standard of living http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8882/all en-US How to Have an Above-Average Life for Below-Average Prices http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-have-an-above-average-life-for-below-average-prices <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-have-an-above-average-life-for-below-average-prices" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/wine-shopping-87333040-small.jpg" alt="shopping" title="shopping" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The average person is stuck paying the average price for everything. But you're not an average person. You're a unique person. Your choices can boost you above average.</p> <p>A while back, I happened across a chart of &quot;average apartment prices&quot; for different cities, and I was surprised to find that I was living in an apartment that cost quite a bit less than average (and it was a great apartment). (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/studio-apartment-living-a-5-point-survival-guide?ref=seealso">Studio Living: A 5-Point Survival Guide</a>)</p> <p>It wasn't a matter of great bargaining either &mdash; I have no particular skill at bargaining at all. My wife and I found our great apartment by investing some time and effort. The main things we did were:</p> <ol> <li>Think about what we wanted in an apartment.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Research how those features &mdash; and the features we <em>didn't</em> care about &mdash; affected the price of an apartment. Because everything affects the price of an apartment &mdash; size, floor plan, whether it allows cats, is on a bus line, has washer/dryer hookups, covered parking, a balcony, and so on.</li> </ol> <p>Once we had some data, we were able to pick an apartment that lacked some features that we didn't care about, but that other people are willing to pay more for. Since our apartment didn't have those features, it was a &quot;below average&quot; apartment that rented for a below average price &mdash; even though it had all the features <em>we</em> really cared about.</p> <p>This strategy doesn't work for everything. It only works for things that are unique. Things that are all the same &mdash; a gallon of fuel, a pound of sugar, a month of basic cable &mdash; are going to cost whatever they cost. Things that are unique &mdash; a house on the beach, a used car, a painting by a local artist &mdash; are going to have wildly different prices.</p> <p>You can take advantage of this fact to get a much better standard of living than the average, because while the average person has to pay the average cost for an average item, all that matters to you is the price of the <em>cheapest one you really like</em>.</p> <p>Here are two strategies to focus on.</p> <h2>Emphasize Unique Items</h2> <p>The more of your budget that goes for ordinary mass-market items just like everybody else, the more of your budget you're going to be spending on average (and averaged-priced) goods.</p> <p>Where the mass-market item is cheap, this is okay &mdash; you're not getting an above-average standard of living, but at least you're getting low costs.</p> <p>But the more of your budget where you can satisfy your needs with unique choices that are <em>better</em> than the mass-market choices, the more opportunity you have to live at an above-average standard of living for a below-average cost.</p> <h2>Emphasize Long-Lived and Expensive Items</h2> <p>The extra time and effort involved in finding the above-average choices really pays off when you find something that you can use for a long time.</p> <p>Anything that you can buy once and keep for years is a great candidate for the extra effort of finding one that's above average.</p> <p>Our apartment, that I used as an example above, was a great deal the very first year. But the real win for us has been that it continued to be an above-average apartment at a below-average cost year after year. The effort we put into finding it really paid off.</p> <p>Other things don't justify the effort. Of course, sometimes you'll find an above-average item at a below-average price without a lot of extra effort. We once found some locally grown organic stone-ground whole wheat flour for about <em>half</em> of what ordinary flour cost. We bought all we could carry, and we really enjoyed the bread we baked with it &mdash; but it only raised our standard of living for a few weeks.</p> <p>Of course, making your things last is great even if you didn't get an above-average deal on them.</p> <p>So, get strategic. Look at the things you buy and identify the ones that are unique. From within that list, start with the items that you're going to keep for a long time, and the high-dollar items. That's where the extra investment is going to have the most impact on both your standard of living and your cost of living.</p> <p><em>How have you made strategic purchases to boost your standard of living without boosting your costs? Please share in comments!</em></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/how-to-have-an-above-average-life-for-below-average-prices">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-12"> <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/10-big-expenses-you-can-easily-get-rid-of">10 Big Expenses You Can Easily Get Rid Of</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/10-sites-and-apps-to-help-you-track-your-spending-and-stick-to-your-budget">10 Sites and Apps to Help You Track Your Spending and Stick to Your Budget</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/47-simple-ways-to-waste-money">47 Simple Ways To Waste Money</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/38-ways-to-save-money-without-trying-much">38 Ways to Save Money Without Trying (Much)</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/14-pricey-things-you-shouldnt-buy-and-what-to-get-instead">14 Pricey Things You Shouldn&#039;t Buy (And What to Get Instead)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Lifestyle budgets