"If you hold a winning hand in poker yet fold your cards due to someone's bluff, the players call it 'leaving money on the table', because you could have won the pot. In other words, had you played your cards right, the ones you already had in your hand, all of the money in the pot would be yours."
Today, the phrase has taken on additional uses and meanings. The Double-Tongued Dictionary defines the phrase as:
"To refrain from taking the utmost advantage of something; to not address every aspect of a situation; in the form leave money on the table, to negotiate a deal that is less financially beneficial than is expected or possible."
Given our current economic climate, I've been thinking about this phrase in the context of the latter definition as related to our household finances. Here's where our family may be leaving money on the table because we have not fully addressed the following:
- Tightening up the family budget: I know that our current budget has some categories we could decrease or eliminate all together. We have just gotten sloppy over the years in our monthly budget preparation.
- Negotiating better deals with some of our service providers such as cell phone and cable companies.
- Selling larger items in our home for cash, such as furniture and electronics which we no longer use.
- Donating clothing and other household items to charity for additional tax deductions.
- Reducing our energy costs through conservation by turning off lights, keeping our thermostat in check, and driving less whenever possible.
- Changing the fund allocations in our 401k/403b due to the continued downward spiral of the stock market.