That's right I said it ... all you frugal folks, please don't faint ;- ).
I've been living this philosophy for many many years, perhaps a couple decades. It fits with my no budget philosophy. Now, I can't take credit for this phrase, it's the cornerstone to a 6-step strategy in a great book I picked up at Borders recently. The book is called All Your Worth by Elizabeth Warren and Amelia Warren Tyagi. It's an oldie (from 2005), but definitely a goody that you should take a look at.
For folks that consider themselves frugal or thrifty, this might sound like sacrilege to a frugal lifestyle. But, give it a minute to sink in and you'll realize that it really fits quite nicely with frugal living. This philosophy of counting the dollars and not the pennies, just simply means being frugal about all the big ticket items that you 'must have' and spend on reguarly (i.e. insurance, mortgage, rent, car, etc.). You see, you stand to save huge dollars by taking a bite out of your monthly expenses when you can take a bite out of these items.
I love chatting investing, personal finance, deals, frugality, etc. with friends. Many of them get a little preachy and naggy with me about spending here and spending there. My come back for decades has been something along the lines of "I focus on Saving Dollars, not Cents! ... So, tell me, Did you max out your 401K last year?". I then procede to tell them how they can be saving big money by investing a little more sensibly when they invest in stocks (maxing out their 401k, using stop-losses, knowing when they're going to sell a stock before they buy it, getting a mortgage to save on taxes, etc.). All these things are big big ticket items that can save all of us $thousands$ a year.
So, the next time your friend nags or preaches to you about why you don't use coupons or don't seem to be as frugal or penny-conscious as them ... ask them this simple question and if their answer is yes, then listen to them they've probably got the dollars and cents stuff already figured out :- ). My simple question back at them is always
Did you max out your 401K last year and this year?
If they answered no, then give them a little education that's going to save them thousands this year and next and then learn what you can from them about pinching-pennies :- )...