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This Is Why You Might Spend Money On Experiences, Not Things

This Is Why You Might Spend Money On Experiences, Not Things

What are the things that you value most? One way to find out is by looking at how you spend your money. You’ve worked hard for your income, and you want to make the most of it. So, what’s really important to you? What are the things that you will cherish, that will always make you smile and will stay with you forever? It is the experiences that will last a lifetime, that you will look back on with joy and appreciation. A tangible purchase may give you a thrill, but consider investing in some memories, instead. Not convinced? Here are some reasons you might want to flip through that entertainment brochure, instead of browsing that product catalog.

Natural Disasters Happen

Life happens. Floods happen. Fires happen. Tornadoes happen. You get the picture. Your life can change in an instant, and a lifetime of accumulation can be lost forever. But your experiences are a permanent part of you. You may lose your photo albums, but the way you felt when you first saw the mountains, the activities you enjoyed on your first cruise, and that sunset you saw over the water in Hawaii — those memories will be with you forever.

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IMG_5643 by Sgarton in morguefile

    Things Go Out of Style, Degrade, Fade, and Disappear

    Do you still have bell-bottoms in your closet? Are your old computers, printers, and CD players still stored in the basement? It seems impossible to keep up with technology or fashion trends — they’re always changing! But your experiences are right here, right now. In fact, you may want to take advantage before you miss something! The rising waters of Venice are not going to recede for you. Old Beijing didn’t wait for you, and neither will the Amazonian rainforests in Brazil. That fantastic new tea shop will close if no one visits, and your favorite drive-in still needs movie-viewers.

    Bristol's Biggest Bike-ride (9)

      Items Change Value

      Though some items do increase in value, there’s no guarantee. Vases can chip, paintings can rip, rugs unravel, and cars lose thousands of dollars in value once you drive them off the lot. But your experiences are priceless. What kind of value can you put on biking your first century ride? What about that time those two dolphins raced alongside your boat, or that proposal you received at Moraine Lake? Do you also suck in your breath when you first see the ocean? After I got my first big job, I immediately treated myself to a Rick Steve’s Tour to Europe — one of the best decisions of my life. Money can’t buy you love, and it can’t buy you that perfect memory either.

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      file1661238517583

        Clutter!

        I don’t think anyone intends to become a hoarder — it starts a little at a time! I want a lifestyle in which I can pack up at a moment’s notice and take an RV across the country! If you’ve ever had to move, you know how cumbersome all of those little knicknacks, holiday decorations, and assorted this-and-thats can become. Forget the stuff — pack up your necessities and head for the coast! And forget those mementos, just take lots of pictures! Digital photos take up space in your computer, not in your house!

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        IMG_5054  Seeman from morguefile

          Shared Experiences

          Your stuff is just yours. Your computer, your car, your clothes, your coffee, your e-mails, your life. Isn’t it better when we share? How about that Cork & Canvas night with your friends? What about a fancy New Year’s Celebration in the city? Will you ever forget that first concert? Or your first time to the theater or the ballet?

          Do you like to be alone on your birthday? How about a group trip to Las Vegas? Or what about a cross-country road trip to see the Corn Palace and the world’s biggest rocking chair? You may not live in a palace, but you and your friends can take a tour of Hearst Castle! Or you can frequent that hole-in-the-wall that you and your friends have been meaning to try. Are you tired of watching your favorite team lose on TV? It’s always a good time at the ball park/court/stadium/rink! And I’d trade gifts for a dinner and game night any day. Create shared memories. They bring you and your loved ones closer together, and they are a great substitution for day-to-day small talk!

