Slay the ‘Little Extravagances’ and Improve Your Finances

by Steve and Annette Economides
Slay Extravagances to Improve Financial Futute photo

Are sacred cows hurting your financial future? Learn how to slay the little extravagances to improve your finances and your financial future.

In years past, when we helped people one-on-one with their finances, we regularly saw one scenario repeatedly: The Sacred Cow.

In India, many people consider cows to be sacred. Bovines freely roam the streets and countryside, nosing through rubbish and gently begging food from passers-by. While millions around them go hungry, they are untouched, free to consume all they desire.

What is an Economiser Sacred Cow?

An Economiser Sacred Cow is a term we used whenever we encounter a “luxury” item that folks who were struggling financially were unwilling to sacrifice on the altar of fiscal responsibility.

All of us have things that might be called “little extravagances.” And if you have your finances in order, with savings in the bank and debt under control, you can freely enjoy these blessings, guilt-free. But if you are living paycheck to paycheck, or dodging creditors, then read on. Eliminating sacred cows can help lower monthly expenses and may even take you from deficit spending to a wonderful surplus.

Examples of Sacred Cows

Here are a few sacred cows we’ve seen. If any cause you to cringe or toss your computer across the room, we apologize in advance for hitting a sore spot. The list includes cable TV or an excessive number of streaming services (if you can’t pay your other bills, then this is a luxury), bottled water or a water cooler, the spa or health club membership, buying lunch out everyday, first showings of the latest movies, acrylic nails (sorry ladies) and season tickets to your favorite sports team.

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Financial Sacred Cows

Even investments such as 401(k)s or IRAs can be sacred cows, especially if they keep you from meeting your monthly obligations. We’ve seen families investing large percentages of their income while struggling to make the house payment. This list could go on forever (but we’ve probably offended most of your already, so we’ll stop now). In reality, there is nothing wrong with any one of these things, unless you’re behind in paying utility or other bills, scrounging for food money each week or just making minimum payments on your credit cards.

What ‘Little Extravagances’ Can You Slay?

It takes courage to identify an expense that you’re willing to sacrifice, but there is hope. We once had a friend who finally gave up his daily newspaper habit, saving $30 each month, only to discover that someone brought it to the office everyday to share for free!

So, what are you waiting for? Get a rope. We’ve got to get that cow to the altar.

Reviewed March 2024

About the Authors

Steve and Annette Economides are authors of America’s Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money: Your Guide to Living Better, Spending Less, and Cashing in on Your Dreams (A New York Times Best Seller). Visit them at

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