Yesterday I flew for the first time with British Airways. Nice big plane, relatively new, enough leg room and a meal with a complimentary bar service. What was even nicer was, had I flown from Walvis Bay directly to Joburg, I would have had to take a train from the airport but because I flew via Windhoek, I was on the same plane with a colleague who was fetching the rental car from the airport so I got a lift from him. Here is how I am I ended up on that plane.
I was meant to fly with SA Airways from Walvis Bay directly to Joburg. The flight was then cancelled Friday, however the airport staffs could not get hold of me early enough to book me on another alternative flight from Walvis directly such that, the only option was I catch the Air bus en-route from Cape Town to Windhoek ( via Walvis ) and then connect in Windhoek. At first I was a little pissed because of the inconvenience but eventually I was excited for the opportunity to fly with British air ways. This reminded me of the power of substitutes.
Like the above situation, in life there will always be substitutes. If option one fails there is always option two if you keep your eyes open. But to take advantage of the good substitutes, you need to be open minded as you only see what you want to see.
Let us take an example of furnishing your house. Buying a house comes at extra costs, that can get steep especially those that are upfronted like electricity connection, lawyers fees etc. It also comes with costs that are recurring like rates and taxes, electricity as well as insurance. If you add up all these costs, they can take up a large chunk of your monthly income.
On top of this, one must add furnishing costs. This could be buying a new fridge, a TV, a stove, couch etc. There are various options that one has to acquiring them. One can buy them with cash brand new, buy them cash second hand , lay -buy them as well as buy them on credit. All these, although not very clear at the time of making the decision are substitutes. Some choices definitely cost more than the others hence one must look at them carefully.
When looking at what you want in life, please also keep in mind what is also possible. Do not bee too fixated at one idea such that you are blinded to others that could work out cost effectively.
One of the more recent substitutes I had to decide on was:
- Buy my furniture second hand instead of brand-new because I had other costs that I wanted to cover such as upgrading my kitchen.
- Taking the train to the north instead of driving. Although this was also just for fun, I would have not definitely done it if it meant spending more money than what I would spend driving.
- Deciding to do my own invitation card for my engagement instead of paying someone. There were already templates available and all I needed to do was change the details.
In summary , next time when you have a choice to make, also look at alternatives. When what you want does not work out, look at what could also work. Do not bend your pocket over something because it is the ideal choice.
And remember, in the end, it is about your mental health and your own financial freedom.