I recently ran across this quote from the play of Terry Pratchett’s Men at Arms:
“The reason that the rich were so rich, Vimes reasoned, was because they managed to spend less money.
“Take boots, for example. He earned thirty-eight dollars a month plus allowances. A really good pair of leather boots cost fifty dollars. But an affordable pair of boots, which were sort of OK for a season or two and then leaked like hell when the cardboard gave out, cost about ten dollars. Those were the kind of boots Vimes always bought, and wore until the soles were so thin that he could tell where he was in Ankh-Morpork on a foggy night by the feel of the cobbles.
“But the thing was that good boots lasted for years and years. A man who could afford fifty dollars had a pair of boots that’d still be keeping his feet dry in ten years’ time, while the poor man who could only afford cheap boots would have spent a hundred dollars on boots in the same time and would still have wet feet.
“This was the Captain Samuel Vimes ‘Boots’ theory of socioeconomic unfairness.”
Examples of this are everywhere. I spent money for a house, which happens to have room for an extra freezer, for which I also spent extra, which allows me to save money by stocking up on certain foods and freezing them for later. If I’d had an extra two thousand bucks handy at the time I was building my house, I could have installed radiant in-floor heating in my basement and saved a good deal on my heating bill every winter.
In many cases, in order to save money by spending less you actually have to start with more money.