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:
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.
Next article: Day Four: The Importance of Living Well
(Top photo courtesy of *pascal*)