spending standard of living strategic spending Fri, 30 May 2014 08:24:25 +0000 Philip Brewer 1141050 at http://www.wisebread.com What's a Fair Relationship Between Salary and Rent? http://www.wisebread.com/whats-a-fair-relationship-between-salary-and-rent <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/whats-a-fair-relationship-between-salary-and-rent" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/decaying-building.jpg" alt="Decrepit house" title="Decrepit House" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="164" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Can a minimum-wage worker in your state afford to rent an apartment? Does the answer to that question say anything about us as a people? Should you care? (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/a-decent-standard-of-living">A Decent Standard of Living</a>)</p> <p>Pretty quickly after I started writing for Wise Bread, I discovered that writing about a &quot;decent standard of living&quot; is really hard. There is no luxury so frivolous that there aren&rsquo;t people out there who consider it a necessity, and there is no necessity so essential that there aren&rsquo;t people ready to point out that a billion poor people around the world manage to get by without it.</p> <p>With that in mind, I found this map (from the <a href="http://nlihc.org/">National Low Income Housing Coalition</a>&lsquo;s report <a href="http://nlihc.org/oor/2012">Out of Reach 2012</a>) pretty interesting:</p> <p>&nbsp;<img width="605" height="453" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u203/2012-OOR-Min-Wage-Map.png" /></p> <p>It shows the number of hours of minimum-wage work it takes to pay the monthly rent on a two-bedroom apartment at fair market rent.</p> <p>Their statement here is that there&rsquo;s nowhere in the country where a minimum wage worker can afford to live. If you go by the rule of thumb that it&rsquo;s reasonable to spend about 30% of your income on rent, and you figure that there are 21 working days in an average month, then you&rsquo;d calculate that it&rsquo;s reasonable to spend 50 hours a month earning your rent. But there's no state where that's possible. The cheapest states (West Virginia and Arkansas) take 63 hours of minimum wage work to pay for a two-bedroom apartment.</p> <p>To my mind, the whole notion is a bit odd. For how long has it been reasonable &mdash; not just <em>reasonable</em>, but presumptively true &mdash; that every worker needs his or her own two-bedroom apartment?</p> <p>Let's try an alternative perspective. Let's instead suppose it&rsquo;s reasonable that poor folks shouldn&rsquo;t expect to be able to make ends meet without a roommate. In that case, it would be reasonable for rent to run as high as 100 hours a month, with two workers sharing the cost.</p> <p>Accept that as a standard &mdash; poor folks have to have roommates &mdash; and the implication of the map seems much more reasonable. It&rsquo;s still too expensive to live a few places &mdash; the Northeast corridor, California, and Florida &mdash; but everywhere else 100 hours of minimum-wage work will rent you an apartment.</p> <p>Of course, having a roommate is only one way to afford decent housing. An even cheaper option might be to rent a room in someone else's house. Or to rent a one-bedroom or an efficiency apartment.</p> <p>In fact, there's a lot of complexity, once you dig a little deeper. The whole idea of &quot;fair market rent&quot; buries a lot of variation in the costs of individual units. If you can find a cheaper apartment that meets your needs &mdash; and you only need to find one &mdash; it doesn't really matter what other units go for. (The <a href="https://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD">Department of Housing and Urban Development</a> calculates the fair market rent numbers used. It might be worth mentioning that my wife and I &mdash; and I presume, most of our neighbors in our apartment complex &mdash; are paying almost 25% under the fair market rent for our area.)</p> <p>Underlying all this are a lot of implications about social organization. If one minimum-wage worker can afford a two-bedroom apartment, then one worker with a spouse can afford to start a family, and the non-working spouse can stay home and take care of the child. At the lower end of the income spectrum, that's been tough to arrange for many years now &mdash; in large part because it isn't &quot;decent&quot; to live at <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/our-high-high-standard-of-living-1">the standard of living that a single wage-earner can afford</a>.</p> <p>But if you don't get too hung up on what's decent, and instead go for what works for you, a whole lot of options open up. As I said, you only need to find one apartment that's affordable. You can eat a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/healthy-frugal-eating">healthy diet that's frugal</a>. There are a million ways to spend less on transportation, clothing, fuel, education, health care, and all the other necessities of life, and produce a standard of living that would have been considered superb by almost everyone who has ever lived &mdash; as long as you don't get too hung up on what <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-poor-folks-have-better-crap-than-you">other people consider necessary</a>.</p> <p>I'm glad people are talking about issues of fairness related to the cost of living and how it relates to the minimum wage, and I&nbsp;rather like this group's contribution to the discussion. But I'm also glad I'm living large on a small budget.</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/whats-a-fair-relationship-between-salary-and-rent">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-5"> <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/america-is-on-a-roll-5-economic-predictions-for-2016">America Is On a Roll: 5 Economic Predictions for 2016</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/should-your-standard-of-living-rise">Should your standard of living rise?