needs http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8793/all en-US The Only 6 Rules of Frugal Living You Need to Know http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-6-rules-of-frugal-living-you-need-to-know <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-only-6-rules-of-frugal-living-you-need-to-know" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_blueprints_piggy_bank_000031080438.jpg" alt="Woman learning only rules of frugal living she needs to know" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We humans have a knack for complicating the simplest of ideas. Our lives are filled with shortcuts that aren't short, tips and tricks that trip us up, and helpful hints that are anything but. The same is true when it comes to frugality. Let's scrap all the circular talk and bottom-line it. Here are the only six rules of frugal living you need to know.</p> <h2>1. Know Your Money</h2> <p>By whatever means necessary, become ridiculously well-acquainted with how much you earn, how much you spend, and where every dollar goes. It's the foundation of frugal living. Without this baseline knowledge, successful budgeting and saving will always be out of reach.</p> <h2>2. Live Below Your Means</h2> <p>Living within your means is a great start, but living <em>below</em> your means is where the real magic happens. The surplus it generates is the capital for saving and investing and the fuel behind long-term wealth building. If you're unable to run a surplus a majority of the time &mdash; either by cutting expenses or growing your income &mdash; you'll never get ahead of the game.</p> <h2>3. Know the Difference Between Spending and Investing</h2> <p>Spending and investing might feel like the same thing, but they're completely different animals.</p> <p>Investing is the outlay of cash in exchange for a tangible asset (think job training, a primary residence, or shares in a mutual fund). Spending, on the other hand, is the outlay of cash for something that will likely depreciate in value and not provide any long-term benefit (think dinners out or a new summer wardrobe).</p> <p>Being frugal doesn't mean you always have choose investing over spending (after all, spending is part of living), but it does require that you understand the difference and know how to put your income to work a majority of the time.</p> <h2>4. Buy for Quality</h2> <p>Frugality isn't about always buying the cheapest product; it's about diligently seeking out the best value. Sometimes that means <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/quality-over-price-15-items-to-spend-more-on">choosing quality over price</a>. A pair of shoes that cost $20 might seem like a great deal, but they're not if you have to replace them every three months. A $75 pair that will last two or three years will be a far better value in the long run.</p> <h2>5. Avoid Consumer Debt</h2> <p>Frugal folks know it: Interest on consumer debt is a tax people pay for living beyond their means. And while a credit card can save the day from time-to-time, embracing easy credit as a way to pad your lifestyle can have disastrous consequences. Interest and other charges will bleed your budget and choke your chances at real financial security. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fastest-method-to-eliminate-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso">The Fastest Method to Eliminate Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>6. Know the Difference Between a <em>Want</em> and a <em>Need</em></h2> <p>As I write this, there are throngs of advertisers plotting new ways to help consumers confuse wants and needs. It's big business. In reality, our needs are fairly straightforward (nourishing food, secure shelter, good healthcare, etc.).</p> <p>But what about that self-cleaning, solar-powered, lavender-infused kitty litter box that you can control with your smartphone? What sort of primitive existence would you be reduced to without this life-changing gadget?</p> <p>Let's face it: Being able to distinguish what we want from what we need is a prerequisite for making wise buying decisions. If you can't master this skill, your needs will be endless and your paycheck will never keep up. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-products-you-think-you-need-but-really-don-t?ref=seealso">25 Products You Think You Need, But Really Don't</a>)</p> <p>Here's the curious thing: Today, when we talk about the rules of frugal living, aren't we really talking about basic financial literacy? It seems over the past couple of generations, common fiscal sense has been reframed as an extreme lifestyle. Maybe it's time to change the conversation about saving and managing money &mdash; and make frugal living a far more fundamental skill.</p> <p><em>Are you frugal-living pro? Which rules were the hardest for you to learn? Which have we missed?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-6-rules-of-frugal-living-you-need-to-know">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/pets-old-cars-and-3-other-common-money-pits">Pets, Old Cars, and 3 Other Common Money Pits</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-do-a-spending-fast-in-16-easy-steps">How to Do a Spending Fast in 16 (Easy!) Steps</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/treat-yourself-like-a-child-to-be-more-grown-up">Treat yourself like a child to be more grown up</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/the-many-reasons-to-make-do-with-less">The Many Reasons to Make Do with Less</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/the-9-people-in-your-life-who-are-keeping-you-poor">The 9 People in Your Life Who Are Keeping You Poor</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living debt investing lifestyle living below means money needs spending wants Fri, 08 Apr 2016 10:00:14 +0000 Kentin Waits 1683756 at http://www.wisebread.com 25 Products You Think You Need, but Really Don’t http://www.wisebread.com/25-products-you-think-you-need-but-really-don-t <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/25-products-you-think-you-need-but-really-don-t" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4098652750_c217cc9e3b_z.jpg" alt="shopping cart" title="shopping cart" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As someone who has worked in advertising for over 17 years, I can tell you that my industry is responsible for creating an awful lot of need. There are some things in life that we actually do need, like food, clothing, shelter, transportation, and so on.&nbsp;But even within those basic necessities, needs are created for things that do us no good. No one needs Adidas shoes over Nike shoes. No one needs a Big Mac. No one needs a Lexus. And no one needs a theater in their basement. These are wants, created by the ad industry to convince you that you will be unhappy if you don&rsquo;t have them. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-vs-what-you-want-and-how-to-tell-the-difference">What You Need vs. What You Want, and How to Tell the Difference</a>)</p> <p>As George Carlin once said,&quot;Trying to be happy by accumulating possessions is like trying to satisfy hunger by taping <em>sandwiches</em> all over your body.&quot;</p> <p>So, in an effort to bring a little balance to the shopping world, I present a list of 25 things that advertisers, manufacturers, and retailers insist you need, but actually don&rsquo;t. And, for ease of browsing, I&rsquo;ve split it into categories. Let&rsquo;s start with the multi-billion dollar cosmetics industry.</p> <h2>Cosmetics</h2> <p>Where would the beauty industry be if not for its skill at manufacturing desire?</p> <p><strong>1. Aftershave</strong></p> <p>I shave once or twice a week. And when I do, I rarely splash on aftershave. The reason you are told you need it is to close your pores, but they&rsquo;ll do that on their own with a splash of cold water. Aftershave has one purpose, and that&rsquo;s to make you smell nice. If that&rsquo;s what you want, buy it for that. But you don&rsquo;t actually <em>need</em> it.</p> <p><strong>2. Body Scrub</strong></p> <p>Those fancy scrubs filled with crushed peach pits or other granules are not required at all. A simple washcloth or loofah will do the job just as well.</p> <p><strong>3. Leave-In Conditioners</strong></p> <p>They promise silky-soft hair, but in actuality they can coat the hair in fragrances and other ingredients that can build up over time, making your hair look and feel worse. And you&rsquo;ll buy more leave-in conditioner to combat it!</p> <p><strong>4. Cellulite Creams</strong></p> <p>It&rsquo;s snake oil. It&rsquo;s silly. It&rsquo;s nonsense. Nothing you can buy in a bottle or tub will get rid of cellulite for you, so don&rsquo;t go out and buy it. Seriously.</p> <p><strong>5. Toner</strong></p> <p>In the old days, soaps used to leave a nasty film on your face. They don&rsquo;t any more. So toners are a waste of time and money.