A much beloved music professor where I went to college was known among his students for the phrase, “If you’re not early, you’re late.” This is a good thing to remember not just in terms of getting to the places you need to be in a timely fashion. It applies to matters of money as well.
It occurred to me this weekend when I attended a couple of music concerts (as I am known to do). I always order tickets to these things in advance. The friend I was with said, “Oh…I just thought we’d buy them at the door.” The thing about concert tickets is that if you buy them at the door, they are typically more expensive than if you buy in advance. And also, you don’t have to worry about the potential for a sold out show. A sold out show means you either miss out on the event you wanted to attend, or you pay even higher after market resale prices. Neither is a good option in my opinion. And when you are dealing with music festivals (my favorite summer pastime) the savings is even greater. Festivals usually use tiered pricing, so the earlier you buy, the less your ticket will cost. It is a little weird that I already hold tickets for four summer festivals…two of which haven’t announced a lineup yet? Not in my mind. I know the lineups will end up being something I will enjoy, and I purchased my tickets at the lowest available price. And if something goes awry in my life, I’ll easily be able to sell the tickets at my cost after the price has gone up. If you’re not early, you’re late.
This also applies to the purchase of food. If you plan ahead, you can buy groceries and make healthy meals and pack a bag lunch. If you don’t plan ahead, you end up buying fast food on the fly. You end up with food that is not as good for you with a much higher cost. If you’re not early, you’re late.
How about car maintenance? Changing the oil regularly is a fact of life. A quick $25 maintenance every 5,000 miles, and it protects your engine from undue wear. If you don’t change the oil regularly it can cause serious damage to the engine and cost you thousands of dollars. Air pressure in the tires is the same concept. You can fill your tires for free at your local Sheetz. But if you don’t maintain proper pressure, your tires can wear unevenly and cause the need for new tires much faster than if you had just maintained the pressure regularly. If you’re not early, you’re late.
I could go on and on about things that save you a lot of money if you are early rather than late. Buying airline tickets. Paying your bills on time. Maintaining things in your house, like your water heater and your dryer vent and your gutters. The list is endless.
I enjoy procrastination as much as anyone else. But the reality of life is, if you’re not early, you’re late.