</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/a-decent-standard-of-living">A decent standard of living</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/should-you-try-to-reduce-your-rent">Should you try to reduce your rent?</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-federal-minimum-wage-increases-this-week-are-you-getting-a-pay-raise">The Federal Minimum Wage Increases This Week - Are You Getting a Pay Raise?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance minimum wage rent standard of living Tue, 04 Dec 2012 10:36:45 +0000 Philip Brewer 955733 at http://www.wisebread.com Who Cheated Us Out of Our Amazing Future? http://www.wisebread.com/who-cheated-us-out-of-our-amazing-future <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/who-cheated-us-out-of-our-amazing-future" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/futuristic-sculpture-in-chicago.jpg" alt="Futuristic sculpture" title="Futuristic sculpture" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="156" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>At least as far back as the 1950s, people were talking about how automation would mean that in the future, we'd only have to work 20 hours a week to support ourselves &mdash; freeing up the rest of our time for recreational or creative pursuits.</p> <p>The technology came through, but the lifestyle didn't. In any field that's been amenable to the application of technology, worker productivity has increased drastically, but I don't know two people who're working 20-hour weeks and devoting the rest of their time to their art.</p> <p>So what happened?</p> <h3>Rising Standards of Living</h3> <p>In 1950, about 30% of the average household budget went to food. In 2009, only 14% went to food. So for that category of spending, the utopian future actually did materialize &mdash; a consumer only needed to work half as many hours to pay for food in 2009 as in 1950.</p> <p>The same was true in one other large category: clothing. Households had to allocate 12% of their spending to apparel in 1950, but only 4% in 2009 &mdash; only one-third as many hours needed to be worked to cover the cost of clothing.</p> <p>The other large spending categories don't show a similar pattern &mdash; except maybe they do, if you dig down a bit. Instead of choosing to work fewer hours, we've worked the extra hours in order to get more and better stuff.</p> <p>Housing took 30% of a household's spending in 1950 and it took 42% in 2009 &mdash; but there was a huge difference in size and quality. In 1950 the average housing unit was much smaller &mdash; about half the size. It lacked many of the accouterments that virtually all houses and apartments have now. It wouldn't have had air conditioning and might well not have had central heating; many didn't even have indoor plumbing. Most households also lacked many of the small appliances that we take for granted nowadays &mdash; mixers and vacuum cleaners were rare; microwaves, blenders, and breadmakers unheard of.</p> <p>Transportation took 13% versus 16% now, but improvements there have been at least as remarkable as those in housing &mdash; practically everyone owns a car now, and the cars run well for many years with minimal maintenance. In 1950 only about three-fifths of households had a car (only the wealthy had two cars), and those cars wore out in just a few years. Carpooling was ordinary, and many people still commuted by bus or rail.</p> <p>In the 1950s, the average household had to allocate 85% of its spending to cover the basic necessities &mdash; food, clothing, shelter, transportation. If you can downscale your housing and transportation to what was typical for 1950, the same standard of living could be purchased now for about 40% of spending.</p> <p>So we really did get our magical future where we only had to work half as many hours to live a comfortable, middle-class (1950s) lifestyle. Except we chose to live a luxurious twenty-first century lifestyle instead.</p> <p>But there's more to it than that, because most people didn't really get a choice. Yes, they could have cut their <em>spending</em> to get by on just half their income, but the option to work <em>half as many hours for half the pay</em> was largely not available.</p> <h3>Greed and Laziness</h3> <p>Instead of the future the utopians hoped for, as technology has made it possible to do more work with fewer people, employers have let workers go. (And, as technology has made it possible to do work overseas where workers are cheaper, they've moved production overseas and cut their domestic workforce even more.)</p> <p>At one level, you might say the answer is simply greed &mdash; since the 1970s, the gains due to automation have gone all to the providers of the capital that financed it, and none to the workers whose work has been automated. Still, one man's greed is another man's ordinary good business practice, so that's not a completely satisfying answer.</p> <p>I think there are two other aspects.</p> <p>Part of the answer is that managers are lazy. (Or, if you prefer, clever.) They <em>could</em> hire twice as many half-time workers, but that turns out to be a lot of extra work for them.</p> <p>There's the overhead of running a payroll, of keeping track of (and following) the ever-changing laws and regulations on employment, managing them on a day-to-day basis, doing performance appraisals, dealing with turnover, etc. Some of that overhead is fixed as soon as you add employee #1, but a lot of it ends up being multiplied by the number of employees you've got.</p> <p>The upshot is that employers prefer having the smallest number of employees possible (and working them as hard as possible), as opposed to having a larger number of employees who work part-time.</p> <p>The employees themselves, of course, have diverse perspectives on this. Some are perfectly happy working very long hours &mdash; especially those who get paid by the hour, but also those who are trying to build careers. Others would much rather work fewer hours for less pay.