Thursday, April 23, 2009

Take Advantage

Saving Money Tip #124 - Take Advantage. Opportunities present themselves in many different ways throughout life. It is best to take advantage of these opportunities with regards to saving money. If you live in the country, take advantage of all of the land around you and go out for picnics, go on hikes, pick edible wild berries, or go on a bike ride. All of these activities are free. If you live in the city, take advantage of all of the sights – museums, capitol buildings, statues, walks, or concerts. Most of these activities are free as well. If you are young, take advantage of your youth and walk where you need to go, ride bikes for exercise, play sports with friends, and use your imagination to have fun. If you are elderly, take advantage of your free time by reading, writing, creating, or cooking. If you work, take advantage of the opportunities presented to you through your office – holiday parties, employee picnics, or business trips. If you stay at home, take advantage of what’s around you – learn to cook or sew or enjoy activities in your town or city. If it is raining, take advantage of indoor activities. If it is sunny, take advantage of outdoor ones.

If we take advantage of the opportunities that are presented to us, then we will save money. If we seek out other ways to spend our time, we will spend more money. For example, a person who lives out in the country can spend the day on a nature hike. This is free. However, if he wants to visit a museum, he will have to drive to the city – spending money on gas. If a person in the city wants to go on a nature walk, he would have to drive out to the country – spending money on gas. Instead, he could do a city walk for free.

If a person works full-time and wants to learn how to cook, he would have to squeeze in time on weekends or after a full day at the office. If a person is a homemaker, learning to cook is a natural opportunity. On the other hand, a person who stays home who wants to travel to a new city would spend a lot of money getting there and while they are there, while a person who works may presented with the opportunity to go on a business trip and will see a new city as a benefit.

An elderly person may mourn the lost opportunities of his youth to learn how to play baseball, but could easily learn how to play the piano. A young person can take advantage of all of his energy and play sports, while putting off learning to knit for a time when she has less energy. The opportunity of a rainy day may be a good time to learn to knit or practice your writing, while a sunny day would be a great time to garden or take a walk

I am not saying you should never do those things that cost money or that are more of an effort. But I often find, that when people are looking for things to do, they look outside their homes or communities and beyond their abilities, when there are many opportunities right nearby or easier to attain. Why not start with those first?

In Real Life (IRL) My husband had two back-to-back business trips this past week. One was in Arizona. He was able to take advantage of this trip and extend it two days to visit his sister in California, four hours away. For the cost of a rental car, he got to see his sister who lives on the opposite coast from us. He took advantage of an opportunity presented to him. Had he planned a trip to visit his sister separately, it would have cost plane fare as well. His second trip happened to be in North Carolina, near where his mother lives. He not only took advantage of that time to see her, he stayed with her and saved the company money on a hotel room.

I am a stay-at-home-mom, but I used to work full-time. When I worked full time, I made simple dinners when I got home from the office, and we ate out more, taking advantage of the higher income we had to try out new restaurants and ethnic foods. Now that I stay at home, I have taken advantage of the time I have in my house by learning to cook from scratch and baking bread. I have the opportunity to do this now and know it won’t be as easy when I go back to work.

We live just outside the city of Washington, DC. For the cost of a Metro (subway) ride, we can take advantage of hundreds of museums, monuments, and government buildings, and a zoo – all that are free! We won’t live in Washington, DC forever, so we take advantage of this opportunity now. When we live elsewhere, it would cost a fair amount to visit this city. As I get older, I look back and often wish I had done things differently when I had the opportunity to do so. I wish I played more sports when I was youthful. I wish I took advantage of all of the free activities that were offered to me when I was in college. Now that I am older and supposedly wiser, I am trying to take advantage of what we have and where we are and hopefully save money while we are at it.

1 comment:

Thomas Watson said...

This is one of the best money saving tips that I follow.