Friday, December 15, 2006

Don't Cut These Five Corners

When to spend and where to save? It's hard to split a penny, but we pay more in the long term if we low-ball certain pockets of our budgets. That's the wisdom behind a past post from Flexo
at www.consumerismcommentary and a more recent post from Liz Pulliam at MSN, who wrote a piece called 10 Things You Can't Afford to Skimp On.

Flexo's list of 10 included: preventive health care, tax preparation, and shoddy wardrobe. Here's a sample:

Saving money by taking advantage of tens of thousands of dollars in 0% credit card balance transfer offers to gain a few hundred dollars, but being offered a higher mortgage percentage rate because of the temporary decrease in your credit score, costing thousands.--Flexo

Pulliam's List includes many of the same items such as: "classic clothing," and "health" She also adds sections on car maintenance and family safety vs thrift.

In that spirit, I've created:

Five Uncuttable Corners

1. Family vacations. Even if you have no money, become a tourist in your own town. There are many free civic and community events that will make you and your kids feel like you are on a holiday.

One of my best vacations was a family cruise with my parents and siblings in honor of my mom's recent 70th birthday. The value of those memories is priceless and my parents were generous enough to make our tickets a gift. Thanks M&D. Love you guys!

We also had a great vacation at a high-end resort in Miami. We went off-season and scored a $600-a-night room for about $149.

And I've also taken advantage of no and low-cost community activities in Southern Florida. It's not the money, or the place, but the time spent together.

2. Preventive health: Eat organic vegetables, exercise and be aggressive about healthcare & checkups. I take Yoga classes to reduce stress, a factor in many illnesses.

3. Home computer system: For work, kids, and recreation, a home computer system is invaluable.

4. Home gourmet coffee set-up; I love Starbucks, Cuban coffee and other caffeinated treats, but I spend less for take-out coffee because we have an excellent home set-up, including fresh beans, a bean crusher and a French-press coffee maker. The savings far exceed the $40-plus investment.

5. Buy a home. This is my big regret. Living in a beautiful ocean-view apartment with a cheap rent had a hidden downside. We were too lazy and too comfortable to buy a home. Now the $200,000 home we almost purchased is selling for about $1 million. Don't make my mistake.



The Frugal Duchess Boutique

No comments: