I need to save money for my planned move west. I estimate it will cost me 5K (easy) plus the cost of two trips just to scout neighborhoods, drive around, look at apartments, check in with my family. I’ve never been terrible with money (with one major exception when I was with D in my 20s when all good sense left me) and I’ve always been able to save (again, with that one black hole period of my life which I don’t want to get into!). But I realize, with new clarity, how expensive it is to live a reasonable life in New York.
Do I really need to spend more than $100 for a good haircut? I think it would be possible to find a new decent hairdresser, it will just take some effort. Do I really need to spend $80 for a professional medical massage? I could just as easily spend $15 for a short sitting massage at my Korean nail salon as well as cultivate stress management techniques so that I don’t need so much treatment for my back. Yes, these short-term action points (oy, I’ve been in business too long, eh) will surely help me save money for my move. But I need to take additional action.
Why have I been so careful to invest pre-tax dollars for my eventual retirement? With my bad genes I’m not going to live a very long life; am I just saving money to leave to my heirs? If I need more cash flow for my life today, why not reduce some of my retirement deductions. I have no dependents, I need not worry about my heirs (as they are extremely well cared for) and their future offspring. I need to focus on my own quality of life. This in fact is work for me; I will donate money for Japan’s tsunami/earthquake disaster, for the earthquake in Haiti, for the education of Afghan children, for Doctors Without Borders, for a Brooklyn Chabad center, for my alma mater. What about Me?
My tennis club’s annual membership fee is going up 20% in the fall. That’s a big hike. I can’t afford to play tennis in New York! Good thing I’m moving to a part of the country where there are free public tennis courts.