Save money by overcoming the inconvenience barrier

A while back I bid on a new Keurig coffee machine at a silent auction.  I bid $80 and won.  (They went for $120 new.)

Predictably, the $40 savings went out the window in only a few weeks with the additional amount we began to spend on the little K-Cups.

It’s such a convenience to just pop one of the cups in there, listen to the little pump suck water from the reservoir, heat it up, and finally force it through the coffee grounds.  And for someone who isn’t terribly discerning when it comes to coffee, it’s not bad.

But dang, the cost of those K-cups adds up fast!  Even the large packages of K-Cups at Costco doesn’t make the things cheap; they still are over thirty cents apiece.  With as many as I would use in a day, I might as well have bought a drink every day from Starbucks!

Overcoming the inconvenience barrier

Why did I put up with this outflow of money for so long?  Aside from the obvious answer (“I was a dummy”), it boils down to not wanting to give up a convenience that I had now.  We had a couple of reusable Ekobrew cups, but they just weren’t as convenient as the disposable ones.  So, I resisted using them.

I call this the “inconvenience barrier.”  Here are some more examples:

  • Going from eating out to dining in.  Even fast food has the advantage that you’re not the one cooking it.  It’s hot and ready to go without you even so much as pushing COOK on a microwave.
  • Going from cable TV to basic, or less.  Even if there’s nothing worth watching, just having the variety available at your fingertips is a convenience.
  • Reducing the heat in winter and reducing the A/C in summer.  What you choose to wear (or not wear) in your residence in the middle of winter is your business, but you have fewer reasonable options if you’re not letting the inside temperature go above 62 degrees.

For many things, the inconvenience barrier isn’t really that much of a barrier.  We make it out to be a lot bigger than it actually is.

A few weeks ago, I decided to start using the Ekobrews we had bought.  This was after watching a full 100-count Costco box get consumed in about 2 1/2 weeks.

Since both my wife and I were using the Ekobrews now, and since we only had two of them, we were constantly washing the grounds out of them.  I found a deal on Amazon for four more of them for $24, and six of them works pretty well for what we drink.  Cleaning them out six at a time isn’t too bad.

Given what we were drinking, the four extra Ekobrews will pay for themselves in about a month.

I won’t have trouble getting used to that!

What about you?  Did you have anything that you just couldn’t bear to give up because of the perceived inconvenience?

John Wedding

Husband. Father. Web publisher. Musician. John has blogged at Mighty Bargain Hunter since 2005, helping people to recognize life's good deals.

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