</p> <p><strong>6. ChapStick</strong></p> <p>Any lip balm really. Did you know that lip balms contain alcohol? Guess what alcohol does to skin? Dries it. You&rsquo;ll be reapplying your lip balm all day to combat the effects of your lip balm. Lips, 99% of the time, are self moisturizing. So leave them alone.</p> <p><strong>7. Shower Gel</strong></p> <p>Crammed with petroleum by-products and chemicals, shower gel may smell nice but it isn&rsquo;t necessary. Keep it simple. Use a bar of decent soap and a washcloth. And if you're out of soap, water and a good scrub with your washcloth will do the job.</p> <h2>Sports and Fitness</h2> <p>We really do need to get fit and stay fit, but we don't need to spend a lot of money on athletic apparel and fitness supplies.</p> <p><strong>8. A Gym Membership</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-going-to-the-gym-is-a-waste-of-money-time-and-resources">You don't need a gym membership to get in shape</a>. Most people don&rsquo;t get anywhere near the use out of them that they should. If you&rsquo;re hell bent on getting fit, save yourself a lot of money and jog, take the stairs, do pushups and sit ups, and find other ways to stay in shape without the need for an expensive monthly fee.</p> <p><strong>9. &quot;Diet&quot; Meals</strong></p> <p>Those low calorie meals are quick and easy, but they are nutritionally lacking what you really need. The process involved in making them &mdash; freezing, defrosting, and so on &mdash; kills flavor and nutrients. Eat a healthy balanced diet and eat smaller portions.</p> <p><strong>10. Exercise Gadgets</strong></p> <p>Ab toners, butt lifters, and all those other fitness inventions prey on your wish to get fit quickly and easily. There&rsquo;s no such solution. They are gimmicks, they never do what you think they will, and you will sell them for a quarter of the price in a yard sale, or let them rot in the basement.</p> <p><strong>11. Fancy Athletic Clothing</strong></p> <p>You&rsquo;ll see people spending a fortune on wicking materials, silver-infused fabrics, breathable name brand clothing, and all sorts of other designer gear. All you need is a pair of sneakers that give good support, a cotton T-shirt, and a pair of socks and shorts. That&rsquo;s it.</p> <p><strong>12. Miracle Pills</strong></p> <p>Don&rsquo;t be fooled by fat burners and &quot;silver bullet&quot; remedies. With a balanced diet and exercise, and a lot of hard work, and you&rsquo;ll get the results you need. Pills just shrink your bank balance.</p> <h2>Baby Stuff</h2> <p>It's easy to fall prey to marketers' come-ons when children are involved.</p> <p><strong>13. Crib Bumpers and Bed Sets</strong></p> <p>They&rsquo;re pretty, cost a lot of money, and will never get used. <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2011/10/18/health/no-bumpers-cribs-sids-parenting/index.html">They&rsquo;re also unsafe</a> and shouldn&rsquo;t be in the crib. Don't bother.</p> <p><strong>14. Wipe Warmers</strong></p> <p>You can warm wipes in the palm of your hand for a few seconds if you want, but honestly, babies really don&rsquo;t need them.</p> <p><strong>15. A High Chair</strong></p> <p>These things are bulky and end up in the basement or garage. Buy a strap-in booster seat to use with your regular chairs. And when you don&rsquo;t need it, you can store it in the corner and still have full use of the dining set.</p> <p><strong>16. Baby Monitors</strong></p> <p>Unless you live in a Bill Gates style mansion or have a hearing issue, there&rsquo;s really no need to buy a baby monitor. As a parent of three, with one still under a year, I can tell you that whenever my youngest cries, my wife and I both hear it. Sure, we bought a monitor, like &quot;good parents&quot; do. But we don&rsquo;t use it any more. The interference was more annoying than anything else, and we have never, ever slept through our infant's crying. As these things can set you back several hundred dollars, you should really save your money.</p> <p><strong>17. Walkers</strong></p> <p>Think about this &mdash; we have been walking for centuries, and we didn&rsquo;t need walkers to assist us. Babies will pull up on furniture, your leg, anything they can find, and will figure out walking on their own. You can help, using your hands to guide them. Walkers are fun, but not necessary.</p> <p><strong>18. Changing Pad</strong></p> <p>At about $30, they&rsquo;re not that expensive, but you don&rsquo;t need one. A lot of moms I know create them using folded towels or blankets.</p> <h2>Household Items</h2> <p>Look around your house. There are lots of opportunities to reuse and repurpose instead of buying chore specific products.</p> <p><strong>19. Washing Machine Cleaners</strong></p> <p>First, they sell you the latest, greatest way to wash your clothes. Then you find out the new washer needs regular cleaning, too, with expensive packaged cleaners. Don&rsquo;t bother with them. Just add two cups of white vinegar into the drum and run a regular cycle.</p> <p><strong>20. Silver Jewelry Polish</strong></p> <p>Want to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-clean-silver-naturally">brighten those valuables</a>? Mix a little toothpaste with baking soda, scrub with a toothbrush, then rinse with warm water and buff with a dry cloth.</p> <p><strong>21. Cord Organizers</strong></p> <p>As our lives get more cluttered with gadgets, they also become filled with cords and wires. Don&rsquo;t buy fancy cord organizers. A simple toilet paper tube will do the job. If you cover it in black tape, it won't look like a toilet paper tube, either.</p> <p><strong>22. Paint Remover for Hands and Skin</strong></p> <p>You&rsquo;ll see a lot of products offering great solutions to the painted hands problem. But it&rsquo;s not such a problem at all. A dab of olive oil will remove the stains just as well.</p> <p><strong>23. Hard Water Stain Remover</strong></p> <p>Products like CLR will do that job, but for a price. You can do it with products you already have at home. Combine a teaspoon of vinegar with two tablespoons of salt, and mix into a paste. Then, scrub it in, and watch those hard water stains disappear.</p> <p><strong>24. Drain Uncloggers</strong></p> <p>When you buy these, you really do pour good money down the drain. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-really-easy-ways-to-unclog-drains">Baking soda is your friend here</a>&nbsp;&mdash; just pour a 1/2 cup down and watch it go to work. If it needs a little help, a wire coat hanger can help.</p> <p><strong>25. Dryer Sheets</strong></p> <p>A little dab of fabric softener on a hand towel will actually do the same job. The towel is reusable, and fabric softener is way cheaper than dryer sheets.</p> <p><em>Now, over to you. What have you discovered you can pass on, or substitute with something far cheaper?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/paul-michael">Paul Michael</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-products-you-think-you-need-but-really-don-t">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/the-only-6-rules-of-frugal-living-you-need-to-know">The Only 6 Rules of Frugal Living You Need to Know</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-do-a-spending-fast-in-16-easy-steps">How to Do a Spending Fast in 16 (Easy!) Steps</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/the-many-reasons-to-make-do-with-less">The Many Reasons to Make Do with Less</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/6-products-that-cost-more-for-women-than-for-men">6 Products That Cost More for Women Than for Men</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/advertising-jargon-that-aims-to-mislead">Advertising Jargon That Aims to Mislead</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping marketing needs wants Thu, 07 Feb 2013 11:36:34 +0000 Paul Michael 967534 at http://www.wisebread.com Ask the Readers: Is There Anything in Your Budget You Could Live Without? http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-is-there-anything-in-your-budget-you-could-live-without <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ask-the-readers-is-there-anything-in-your-budget-you-could-live-without" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/1386286094_ceccacb1b6_z-1.jpg" alt="Is there Anything in Your Budget You Could Live Without?" title="Is there Anything in Your Budget You Could Live Without?" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em><span id="internal-source-marker_0.15750901958494">Editor's Note: Congratulations to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-is-there-anything-in-your-budget-you-could-live-without#comment-543019">Rebecca B.A.R.</a>, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-is-there-anything-in-your-budget-you-could-live-without#comment-542965">Happy Love</a>, and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-is-there-anything-in-your-budget-you-could-live-without#comment-542950">Amy</a> for winning this week's contest!