</p> <p>Under the influence of big companies, government has also weighed in on the side of &quot;full-time&quot; employment in the sense that many rules to protect workers rights to pensions and other benefits only apply (or apply more strongly) to full-time workers.</p> <p>The upshot is that common practices, together with the incentives that businesses face, largely close off the opportunity for the happy futuristic utopia that we were promised.</p> <h3>Take Back Your Future!</h3> <p>The productivity gains are real. If you want to live a 1950s lifestyle, you can do it for about half the cost a household would have had to pay in 1950.</p> <p>Jobs that support such a lifestyle are more limited, but that doesn't mean that there are none. And if living the 1950s fantasy of techno-utopia appeals to you, it doesn't matter if there are a lot of such jobs. You just need to find one.</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/who-cheated-us-out-of-our-amazing-future">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-federal-minimum-wage-increases-this-week-are-you-getting-a-pay-raise">The Federal Minimum Wage Increases This Week - Are You Getting a Pay Raise?</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/8-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-get-a-promotion">8 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Get a Promotion</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/can-you-buy-your-way-out-of-the-rat-race">Can You Buy Your Way Out of the Rat Race?</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/a-society-of-fear">A Society of Fear</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/when-should-you-say-no-to-those-who-want-to-borrow-money-from-you">When Should You Say No to Those Who Want to Borrow Money from You?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Career and Income part-time job retro standard of living Mon, 03 Jan 2011 13:00:10 +0000 Philip Brewer 427734 at http://www.wisebread.com How We Are Our Own Saboteurs http://www.wisebread.com/how-we-are-our-own-saboteurs <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-we-are-our-own-saboteurs" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/neighborhood.jpg" alt="Choosing an Affordable Neighborhood" title="Choosing an Affordable Neighborhood" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="167" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Ultimately we control our destiny, meaning we have some say in the decisions that affect our personal finance in our adult lives. Yet the three biggest life decisions we make may be sabotaging our ultimate financial goal, saving enough and being financially independent come retirement. Those three big choices include where to live or settle down, who to marry, and what profession to choose.</p> <h2>Where to Live</h2> <p>Many of us choose to stay put; we remain close to where we grew up, our family and friends. There are definitely some benefits to remaining in the city where we've spent the majority of our lives in, such as familiarity with the city, where to shop, eat, visit, and work. Other benefits include potentially low cost baby sitting if grandparents are willing and able to help care for young children. Living near relatives may also be cost effective for DIY home projects, holiday gatherings, or transportation needs.</p> <p>Yet, choosing where we live, whether we stay near home or move out of state, can negatively affect our personal finances if the cost of living in the chosen city is extremely high. Take Los Angeles or New York for example. Living as an independent adult costs much more in these cities in the long run than choosing to live in a city where the cost of living is half the price. Even though it may mean moving out of our comfort zone, choosing to move to a less expensive area may be more financially sound.</p> <p>Making a choice on whether to rent or purchase property becomes important in an expensive town. Renters have more freedom on when they can move, they aren't tied down by a mortgage and can make good financial decisions based on rent prices. Renting may not be a terrific long-term financial strategy, but could work in the short term if mobility is important.</p> <h2>Who to Marry</h2> <p>Love is blind, so they say. Unless your date wears his FICO on his sleeve and &ldquo;I&rsquo;m a saver&rdquo; is stamped on his forehead, you may be entering into uncharted spending territory. Many of us plunge into a relationship head over heels, only to find out later that our beloved can't balance his checkbook to save his life. Few first dates reveal an individual's personal finance. Discussing personal finances should be on the agenda the moment a relationship becomes serious.</p> <p>Finding out after you&rsquo;re married that your spouse has an affinity for fancy sports cars and expensive habits are hard to change (though not impossible). If you find your spouse is definitely leaning more toward the spender's side, there are ways to rein in their expensive habits, like sitting down and budgeting out monthly income and expenses.Strict budgeting and open discussions on spending behaviors and goal setting can accomplish this task.</p> <h2>What Profession</h2> <p>Some professions are almost always guaranteed a high paying salary, usually in the ball park of six figures: doctors, lawyers, financial analysts. Some professions are almost always guaranteed a low paying salary, traditionally under $50,000 annually: teaching, non-profit organizations, retail positions.</p> <p>Though the lower salary professions may be more rewarding, the amount you have each pay period towards saving or retirement is lower. Saving 15% annually of $150,000 equates to an annual savings of $22,500 versus 15% annually of $50,000 which equals $7,500. This may affect your total net worth down the line. A thrifty lawyer over a 30 year period can potentially save $675,000, add 4% interest to this amount and it comes to almost $16 million! A just as thrifty teacher, whose max salary caps out at $50,000 may only be able to put away $180,000 over the course of 30 years. Add in 4% compound interest and the retirement amount is $5 million. That's a difference of $11 million dollars! (Thanks, Bankrate for your nifty calculators.)