Competition is a huge deal in our house. It might sound unhealthy to some; but my husband and I are working on 14 years together of competitiveness and a winning spirit. We compete for everything. We see who can get ‘our’ baby to bed the fastest (it’s easy when you have twins) and we see who can put laundry away the fastest. We enter a football pool every year for $300 per person and compete to see who wins not just at the bank but personally (I received the email this morning that I came out the big winner after the 14 week competition beating out 26 other people – my husband included – to win it all, and that doesn’t even include the fact that I won 6 of the 14 weeks in terms of just the games that week…that’s a grand totally of $1200 in winnings for me, which means I won our money back and doubled it in 14 weeks).
We are competitive. We like to see who can win everything. We can turn anything into a game. We like it, and it is fun. We are, of course, healthy losers and winners. We might rub it in a bit to the other when we win, but we are not poor sports or sore losers, so it makes the competition fun. We even compete to see who can take the most steps in one day, often resulting in us running around the house with our phones in hand trying to get the most points by the time we shower and sit down for an hour of relaxation. We are really, really competitive.
However, we’ve never really put our competition to good use the way that one couple did, and shared with us online. A Pennyhoarder.com contributor by the name of Michael and his wife did over the past few years. What happened to them started out as something that might seem depressing and sad to some, but worked out to be something pretty amazing to them. You see, they bought a house. That house left them broke – as many homes are prone to doing to those of us who buy them. One day, they realized that they were hungry and wanted to go out to eat for a quick bite of fast food, but all they had left in their fast food budget was $10.
They could have stayed home. They didn’t. They could have sat back, upset that their budget was so small and their financial situation so dire and being sad and self-pitying, but they were not. They decided to look at the bright side; they could take their $10 and see how far they could stretch it, so they did. They decided that they would turn it into a challenge and spend as little as possible without sacrificing what they were eating. They decided that they would eat less than $10 worth of food, and eat it well. They succeeded, and that turned their financial life into a game for them.
That’s when their life turned around. The following trip to dinner changed for them; $10 was easy. They decided to lower their limit to $8. Then it lowered even more. Eventually, they found a way to go out to eat and enjoy the same food that they’d always eaten for less than $4 per person. Then the game became too easy, so they added to it. They added their gas bill to the game. Who could spend the least amount of money on gas every week? Who could make one tank of gas go longer than the other?
They began walking, riding their bikes and enjoying things at home more than out so they could be the winner of their game. So, really, they were getting more exercise and saving more money all at the same time; it was too easy. They finally decided that they would add their utility bill to the mix. How could they save money every month on their utilities? They left the house. They went outside. They opened windows and doors. They shut off lights. They read instead of watching television. They did all kinds of things that were a lot of fun and a huge savings.
Then came the entertainment. They soon realized that they didn’t actually have to spend a dime on entertainment. Their area offers free parks, free days at museums, free entertainment and so many things that they could do free of charge that they actually spent one summer doing nothing that cost them any money at al. Over the course of the year, they were able to save $10,000 knocking down their gas, entertainment and utilities. In fact, they managed to get their utility bill from over $300 per month to under $150 per month in just a few short months. It’s astounding what they did, and it’s quite impressive.
Can you do the same thing?
Of course you can; if you have the right mindset to do it. It’s fun. If you are competitive, you will find that you can do anything you set your mind to because you want to win. Instead of looking at your lack of savings with sadness, look at it with a new point of view; you will save the most and you will win the game with your spouse. You two can do it, and you can do it really well. Make it a competition and you will be shocked just how much you can save. My husband and I are naturally competitive in everything that we do, and I’m already formulating and plotting how we will turn our current lives into a competition to see who can save $1000 fastest. I think it will be me, but we will see. It might be him – either way, we both win, right?
A little healthy competition never hurts. In fact, in this situation it works and wins every single time and that’s why we’re promoting a game that will save you as much as $10,000 or more every year.
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