9 ways Star Wars can inspire you to save money.
Ok, so I admit it; I’m a Star Wars geek (although I’m certainly not alone). I was watching my favorite of the original trilogy last night, The Empire Strikes Back, when I had an epiphany. A moment of clarity, if you will. These Star Wars Jedi and rebels know a thing or three about frugality. And now I’m going to let you in on my fairly pointless, but fun, revelation.
The astute amongst you will notice I’m referring only to the good guys. The Empire is anti-frugality in almost every way. They build enormous, no-expense-spared Death Stars; they have fancy shiny uniforms; they own the latest technology; they’re not exactly thrifty. But the good guys, well, that’s another story.
Of course, this is all to be taken with an enormous grain of salt, but here’s where I found my inspiration (and if you’re not a Star Wars fan, some of this will sound really odd):
1) They do their own maintenance and repairs.
Rebels don’t take the x-wing into the local Space Lube Garage. They do their own repairs. Chewbacca can fix a light-speed drive with his own two hairy hands. Next time you’re ready to hand over $30 for an oil-change, consider doing it yourself for less than half the price.
2) They build things from scratch.
Anakin built his own droid and pod racer from scratch. Luke made his own lightsaber; probably because he couldn’t pop down to Jedi-Mart for an off-the-shelf number, but still, it’s a good lesson. My dad would build things for our home instead of buying them; we were never short of a coffee-table or shelf-system. It’s not ideal for everyone, but if you’re handy, get busy. You’ll save lots of cash.
3) They find multiple uses for objects.
A lightsaber is not just a defensive weapon; it’s also a handy tool for heating water, melting metal doors, killing bugs (they love that blue light) and even chopping wood. Alton Brown from Good Eats won’t buy anything for his kitchen unless it has multiple uses. Consider that next time you buy a one-use item; could something else, maybe something you already own, do the job just as well?
4) They share.
Han Solo was happy(ish) to let Lando Calrissian take the Falcon into battle. The Jedi share their knowledge and their training…there’s never a charge to learn Jedi skills. I think that’s more than applicable in this day and age. Become a mentor to someone who needs your help, or get involved in ride-sharing and save some gas, money and the environment. It may sound all old and hippie-like, but so what. It’s good for everyone.
5) They recycle.
How many owners did C3PO and R2D2 have? They just kept getting handed down through the years. Old droids were ravaged for parts and turned into new droids. Lightsabers were kept in the family. And even the Star Wars storylines were recycled from ancient myths and legends. One easy way to get into recycling is to check out freecycle.org , it’s a great resource.
6) They barter.
One of the best ways to be frugal is to barter; don’t take face value for anything, and don’t be satisfied with a good deal when you can get a great deal. Han Solo did his fair share of bartering; Chewbacca just had to growl to make people reconsider the terms; Kenobi was great at playing the haggling game (but then again he was using the Force, something you won’t have access to just yet.) Still, there’s nothing to stop you negotiating next time you’re at a local flea market or even a regular retail store. You’d be surprised at what the manager will throw in for free if you’re buying a big box item like a new TV or washing machine. And always try for free shipping.
7) They don’t give a hoot about costly fashions.
The bad guys have it going on. Slick black or white outfits, shiny shoes, cool helmets. They know how to be evil in style. But the rebels? C’mon, most of the Jedi knights dress in brown sack-cloths with hoods because, well, they have risen far above fashion. “Care not do we for such trivial pursuits” as Yoda might say. It’s said that Einstein had 12 sets of identical outfits so that he didn’t have to expend any thought on fashion. I buy all of my clothes in the sales, I buy out of season styles and I’ve bought clothes at charity stores. I’m not quite ready for brown cloaks just yet though.
8) They protest.
If the Empire represents big corporate interests, the rebels are out there protesting in every movie. They’re not ready to lie down and take any of the Empire’s BS. Similarly, protesting is another great aspect of frugality. When consumers get together and raise a stink over bad customer service, wrongful charges, poor products or deceptive advertising, good things can happen; Just ask The Consumerist .
9) They don’t need expensive entertainment.
There’s nothing wrong with game or two of a Dejarik Holochess (don’t play with a Wookie, he may pull your arms off). Sitting around a campfire or chatting with friends over a bubbling drink is also popular. And why not? I think we often get caught up in wanting bigger, better nights out but I still like the simple forms of entertainment. I just found a great deal on Deluxe Scrabble…add a bottle of $10 wine and my wife and I will spend a few hours enjoying the game and the company.
By the way, Amazon has Dejarik Holochess (kind of) for under $50. A nice collectible for any Star Wars geek…like me.
So, there you have it. A bit of fun, but with a point I think. Saving money is not just confined to our humble planet…it’s in every corner of the galaxy. May the savings be with you.
This post is dedicated to Greg Go (thanks for the Star Wars gift my fine fellow).