I recently had to fly to Boston to speak at the Yoga journal conference and do some TV and radio interviews. I hadn't booked the flights as of a week before, and when I checked on fares, they were over $800! In addition to that, the conference organizers had held me a $240 room in the Boston Marriott hotel, and I was expected to spend about $150 on taxi rides. With LAX parking and gas costs, this was easily going to be a one-day $1,300 trip.
Well, the Saver in me lost his cool a bit. No way was he going to sit around and let me spend $1,300 in one day, no matter what the upside might be to our business or my book's sales. So my frugal side came out, and we managed to get the air for $105 and some frequent flier miles, cancelled the hotel (which I only could've used for a 30 minute nap anyway), rented a car for, get this, $29, in lieu of the taxis, and got a ride to the airport. All in, the trip ended up costing about $150 instead of $1,300.
This has jumpstarted a new round of Saver archetypal energy in me. Perhaps it's the economy as a whole. Everywhere I turn, it seems people are tightening their belts, feeling pressured. Cutting back on spending feels really good in times like this, especially when I realize that I'm enjoying life just as much. We've been eating more home-cooked meals, and when we do go out, it's for burritos or cheap Indian food instead of to the $100 per person Italian place. On our recent Hawaiian vacation, we stayed at the Hapuna Prince Hotel on the Big Island, and between a daily rebate due to construction they were doing, and a group rate for my wife's high school reunion class (part of the reason we were there), we paid $140 a night for a hotel which often goes for $400-500.
Now, it's hard to say that flying to Boston for a day and having a weeklong Hawaiian vacation are exactly "roughing it", but nevertheless, trimming my expenditures while still buying the things and experiences I most enjoy in life is filling me with spaciousness and freedom. What can you trim with no loss of enjoyment today?
On a side note, I'm planning to start a series of conference calls and webinars. A maximum of ten people will be on each call for two hours, and the cost will be $99. Each person will get approximately ten minutes of dedicated focus on their question(s), after a ten minute introduction by me. Please email us at email@example.com if you're interested in participating. Please subscribe to this blog to stay informed about future workshops and media appearances, and to reflect on your inner relationship to money in the weeks to come.
Brent Kessel is the author of It's Not About the Money (HarperOne, April 2008) and the co-founder of Abacus, a nationwide financial planning firm with a focus on sustainable investing.