I’m in Wyoming right now. I packed everything I own into my car, and left Chicago for San Jose yesterday. I drove 725 miles today. I have never driven this far alone before, but it’s quite a fun experience. Target arrival date is August 6.

This startup experience has completely changed the way I treat money. All my friends would agree that I have had very little respect for money up to this point. I always believed that convenience and time was more important than finding the best deal. I have become the complete opposite now. Since I decided to start a practice earlier this year, I have cut down on personal spending drastically, keeping spontaneous or frivolous purchases to a minimum. I’m now constantly looking for ways to save an extra buck because every dollar I don’t spend is a dollar that can go toward keeping my practice alive.

Normally, I would stay at the first hotel I enter, regardless of price. Yesterday, I first stopped at a Best Western, which asked for $110 per night. Although I was tempted to just go with it, I decided to check out the rates at 6 other places. I ended up staying at a Travelodge for $52. It was pretty nice too. I didn’t even buy bubble gum at the gas station today, even though I really wanted it. I just kept asking myself: “Do I really need it?” and the answer was no. I know it’s only a dollar, but it’s the principle. Although being financially responsible might be a no-brainer for some of you, this switch in mentality was a big step for me, and I am proud of how I have adjusted to my circumstances.

Having said that, I probably have to cancel my nonrefundable trip to China in 2 weeks. I flew to San Jose in early June to look at office spaces with my agent. I also booked this trip around the same time thinking that 2 months would be sufficient enough for me to find something. Turns out I was wrong. My negotiations are probably going to fall apart, and looks like I’m going back to the drawing board. I don’t want to delay acquiring an office space by even 2 weeks.  I really want to get going on all these forms and applications that are on hold because I don’t have a physical business address yet. It’s just not worth delaying my practice from opening by 2 weeks or more.

Yes, I will lose the entire cost of the trip, but I’m ok with it. That doesn’t mean I’m still careless with money. Based on the information I had at the time, I just thought there was a decent chance I could sign a lease by August, and then have a once in lifetime experience with my very good friends. Sort of a last hoorah before I really hunker down. If I had booked any later, the trip would have cost two or three times more.  In retrospect, I should have purchased a refundable ticket at a higher price.  You live and learn.

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