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5 Things We Should Spend More Money On, And 5 Things We Should Not

5 Things We Should Spend More Money On, And 5 Things We Should Not

Imagine that you are sitting on the front porch of your house sipping lemonade with your family on a warm summer’s night. You sit back and reminisce with them about how you… bought the newest HG TV?

Materialistic gratification only lasts so long. It is said that our brains adapt to  happiness. With materialistic things buying our happiness, we are successful for a brief moment. New things will lose their shine and we will lose our interest.

Instead of spending your money on things that will eventually be obsolete, try spending it on something that will make lasting memories. Memories become a part of our lives forever and help make us who we are. The good experiences will forever stay good in your mind forever and the bad ones turn into a funny anecdote in the future.

Below is a list of 5 things you should spend less money on and 5 things you should spend more money. Use these tips to save money so that you can spend it on experiences that will enrich the lives of you and those around you.

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5 Things you shouldn’t spend too much money on:

1. Electronics

Electronics in this day and age are almost a necessity, but that doesn’t mean that you need to spend money to get the newest thing. The shiny new feeling of your devices are very short lived and it is almost guaranteed that there will be a newer and better model of the whatever device you own within the next year.

2. Home Decor Fads

There will always be a new popular theme to decorate your home with. You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to get the signature look you see in the magazine; there are always do it yourself ways to achieve the same look. You can make it an experience and a time to bond with friends and family.

3. Cars

Keeping up with the newest car models is not a smart lifestyle unless you can pay each of them off by the time the next model comes out. This is a way to get you into a never ending hole of debt. You will never have the title in your hands if you keep trading your car (half paid off) for this current year’s model (which probably cost more).

4. Newest Fashion

You don’t have to feel guilty about giving into buying new clothes, bags and shoes once in a while. But when it gets to the point where you are trying to get each new bag or pair of shoes for about $300 plus dollars, maybe you should skip out on one of these and save the money for something else. There is always going to be a new fad and there is no point on spending all your hard earned money and losing precious closet space on it.

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5. Jewelry

Fancy jewelry is nice to have for formal occasions, at the office and when dancing on your night out. If you can afford to buy a two thousand dollar watch, good job. For the rest of us, there is a fine line between accessorizing and going into debt for shiny things.

5 Things you should spend more money on:

1.Education

There isn’t another feeling in the world that can compare to the feeling of starting to understand another language without thinking about it. Though some language classes are very pricey, they are worth it. Taking classes on different cultures, religion and different professions will open your mind to a whole different world.

It does not mean you need to convert your religion or change your job. It will simply mean that you have walked into a classroom with an open mind and have added the things you have been taught to your vault of knowledge. You may never know when it can come in handy.

2.Traveling

Traveling can be pricey at times, but it creates memories that last a life time- even the bad experiences. Typically we all laugh about the bad experiences later on in life. One trip to Europe can cost someone the same as good laptop and the long trips can cost less than a car you don’t really need but want.

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Trade all those materialistic things in for a night under the Northern Lights, a kiss on the Eiffel Tower, or a long journey backpacking through the Alps.

3.Music

Learning to play an instrument is a great start to a new tradition in your family. You can pass this down to your children and make new memories. That is, of course, after you have told them about the ones you have when you learned to play.

You can also venture out and spend about a dollar or two to take a chance on a new genre. Who knows, you could end up with a couple (or a couple hundred) songs added to your music library.

4.Books

Book are always going to be something different with each reader that turns its’ pages. It is a completely different experience using your imagination to put the author’s words into images in your head. Books won’t ever require you to turn them on, charge them or restart them. They are things you can pass down from generation to generation.

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It is a much different experience to sit somewhere, with a book in hand, with absolutely no distractions. Books are portals to explore completely different worlds with a turn of a page.

5.Food

Trying new food goes hand in hand with traveling the world. Instead of spending a few hundred on a bag, save it for some great food when out and about. Take some cooking classes on food from different cultures. In Italy, they offer cooking classes at a vineyard. You can learn from an Italian chef how to create a great meal. It is something you can take back home with you and teach friends and family.