</p> <p>Does this mean everyone should become a lawyer? Of course not. Some research has shown that the lower paying salaried folks are usually better at saving money than the higher salaried folks are. So maybe there is more true compensation for less compensation. Given that lawyers, doctors, financial analysts must look like they are wealthy, they may be more apt to spend more money on clothes, cars, and homes than those that haven't as strong a need to &quot;look the part&quot; so to speak. Teachers, in particular, are more likely to live within their means than doctors or lawyers. In the long run, they may be more capable of saving 15% of their income.</p> <h2>Summary</h2> <p>We may or may not have control over some aspects of our lives such as who we fall in love with, however we can adjust our personal finances to better fit our current choices. Starting with weighing the pros and cons of big decisions is always helpful in determining what best fits your financial goals.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/little-house">Little House</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-we-are-our-own-saboteurs">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/how-to-have-an-above-average-life-for-below-average-prices">How to Have an Above-Average Life for Below-Average Prices</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/11-ways-freelancers-and-telecommuters-can-make-friends-and-network">11 Ways Freelancers and Telecommuters Can Make Friends and Network</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/5-money-conversations-every-couple-should-have">5 Money Conversations Every Couple Should Have</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-hobbies-you-can-start-for-under-10">25 Hobbies You Can Start for Under $10</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/flashback-friday-42-ways-the-7-deadly-sins-are-keeping-you-poor">Flashback Friday: 42 Ways the 7 Deadly Sins Are Keeping You Poor</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle expensive cities financial choices standard of living Fri, 04 Jun 2010 13:00:04 +0000 Little House 114172 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 International Cities to Boost Your Standard of Living for Less http://www.wisebread.com/5-international-cities-to-boost-your-standard-of-living-for-less <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-international-cities-to-boost-your-standard-of-living-for-less" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/san_jose.jpg" alt="Costa Rica" title="Costa Rica" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="168" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>As a resident of one of the most chronically expensive cities in the world, moving to a cheaper, more quality-of-life beneficial city has sat steady at the back of my mind for many years now. As a freelance writer, I have the glorious ability to work from anywhere &mdash; that is, as long as there's a strong pot of coffee and a Wi-Fi signal nearby.</p> <p>However, ever since I became gainfully unemployed in the 9-5 rat race and shifted my gears into full-time freelancing, I've become more and more interested in what other cities can offer me and other wannabe U.S. expats in terms of a better quality of life for less. Clearly there are quite a few places that can offer a freelancer a boosted standard of living, and it'd be safe to say that a lot of those countries reside in South America. All hail the peso!</p> <p>But we'll be checking out some other places in Asia, Eastern Europe, and even good ol' Canada that you may have never considered before.</p> <p>The other component to keep in mind before you go ditching that day job to pick fruit in New Zealand (which I hear can be pretty lucrative if your rent is comped) is that this is more for freelancers who are picking up jobs in the U.S. and using a cheap cost of living or a promising exchange rate to live the dream.</p> <h3>1. Buenos Aires, Argentina</h3> <p>Yes, Buenos Aires has been done to death &mdash; written about in every major publication in the past 10 years since the peso crisis of 2002. But as long as you can still buy a steak dinner for two with a glass of wine for US $15 and eat it on your French balcony, it will continue to remain a fantastic bargain for the American expat.</p> <p>Exchange Rate: 3.9<br /> Average Rent: $750<br /> Monthly Food and Living Costs: $300<br /> Transportation: Trains and buses are cheap, running around $.70 and $.80 per ride, while an average taxi ride is around $5.</p> <h3>2. Bangkok, Thailand</h3> <p>Bangkok has recently taken the spotlight on becoming a multi-national city and business and finance hub. The city houses around 6.3 million people, and encompasses a wealth of history and cultural attractions.</p> <p>Exchange Rate: 32.33<br /> Average Rent: $400<br /> Monthly Food and Living Costs: $350<br /> Transportation: Tuk-tuk (a small three wheeled carriage), motorcycle taxis, and buses abound, as well as taxis.</p> <h3>3. Montreal, Quebec</h3> <p>Montreal has a lower cost of living and a higher minimum wage ($9 an hour), so even if you're not a freelancer, living here could still be more cost effective than most, if not all, U.S. metropolitan cities.</p> <p>Exchange Rate: 1.02<br /> Average Rent: $530<br /> Monthly Food and Living Costs: $350<br /> Transportation: The train in Montreal is very reliable and costs $2.75 a ride (or $70 for a monthly pass), and there are also buses and bike sharing programs.</p> <h3>4. San Jose, Costa Rica</h3> <p>San Jose is not only a tropical oasis, but a thriving metropolitan city and cultural hub. Fun fact: According to Wikipedia, 25% of the country's land area is in protected national parks.