</span></em></p> <p>Almost everyone knows the difference between needs and wants. Needs are things you absolutely must have in order to get by while wants are more luxury items you might not need. Everyone knows one of the best ways to save money is to reduce spending money on wants. But when it comes down to it, what wants would you really be able to let go of if you needed to make cutbacks?</p> <p><b>Is there anything in your budget you could live without?</b><span style="font-weight:normal">&nbsp;Cable? Coffee? Dining out? Facials? Pedicures? Or...?</span></p> <p>Tell us if there is anything in your budget you could live without and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!</p> <h2>Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards</h2> <p>We're doing three giveaways &mdash; one for random comments, one for random Facebook &quot;Likes&quot;, and another one for random tweets.</p> <h3>Mandatory Entry:&nbsp;</h3> <ul> <li>Post your answer in the comments below&nbsp;</li> </ul> <h3>For extra entries (1 per action):</h3> <ul> <li>Go to our <a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Wise-Bread/26830741467?ref=ts">Facebook page</a>, &quot;Like&quot; us, and leave a comment on this article telling us you did, or</li> <li><a href="http://www.twitter.com/">Tweet</a> your answer. You have to be a follower of our <a href="http://twitter.com/wisebread">@wisebread account</a>. Include both &quot;@wisebread&quot; and &quot;#WBAsk&quot; in your tweet so we'll see it and count it. Leave a link to your tweet (click the timestamp for the individual URL) in a separate comment.</li> </ul> <p><strong>If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.</strong></p> <h4>Giveaway Rules:</h4> <ul> <li>Contest ends Monday, August 13th at 11:59 pm Pacific. Winners will be announced after August 13th on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.</li> <li>You can enter all three drawings &mdash; once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.</li> <li>This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered, or associated with Facebook.</li> <li>You must be 18 and US resident to enter. Void where prohibited.</li> </ul> <p><strong>Good Luck!</strong></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-blog-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Tell us if there is anything in your budget you could live without and we&#039;ll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card! </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-is-there-anything-in-your-budget-you-could-live-without">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/ask-the-readers-whats-the-biggest-item-in-your-budget">Ask the Readers: What&#039;s the Biggest Item in Your Budget?</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/25-products-you-think-you-need-but-really-don-t">25 Products You Think You Need, but Really Don’t</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/the-only-6-rules-of-frugal-living-you-need-to-know">The Only 6 Rules of Frugal Living You Need to Know</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/how-to-do-a-spending-fast-in-16-easy-steps">How to Do a Spending Fast in 16 (Easy!) Steps</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/ask-the-readers-do-gift-cards-make-a-good-gift">Ask the Readers: Do Gift Cards Make a Good Gift?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Giveaways Ask the Readers budget needs wants Tue, 07 Aug 2012 10:36:42 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 941369 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Do a Spending Fast in 16 (Easy!) Steps http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-do-a-spending-fast-in-16-easy-steps <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-do-a-spending-fast-in-16-easy-steps" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/5209988804_157d4c108c_z.jpg" alt="woman hiding her face" title="woman hiding her face" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A spending fast (also known as a spending freeze or a spending lock-down) is a method of getting out of debt through the elimination of all &quot;non-need&quot; spending.</p> <p>By doing a spending fast, I was able to substantially improve my financial life by paying off $23,605.10 in debt in a matter of 15 months! Now I am able to live a debt-free and autonomous life, one where my goals take priority and the debt doesn't. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-not-be-a-debt-slave">How to Not Be a Debt Slave</a>)</p> <p>Before deciding to do a spending fast there are a few factors to consider; these are all elements that will affect how quickly you are able to become debt-free.</p> <p><strong>Factors That Will Affect Your Spending Fast</strong></p> <ul> <li>The total amount of debt you have</li> <li>Your income</li> <li>How much spending you decide to cut out</li> <li>The duration of time you chose for your spending fast&nbsp;</li> <li>How much money you can make by selling your unused possessions</li> <li>What you chose to do to generate additional income&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>My life completely changed when I finally decided that I <em>had</em> to be done with my debt. The cycle of debt and remorse needed to end once and for all. Life is better on this side &mdash; the debt-free side. So, if you want to get out of debt and change your life by doing a spending fast, this is how it's done.</p> <h3>1. List Your Debts and Their Interest Rates</h3> <p>Make a list of all your bills. Write the highest-interest rate bill at the top of the list and the lowest interest rate bill at the bottom of the list. This will determine the order in which you will eliminate each bill.</p> <h3>2. Ask Your Creditors for Lower Interest Rates</h3> <p>Some credit card companies will actually lower your interest rate, so it's worth a shot to call them and ask.</p> <h3>3. Picture the Life You Dream of Living</h3> <p>Determine your priorities by putting actual pen to paper and by writing down your ideal life. What would you be doing if you didn't have to work for a living? How would you spend your time, and when are you the most happy?</p> <h3>4. Ask Yourself, &quot;Is There Any Way That I Can Reach My Goals With the Debt I Have?&quot;</h3> <p>If the answer is &quot;no&quot; and you don't feel good about it, then it's time to start thinking about making some serious life changes. If you find yourself making decisions about things to do (or not do) things based on how much debt you owe, be very honest with yourself. Does your debt prevent you from living a life that is true to you? Does your debt (and your obligation to it) pull you and angle your decisions in even the subtlest ways?</p> <h3>5. Decide to Be Done With Debt Once and for All</h3> <p>If you're not ready to be done with your debt, then you might want to try some other methods first. The spending fast technique requires commitment and dedication. A spending fast&nbsp;is a way to get extreme results in a relatively short amount of time, but you have to be ready to go forward full-force with it.&nbsp;</p> <h3>6. If You're Partnered, Try to Get Them to Do the Spending Fast With You</h3> <p>It's a lot easier to change your life if your partner is on board but, if they aren't, then consider doing the spending fast solo (separate bank accounts are very helpful here).&nbsp;</p> <h3>7. Set a Time-Frame for Your Spending Fast</h3> <p>I recommend a year, so you can get past the difficult beginning part (where all your habits are getting changed) and into the real benefits part (where your debt is getting paid off).</p> <h3>8. Make a Public Declaration of Your Desire to Become Debt-Free</h3> <p>Tell your friends and family about your decision to do a spending fast so you can have the accountability that comes along with it. In addition to telling your family and friends, you can take a <a href="http://www.andthenshesaved.com/get-out-of-debt-pledge/">Debt-Free Life Pledge</a>&nbsp;on my spending-fast site.</p> <h3>9. Create a &quot;Wants and Needs&quot; List</h3> <p>The &quot;wants and needs&quot; list will serve as the backbone of your spending fast. On the &quot;needs&quot; list include the bare necessities needed to live: rent, food, utilities, etc. On the &quot;wants&quot; list, put everything that is an &quot;extra&quot; in your life. Things that went on this side of the list for me were items like clothes, coffee at coffee shops, movies in the theater, gifts, bed linens, new music, new make-up, shoes, etc. (Here is my original <a href="http://www.andthenshesaved.com/spendingfastguidelines/">spending fast wants and needs list</a>&nbsp;if you're interested in seeing it.)&nbsp;The &quot;wants and needs&quot; list can (and will) be different based on each person's varying priorities in life.