“AP” stands for “Advantage Play,” which basically means using your wits to gain an edge. These may be found in and out of the casino. Squeezing every last penny out of a video poker machine is not very useful if you waste dollars elsewhere.
Here are a few AP moves I’m fond of, in no particular order. I’m sure you have others:
- Back into parking spaces. It’s easier to pull into a parking space frontways than it is doing it in reverse, but there’s a price to pay for this ease. When you back out later, you have huge blind spots and it’s much harder to avoid oncoming traffic and pedestrians. If you back in, you know in advance what your target is and nearby obstacles will be stationary, and that leaves you in good position to leave later.
Many modern cars have backup cameras that make backing in easier than it used to be. Since many cars can now parallel park unassisted by drivers, they may well be cars that can also safely back into parking spaces. And if there aren’t these cars now, there will be soon.
A move that gives you the best of both worlds is when you can pull in frontways and then continue to the next parking spot, leaving you facing the correct direction when you leave.
- When you have multiple errands to accomplish, plan them in advance so you don’t zig zag back and forth across town multiple times. I try to plan going to food markets last before I come home. Sometimes I get goods that need refrigeration and I don’t want such products sitting in my car on a warm day while I do something else.
- For me, I don’t prepay taxes except when required by law (as in estimated taxes.) I like to keep the money in my possession and use it rather than let the government sit on it (although it needs the money too!) I know some people can’t or won’t do this for a variety of reasons and habits, but it’s expensive not to.
- Don’t buy new cars. New cars lose a significant percentage of their value immediately after leaving the dealer’s lot. Buying low mileage used cars a year or two old is much cheaper. (Perhaps needless to say, having the best and the newest are not high priorities for me.)
- Eat before you go grocery shopping. Impulse buying is much higher when you have active hunger pangs.
- Exercise and diet are important. It’s not certain, but the odds say you’ll live longer with fewer ailments if you pay attention to your health. Our nation is considerably fatter today than it used to be, partly because of the way our food is created, and partly because our lifestyles are more sedentary than those of our forefathers. You don’t have to let that happen to you.
- Figure out how much your time is worth and hire people to do mundane tasks (like mowing the lawn or changing the oil in your car) if it costs less than what your time is worth. Of course, starting out, most of us have more time than money and it makes sense to do these things for yourself. But as wealth increases, these things change. And personal preferences weigh in here. If you like to do yard work or to work on your car, then it’s not strictly a dollars and sense calculation.
- Use markers in casinos if you can. Markers allow you to use the casinos money for free and puts you in line for extra casino promotions sometimes, but being eligible for these requires certain financial minimums. Plus, you have to be able to use money well and pay your bills when due. (Some people get into financial trouble using markers. If this could be you, stay away from them.)
- If you fly twice a year or more, get TSA Pre-Check. It’s something like $85 for five years, and it lets you skip long lines at the airport and keep your shoes on. (If you fly internationally, get the Global Entry. This is a little more expensive, but it includes TSA Pre-Check.) This allows you to get to the airport much later than if you have to deal with the TSA lines. It also allows you to skip the full-body scanners, meaning you can carry your cash in your pockets without having to reveal what you have.
- Don’t be too busy to stop to smell the roses. A little bit of enjoyment along the way makes for a much better life.
- For me, life works better with a partner, although I know some of you don’t mind living alone. Does it take some time and energy to find and keep a good partner? Of course. Statistics say you’ll live longer if you do. Cynics say you won’t live longer, but it will just feel like you do!
- Try not to be friendless. The best way to get a friend is to be a friend. Friends are useful. Helping a friend now can pay dividends down the road when you need a hand. Sharing in the joys and problems of other people gives you a better perspective on life.
- If at all possible, obtain good health insurance. You never know when a catastrophic accident or illness will come along. The argument of “I’ve always been healthy — insurance is a waste of money” is only good until it’s too late to get it. Don’t believe me? Ask the turkey who, prior to November 15, always had the Life of Riley without a care in the world. Then one day, unpredictable to the turkey, everything changed big time.