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          bang from morguefile

            Change Your Life

            Have you ever heard anyone on their death bed say, “I wish I’d bought that yacht.” Or “If I could have done it all over again, I would have bought that big screen/those diamond earrings?” Life is not about the tangibles. They stay behind when we go, and may be fought over by our descendants! We always want to have loved more, learned more, lived more. The love and memories we leave behind will last. Those unforgettable special experiences — and the hijinks — may be passed on from generation to generation. With every big or little adventure, you create a whole new you. Change your life, change a life! Visit that daughter in another state. Try that sushi restaurant; take your spouse salsa dancing! Take that mission trip and leave with a bigger heart. Live abroad and learn a new language; change your perspective of the world. Or just take a helicopter or balloon ride to overcome your fear of heights and get a whole new view!

            If all the world is a stage, don’t get stuck on the props! Don’t create a mountain of stuff — go out and experience life!

            Featured photo credit: FidlerJan via morguefile.com

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            Last Updated on January 2, 2019

            How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

            How Personal Finance Software Helps You Get More Out of Your Money

            Do you know what mental health experts point to as the biggest cause of stress in the United States today? If you said “money,” then ding, ding, we have a winner!

            Three out of four adults today report feeling stressed out about money at least part of the time. People are either worried about not having enough money or whether they’re putting the money they do have to use in the best possible way.

            Your money is either in charge of you or you’re in charge of it, there’s no middle ground. Using some type of personal finance software can help alleviate some of that money stress and better allow you to manage your money effectively. Without it, you may just be setting yourself up for constant financial worry. Life is already tough enough and there’s no need to make it more difficult by simply hoping your money issues will all work out in your favor. Hint: they won’t.

            This guide will help you to understand how personal finance software can better assist with both accomplishing long term financial goals and managing day-to-day aspects of life.

            Whether it’s tracking the savings plan for your child’s college fund or making sure you won’t be in the red with the month’s grocery budget, personal finance software keeps all this information in one convenient place.

            What Exactly is Personal Finance Software?

            Think of it like the dashboard in your car. You have a speedometer to tell you how fast you’re going, an odometer to tell you how far you’ve traveled, and then other gauges to tell you things like how much gas is in the tank and your engine temperature. Personal finance software is essentially the same thing for your money.

            When you install this software on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, it helps to track your money — how much is going in, how much is going out, and its growth. Most personal finance software programs will display your budget, spending, investments, bills, savings accounts, and even retirement plans, levels of debt, and credit score.

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            How It Leads to Financial Improvement

            It shouldn’t come as a surprise, but people who regularly monitor their finances end up wealthier than those who don’t. When you were a kid, keeping track of all of your money in a porcelain piggy bank was pretty easy. As we get older, though, our money becomes spread out across things like car payments, mortgages, retirement funds, taxes, and other investments and debts. All of these things make keeping track of our money a lot more complicated.

            Some types of personal finance software can help make things a little less complicated, setting you up to meet financial goals and taking away some of the stress associated with money.

            Even if you already have a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) some type of personal finance software can be of great benefit. Whereas CFPs focus on the big picture of your money, they don’t handle the day-to-day aspects that determine your overall financial health.

            It’s also not nearly as complicated as you might think and can take out a lot of the tedium that comes with doing everything on an Excel spreadsheet or with a pad and pencil.

            Types of Personal Finance Software

            When it comes to personal finance software, it generally fits into two categories: tax preparation and money management.

            Tax preparation software such as Turbo Tax and H&R Block’s software can help with everything from filing income taxes to IRS rules and regulations and even estate plans. Plus, there’s the benefit of filing online and getting your refund check a lot faster than if you were to mail off your forms after waiting in line at the post office.

            For the purpose of this article, however, will be focusing more on the personal finance software that aids with money management.

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            Money management personal finance software will help you to see the health of your cash flow, pay down debt, forecast for expenses and savings, track investments, pay bills, and do a host of other things that 30 years ago would have practically required a team of accountants.

            When to Use Personal Finance Software

            So far we’ve gone over what exactly personal finance software is and how it can be a benefit to your money. The next logical step in this whole equation is determining when it should be used and how is the best way to go about getting started using it.