</p> <h3>10. Spend Money on the &quot;Needs&quot; Side of the List Only</h3> <p>This is the simple-but-not-easy part of the spending fast.</p> <h3>11. Think About What You <em>Can</em> Buy Rather Than What You Can't</h3> <p>If find yourself starting to feel bummed out when you're in the thick of the spending fast, try to shift your perspective, because it will do wonders for your morale. Remember to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/47-cheap-fun-things-to-do-this-weekend">keep having fun</a> (just the free kind). Remember that the spending fast isn't forever. There is a light at the end of the tunnel (that's why you set a time-frame at the start), and remind yourself of why you're doing the spending fast in the first place &mdash; it's to get out of debt once-and-for-all and to change your life!</p> <h3>12. Become Immersed in a Community of Like-Minded People</h3> <p>On my spending-fast website, <a href="http://www.andthenshesaved.com/">And Then She Saved</a>, I've started a <a href="http://www.andthenshesaved.com/community">community page</a>&nbsp;where people share their questions, struggles, accomplishments, set-backs, tips, tricks, and most importantly, their getting-out-of-debt successes. It's a great place to get a reminder that we aren't alone in our dreams to live debt-free lives.</p> <h3>13. Attack Your Debts</h3> <p>At the end of the month, send all the money that is left in your account to the bill that has the highest interest rate. Continue to send the minimum due on your other bills. Once a bill gets knocked out, be proud of yourself! You're really doing it! Then, attack the next highest interest rate bill on the list. Become competitive with yourself; try to get better numbers than the previous month and&nbsp;keep track of your savings from month-to-month. To be able to see all of the savings at the end of the year is amazing.</p> <h3>14. Be Committed to the Process</h3> <p>It's unrealistic to think that &quot;mistakes&quot; won't happen so keep going even when they (inevitably) occur.&nbsp;</p> <h3>15. Continue With the Spending Fast Until You Reach Your End Date</h3> <p>Stick with the spending fast for the entire time-frame you committed yourself to. If you reach your goal of paying off your debt and you happen to do it before your predetermined end date (um, awesome!), then why not keep going? Squirrel away the extra money and prepare yourself for the next step &mdash; financial security.</p> <h3>16. Be Proud of Yourself for What You Accomplished &mdash; Big or Small&nbsp;</h3> <p>When you come to the end of your spending fast, look back on all you were able to do. Being proactive and being willing to take charge of your life and finances is definitely something to be proud of!</p> <p>Throughout the spending fast, always be on the look-out for ways to cut the &quot;needs&quot; list down even more, get creative with <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/37-savings-changes-you-can-make-today">ways to save money</a>, and be willing to make things yourself in an effort to save.</p> <p>Before you know it, saving will become (unbelievably) more fun than spending and your financial life will be forever changed.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/anna-newell-jones">Anna Newell Jones</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-do-a-spending-fast-in-16-easy-steps">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-3"> <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/the-only-6-rules-of-frugal-living-you-need-to-know">The Only 6 Rules of Frugal Living You Need to Know</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/the-many-reasons-to-make-do-with-less">The Many Reasons to Make Do with Less</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/treat-yourself-like-a-child-to-be-more-grown-up">Treat yourself like a child to be more grown up</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/if-budgeting-isnt-fun-youre-doing-it-wrong">If Budgeting Isn&#039;t Fun, You&#039;re Doing It Wrong</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/25-products-you-think-you-need-but-really-don-t">25 Products You Think You Need, but Really Don’t</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Debt Management get out of debt needs spending freeze wants Fri, 04 May 2012 10:36:07 +0000 Anna Newell Jones 926140 at http://www.wisebread.com Avoiding Aspirational Spending http://www.wisebread.com/avoiding-aspirational-spending <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/avoiding-aspirational-spending" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/gucci.jpg" alt="Woman in front of a Gucci store" title="Woman in front of a Gucci store" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="154" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When it comes to staying on a path of righteously frugal living, my own personal Kryptonite is clothing. I'm not one for spending on dining out, and I don't indulge in luxuries like a big screen TV, but my head is easily turned by a cute pair of shoes or colorful top. That's not a huge vice, I guess. I mean public nudity IS frowned upon, so clothing is a necessity. Where it becomes very detrimental to personal finance, however, is when my wardrobe budget is spent on items for life I'd like to be leading instead of the life I actually live. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/where-to-buy-discounted-designer-clothing-online">Where to Buy Discounted Designer Clothing Online</a>)</p> <p>Fashion blogger Robin of High Heel in a Haystack summed it up perfectly when she said, &quot;<a href="http://highheelinahaystack.com/archives/916">Buy clothes that you will wear on a Tuesday afternoon</a>, not a Saturday night. Very few people lead Saturday night lives.&quot;</p> <p>This is very fitting (excuse the pun) advice for making sure clothing purchases turn out to be money well spent. Yes, that tux might make you look better than Clooney on the red carpet, but how often do you get an invitation to a movie premiere? And those sexy stilettos might be the absolute perfect touch for doing the tango in the moonlight on the deck of the Queen Elizabeth, but is your lifestyle more daycare drop-offs than cruise ship dancing?</p> <p>It's not just clothing that's relevant for the &quot;Tuesday afternoon&quot; benchmark; all financial outlays should be held to this standard. You've heard of &quot;lifestyle inflation,&quot; where your standard of living expands to meet (and sometimes exceed) your increasing income level? Well, &quot;aspirational spending&quot; is a similar phenomenon where purchases that one makes are out of sync with one's actual way of life.</p> <p>For example, you might picture yourself as a rugged individualist. An outdoorsy, camping, get-close-to-nature type. For that reason you own a four-wheel drive, off-road vehicle &mdash; which, 99% of the time, is used to transport you to and from work on paved highways. On a smaller scale, perhaps you're like my brother who had a job that kept him traveling about 75% of the time. Despite that, he shelled out about $150 each month of premium cable channels that he was never around to watch. Or like me, with an unlimited talk, text, and data smartphone plan even through my Android device is used primarily as an MP3 player.</p> <p>Aspirational spending could come in the form of a purchasing a home with a pool for that one holiday weekend a year when you actually get it together to have a backyard barbecue party with all your friends. Or that fancy health club membership that you signed up for as a New Year's resolution but haven't used since January 15<sup>th</sup>. Or a top-of-the-line Viking gas range bought to tap into your inner Jacques Pepin when you're more of a microwave/take-out kind of person.</p> <p>One way to avoid aspirational spending is to make mindful <a href="http://www.savings.com/blog/post/Cheaper-Not-Better.html">cost/benefit assessments</a> before committing to the expense:</p> <ul> <li>How often will you use the item?</li> <li>Are you paying for features you don't need or want or use?</li> <li>Is there a less expensive comparable option?</li> <li>Are you buying to service a current need or a future desire?</li> <li>Does the item fit into the life you live or some &quot;dream&quot; lifestyle?</li> <li>Can you live without it?</li> </ul> <p>When you actually take time to assess whether or not what you're spending money on adds value to the life you live rather than acting as a psychological placeholder for the life you think you SHOULD be living, you may find that there's an awful lot of spending on dresses for parties you'll never go to, sports equipment when your main form of exercise is clicking the remote, or that souped-up <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/buying-a-new-smartphone-without-extending-your-contract">smartphone</a> that doesn't mesh with your technical IQ.