I enjoy a lean lifestyle. I lived thriftily even when our economy prospered. Financial gurus love to advise people to cut back on expenses in this tough economy. However, there are common lifestyle changes you can incorporate to keep wallets full during hard times.
1. Count alcohol out
Now that I-1183 has passed, grocery stores want you to think that it is cheaper to buy privatized liquor. No matter how low the advertised price, the stores don’t include the high liquor tax on the advertisements.
2. No butts
People who smoke a pack of cigarettes a day are throwing away close to $10 a day. Plus they are ruining their health. Researchers have found that smokers take more sick days from work compared to non-smokers, not to mention that they cause others to inhale second hand smoke.
3. Buy jewelry, not shoes
I was once a panelist at a finance workshop years ago where I advised panelists to buy jewelry, not shoes. Shoes are not assets and they have no resale value. It’s fine to buy shoes at a reasonable price to satisfy a desire. Unfortunately, fancy high-heel shoes can cost a fortune these days, as much as $2,000.
Vanity always has a price. Wearing high heels for a prolonged amount of time is bad for the feet. I don’t wear them even though I’ve owned a pair for more than two decades. I’m not even sure why I still keep them.
Creating a dazzling appearance doesn’t really require an expensive pair of heels.
A former attendee at the panel I spoke at approached me later to show me her hand full of rings. I guess she practiced what I preached.
4. Color your own hair
I was shocked recently when my friend told me how much it cost to color her hair: $200. She goes to a salon every six weeks for touch ups. Why not do it yourself at home and save money and time?
5. Opt for a “stay-cation”
“Where are you going for vacation this summer?” a friend asked.
My general rule is to not travel during the summer. We enjoy the Seattle summers. Make the best of the gifts in your own backyard. Take a trip to the Cascades, Mt. Rainier, Mt. Baker, or Deception Pass, or organize barbecues and picnics around the Puget Sound. In Seattle, you can hike on the Burke-Gilman Trail, Alki Beach, Olympic Sculpture Park, Seward Park, Green Lake, and many more parks. These hikes are all free. While those in the East Coast are experiencing high temperatures, we can enjoy our temperate climate with beautiful views.
6. Debt is never a sound idea
If you have to borrow money to do something, I would advise you to think twice. High interest makes anything you buy twice as expensive and unmanageable. I still remember what the late Bob Chinn, founder of the United Savings & Loan Bank, said. “The cheapest way to buy anything is pay cash, owning it free and clear.”
There are some loans that are more necessary like house mortgage or school loans. However, take a moment to reconsider if you want to take a loan out for an Ivy League school. The University of Washington is just as good for an education, but costs much less. Having to pay back a mountain of debt can make life miserable.
7. Drink Tea, not coffee
It might be blasphemous to say this in Seattle, but a tea bag goes much farther and costs less than a latte. The price of a daily cup of Joe can add up quickly. (end)
More tips to come in next week’s issue!