I used to do Crossfit. Past tense. I recently had to quit, not because I didn’t like it (I loved it) but because my wallet couldn’t handle the pressure. At $150 a month, it was arguably one of the most expensive gyms (or boxes, as the crossfit community calls their gyms) in the area. That’s saying something for Los Angeles. The truth was that although my waistline and my mind were getting a great workout, my wallet was struggling to keep up. For someone as cost conscious as me, the knowledge that I was spending $1800 a year on working out was troublesome. I knew I could get a gym membership nearby for only $40 a month, a huge savings, but I was reluctant. I enjoyed the community and the camaraderie too much to leave.
Eventually, though, I did leave and my wallet and bank account thanked me for it. I’m still working out, albeit not quite as crazily as before, and in general living a good quality life. So this got me thinking: what are items in our lives that we pay a premium for that aren’t entirely necessary OR have substitutes that are cost efficient? Crossfit was an expensive, albeit effective, version of going to the gym. What else could I cut out of my budget in order to save money?
I’ll be honest, I don’t have internet. I don’t steal it, no no no. I have free wifi in the lobby of my building and publish from there. And I don’t have cable either. I get movies or shows from netflix and go to town on those. So where on earth could I cut back on?
Eventually it fell to two areas: food (alcohol included) and my car. Food and drink I’ve been working on cutting back on anyway so now I’m looking into maybe refinancing my car or switching it for a lease (shudder). Right now my car costs me a HUGE amount of money each month, almost $500. Ridiculous. However, I was desperate at the time. My Jetta had a failing transmission (the second time in the year I owned it) and I needed something reliable. Rather than playing the game I swung for the fences and bought a 2007 Acura RDX. It’s by far my favorite car that I’ve ever owned but it is WAY too expensive. I get serious buyers remorse over it. Even worse, watching the value sink every month kills me just a little bit.
So, even though I love the car, I’m constantly on the lookout for a good lease or a cheap option, something I could just put some cash down for. The way I look at it, I’m wasting thousands of dollars a year on this car. Granted I’d love to have it for 10 years but something tells me that I need to be more realistic about my money now. I mean, time value of money IS important. I don’t want to give up thousands of dollars in future side income from investments (or a house) just because I bought a car that was too expensive. That would be ridiculous.
Have you ever had buyers remorse? Have you ever taken a look at your finances and found good substitutes for your major (or minor) monthly expenses? Let me know!