</p> <p>It can be humbling &mdash; and maybe even a little depressing &mdash; to acknowledge that you don't actually NEED a Cannondale Supersix EVO Ultimate sports bike because you'll never compete in a triathlon, much less the Tour de France, but it's also freeing in the long run.</p> <p>By making sure your purchases reflect your actual day-to-day habits rather than some dream lifestyle you don't actually live, you can funnel the money that would have been wasted on out-of-sync spending into savings, which can help you to attain financial freedom. And once you do that &mdash; who knows? Maybe you'll then have the wherewithal to actually pursue that Saturday night life after all!</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>This is a guest post by Stella Louise, editor of the <a href="http://www.savings.com/blog/blog.html">Savings.com Blog &amp; Save</a>, a lifestyle blog for savvy consumers.</p> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/stella-louise">Stella Louise</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/avoiding-aspirational-spending">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/do-not-buy-something-just-because-you-can-afford-it">Do not buy something just because you can afford it</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/the-limits-to-just-not-buying">The Limits to Just Not Buying</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/what-you-can-buy-with-5000">What You Can Buy With $5,000</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/25-products-you-think-you-need-but-really-don-t">25 Products You Think You Need, but Really Don’t</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/the-5-best-resistance-bands">The 5 Best Resistance Bands</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle Shopping balanced spending clothes needs Fri, 09 Sep 2011 10:24:17 +0000 Stella Louise 696869 at http://www.wisebread.com If Budgeting Isn't Fun, You're Doing It Wrong http://www.wisebread.com/if-budgeting-isnt-fun-youre-doing-it-wrong <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/if-budgeting-isnt-fun-youre-doing-it-wrong" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/notebook-budget-pen_2.jpg" alt="Notebook and pen with a draft budget" title="Notebook with a draft budget" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="163" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Make a list of your favorite things to do. Start with your most favorite thing to do, then your next most favorite, and keep going until you get to budgeting. Go ahead; I'll wait.</p> <p>If you haven't gotten down to budgeting yet, that's okay. There's a reason that most people don't enjoy budgeting, which I'll get to in a minute. But first, I want to talk about how you're doing it wrong.</p> <h2>The wrong way to budget</h2> <p>What do you want? In particular, <strong>what do you most want to have</strong> and <strong>what do you most want to do</strong>?</p> <p>You probably had a bunch of ideas pop into your head. If you've got a minute, go ahead and note them down on the same piece of paper where you were making your list of favorite things to do.</p> <p>Now spend just a few seconds thinking about a budget.</p> <p>You probably had a short list of &quot;budget categories&quot; pop into your head: Housing, groceries, utilities, transportation, etc.</p> <p>So, what's the overlap between those two lists: the things you most want and those classic budget categories? Pretty small, I bet.</p> <p>See what I mean? You're doing it wrong.</p> <p>Those classic budget categories almost certainly belong on the list of things you really, really want. (Very few people want to be homeless and starving.) You just don't think to put them on the list because you're used having them.</p> <h2>Budgeting the fun way</h2> <p>Think again about what you really, really want &mdash; and this time don't forget to include the stuff that you're used to having, like food to eat and a place to sleep. Make a list. Put it into priority order, with water, food, and shelter at the top. Include electricity (very handy) and maybe your phone bill (if you want keep in touch with friends and family).</p> <p>But don't stop there. Go ahead and add to the list all those other things you want &mdash; the new car, the new computer, the vacation in Fiji, the smart phone, the complete works of L.L. Zamenhof. Rank them in with everything else. If you want those awesome new shoes more than you want clean laundry, go ahead and put the shoes above laundry on your list.</p> <p>Am I that weird for finding it fun to fantasize about all the cool stuff I want to have and do? Does putting the stuff in a big list make it any less fun? Granted, it would be even more fun to actually have and do them. Happily, that's the next step! Go ahead and treat yourself to the items that are at the top of your list!</p> <p>Yes, at first, that may just mean &quot;Pay your rent and utility bills,&quot; but that's not the end of things. The real reason that budgeting is fun is that it's the best way to get further down your list &mdash; to get past the things you need and start getting yourself the things you just want.</p> <h2>Still hate it?</h2> <p>As I said at the top, there's a reason that most people hate budgeting. It's because their finances are out of control. <em>If your finances are out of control, making a list like this feels doesn't feel like a step toward satisfying your wants: It feels like putting your nose up against the window of a shop with everything you want but can't afford.</em></p> <p>The solution to that is straightforward, if not exactly simple: Take control of your finances.</p> <p>The tool for doing so is right there in front of you. Take the list of items that you really, really want and <strong>put numbers on it</strong> &mdash; the cost of each item.</p> <p>All it takes to be in control of your finances is:</p> <ol> <li>Know what you want</li> <li>Know how much those things cost</li> <li>Buy things in order, starting with the most wanted</li> <li>Quit buying stuff before you spend all your money</li> </ol> <p>Once you're managing those steps routinely &mdash; and banking the surplus cash that comes from not spending all your money &mdash; you can start <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/plan-for-your-wants ">planning ways to get those items</a> that fall below the cutoff.</p> <p>You're probably not going to get the list exactly right on your first try. If all your friends are heading off to see the new 3D movie, joining them is going to seem like a huge want &mdash; maybe higher on the list than, let's say, eating lunch out. But after you've bought the ticket and watched the movie &mdash; when you're trying to choose between leftovers and a peanut butter sandwich for your brown-bag lunch &mdash; maybe you'd rank the movie a bit further down on the list. That's okay. Nobody gets their budget right on the first try. Take your time. Shuffle things up and down on the list. Pretty soon they'll settle down.</p> <p>That's when it starts getting fun.</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/if-budgeting-isnt-fun-youre-doing-it-wrong">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-3"> <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/how-to-do-a-spending-fast-in-16-easy-steps">How to Do a Spending Fast in 16 (Easy!) Steps</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/6-signs-you-arent-making-enough-money">6 Signs You Aren&#039;t Making Enough 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/25-products-you-think-you-need-but-really-don-t">25 Products You Think You Need, but Really Don’t</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/the-only-6-rules-of-frugal-living-you-need-to-know">The Only 6 Rules of Frugal Living You Need to Know</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/try-these-6-money-saving-challenges-now">Try These 6 Money-Saving Challenges Now</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Debt Management needs wants Tue, 13 Apr 2010 13:00:02 +0000 Philip Brewer 12328 at http://www.wisebread.com The Many Reasons to Make Do with Less http://www.wisebread.com/the-many-reasons-to-make-do-with-less <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-many-reasons-to-make-do-with-less" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/suspension-bridge.jpg" alt="Suspension bridge" title="Suspension bridge" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="180" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Why would someone choose to have less than they could? Lots of reasons. There are as many ways to live large as there are people who refuse to think small. Over the time I've been writing for Wise Bread, I've expanded my list of reasons by quite a bit.