There are several chocolatiers in Belgium that are worth spending the extra dime to appreciate a perfectly crafted truffle.

Remember…put your money into things that will create memories over the instant materialistic things. You don’t have to spend all of it on creating memories but if you do, it won’t be something you regret.

Featured photo credit: Packs/ PublicDomainPictures via pixabay.com

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Margielyn Musser

Event And Volunteer Coordinator / World Traveler

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Last Updated on September 2, 2020

How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

Personal finances can push anyone to the point of extreme anxiety and worry. Easier said than done, planning finances is not an egg meant for everyone’s basket. That’s why most of us are often living pay check to pay check. But did anyone tell you that it is actually not a tough task to meet your financial goals?

In this article, we will explore ways to set financial goals and actually meet them with ease.

4 Steps to Setting Financial Goals

Though setting financial goals might seem to be a daunting task, if one has the will and clarity of thought, it is rather easy. Try using these steps to get you started.

1. Be Clear About the Objectives

Any goal without a clear objective is nothing more than a pipe dream, and this couldn’t be more true for financial matters.

It is often said that savings is nothing but deferred consumption. Therefore, if you are saving today, then you should be crystal clear about what it’s for. It could be anything, including your child’s education, retirement, marriage, that dream vacation, fancy car, etc.

Once the objective is clear, put a monetary value to that objective and the time frame. The important point at this step of goal setting is to list all the objectives that you foresee in the future and put a value to each.

2. Keep Goals Realistic

It’s good to be an optimistic person but being a Pollyanna is not desirable. Similarly, while it might be a good thing to keep your financial goals a bit aggressive, going beyond what you can realistically achieve will definitely hurt your chances of making meaningful progress.

It’s important that you keep your goals realistic, as it will help you stay the course and keep you motivated throughout the journey.

3. Account for Inflation

Ronald Reagan once said: “Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hitman.” This quote sums up what inflation could do your financial goals.

Therefore, account for inflation[1] whenever you are putting a monetary value to a financial objective that is far into the future.

For example, if one of your financial goal is your son’s college education, which is 15 years from now, then inflation would increase the monetary burden by more than 50% if inflation is a mere 3%. Always account for this to avoid falling short of your goals.

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4. Short Term Vs Long Term

Just like every calorie is not the same, the approach to achieving every financial goal will not be the same. It’s important to bifurcate goals into short-term and long-term.

As a rule of thumb, any financial goal that is due in next 3 years should be termed as a short-term goal. Any longer duration goals are to be classified as long-term goals. This bifurcation of goals into short-term vs long-term will help in choosing the right investment instrument to achieve them.

By now, you should be ready with your list of financial goals. Now, it’s time to go all out and achieve them.

How to Achieve Your Financial Goals

Whenever we talk about chasing any financial goal, it is usually a two-step process:

  • Ensuring healthy savings
  • Making smart investments

You will need to save enough and invest those savings wisely so that they grow over a period of time to help you achieve goals.

Ensuring Healthy Savings

Self-realization is the best form of realization, and unless you decide what your current financial position is, you aren’t heading anywhere.

This is the focal point from where you start your journey of achieving financial goals.

1. Track Expenses

The first and the foremost thing to be done is to track your spending. Use any of the expense tracking mobile apps to record your expenses. Once you start doing it diligently, you will be surprised by how small expenses add up to a sizable amount.

Also categorize those expenses into different buckets so that you know which bucket is eating most of your pay check. This record keeping will pave the way for cutting down on un-wanted expenses and pumping up your savings rate.

If you’re not sure where to start when tracking expenses, this article may be able to help.

2. Pay Yourself First

Generally, savings come after all the expenses have been taken care of. This is a classic mistake when setting financial goals. We pay ourselves last!

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Ideally, this should be planned upside down. We should be paying ourselves first and then to the world, i.e. we should be taking out the planned saving amount first and manage all the expenses from the rest.

The best way to actually implement this is to put the savings on automatic mode, i.e. money flowing automatically into different financial instruments (mutual funds, retirement accounts, etc) every month.

