book is the person who claims they are not financially well enough to partake in the daily recommended servings of fruits and vegetables. The breakdown for an average serving of fruit is around 50 cents. What can you get that’s as filling or healthy at McDonald’s for 50 cents? Bananas are even cheaper at less than 30 cents per cup. Apples are less than 60 cents per cup. Wallet un-friendly fruits like strawberries run up to about $2 a cup in comparison but no one said they mattered more than any fruit or vegetables. Eating in season helps keep cost down.

7) A Home

Being a homeowner certainly isn’t easy; it’s a lot of elbow grease actually. In fact, it’s troublesome. Check out half of the things we had to fix within our first few years of home ownership. But there are a lot of great benefits in living and owning a primary residence. Those things include tax-free appreciations up to $250K/$500K, mortgage interest tax deduction and of course, owning a physical asset that will be able to provide basic shelter.

8) Home Maintenance

This one can cover a lot of ground. Jared and I are thinking about adding more insulation to the attic right above our bedroom. We also took a quick walking tour of our house and noted areas of missing paint, exposed wood and rusting nails. All signs that our humble abode would need a new coat of paint very soon. One of the biggest thing to owning a home is being able to take care of it before small issues become big ones. The wood around our door trim that is beginning to rot will cause more issues later if we don’t make an effort to install a french drain.

9) Eco Appliances

LED bulbs are all the rage although they tend to be pricier than the standard incandescent bulbs. LEDs are lighter energy consumers which means bigger savings in your pockets later on. Jared and I went to Home Depot and we slapped down a few more dollars for the LED light bulb box than the CFL bulbs. NEST (or any smart programmable thermostat) is another great bet here. My husband scored a Nest thermostat 6 months ago for only $50 using coupons issued by the city of Seattle. I’m sure our county is not the only one that offers big rebates like this – wherever you are – to web search to see if there’s any similar coupons in your locality.

Related: 12 Things I’ve Stopped Buying That’s Saving Me & The Planet

10) Gardening

Basic gardening tools can run up to $50 and a good weekend of time for the initial set up. But growing a small backyard garden enables you to grown your own food which saves more money down the road. Even a few productive plants can provide fantastic savings to your grocery budget.

That doesn’t necessary involve having a garden. I started growing scallion stalks in my kitchen (window sill) that I would have thrown away otherwise. We put them in unused drinking glasses with a little water. Whoo, boy, do they grow fast! I was able to cut down on buying scallions by 50% since every bulb grows a new scallion! It sounds silly but it does add up. Scallions are 99 cents for 2 bundles at my nearby grocery store. Each bundle has 3 or 4 healthy stalks with bulbs. My family uses a bundle of scallions everyday because we’re Asian and Asians love scallions. It’s about 48 cents per bundle after credit card hacking with my Citi Double Cash. If I regrow a bunch of bulbs at least once, I save 48 cents. 48 cents x a year…we would save $170 PER YEAR on a garnish!

*War cry*

Frugalityyyyyyyyy ’til the very enddddd.



  1. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/14642813-rich-habits
  2. http://www.deltacostproject.org/sites/default/files/products/Delta%20Cost_Trends%20College%20Spending%202001-2011_071414_rev.pdf

27 thoughts on “10 Things to Buy Today to Save Money for Tomorrow”

  • Shopping early! Man, I try to tell people. We budget it every month starting in October. My goal is to actually spread it out even more, as I can find some good deals on things for the kids or nieces and nephews all year around. We typically don’t spend a ton, but since we don’t buy gifts much for the kids during the year, I get to buy them here. Our rule is 3 gifts each for our kids. Plus a stocking. Setting a limit on how many presents to buy your kids is very important, as if you don’t, you will just keep adding to the stack!
    Gardening is huge too. My family always had a garden growing up, and my parents still do. They freeze tons of veggies for winter, and it makes a huge difference for them. And when I was young, we were poor. So those garden veggies were hugely important to a decent meal at night! (although I was not into beans…had to sit at the table for hours sometimes because I refused to eat them 🙁 )
    These are all great tips Lily!! Thanks!!

    • Love your tips Ember! I didn’t know your childhood was like that, very inspiring where you guys are at now! (Also, 1000% agree, beans are gross.)

  • Whoo I love this post! Super helpful. I am a SUPER fan of fresh fruit (and veggies to a smaller extent). I HAVE to have some fruit after every meal or I’ll feel like my meal is not complete. I can do without cookies and all the sweet stuff, but please give me my juicy fruit!

    I’ve seen pins and posts about Christmas, and it’s 3 months away! Wow! Mr. FAF and I usually don’t buy anything for Christmas hehe. We’ve been talking about decorating our house now that our family is reunited and it’ll be our first Xmas together as a family. I’m thinking of buying a fake Christmas tree so that we can reuse it next year. Hmm planning….
    Ms. Frugal Asian Finance recently posted…The Pros and Cons of Living in An Expensive City

  • You’re damn straight scallions are a staple in my kitchen! Totally agree on flossing and sunscreen. I wish someone taught me to wear sunscreen when I was a pre-teen. Now I probably wouldn’t have sunspots all over the place if I had started then.

    My parents didn’t have life insurance when my dad passed away. Day-to-day money was fine, but I realized later that we probably could have used the money for a private college. I went to public because I didn’t want to be in debt forever.
    The Luxe Strategist recently posted…Five Things I Learned Taking a Break from New York City

    • I have freckles and sunspots! Boo.

      My parents doesn’t have any either. I went to a small private school, it was eh, for the price I wish I gone public!

  • Good call on all these things.
    Home maintenance is such a huge PITA. I gotta run to home depot today to get some light bulbs and wood patching compound. The trim on the roof at our rental has a hole in the corner so I need to patch it. The rental is close to restaurants and they have rat problems…

  • I bought my first few Christmas presents last week and was feeling pretty proud of myself. I did get carried away and set a lofty goal of completing all my shopping by Thanksgiving (which is next weekend up here in Canada), and that’s not looking positive…but early is definitely better!

    I might have to argue with you about the gardening! Every years I get all inspired to plant a killer garden, but I’m not sure I’ve ever actually made my money back. Let’s just say I don’t have the greenest thumb ever.
    Sarah | Smile & Conquer recently posted…10 Free Things I’m Loving Right Now

  • I scored a cheap flight by buying now for the future during the worst travel days there are (Christmas and Boxing Day). And floss! It took me 26 years to get into the habit, but it helps so much it’s unbelievable. Very unbelievable. I encourage anyone for do it for just a month! I got a cleaning over 6 months ago and they still have that slightly-rough just-cleaned feeling!

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