</p> <p>Another surprising fact is the cost of living is a bit higher than you'd expect with such a favorable exchange rate. That's because of the high inflation rates, which have been some of Latin America's highest in the past few years. (But it's still extremely cheap to live here.)</p> <p>Exchange Rate: .0019<br /> Average Rent: $600<br /> Monthly Food and Living Costs: $300<br /> Transportation: Buses here are cheap and are the main source of transportation here, along with taxis.</p> <h3>5. Prague, Czech Republic</h3> <p>Although the winters can be a bit harsh, the cost of living is still relatively cheap in Prague, since the Czech crown still has a good exchange rate for Americans. The housing costs aren't shockingly low and basic gas and electricity is similar to U.S. costs. However, prices for food, alcohol and transportation are considerably lower, making it still a good deal.</p> <p>Exchange Rate: 20.02<br /> Average Rent: $700<br /> Monthly Food and Living Costs: $300<br /> Transportation: Prague has a rail system, buses, tram system, and ferries. A monthly transport pass will run you around $30.</p> <p><em>Story was accurate and up-to-date at time of publishing. Exchange rates are the average so far for 2010.</em></p> <p><em>Editor's Note: This article was written before some of the more intense unrest being experienced in the country of Thailand. As with any decision to move to a new area, we encourage you to research the region thoroughly &mdash; including any social or political factors &mdash; before you take the plunge. Many people still live and work in the country based on the positives we mention in this article.</em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-international-cities-to-boost-your-standard-of-living-for-less&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%20International%20Cities%20to%20Boost%20Your%20Standard%20of%20Living%20for%20Less.jpg&amp;description=5%20International%20Cities%20to%20Boost%20Your%20Standard%20of%20Living%20for%20Less" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20International%20Cities%20to%20Boost%20Your%20Standard%20of%20Living%20for%20Less.jpg" alt="5 International Cities to Boost Your Standard of Living for Less" width="250" height="374" /></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>Lauren Fairbanks is a Brooklyn-based writer covering lifestyle, small business and personal finance topics. She's also the founder and editor of <a href="http://www.lifestylermag.com/">LifeStyler</a>, a NYC centric budget lifestyle website. Read more articles by Lauren:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://www.youngmoney.com/travel/nyc-weekend-less-300/">A NYC Weekend for Less than $300</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.lifestylermag.com/features/5-fun-things-to-do-in-nyc-for-5-part-ii">5 Fun Things to do in NYC for $5 - Part 2</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.lifestylermag.com/features/thrifting-online-tips-to-mastering-the-craigslist-domain">Thrifting Online: Tips to Mastering the Craigslist Domain</a></li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lauren-fairbanks">Lauren Fairbanks</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-international-cities-to-boost-your-standard-of-living-for-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-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/5-cheap-international-vacation-destinations">5 Cheap International Vacation Destinations</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/5-incredible-world-cities-you-can-afford">5 Incredible World Cities You Can Afford</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-best-times-of-year-to-travel-anywhere">The Best Times of Year to Travel Anywhere</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/5-places-to-travel-while-the-dollar-is-strong">5 Places to Travel While the Dollar Is Strong</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-6-best-cities-for-single-millennials">The 6 Best Cities for Single Millennials</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Travel international travel relocating standard of living Fri, 28 May 2010 13:00:03 +0000 Lauren Fairbanks 102947 at http://www.wisebread.com Should your standard of living rise? http://www.wisebread.com/should-your-standard-of-living-rise <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/should-your-standard-of-living-rise" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/piggy-bank-waits-for-the-train-2.jpg" alt="Piggy bank waits for the train" title="Piggy Bank Waits for the Train" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="196" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Studies show that a high standard of living doesn&#39;t make people happier.  People who live in mansions and penthouses aren&#39;t any happier than people who live in suburban houses, small apartments, or even shacks.  An <strong>increase</strong> in standard of living does make people happier, but only temporarily.  That has implications for managing your standard of living.</p> <h2>Rising standards of living</h2> <p>A gradually rising standard of living tends to happen automatically.  There are three powerful trends driving that:</p> <ul> <li>Durable items (bed, chair, pots and pans, TV) can be purchased once and then add to your standard of living for years to come.</li> <li>Capital, once invested, can produce income indefinitely.</li> <li>Wages and salaries tend to rise, as you become more skilled at your job and demonstrate that you&#39;re a dependable worker.</li> </ul> <p>It used to be that these automatic trends played out in most people&#39;s lives.  You&#39;d come out of school broke, you&#39;d get a job, you&#39;d accumulate the things you needed, get a home when you could afford it, and so on.  Certain social structures (hope chests, housewarming parties, wedding and baby showers) existed to ease some of the tougher transitions.</p> <p>Once you got past those early tough stages, things got pretty good.  By the time your kids reached college age, your income was reaching its peak and (if you&#39;d managed to save and invest at least a little money right from the start) you also had a substantial investment portfolio.  