Taking the automatic route will help release some control and compel us to manage what’s left, increasing the savings rate.

3. Make a Plan and Vow to Stick With It

Learning to create a budget is the best way to get around the uncertainty that financial plans always pose. Decide in advance how spending has to be organized

Nowadays, several money management apps can help you do this automatically.

At first, you may not be able to stick to your plans completely, but don’t let that become a reason why you stop budgeting entirely.

Make use of technology solutions you like. Explore options and alternatives that let you make use of the available wallet options, and choose the one that suits you the most. In time, you will get accustomed to making use of these solutions.

You will find that they make it simpler for you to follow your plan, which would have been difficult otherwise.

4. Make Savings a Habit and Not a Goal

In the book Nudge, authors Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein advocate that, in order to achieve any goal, it should be broken down into habits since habits are more intuitive for people to adapt to.

Make savings a habit rather than a goal. While it might seem to be counterintuitive to many, there are some deft ways of doing it. For example:

  • Always eat out (if at all) during weekdays rather than weekends. Weekends are more expensive.
  • If you are a travel buff, try to travel during off-season. You’ll spend significantly less.
  • If you go shopping, always look out for coupons and see where can you get the best deal.

The key point is to imbibe the action that results in savings rather than on the savings itself, which is the outcome. Focusing on the outcome will bring out the feeling of sacrifice, which will be harder to sustain over a period of time.

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5. Talk About It

Sticking to the saving schedule (to achieve financial goals) is not an easy journey. There will be many distractions from those who are not aligned with your mission.

Therefore, in order to stay the course, surround yourself with people who are also on the same bandwagon. Daily discussions with them will keep you motivated to move forward.

6. Maintain a Journal

For some people, writing helps a great deal in making sure that they achieve what they plan.

If you are one of them, maintain a proper journal, where you write down your goals and also jot down the extent to which you managed to meet them. This will help you in reviewing how far you have come and which goals you have met.

When you have a written commitment on paper, you are going to feel more energized to follow the plan and stick to it. Moreover, it is going to be a lot easier for you to track your progress.

Making Smart Investments

Savings by themselves don’t take anyone too far. However, savings, when invested wisely, can do wonders.

1. Consult a Financial Advisor

Investment doesn’t come naturally to most of us, so it’s wise to consult a financial advisor.

Talk to him/her about your financial goals and savings, and then seek advice for the best investment instruments to achieve your goals.

2. Choose Your Investment Instrument Wisely

Though your financial advisor will suggest the best investment instruments, it doesn’t hurt to know a bit about the common ones, like a savings account, Roth IRA, and others.

Just like “no one is born a criminal,” no investment instrument is bad or good. It is the application of that instrument that makes all the difference[2].

As a general rule, for all your short-term financial goals, choose an investment instrument that has debt nature, for example fixed deposits, debt mutual funds, etc. The reason for going for debt instruments is that chances of capital loss is less compared to equity instruments.

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3. Compounding Is the Eighth Wonder

Einstein once remarked about compounding:

“Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it… He who doesn’t… Pays it.”

Use compound interest when setting financial goals

    Make friends with this wonder kid. The sooner you become friends with it, the quicker you will reach closer to your financial goals.

    Start saving early so that time is on your side to help you bear the fruits of compounding.

    4. Measure, Measure, Measure

    All of us do good when it comes to earning more per month but fail miserably when it comes to measuring the investments and taking stock of how our investments are doing.

    If we don’t measure progress at the right times, we are shooting in the dark. We won’t know if our saving rate is appropriate or not, whether the financial advisor is doing a decent job, or whether we are moving closer to our target.

    Measure everything. If you can’t measure it all yourself, ask your financial advisor to do it for you. But do it!

    The Bottom Line

    Managing your extra money to achieve your short and long-term financial goals

    and live a debt-free life is doable for anyone who is willing to put in the time and effort. Use the tips above to get you started on your path to setting financial goals.

    More Tips on Financial Goals

    Featured photo credit: Micheile Henderson via unsplash.com

    Reference

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