Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Reduce Spending without Sacrificing Lifestyle #5 - Enjoy What You Already Have

We've started tightening our belts in the My Wealth Builder household. Our target is to reduce our annual expenditures by 5% without any reduction in our current lifestyle. Our first idea was to eliminate waste , i.e. money that's spent on goods and services but not effectively used. Our second idea was to buy below the regular price. Our third idea was to take advantage of free offerings. Our fourth idea is choose only the options we need when making a purchase. Our fifth, and final, approach is to enjoy what we already have:

  • Home Recreation. I confess, I am guilty of acquiring a few home recreation items, which have seen limited use over the past few years. They include a pool table and a Foosball table. I enjoyed playing these games in my college days and thought they would be fun to have in our recreation room. However, I now realized one can't recreate the fun times from the past:-)

    I don't feel as bad about the hot tub and jacuzzi which were part of the house we purchased five years ago. However, they are still available and relatively unused by our family.

    For some reason, we don't think of these options when deciding on entertainment or fun things to do. Part of the reason is that our four year old daughter cannot easily participate in some of these.

    This year, we will consciously think of the existing recreation options when considering entertainment activities for the family.

  • Memberships. It's easy to not fully utilize memberships, because we don't feel any urgency to do the activity We've now let most of our memberships expire and have only maintained two -- my company health club and a local water park.

    At this point, I am getting full use of the health club membership. The club trainers have developed a strength program, which I have been doing three times a week. I have been doing some cardio training on the off days. I will have used the facility 100% of the open days in February, which is only weekdays since it is only open on workdays. My spouse is currently using the facility 2 days a week.

    I am looking forward to the water park this summer. I hope to take our daughter there at least 3 days a week.

  • Visit local attractions. Like memberships, there never seems to be an urgency to see the local attractions where one lives. I grew up near Washington, D.C. and only visited the national attractions a few times while living there. Now, I wish I had visited a museum at least once a month while I had the luxury of doing so

    While we currently don't have the offerings of a Washington, D.C., there are still many local attractions which could fill up several years if we chose to visit one or two a month.
  • Writing this post has helped me remember that there are lots of entertainment opportunities that somehow aren't fully used by us in our daily lives. Since we already have them, we can reduce spending by just using them more often :-)

    For more on The Practice of Personal Finance, check back every Wednesday for a new segment.

    This is not financial or entertainment advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

    Copyright © 2009 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

    No comments: