During my decades as a well-compensated network television producer, I paid all my bills on time and spent money on my share of luxuries, including pricey vacations, restaurants, fitness trainers and fancy health clubs. Oh, those were the days!
In a survey of 1,000 people from across the country for personal training supplier Methodfitness.com, 60 percent of Americans agree that everyone should experience a bit of luxury in their lives. As to the meaning of luxury, more than one-third of people define luxury items as status symbols, and one in six believe luxury is synonymous with good quality. I agree with one respondent who said, “Luxury in my world is all the bills are paid at once.”
When I became a business owner, I had to find ways to drastically reduce my luxury spending to make my new professional life work. I’ll share the three luxuries I gave up to become an entrepreneur and tell you how I went from living a luxury life to living luxury-lite.
1. Luxury life: Health club memberships
I have always loved exercising and have belonged to a gym most of my life, even as a college student. Once I started working and making a good salary, gyms became high-end membership health clubs. In New York City, these clubs are pretty fancy, offering top-of-the-line classes and personal trainers, gourmet foods, spa treatments and more.
The health club initiation and yearly membership fees were almost the cost of a five-star vacation. A crazy splurge, but in my mind, it was worth it. I worked very hard as a producer, and this luxury was for my health. How could I deny myself?
Luxury-lite: Wearable workout equipment
As a new entrepreneur, the health club membership wasn’t a necessity. With no more trainers or high-energy sculpt classes, I had to be the keeper of my own workout. I discovered that walking and riding my bike, both free, are good options when it comes to burning calories. Add a Fitbit activity tracker and it’s like having a personal trainer again. Worn on my wrist, the tracker measures my activity data such as calorie intake and calories burned, the number of steps I’ve walked, the quality of my sleep, steps I’ve climbed and other personal intel.
Now I ride my bike daily and walk as much as possible. My version of the Fitbit even has a heart rate monitor. Who needs a trainer? While I still miss my hot yoga group classes, I think my new workout routine is getting the job done.
2. Luxury life: Last-minute vacations
Overall, 43 percent the people surveyed say they treat themselves to luxury items, and on average they do so more than twice a year. Taking a couple of nice vacations a year alone or with friends was standard for me. But I had a habit of booking tickets at the last minute and not trying to negotiate a better deal.
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