</p> <p>One thing that I liked about Wise Bread right from the start is that it's about living large, and very much not about depriving yourself. The connection isn't always obvious, though, so I thought I'd run down my list. Making do with less helps you live large by letting you:</p> <p>1) <strong>Focus on what's important (by putting less resources into stuff that matters less)</strong>. This is at the core of how I've chosen to live my life. I have less of what I don't much care about so that I can have more of what I really want. Because my needs are really quite modest, I'm able to do exactly what I want with my life (be a full-time writer) without having to deprive myself. Like most people, there are a lot of things I want--but there isn't much that I want more than living the life I've chosen.</p> <p>2) <strong>Focus on what's important (because the other stuff is a distraction)</strong>. This resonates for me, too. Everything I buy is not only another thing I have to pay for--it's also another thing I have to find a place for, put away and get out again, use enough to justify the purchase, insure, keep clean and in good repair, worry about getting lost or stolen or broken, and then eventually dispose of.</p> <p>3) <strong>Learn the truth about yourself</strong>. Some time back I talked about <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/finding-joy-in-temporary-frugality">finding joy in temporary frugality</a>. I compared it to a backpacking trip. Partially it's a means to an end: The less you carry, the further you can go and the longer you can stay. But it's also educational. Some of the things you thought you needed turn out not to be as important as you'd imagined. Giving things up temporarily is occasionally a step toward realizing that you're happier without them.</p> <p>4) <strong>Live more gently on the planet</strong>. You've no doubt seen a dozen carbon-footprint calculators. Some people try to use less and waste less simply because they don't want to take more than their share. This resonates with me as well.</p> <p>5) <strong>Obey the commandments of your faith</strong>. Many religions make rituals out of having less in the form of fasting and charity. There are a lot of reasons for this. It can change your perspective on what's important, strengthen bonds within the community, and serve as a form of solidarity with others who have less.</p> <p>I'd like to finish with one reason that's not on the list: To have more later. It's not on the list because, although it does sort of work, this particular motivation often seems to lead to crazy-stupid behavior. It's true that, if you spend your twenties, thirties and forties scrimping and saving, you can probably spend your fifties, sixties, and seventies doing whatever you want--but that makes no sense. Much better, I think, to spend your youth doing whatever you want, constrained only to the extent that you're not committing your future along with your present--i.e. don't run up debts that you'll be paying for years.</p> <p>It makes good sense to spend less than you earn and save money--it adds to your freedom in the same way that going into debt reduces your freedom. It also makes sense to have a gradually rising standard of living--it's the natural order of things if for no other reason than that as you accumulate durable items they go on improving your life and as your skills grow your value as a worker increases. But to go beyond that--to live in voluntary penury now with the idea that you'll be able to live high on the hog when you're old--is weird, and in my experience doesn't lead to a good end.</p> <p>There are lots of other reasons to choose to spend less, own less, and use less as ways to live large, even without this one.<br /> &nbsp;</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/the-many-reasons-to-make-do-with-less">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-3"> <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/how-to-do-a-spending-fast-in-16-easy-steps">How to Do a Spending Fast in 16 (Easy!) Steps</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/the-only-6-rules-of-frugal-living-you-need-to-know">The Only 6 Rules of Frugal Living You Need to Know</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/the-line-between-frugal-and-crazy">The line between frugal and crazy</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/treat-yourself-like-a-child-to-be-more-grown-up">Treat yourself like a child to be more grown up</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/do-not-buy-something-just-because-you-can-afford-it">Do not buy something just because you can afford it</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living faith frugal frugality needs values wants Tue, 18 Aug 2009 13:00:05 +0000 Philip Brewer 3507 at http://www.wisebread.com Needs, wants, and not even wants http://www.wisebread.com/needs-wants-and-not-even-wants <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/needs-wants-and-not-even-wants" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/desertcanyon-3.jpg" alt="Desert canyon" title="Desert Canyon" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Hang around with frugality and simplicity types for any length of time and you'll hear a lot about distinguishing between needs and wants. It's come to me, though, that this issue is less interesting than the much more important issue of distinguishing between your wants and those brief, transitory fancies that don't even rise to the level of being true wants.</p> <p>It's easy to see the &quot;not even&quot; wants after the fact: They're the things that you buy, play with for a day or a week, and then set aside to add to your clutter. For some people they're electronic gadgets. For other people they're toys or shoes or clothes or sports equipment.</p> <p>Personally, I find it easy to do this with tools of a creative nature--painting and drawing supplies, musical instruments, and so on. It usually happens like this:</p> <p class="rteindent1">I see a work of art that speaks to me; one where I'm impressed not by the virtuosity of the artist's skill but by the way the image captures something in my own experience. When that happens, it occurs to me that I could do my own drawing or painting of a similar subject or on a similar theme. If I followed up by doing some drawing or painting, all would be well. But too often I follow up by buying some paint or ink or paper: stuff I not only didn't need, but that I&nbsp;really didn't even want.</p> <p>For other people it happens different ways. They buy something because a coworker got one, or because friend praised the thing, or because a mentor told them they needed one, or because a new boyfriend was shocked to hear that they didn't already have one, or because an ex-girlfriend mentioned how cool the thing was, or because a child threw a tantrum, or because a spouse gazed wistfully at one.</p> <p>The whole purpose of advertising is to produce this reaction: To turn something you don't need (or even really want) into something that have to have--for long enough to get you to make the buy.</p> <p>I don't have much new to say about resisting your &quot;not even&quot; wants. You've heard a hundred times about waiting a few days and seeing if you still want it.</p> <p>The classic simplicity book <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0143115766?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisbre08-20&amp;linkCode=as2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=390957&amp;creativeASIN=0143115766"><em>Your Money or Your Life</em></a> suggests translating all prices into &quot;life energy&quot;--the number of hours you have to work to earn the money to buy the thing. (Be sure to include the extra hours you work to pay the taxes and a share of the hours you spend commuting and the hours you work to buy the work clothes and the hours you spend shopping for work clothes...) If it's worth that, then by all means buy it.</p> <p>What's worked best for me is to spend some time looking at the things I already own and thinking about why this new thing might be more like the well-worn precious things I use all the time and less like the barely used, never used, no-longer used things that clutter up my apartment.</p> <p>In fact, it's worth doing that now and then even when you're not thinking about buying something new. After all, setting aside gifts, everything you own is something that you managed to convince yourself, at least for a moment, was something that you wanted. Go through that stuff. Even if all you can think is &quot;What was I thinking?&quot; there's a small education in that. Sometimes, though, you can think, &quot;Wow! That's so cool!&quot; and get it out and use it.</p> <p>I think I'll go through my art supplies tomorrow, and maybe make some art.