First Difficult Choice: Day 3

no skiing

Well, I knew this day was bound to happen. I just wish that it would have been a little later into the year. Having it come so quickly into the new year only confirms that I will likely have to make a lot of these choices in the months to come. I had to make the first difficult choice to opt out of something that I would have normally done in a heartbeat. Such are the decisions which need to be made when participating in a minimum wage challenge.

I was invited by a friend to go skiing for a weekend at the end of this month with the best part being that he already had a place and I could hitch a ride with him so there would be no housing or transportation costs involved. The problem was that although this sounded like an inexpensive way to have some fun, actually running the numbers showed something very different. While free lodging and transportation would make this seem like a deal, in truth the weekend would likely cost me several hundred dollars.

I would need to buy lift tickets which would be well over $100 for 2 days even with a discount. Then there would be the cost of rental gear (I don’t currently own my own equipment). There would be food costs since I would be splitting these costs with friends, but I would have little control over what was purchased (and the cost of it). Then there would be the inevitable night out drinking which would be difficult to decline. Although I would really like to go (and would have if offered this opportunity in 2012), with a minimum cost of $300+, I had to politely decline.

I had to keep reminding myself that “living well” doesn’t mean that I get to do everything I want to do. It means making a rational choice within a limited budget when opportunities are presented, and making a financial decision based on priorities. Although I love skiing, for the amount of money it would cost (even with having a cabin and transportation to the area covered) I could do a lot of other travel and use that money to get more enjoyment over a longer period of time. Under my current financial restrictions, it was a sacrifice that made sense even though I know it would have been a lot of fun. That all being said, I haven’t completely given up on the idea of going skiing this winter. I’ll have to put my creative juices to work and see if I can work out some way to get on the slopes for a price that makes sense within my current budget.

I didn’t have as much time as I did yesterday to travel, but I still wanted to take advantage of the opportunity of being in Arizona with free use of a car, so I took a shorter trip like I had done on January 1. I decided to head for a place I had never been before — Tuzigoot national monument:

tuzigoot national monument

Again, I was able to pack a lunch and snacks to avoid spending money on food, and my national parks pass meant I didn’t need to pay the $5 entrance fee. It could have been a no spend day, but I purchased 3 postcards again to send to my nieces and my best friend’s daughter for $1.20.

Even with having to pass on the skiing, these first three days have gone better than I could have ever expected. I’ve been able to get out and explore every day thus far for virtually no cost. I was worried that I would be tempted to stop and buy things when traveling to the national parks, but I have thus far been able to restrain myself from doing so. I’ve packed smart with enough food and snacks so that I haven’t made any impulse purchases. I’m sure I will be tested on this at some point, but for now the system seems to be working well and I’ve spent very little money.

Today’s Spending

Food: $0.00
Car: $0.00
Housing: $0.00
Travel: $0.00
Misc: $1.20

Total Spending

Food: $0.00
Car: $0.00
Housing: $0.00
Travel: $0.00
Misc: $2.40

Next article: Day Four: The Importance of Living Well

(Top photo courtesy of *pascal*)

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7 Responses to First Difficult Choice: Day 3

  1. Melanie Pierce says:

    I think I’m going to be following you on this challenge. I watched you go through the Eating Well on $1/day Challenge, as well as the Thanksgiving Dinner Challenge and so, here I am again wanting to know how this one goes. But what really peaked my interest is the the fact that you are in Arizona and going to all our favorite places! We just moved this past year from Show Low, AZ to Missouri. But before we left, we visited every National Park/Monument in Arizona (AND many of the surrounding states) and my kids earned the Junior Ranger Badge at every one of them. The pictures you’ve posted of these last 3 days bring back great memories! Now I want to know how to find your National Park blog! We have been to around 100 NPS sites since 2005 so that my kids could do the Jr. Ranger programs. It’s just one of the ways we make homeschooling fun and make history come alive. Thanks for another awesome read!

  2. LuckyRobin says:

    If you are near enough I’d highly recommend Canyon de Chelly. The ruins there are amazing, the pictographs are something else, and it is a starkly beautiful canyon. They will close the canyon in bad weather conditions that can cause flash floods, so check the morning of if you go.

    And if you can spring for the $16 adult admission, Meteor Crater is also a really neat place to visit. They trained astronauts there for moon conditions. It is very educational in the best way, and you actually get to see an Apollo Test Capsule and a big hunk of meteroite up close and personal. It would definitely be a choice I’d make with limited entertainment dollars. I was there in 1989 and it has stayed with me all these years.

  3. mimipaula1 says:

    After following you through your past challenges, I am looking forward to reading each day’s post detailing your latest endeavor. Thanks for your willingness to share the ups-and-downs of this minimum-wage challenge!

  4. CB in the City says:

    Good on you for passing up the ski trip! I does show expensive skiing is, even when it is a “bargain.”

  5. I quit snowboarding a few years ago simply because it became too expensive. One day I may get back into it, but only if both my wife and I are able to justify the expenses.

  6. Petunia says:

    In the past, when I lived on just above minimum wage, I never went skiing. It never crossed my mind – it’s just way too expensive! Also didn’t own a car and ate all my meals at home.

  7. secretarysaving says:

    We don’t have any snow in Houston, TX but one of my greatest memories as a child was getting a cardboard box and break it down, sit on it and down the hill you go. Fun times!

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