Conventional wisdom around money tends to be a bunch of blanket guidelines about how much to save and spend without necessarily taking personal goals and lifestyle into consideration. To say that there are specific reasonable and unreasonable amounts to spend and save for certain things just doesn’t make sense to me because there are so many different factors that should come into play that vary greatly from person to person.
“While many think it’s admirable to be debt free, it’s not necessarily smart. It’s usually an emotional decision, not a financial one. You can never solely count on is rules-of-thumb and conventional wisdom- crunching the numbers is a crucial step.” – Nicole Peterkin
Money Basics Series
Although there are certain basic financial rules of thumb that many people can agree make sense at face value (like “a house is always good investment”, “you should try to save as much money as you can for retirement”, and “you should always spend less than you make”), making financial decisions solely based on these rules of thumb is probably not going to help you maximize your money and can actually cost you big time long term if this advice isn’t in line with your personal goals and values.
I’m all for a good deal on travel- and I used to get them much more frequently. But now, my
boyfriend is a teacher and it really limits when we can travel together. We’re headed to Greece
next week to celebrate my 30th birthday with friends. Traveling with friends presented another
wrinkle: the only dates that made sense for all of us coincided with the 4th of July- $$$$.
After procrastinating until less than three months before (because I’m human and was so
paralyzed by the thoughts of ALL the expenses associated with a 9-day trip for two to the Greek
Islands during high season), I managed to get creative to bring in just under $2,000 to help pay
for the trip. And no, I didn’t get another client or otherwise increase my business revenue.
Here’s exactly how I did it:
May is disability income insurance awareness month
But you probably had no idea. Heck, the only reason I realized it was is that I got an email from an insurance company with a quiz about the chances of needing disability insurance and I was so surprised that I opened it.
One of the most common complaints I hear is “I’ve had this credit card debt for years- and I always pay way more than the minimum- but the balances just never seem to budge”. There are three common reasons I see that contribute to this.
Did you get into a planning groove?
I got loads of emails and social media pings in response to my last post on how spending 15 minutes a week saves me thousands of dollars every year. Because so many found the post applicable and seem to be implementing it, I decided to share a suggestion for how to go a layer deeper with the calendar planning.
Car buying is the one area of my financial life that I can say for certain I have repeatedly made mistakes that have cost me tens of thousands of dollars. I’m not exaggerating either- I have actually purchased or leased 6 cars in the last 10 years. I really can’t put my finger on why I’ve been so financially irresponsible in this area given that with other major purchases like buying my home, leasing my office space, and making business technology investments I’ve always prided myself on doing my due diligence and finding the best deals. All I know is that I’ve always been so overwhelmed with the process, that I’ve just given up- feeling like the odds were against me in this area because of the lack of transparency in the industry and expecting to overpay no matter how much research I’ve done. Writing this now, I admit it’s pretty stupid, but it’s the truth. This past November, I got a letter in the mail from the dealership that sold me my last car letting me know that with 6 months to my lease expiration, it was time to start thinking about my next car. I determined when I got that letter that this time, I’d break my bad car buying habits and use the time I had wisely to build new, good, car buying habits that I could be confident would save me money- and I’m happy to say I did!
I hate budgets. Can I say that as a CFP®? I’m a save first and spend whatever is left person (even if that means needing to take the subway for a week instead of Ubering and driving to avoid paying for parking when my monthly spending is high). Rather than trying to stick to strict spending categories, that’s what works for me – getting the money out of site (and into an investment account) and then not feeling guilty about what’s left. If you’re struggling with savings and in a love-hate relationship with budgeting, here are some tips and tricks to try while you’re figuring out what works best for you: