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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Stretching Your Dollar with the NSE

More and more people are looking for ways to make their money go further. Sites like Groupon and LivingSocial offer coupons or deals for items or services that are up to 75% off. These can be a great way to stretch your dollar as long as it is on something you already need.  There was a story on Yahoo this morning, though, that caught my interest in one of the facets of the principle Living Below Your Means; the NSE.
The NSE is the Not So Expensive. The idea here is that there are almost always replacements or substitute items that we can purchase instead of buying that top of the line brand new “must have”.  The Yahoo story points out how one man lives the Six Figure life on a $30k salary. His NSEs have been a foreclosed on home purchased in a prime neighborhood that needed a little work and a Mustang that he purchased on Craigslist from someone who was desperate to sell and thus willing to cut him a bargain.
We did something similar in 2007. When all the new high rise condos were going up, we also wanted in on the game, but at a price of $350-450k for 800-1000 square feet we were looking at being house poor. With a little searching, we found a place on the 12th floor of a building built in 1962 that needed some TLC. We have a fantastic view of the city and mountains that we never could have come close to affording in a new building; all this for $130k and a mortgage that we can now pay off in less than 30 years.
What about other NSEs? Think about items you purchase regularly like food and clothing. Are there ways to focus on items of similar quality, but at a lower price? We don’t need to buy gourmet food all the time.  Can we shop around for better deals on clothes, maybe even looking at second hand or consignment shops?
Living the life you want can be had, especially if we find ways to get what we want at a price we can afford.

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