And for me one passion is travel. So, as you read this I will likely be driving north on I-94 to St. Paul, Minnesota. For the first time since becoming a mother (four years on August 18th), I am taking a Girls Weekend with a dear friend. We opted for St. Paul because the weekend coincides with a 5k run. The hotel I selected is on the river and is the site of the event. I booked the room, no coupon, no discount. Ease was what I wanted, and it is what I'm getting. No rushing to find parking. Just get up, go downstairs, and run.
If I lived every day that way, and executed every financial transaction that way, this would likely not be feasible. So, after my weekend on the river, I will return to Madison and my frugal ways. If you want to free up space in your budget for indulgences, consider the following big picture frugal methods:
- rent housing if the price per square foot is less than owning (we rented for several years, right through the bubble, holding off because rent was less expensive than owning);
- if you take out a mortgage, take it out for 50% less than what the bank wants to loan you;
- challenge property assessments if you bought during the bubble. Ours was lowered and saved us several thousand a year;
- drive a reliable, older car (a 7 year old Honda and 9 year old Mazda reside in our garage). Paid for in full, there are no interest payments to worry about and insurance savings considerable;
- be a one car household if you can (we were for the first 4 years of marriage, adding the second because of a change in work habits that made biking simply impossible for my husband);
- borrow or rent instead of own as much as possible (extend the lending library concept to anything you can);
- determine what you can spend money on that will allow you to make money (for me this was hiring a college student to do basic administrative tasks in my legal office, freeing up hours in which I could see more clients); and
- buy used -- from clothing to books to cars to homes, you realize a steep discount once the shine has worn off.
With that I leave you to your weekend. Thanks for reading, and I'll be back next week with more thoughts on frugal living.