Q: My rent will be going up $200 a month. I could stop my $80 monthly gym membership, but working out keeps my stress down. Where else can I cut back?
It's not important if others would make different choices ("A gym membership isn't worth it!"); you have to align your fiscal decisions with what's important to you. So try to think of this recession as a chance to redefine your priorities; knowing that the gym is a must is a step toward figuring out your life values. To see where else you want to spend (or not), do this exercise:
- Write down as many categories of your discretionary spending as you can (gym, clothes, etc.). Don't include fixed expenses like rent.
- Compare each item on the list with every other item. Choose the one in each pair that feels crucial to you. Follow the example below; after "gym," go on to another category.
- Gym/ Clothes
- Gym/ Out with friends
- Gym/ Restaurants, etc.