            Below are four of the most common and practical ways to use personal finance software. If all or any of these apply to you and your money, then downloading some type of personal finance software is going to be a smart move.

            1. You Have Multiple Accounts

            There’s a good chance that when it comes to your money, it’s in more than one place. Sure, you probably have a checking account, but you may also have a savings account, money market account, and retirement accounts such as an IRA or 401k.

            If you’re like the average American, you probably have two to three credit cards as well. Fifty percent of Americans also don’t have loyalty to just one bank and spread their money across multiple banks.

            Rather than spending hours typing in every detail of every account you have into a spreadsheet, many programs allow you to easily import your account information. This will help to eliminate any mistakes and give you a bird’s eye view of everything at once.

            2. You Want to Automate Some or All of Your Payments

            Please don’t say that you’re still writing out paper checks and dropping each bill in the mailbox. While it’s noble that you’re doing your part to keep postal workers employed, we’re 18 years into the 21st century and you can literally pay every bill online now.

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            There’s no need to log into every account you have and type in your routing number either.

            With personal finance software you can schedule automatic payments and transfers between all of your imported accounts. Automatic transfers will help to make sure you have the necessary funds in the right account to ensure all bills are paid on the appropriate date. Late fees are annoying and do nothing but cost you money. It’s time that you said goodbye to them once and for all.

            3. You Need to Streamline Your Budget

            Perhaps the best feature of personal finance software is that it allows you track everything going in and out of your virtual wallet.

            Nearly every brand of personal finance software out there has easy-to-read graphs and charts that allow you track every cent you spend or earn, should you choose. You might be pretty amazed when you see just how much you spent on eating out last month or if you splurged a little more than you should have on Christmas gifts last year.

            Every successful business on the planet has a budget and using personal finance software can help you trim the fat on your spending in ways that affect your everyday life.

            4. You Have Specific Goals to Meet

            Maybe it’s paying off debt or saving for up something like a European vacation. Whatever your financial goal is, whether it’s long-term or short-term, personal finance software programs are one of the savviest ways to go about reaching those goals.

            You can do everything from set spending alerts to notify you when you’re over budget to automating what percentage of your paycheck goes to things like retirement investments. The personal finance software that you choose should show you exactly how close you are to hitting those goals at any given time.

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            How to Get Started

            From AceMoney to Mint and Quicken, there ’s no shortage of personal finance software apps out there. Many of these programs are free to download and will allow you to pay bills, invest, monitor your net worth and credit profile, and even get a loan with the swipe of a finger.

            Other programs may only offer you limited services and will require a one-time fee or subscription to unlock all that they offer. These fees can often vary from as little as two dollars to 50 bucks a month.

            It’s best to start off with the free version and then gauge whether you’re able to accomplish everything you’d like or if it’s worth exploring one of the paid options. Often times the subscription programs come with assistance from financial planning and investment experts — so that can be a real benefit.

            When deciding which personal finance software program to use, it’s also important to look at how many accounts you wish to monitor. Certain programs limit the number of accounts you can add. Be sure that if you have checking, credit card, and investment accounts to monitor, that you choose a service that can monitor them all.

            Finally, when looking around for the right personal finance software that meets your needs, make sure that you’re comfortable with the program’s interface. It shouldn’t be expected that you recognize every single feature instantly, but if the features don’t seem readable and manageable to you, then you’re not as likely to use it and get the full benefits.

            Final Thoughts

            Personal finance software can go a long way in helping you to take control of your money and meeting your financial goals. It’s important to note, however, that some focus more on budgeting and expense tracking while others prioritize investing portfolios and income taxes. Explore several different programs and read reviews to find the one that’s right for you.

            In this day and age, managing one’s personal finances in a secure manner that allows the user to have a real-time visual representation of their money is easier than ever before. With the numerous applications that are out there — both free and subscription-based — there’s no reason that every person can’t take control of their money and ensure they’re making smart money moves.

            Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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