plan http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/10109/all en-US Plan for your wants http://www.wisebread.com/plan-for-your-wants <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/plan-for-your-wants" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/tall-ships_0.jpg" alt="Tall ships" title="Tall Ships" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="137" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Budgets tend to focus on needs--food, shelter, heat, light, transportation, and (of course) taxes.&nbsp; They also provide for wants, but generally the smaller, shorter-term wants--cable TV, a magazine subscription, an occasional restaurant meal.&nbsp; Instead of a budget line, the larger, longer-term wants are covered implicitly when your budget spends less than all you earn.&nbsp; Somewhere, though, those big, long-term wants deserve a plan.</p> <p>Having a long-term plan to satisfy your wants is an important tool for keeping your budget focused on your needs.&nbsp; Satisfying a few of your little wants is what makes your life luxurious and splendid, but it's very easy to let the amount of little luxuries in your life grow until they devour the surplus that might have paid for the big luxuries.</p> <p>That's where a plan comes in.</p> <p>Make a list.&nbsp; Or several lists.&nbsp; Brainstorm with all the members of your family.&nbsp; There are the wants that are almost needs--sending the kids to college.&nbsp; There are the wants that are perfectly affordable, if you make them a priority--a house with a yard.&nbsp; There are the wants that can wait a long time, if that's what it takes--a round-the-world cruise.&nbsp; There are the wants that you may never satisfy, unless careful planning meets extraordinary good luck--a racing yacht.&nbsp; Write them down and sort them in different ways.&nbsp;</p> <p>You can produce a strictly ordered list, with the most important want at the top, and then knock them off one at a time, if that's how your mind works.&nbsp; Alternatively, you can put just the top three or four wants in a &quot;this year&quot; list, with the rest of the wants in no particular order on list marked &quot;the future.&quot;&nbsp; Maybe the cheap wants go on one list and the expensive wants go an another.&nbsp; Find a way that works for you.</p> <p>These lists do several things:</p> <ol> <li>They remind you, when you're tempted by a transitory want, what your important wants are.</li> <li>They help you structure your spending when you get a windfall.&nbsp; Maybe the next item on your want list is where that money should go.&nbsp; Or maybe it should be invested against some larger want that's further down the list.</li> <li>They help you structure your spending when see a sale on something you want.&nbsp; If a great price makes one of the top items on your want list affordable, maybe you should just buy it.&nbsp; On the other hand, if the price isn't all that great, or the item isn't near the top of your list, maybe you shouldn't.</li> </ol> <p>If you include some cost notes in your list, you can estimate just how far off the fullfilment of any particular want might be--and you can compare them to one another.&nbsp; How much sooner could you take your trip to Fiji if you quit eating lunch out every day?&nbsp; If it just means you could go in August rather than February, maybe keep the indulgence.&nbsp; On the other hand, if it means you could go next year instead of three years from now, maybe those lunches out are costing you more than they're worth.</p> <p>Making and maintaining these lists, by the way, is a good deal of the fun.&nbsp; My wife and I are contemplating renting a garden plot from the local park district and have reached the list-making stage.&nbsp; It's a small want--use of the plot from April to October will cost $20--but there's plenty to plan.&nbsp; We need to investigate what grows well here and then match those possibilities with what we want to grow and what we want to eat.&nbsp; We'll have to buy (or acquire some other way) a few tools, some seeds and some seedlings.&nbsp; Now, at the turn of the year, is the time to read books on gardening.</p> <p>Depending on your nature, these lists might change all the time, or they may be quite constant from year to year.&nbsp; Not too long ago, I came upon a list of wants I'd made in my last semester of college.&nbsp; I'd just become interested in money and investing, and one thing on the list was an expensive subscription to a financial newsletter.&nbsp; I remember that I did get that subscription.&nbsp; I read (and reread) those articles for several years in the early 1980s--a want satisfied with pleasure that I remember with great fondness.&nbsp; (And stuff I learned in those articles informs my writing here to this day.)&nbsp; Also on the list, though, were wants I'd long forgotten.&nbsp; Some I'd satisfied along the way, but that I don't remember with any special pleasure.&nbsp; Others I'd forgotten without them ever having made it to the top of the list.&nbsp; Looking at old lists of wants can give you real perspective when you start feeling like you've got to have the top item on your current list right now.</p> <p>It's your plan; use it however you like.&nbsp; Maybe you want to put one big want--a sports car, a two-year sabbatical, a cottage by the lake--on the top of the list and focus on it to the exclusion of all else.&nbsp; Maybe you want to juggle many large and small wants in one big list.&nbsp; Maybe you want two lists, one with the small wants and one with the big wants.&nbsp; However you structure it, though, remember that its purpose is to support your budget.&nbsp; The plan to satisfy your wants is what you come to when you're tempted to blow out some line item on your budget.&nbsp; Look at your list.&nbsp; If this is something that belongs right at the top, then scribble it in there.&nbsp; If not, scratch it in wherever it goes.</p> <p>Then, live that way.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/plan-for-your-wants">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/too-broke-to-be-frugal">Too broke to be frugal?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/simplify-budgeting-with-personal-money">Simplify budgeting with personal money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/optimize-your-ira-and-401k">Optimize Your IRA and 401(k)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/budgeting-in-a-time-of-inflation">Budgeting in a time of inflation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/will-a-dental-discount-plan-save-you-money">Will A Dental Discount Plan Save You Money?