CNN Money seems to have switched its focus from “Millionaires in the Making” to “Extreme Savers,” and today they have an article about Greg and Tara Black. They earn $48,000 and live in Charlottesville, Virginia.
They shop at Kohls and JC Penney for clothing, as I do. Their entertainment comes mainly from Netflix, of which I am a member. However, I’m lazy about watching the movies and returning them. I can get more for my monthly $15 if I get around to watching the DVDs. On top of Netflix, I also have basic cable, for which I pay $16 each month.
Even though Tara doesn’t have a job, she stays at home and manages their money while keeping track of every purchase, making a job within itself. “It works out better in terms of money because she’s here working the numbers and managing the money and we don’t have to spend on other things like another car and gas,” Greg said.
They dine out only two or three times a month, so our similarities end there. If I discipline myself, I can start cooking (and eating healthier) rather than ordering dinner and going out to lunch every day. Lately, I’ve accepted my behavior as a “tragic flaw” as I’ve failed at every attempt to get into the habit of saving money on food.
Despite Greg and Tara’s saving, they find enjoyable things to do together. It sounds like they’re not missing out on life by taking this approach to saving money. If we are going to live on Earth, I think it’s important to enjoy life, and occasionally doing so will cost more money than one might budget. This is why I don’t keep a strict spending plan. I only plan on living once. Since I’ve never considered myself an “extremist,” it’s the balance between enjoyment and saving I try to seek.
Updated January 16, 2010 and originally published November 16, 2006.