Financial Literacy - Growing your bottom line
smart spending
Trim your bottom, increase bottom line

For instance, you could plan an "Escalating Price Open House Bike Tour" (EPOHBT 2K8 if you really want to make it sound official). This, of course, is a fun outing even if you aren't looking to buy. Just start off hitting open houses of $100,000 homes, and then cycle your way onto $500,000 homes and then finish your Tour de Real Estate with a strong sprint to a million-dollar mansion.

But it's not just exercising here; we are looking for deals. As strange as it seems, it's probably the best time ever to buy real estate if you are looking for a primary residence. It's a great market to buy a home for a long-term investment for these simple reasons:

  • You won't get a loan unless you are absolutely qualified for it.
  • Mortgage rates are still historically low.
  • Inventories for all types of real estate are high, creating a buyer's market.

In any market, it's OK to throw in a lowball offer. In this market of tense sellers, though, just keep your bicycle helmet on while doing it. If you don't come away with a good deal, you'll at least be more fit from your two-wheeled open-house hunt.

Now if real estate is not your bag, map a Need a New Lamp Garage Sale Tour, a Birthday Present For Dad Cycling Adventure to a Police or Government Auction, or even just a Well If I'm Biking That Means I'm Not Spending Money and That's OK With Me Grand Prix.

The point is, get your to-do list out, and then go on your bike and look for discounts. Remember, because you are on a bike, you aren't going to come home with a bunch of junk you don't need. The key to saving money is all about tricking yourself into situations where you can't spend a lot of dough. (My Bankrate editor says that's in my book, too.) These bike tours can accomplish this for you, and hopefully make your workout a little bit more enjoyable.

There you have it. Just adding these two easy tasks to your weekend activities can add to your financial bottom line while trimming your physical bottom. And the best part about it is, when you feel good, you spend less.

So why don't you put these two weekend outings together for some tremendous synergy? You'll need to be fit to carry that heavier wallet of yours.

Alan Corey is author of "A Million Bucks by 30: How to Overcome a Crap Job, Stingy Parents and a Useless Degree to Become a Millionaire before (or after) turning Thirty."


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