If you didn&#39;t have too many kids, you were done paying college expenses with many years of earning ahead of you, giving you a good chance to accumulate some real wealth, with the attendant opportunities to enjoy a moderate level of luxury, donate money to charity, leave an estate to your children, and so on.</p> <h2>Level standards of living</h2> <p>Debt has made another path possible--it potentially lets you &quot;level-out&quot; your standard of living.  In your early years--as a student and then as an entry-level worker--you borrow money to boost your standard of living.  Then, as your income rises towards its peak, you reach a cross-over point, where you no longer have to borrow to support  your standard of living.  As your income rises still more, you have a surplus to pay off the accumulated debt.  The implication of taking this path, though, is that your standard of living doesn&#39;t rise--it jumps to a moderately high level right at the start, and then stays there for the rest of your life.</p> <p>Anybody who&#39;s been reading what I&#39;ve been writing will know that I think this is a terrible idea.</p> <ul> <li>It&#39;s risky--any glitch in earning before the end of your career could send you into bankruptcy.</li> <li>It&#39;s expensive--the interest paid on all that debt will add up to a fortune over a lifetime.</li> <li>It&#39;s inflexible--once you incur all that debt, you&#39;re stuck working to pay it off, even if you decide the exchange (high debt for high standard of living) was a poor one.</li> </ul> <p>However, I find myself in a quandary about one possible reason why it would be a bad idea:  It locks you in to a level standard of living.  Maybe that&#39;s not a bad thing.</p> <h2>Happy with a stable standard of living?</h2> <p>See, although we know that people are made temporarily happier by increases in their standard of living, even an ideal version of the old traditional &quot;rising standard of living&quot; path doesn&#39;t make you permanently happier with those increases--they just don&#39;t happen frequently enough.  </p> <p>Maybe in the first year or two they come fast enough--first job, first apartment, first piece of furniture, first raise.  Pretty quickly, though, your standard of living settles down to long periods of stability punctuated with small increases that make you happier for only a little while.</p> <p>I think that&#39;s a really good basis from which to start thinking seriously about <strong>enough</strong>.  If your standard of living can&#39;t rise fast enough to keep you permanently happier than your baseline level of happiness--if you&#39;re going to be at the baseline most of the time anyway--maybe there&#39;s no good reason to have a rising standard of living.  At least, no good reason to persist with a rising standard of living, once you&#39;re past the burst of early growth in the year that ends about the time you get your first raise.</p> <h2>Take control of your standard of living</h2> <p>Most people let their standard of living drift up as their income rises, without really giving it much thought.  I suggest being more deliberate about it than that.  </p> <p>Look back over your spending from six months to a year ago and find two things:</p> <ol> <li>Some one-time expenses that were intended to improve your standard of living (a new car, a new TV, a new sofa)</li> <li>Some new recurring expenses that were intended to improve your standard of living (a phone plan with more minutes, lawn care service, a fitness-center membership)</li> </ol> <p>For each of those, think about whether that purchase made you happier; if it did, think about whether it <strong>still</strong> makes you happier.  Note that this is not the same question as whether you&#39;d be miserable if you had to go back to life without a bread machine and a weekly cleaning service.  Just like a rising standard of living makes people temporarily happy, a falling standard of living makes people temporarily unhappy.  Don&#39;t be fooled by that.  The question is, does that purchase or expense make you happier <strong>now</strong> than you were six months or a year ago?</p> <p>Unless you&#39;re quite unlucky, many of your purchases <strong>will</strong> still make you happier.  I bought a bicycle in 1984 that I remain delighted with.  We got some living room furniture that gives me pleasure every day.  I get enormous satisfaction from our high-speed internet service.  There are plenty of items, though, that gave me great pleasure initially, but don&#39;t any more--a guitar and keyboard that I never play, some computer games that I&#39;ve finished, some books that I bought rather than getting out of the library, a membership a sportsman&#39;s club that I scarcely use.</p> <p>Because a falling standard of living makes people unhappy, raising your standard of living tends to be a one-way street--it&#39;s tough to choose to lower your standard of living.  That makes it all the more important to take control.  Don&#39;t increase your standard of living just because you can.  Be strategic about any expense that&#39;s intended to make you happier.  Do you need to raise your standard of living?  Or can you be just as happy at your current standard of living?