Sunday, July 31, 2016

A money saving trick - the Ed Grazier Ten Year Plan

There are lots of tips and tricks for saving money, some good and some bad. One trick
that I like is the Ed Grazier Ten Year Plan. Who is Ed Grazier? Ed and his wife Rhena
have four daughters, with whom Heidi and I are friends. A few years ago Julie, one of the
Grazier sisters, told us about her Dad's ten year plan for buying a Ram truck. A number
of years ago he thought about how he would like a Ram truck, but, being a practical man,
he wanted to make sure he was not rushing into such a large purchase. He decided that if
he still wanted a Ram truck in ten years, he would buy one. Sure enough, he waited ten
years, and he still wanted a Ram truck. So he bought it.

I did something similar several years before I heard about the Ed Grazier Ten Year Plan.
Back in 2000-2001, I had access to company vehicle for 15 months. At the end of the 15
months I knew I would purchase another vehicle. Early on in that 15 month period I
decided I wanted a light pickup truck, either a Ford Ranger or a Chevy S-10. When the
time came to give back my company car, I decided against a truck and bought a used Mazda
Protege from some friends. Having time to decide made me realize that a truck would not
have been practical for my urban lifestyle.

A few years later I wanted an I-Pod but I made myself wait six months to see if I
still wanted one. At the end of the six months I wanted it more than ever. I still use
that I-Pod even though it is a technological dinosaur.

The Ed Grazier Ten Year Plan is a little extreme for most purchases but the principle is
sound. One reason so many people cannot get their finances in check is their inability to
master delayed gratification. The key to the plan is the bigger the purchase, the more
time a person should wait before making it. Give yourself six months before buying an
I-Pad or a Lego Millennium Falcon. Longer for trucks or motorcycles and similar items.
The pause in the purchasing process makes all the difference.

The main point of the plan is to think about spending habits and avoiding impulse
purchases. A nice byproduct of the plan is a lack of buyer's remorse. When someone slows
down and really puts thought in to a purchase, they have a better chance at being happy
with it.

The Ed Grazier Ten Year Plan does not apply to every financial decision. It is one tool
in a person's financial toolbox. Just think of all the unnecessary junk people have in
their garage and how much less they would have if they just slowed themselves down before
they bought that exercise bike that now serves as an expensive clothing rack.