<br /> &nbsp;</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/needs-wants-and-not-even-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-4"> <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/25-products-you-think-you-need-but-really-don-t">25 Products You Think You Need, but Really Don’t</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/the-only-6-rules-of-frugal-living-you-need-to-know">The Only 6 Rules of Frugal Living You Need to Know</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/free-and-cheap-things-to-do-in-champaign-urbana">Free and cheap things to do in Champaign-Urbana</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/how-to-travel-in-style-for-free">How to Travel in Style...For Free</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/how-to-do-a-spending-fast-in-16-easy-steps">How to Do a Spending Fast in 16 (Easy!) Steps</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle Art and Leisure needs wants Tue, 10 Feb 2009 21:09:44 +0000 Philip Brewer 2828 at http://www.wisebread.com Why invest in the stock market? http://www.wisebread.com/why-invest-in-the-stock-market <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-invest-in-the-stock-market" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/nyse_1.jpg" alt="New York Stock Exchange" title="New York Stock Exchange" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="235" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The conventional reason for investing in the stock market--perhaps offered with a bit less confidence now that we're in the midst of a stock market crash--is, &quot;It offers higher returns.&quot;&nbsp; But that gets us ahead of ourselves.&nbsp; We can learn a lot by taking a couple of steps back and looking first at our financial goals.</p> <p>Most people have a long list of financial goals, starting with things like paying the rent, putting food on the table, keeping the lights turned on, and so on.&nbsp; Work your way down the list and you get to things like replacing the old car, buying a house, putting the kids through college, and (sooner or later) retiring.</p> <p>Most people's wants, if you list them all out like that, will exceed their expected lifetime earnings (even before including the Ferrari, apartment in Paris, yacht, and private jet).&nbsp; And <strong>that's</strong> why people so automatically shoot for investments that offer the maximum returns--outsized returns are their only hope of satisfying all their wants.</p> <p>That thinking, though, leads people to make all sorts of poor choices.</p> <p>As a thought experiment, imagine someone whose wants could be comfortably satisfied by his or her income.&nbsp; (Since wants tend to expand without limit, I admit this is a bit tricky, but give it a try.)&nbsp;&nbsp; Such a person wouldn't need to invest at all (beyond establishing an emergency fund).&nbsp; In fact, investments would only make sense in the context of some particular goal--leaving a legacy for example.</p> <p>I'd like to suggest that this is really true of everyone.&nbsp; You just lead yourself astray if you line up all your wants on one side, and then create an aggressive portfolio on the other, hoping for some big wins to bridge the gap between your income and all the stuff you want.</p> <p>Note that I'm <strong>not</strong> suggesting that you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-one-big-lump-theory-of-your-money">target particular investments to specific goals</a>--that's definitely the wrong approach.&nbsp; Your entire investment portfolio supports all your goals.&nbsp; Rather, the defect is in letting your wants grow without bound, putting you in a situation where the sum of your income and the return to ordinary saving still doesn't add up to enough to satisfy them.</p> <p>Now, it's fine to have some out-of-reach desires.&nbsp; (For example, I'd like to have a private rail car, which although much cheaper than a private jet, is still likely to be forever beyond my means.)&nbsp; The problem is letting them get out of control in a way that distorts your entire investment strategy.</p> <p>My suggestion is that you classify your wants into the important ones and the unimportant ones--and that the portion of your portfolio that's going to fund the important ones needs to be conservatively invested.</p> <p>Lots of people have made the point that the stock market is no place for money that you expect to need in the next 5 years.&nbsp; The events of the past year suggest that maybe an even longer period is in order.&nbsp; If you're prepared to delay your retirement by 5 or 10 years in order to have a shot at retiring 5 or 10 years early, then an aggressive investment strategy may be in order.&nbsp; The same sort of thinking is probably not appropriate for your college savings or the down payment on a new car.</p> <p>Here are some thoughts on some specific categories of investments:</p> <ul> <li><strong>Cash</strong> isn't much of an investment--but it's what you actually need when you're ready to spend.&nbsp; Your emergency fund should be in cash (money market fund, high-rate savings account, t-bills, etc.).</li> <li><strong>Short-term bonds</strong> rarely yield much more than cash--but they're a good choice for money that you're going to need at some particular time in the near future.&nbsp; (For example, as your kid approaches high school, it might make sense to start moving his college savings into short-term bonds with maturity dates that match the tuition bills.)</li> <li><strong>Long-term bonds</strong> are very vulnerable to inflation, but can be a great investment when the coupon is high enough to provide a good return over whatever inflation turns out to be.</li> <li><strong>Inflation-adjusted bonds</strong> are an excellent investment, except when the after-inflation return is very low--which it had been for the past several years.&nbsp; Happily, the return on <a href="/tips-and-i-bonds">TIPS</a> has surged in just the past few weeks, making these an investment well worth considering.&nbsp; (They are vulnerable in a deflation, which is probably why the return has shot up.)</li> <li><strong>Gold</strong> is a store of value.&nbsp; There's good reason to hope that your investment in gold will maintain its value, but little reason to hope that it will grow in value.&nbsp; (Although the gold price will go up if there's inflation--and just staying even with inflation can be tough with other investments.&nbsp; Still, don't expect a return from gold that will fund any of those wants on your list.)</li> <li><strong>Stocks</strong> are the classic investment.&nbsp; Prices are down right now, but the looming recession will probably mean that profits will be low as well.&nbsp; If you've got a 10-year time horizon, stocks are a good choice.</li> <li><strong>Real estate</strong> is another classic investment, but be careful not to delude yourself.&nbsp; As an investment, your home is worth whatever it lets you avoid paying in rent.&nbsp; Properties that you rent out are definitely investments--but being a landlord is as much like having a second job as it is like owning an investment like stocks or bonds.</li> </ul> <p>To answer the question I started with, the reason to invest in stocks to earn a higher return is that it lets you <em>satisfy wants that you couldn't otherwise afford.</em>&nbsp; But those higher returns come with higher risks--risks that mean that maybe those wants won't be satisfied at all.</p> <p>As recent events have made clear, the average return for the stock market may be higher than the average return of most other investments--but that doesn't mean that you can plug the average return into your plans and have any expectation that you'll get that return in any particular year.&nbsp; Even if you have a long time horizon, stocks may be down right when you're ready to spend the money.</p> <p>I guess you don't need me to tell you that. </p> <p>Do some thinking about your wants.&nbsp; A shot at high returns in the stock market makes good sense for funding some of your wants--especially the less important ones (the sports car) and the longer-term ones (early retirement).&nbsp;&nbsp; But for the important ones, and the ones with shorter time horizons--arrange to cover those without relying on outsized investment returns. &nbsp;</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/why-invest-in-the-stock-market">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-4"> <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/8-ways-to-prepare-for-a-stock-market-dive">8 Ways to Prepare for a Stock Market Dive</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/the-best-ways-to-invest-50-500-or-5000">The Best Ways to Invest $50, $500, or $5000</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/stabilize-your-portfolio-with-these-5-bond-funds">Stabilize Your Portfolio With These 5 Bond Funds</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/8-assets-you-can-count-on-during-tough-times">8 Assets You Can Count on During Tough Times</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/11-investment-mistakes-we-all-make">11 Investment Mistakes We All Make</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment bonds gold mmf money market funds needs real estate stocks wants Mon, 27 Oct 2008 12:24:01 +0000 Philip Brewer 2547 at http://www.wisebread.com Treat yourself like a child to be more grown up http://www.wisebread.com/treat-yourself-like-a-child-to-be-more-grown-up <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/treat-yourself-like-a-child-to-be-more-grown-up" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/parent-and-child.jpg" alt="Parent and child" title="Parent and Child" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="181" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>This post is about repurposing a trick that grown-ups use to manage a child&#39;s wants.  