Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Learning to Live without

I know a couple of people who want something different for their lives.  I imagine if you are reading this blog you'd like to live a good life and simultaneously improve your financial situation.  It's a goal that I have and for the most part, its the point of this blog.  I mean living inexpensively is great but I am also mindful of the fact that you never know how long you've got.  So I plan to live forever (investment wise) but live like I might die tomorrow (take time for myself & my family everyday).

Getting back to some of the people I know who want something different for their lives, in all of their cases they want something different to fall into their laps.  The chance of something like the lottery happening is pretty much non-existent. They have a better chance of dying on the road while driving to purchase the lottery ticket, than they do of winning on that lottery ticket.  There are other things that could happen hypothetically, a large inheritance for example or marrying a happy rich person....but again that happening is slim to none.   So the better thing to try is to make small steps to reach your goals and start today.  If you really believe in playing the lottery (don't let me stop you), but just don't put all your eggs in that basket.

If you have financial goals, the easiest thing to do is to learn to live without something.  If you go out to eat three times a week you could go out to eat twice a week a pocket the difference.  If you love coffee and go to starbucks, well make a gourmet coffee at home.  You could buy a timer so that you wake up to fresh roasted coffee and in a few months it would have paid for itself.  Starbucks is ridiculously priced, then again I am a rooibos kinda girl, so maybe I don't know what I am talking about in so far as coffee.  In any event, I still maintain that cutting one regular purchase, can give you a ton of money for your savings and investing goals.  This is something that really became apparent when I took my maternity leave.

While I went to graduate school I was working in a research medical clinic for around 35 hours a week plus I had classes and volunteer stuff I was doing.   Ultimately I found little time to cook, so I ate out a lot.  I don't eat out expensively, my typical lunch was 4 dollars and a typical dinner for me is around 12.  However the food court I went to for lunch was next to a clothing store I liked.  I only shopped in the clearance section so I did not spend a lot per item, but it all adds up, I approximate my expenses on that sort of stuff to be around 450 dollars a month.  Which maybe that is not a lot to you.  However that is like an ipod a month, or a large investment for me.  So even though I took a steep pay cut while out on mat leave, I actually was ahead financially because I had so few expenses.  I also stopped going to movies and comedy clubs.  It reminded me that maybe when I work I should work part time to be able to cook for my family and clean the house.  I don't think we're financially behind with that arrangement.  I learned to live without weekly trips to winners and eating out, which I maintained after returning to work.  Now that I started working at a new job that pays a living wage again, hopefully this means that now I should be ahead financially.

What about you?  What could you try to cut from your expenses to start reaching your financial goals?

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