</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/should-your-standard-of-living-rise">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/a-decent-standard-of-living">A decent standard of living</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/why-you-need-to-make-financial-habits-not-goals">Why You Need to Make Financial Habits, Not Goals</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/4-brilliant-tips-from-smart-mom-rich-mom">4 Brilliant Tips From &quot;Smart Mom, Rich Mom&quot;</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/12-personal-finance-skills-everyone-should-master">12 Personal Finance Skills Everyone Should Master</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/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> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Frugal Living standard of living Fri, 25 Jul 2008 23:56:57 +0000 Philip Brewer 2266 at http://www.wisebread.com A decent standard of living http://www.wisebread.com/a-decent-standard-of-living <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/a-decent-standard-of-living" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/bench-in-herb-garden.jpg" alt="Bench in an herb garden" title="Bench in an herg garden" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="327" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There's little argument about the minimum a human needs to survive&mdash;we know how much water, food, and shelter keep body and soul together. But a certain level of comfort above that has always been considered necessary for a &quot;decent&quot; standard of living. Just how much space there is between necessity and decency, though, is a social construction, and society's opinion changes all the time.</p> <p>A while back, I wrote a piece on <a href="/our-high-high-standard-of-living-1">Our high, high standard of living</a>, in which I made the point that what would have been considered a &quot;middle-class&quot; standard of living in the 1950s would be considered &quot;living in poverty&quot; today.</p> <p>That piece prompted a lot of unhappy responses.</p> <p>There were several who fixed on my claim that a family could get by&mdash;at that standard of living&mdash;on a single minimum-wage job, and tried to prove I was wrong by demonstrating that a minimum-wage job couldn't possible cover even the barest minimum of expenses. None of those people suggested moving to a cheaper part of the country as a way to make ends meet. Few of them stripped their supposed minimum budget of luxury items like private bathrooms and hot running water&mdash;which were by no means universal in the 1950s. Nobody mentioned being in a car pool (something which was very common in those days). Nobody mentioned moving in with their wife's parents.</p> <p>The other unhappy responses, though, were from people who worried that providing perspective on just how high our standard of living was (compared to the 1950s) could be read as making the case that poor people aren't really poor, because they have color TVs and DVD players. (Apparently calling it &quot;living in poverty&quot; wasn't adequately clear.)</p> <p>The thing is, there's no social consensus on what it takes to live at a &quot;decent&quot; standard of living. In fact, it's hard to even talk about, because people attack any specific proposal from both directions. Suggest that an expense is necessary to live a decent life, and people will delight in pointing out that a billion poor people around the world get by without (let's say) a refrigerator. On the other hand, chose to heat only one room of your house to minimize your contributions to global warming, and you might have a neighbor contact child protective services and call you an unfit parent.</p> <p>Catherine's recent post on <a href="/is-six-figures-really-that-much">getting by on a six-figure income</a> (together with its comments) vividly illustrates just how personally people take any suggestion that a particular category of expense is optional&mdash;or, contrariwise, that someone can do without it and still be considered to be living decently.</p> <p>In my experience, talking about cars is the worst. People will brook no criticism of their motoring lifestyle. One of my first posts on Wise Bread made the mathematical case that its safer to live in a dangerous neighborhood than it is to have a <a href="/dangerous-neighborhoods-are-safer-than-commuting">long commute</a>. Readers were outraged. Nobody disagreed with the math, they were just outraged. (I was amused that the suggestions Catherine saw for people trying to get by on $100,000 a year included &quot;Drive cheaper cars,&quot; but apparently nobody suggested driving <strong>fewer</strong> cars or driving <strong>no</strong> cars.)</p> <p>(I'm sure talking about children would be worse yet. There's no ceiling to how much money you can spend to give your kids &quot;the best&quot; and no touchstone for what's money well-spent.)</p> <p>Social norms simply haven't kept up with the rapid rise in standards of living. The result is that there's no consensus on what's necessary to live decently. One person's necessity is another person's luxury, and one person's wild extravagance is another person's bare minimum for decent living.</p> <p>There's a huge opportunity here for people to make their own decisions about what amounts to a decent standard of living. The key is: Do not buy into the cultural assumptions about what your particular income entitles you to&mdash;or accept that it obliges you to some particular lifestyle. Instead, <strong>make your own decisions</strong> about what standard of living you want, now and in the future. (And remember that a lower standard of living now gives you a higher standard of living later, due to interest and dividends from your savings and investments.)</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/a-decent-standard-of-living">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/37-ways-youd-be-better-off-as-a-bum">37 Ways You’d be Better Off as a Bum</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/should-your-standard-of-living-rise">Should your standard of living rise?</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/tactics-of-the-rich">Tactics of the rich</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/why-you-need-to-make-financial-habits-not-goals">Why You Need to Make Financial Habits, Not Goals</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/4-brilliant-tips-from-smart-mom-rich-mom">4 Brilliant Tips From &quot;Smart Mom, Rich Mom&quot;</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Frugal Living affluence class middle class poverty standard of living weath Mon, 03 Mar 2008 22:55:20 +0000 Philip Brewer 1879 at http://www.wisebread.com