You know the one.  It starts with pointing at a substitute.  Then, the grown-up frames one of two questions, such that the answer is always &quot;you don&#39;t need one.&quot;</p> <p>Whatever the child wants--let&#39;s call it X--the adult can always ask one of two questions:</p> <ol> <li>You&#39;ve got a perfectly good X--you use it all the time!  Why should I buy you a new one?</li> <li>You never use the X you&#39;ve got!  Why do you need a new one?</li> </ol> <p>Now, I&#39;m going to say in a minute that this is a useful way to think about things, but before I do, I want to acknowledge that grown-ups often use this structure to play what amounts to a cruel trick.  Until the child learns the structure, there&#39;s the implication that the child could get his or her wants fulfilled by switching--abandoning use of something needs to be replaced in the one case, or going through the motions of using something that&#39;s not really useable in the other.  This, of course, is a futile maneuver, because the adult then merely switches to the alternate question.</p> <p>Still, the underlying logic is entirely valid.  For pretty much anything you&#39;ve got, you&#39;re either using it--which proves that you&#39;ve got one that works and therefore don&#39;t need another, or else you&#39;re <strong>not</strong> using it--which proves that you <strong>certainly</strong> don&#39;t need another one.</p> <p>I&#39;ve had good luck in using this trick to manage my own wants.  And, since I&#39;m a grown-up, I can do it without being obliged to go on and turn it into a cruel trick.</p> <p>There&#39;s all kinds of stuff I want.  But, when I think of some new thing that I&#39;d like to get, I can say to myself, &quot;You don&#39;t need an iPhone--you&#39;ve got a perfectly good cell phone.&quot;  I can then let my inner child and inner adult argue for a while, with the child explaining that my old cell phone has crappy internet features and the adult pointing out that I spend plenty of time accessing the internet on my computer, so why would I need to access it on my phone as well?</p> <p>As the argument rages on, I can pay attention to either (or both!) sides of the adult&#39;s trick questions:  If I&#39;ve got a perfectly good one that I use all the time, why do I need a new one?  If I&#39;ve got one that I hardly ever use, why do I think getting a new one would make me any better off?</p> <p>Since I&#39;m in charge of my own spending, I&#39;m in a position to let myself be convinced by my arguments.  After all, there are sometimes good answers, even though they don&#39;t work for children.  Some things that I use all the time need to be replaced because they&#39;ve worn out.  Some things that I never use need to be replaced because the reason that I never use them is that I foolishly bought a crappy one that never worked well.</p> <p>When I take just a minute, now and then, to treat myself like a child, I find it a little easier to make the grown-up choice.</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/treat-yourself-like-a-child-to-be-more-grown-up">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/the-only-6-rules-of-frugal-living-you-need-to-know">The Only 6 Rules of Frugal Living You Need to Know</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-do-a-spending-fast-in-16-easy-steps">How to Do a Spending Fast in 16 (Easy!) Steps</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/the-many-reasons-to-make-do-with-less">The Many Reasons to Make Do with Less</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/25-products-you-think-you-need-but-really-don-t">25 Products You Think You Need, but Really Don’t</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/having-a-baby-nine-financial-considerations-for-new-parents">Having a baby? Nine financial considerations for new parents</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living adults children grown-ups needs wants Mon, 21 Jul 2008 12:46:15 +0000 Philip Brewer 2253 at http://www.wisebread.com Do not buy something just because you can afford it http://www.wisebread.com/do-not-buy-something-just-because-you-can-afford-it <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/do-not-buy-something-just-because-you-can-afford-it" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/forsale.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="182" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Since I got married people have been constantly asking me two questions. One is, &quot;are you pregnant yet?&quot;, and the other is &quot;are you going to buy a house?&quot; If you are a reader of <a href="http://baglady.dreamhosters.com">my personal blog</a> you would know that I do not want to buy a house in the San Francisco Bay Area right now because the prices are still quite ridiculous. The hubby and I always tell people that we cannot afford a house, but that is not entirely true. We can afford to buy a house with a pretty nice margin of comfort, but we do not want to buy one just because we can afford it. One day I told someone that I do not want to afford a house right now and he asked me what I meant, and here is my explanation.</p> <ol> <li><strong>We do not need to spend more </strong> - The cost to own a unit similar to what we live in is two to three times of what we pay in rent. The only purpose of a house is to provide shelter, and I do not see a need to upgrade just because we can afford it.</li> <li><strong>Housing prices are dropping</strong> - This is an event that is being felt all throughout the country. In parts of the Bay Area prices have been dropping 10 to 20% and it is expected to drop even further. This means that if I bought a house now it would not be worth what I paid in just a few months.</li> <li><strong>Owning a home would bring additional headaches</strong> - As renters, we do not deal with maintenance, and that is very pleasant when a roof or pipe needs repairs. Additionally, we are a young couple just beginning our careers, and we are not quite sure where we will end up. It is much easier for us to pack up and leave since we are renters.</li> </ol> <p>Even though the example I used is a house, I think before you purchase anything you should ask yourself the following questions even if you could afford it.</p> <ol> <li><strong>Do I really need to buy this?</strong></li> <li><strong>Does this purchase improve my life in a significant manner?</strong></li> <li><strong>Is this item worth my money?</strong></li> </ol> <p>Obviously, on the issue of purchasing a Bay Area home, I would answer no to all three of my questions and that is why I am not buying one even though we can afford it. Sometimes it is not that easy to answer all of these questions, but you may find that you can avoid a lot of frivolous purchases just by thinking about these questions. Unfortunately, I think a lot of people only ask themselves one question before a purchase: &quot;can I afford this now?&quot; </p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/xin-lu">Xin Lu</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/do-not-buy-something-just-because-you-can-afford-it">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-4"> <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/chinese-money-habits-how-my-culture-influences-my-attitudes-toward-money">Chinese Money Habits - How My Culture Influences My Attitudes Toward 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/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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/in-times-like-these-separate-the-want-from-the-need">In times like these, separate the want from the need.</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/welcome-to-container-city-how-shipping-containers-are-recycled-into-green-dwellings">Welcome to Container City - How Shipping Containers Are Recycled into Green Dwellings</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/looking-on-the-bright-side-how-to-find-a-silver-lining-in-the-current-financial-crisis">Looking On The Bright Side: How to Find A Silver Lining In The Current Financial Crisis</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Frugal Living Budgeting General Tips Lifestyle Real Estate and Housing Shopping afford buying frugal housing money needs real estate Sale shopping Tue, 19 Feb 2008 22:36:47 +0000 Xin Lu 1819 at http://www.wisebread.com