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Budgeting budget budgeting investments long-term plan planning save savings Sat, 27 Dec 2008 21:15:15 +0000 Philip Brewer 2681 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Reasons I Still Don't Have a Cell Phone Plan (yet) http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-i-still-dont-have-a-cellphone-plan-yet <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-reasons-i-still-dont-have-a-cellphone-plan-yet" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/cell%20phone.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p> <meta http-equiv="CONTENT-TYPE" content="text/html; charset=utf-8" /><br /> <title></title><br /> <meta name="GENERATOR" content="OpenOffice.org 2.3 (Win32)" /></p> <style type="text/css"> <!-- @page { size: 8.5in 11in; margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } --><!-- @page { size: 8.5in 11in; margin: 0.79in } P { margin-bottom: 0.08in } --> </style></p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">If you ask most people what they can't live without, many would say their computer. Just about as many would say their cell phone/PDA/Crackberry. I agree with the first one &ndash; I couldn't earn a living without my PC. I don't currently have a cell phone plan, however, and here's why.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><b>I'm particularly homebound.</b> I'll admit it. I'm a SAHM, WAHM, and a homeschooler. Notice any recurring themes in my job description? Yeah.. I'm home a lot. Which brings me to the number one reason I don't have a cell phone. I'm almost always home, and my home phone works just fine, thank you.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><b>I'm cheap.</b> The going rate for a plan in my area with enough minutes to make it worth my while is around $50 a month. Then you add ridiculous taxes to the bill, the commitment of a 2-year-plan, and the cost of replacing the charger that I seem to always lose every 30 days, and you have one heck of a phone bill. I don't even have cable, so how can I justify spending over $80 a month for conversations that can most likely wait until I get home?</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><b>I'm private.</b> Those of you who follow me on Twitter have probably already forgotten about me. I don't especially like to share every sordid detail of my life with everyone in &ldquo;My Circle.&rdquo; I talk to my Mom, my sister, and ocassionally a Grandma or two during my day &ndash; one time each. The rest of the world usually conducts their business with me via email or when I see them in person. I don't do too much small talk on the phone.. it just feels weird.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><b>I'm busy.</b> Did I mention that I homeschool? That's 4 kids, 2 sets of diapers, 40 or so dirty dishes, 2 lesson plans, and 100 emails that must be tended to-- before noon. Seriously, though, I do try to keep moving. When I'm not writing or folding laundry, I like to sit in the rocking chair in my kids' room and watch them sleep. All this takes great focus, and a rogue cell call just doesn't fit into the plan.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><b>I'm committed to my landline. </b> I hear so many things about Skype, and it really sounds like a good option &ndash; for someone else. Living in the middle of nowhere takes great faith in things like cell receiption, internet connectivity, and electricity (especially during tornado season, when outages are common.) If I can't pick up my old fashioned rotary phone and place a call during an emergency, I'm out. Technology can only replace so many of my dependencies on reliability.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;"><b>I'm committed to safety. </b> This is just how things work for me, so please don't take offense if it doesn't apply to you. As much as I appreciate what cell phones can do, I seem to always lose my focus when talking on one. Whether I'm driving, walking, or frying potatoes, the conversation can be the priority &ndash; or what I'm doing, but never both. It's just best for the rest of the world if I pay attention to what's at hand.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">So how do I handle not having a cell phone plan? I do, actually, have a cell phone. It's a cheapo $14 pink tracfone with 120 minutes and a good charge. I take it with me when driving any distance and especially when toting around the kiddos in the dead of winter. It comes in handy when I need to get ahold of my hubby or if I'm doomed to wait in the doctor's office for longer than I've planned. I've relied on it when attending conferences and am stuck in the cabin of a going-nowhere plane with no chance of catching the next flight. But the entire set up costs less than $10 a month, and I'm free to ditch this plan any time I like.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">Do I envy my friends with the iPhones and the unlimited web plans? Sure. Sometimes. On those rare, brief moments when I'm out and about, not running after stray kids, and feel the need to check the weather report. But those times aren't nearly often enough to justify that cell phone plan.</p> <p style="margin-bottom: 0in;">&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-i-still-dont-have-a-cellphone-plan-yet">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/will-a-dental-discount-plan-save-you-money">Will A Dental Discount Plan Save You Money?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-survive-and-perhaps-thrive-on-a-teachers-salary">How to Survive (And Perhaps Thrive) On a Teacher&#039;s Salary</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/oprah-asks-a-great-question-what-can-you-live-without">Oprah Asks A Great Question; What Can You Live Without?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/double-coupons-they-could-cost-you">Double Coupons – They Could Cost You!</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/wisdom-from-my-favorite-frugal-tv-character-julius-rock">Wisdom from My Favorite Frugal TV Character - Julius Rock</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Frugal Living Budgeting Consumer Affairs cell phone cheap frugality plan Sat, 06 Dec 2008 03:48:19 +0000 Linsey Knerl 2629 at http://www.wisebread.com