Archive for the ‘spending habits’ Category

QOTD: mr. c shares 10 seconds on fiscal restraint
September 26, 2007

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beckoning budgets & cursing like a turk
September 24, 2007

Yikes it was a tough call — listening to that inner budgetary voice vs the call to wander lust.

For a few weeks, I planned on going with Sean to Istanbul and producing a few live Web shows like Jonny Goldstein does each week.

Yet the truth is, we already savored Hawaii this summer – an opportunity brought about through Sean’s work as well. My expenses for that were out of pocket too, like Istanbul would’ve been.

I’m not sure what tipped the final call not to go…except going to Istanbul felt like it would undermine this year’s financial goals. And the husband doesn’t need the wife going everywhere with ’em, eh?!

Ah but we’ve tested the Web cams for live overseas chats during his trip!

More from:
Get Rich Slowly offers an encouraging post on living debt-free (…a key reason why Istanbul was let go; wow could I sound more pathetic?!);

negotiation tactics & feeling strange: haggling down your credit card rate
September 18, 2007

I called two weeks ago to request our credit card rate be reduced; they complied with a one percentage point reduction.

I’m torn on this whole issue. Because for the sake of true blue ownership — I knew the terms of this card and used it anyway, fully aware. Yet at the same time, my husband and I have been steady customers/consumers for years. I’d like to lean on our long term customer relationship with this company and re-negotiate, again, a better rate.

I’d rather my husband and I not apply for another card since it dings one’s credit report. Our available credit-to-debt ratio is reasonably healthy as well; this single VISA is our sole credit card with a balance (and the only one we utilize in emergencies).

By golly I’m knockin’ on their door again and will relay results.

More from:
CNNMoney just celebrated their 35th year; they released sound wisdom on improving one’s credit score plus included effective tips on negotiating lower credit card rates, assessing your salary is on-par with industry, & claiming tax exemptions to avoid overpayment to the Fed.

marital money mantra #3: giving gifts is not a license to be financially irresponsible
August 30, 2007

Oh the irony of having vision with blurred discernment.

Mmmmmaybe that’s one of my top embarrassing fiscal decisions considering two things:
1) My ego thinks she’s fiscally disciplined;
2) In that same week I barked at my husband for over-spending.

Yup I’m rolling in imperfection! Dang if that mantra isn’t worth repeating and recycling over and over again in one’s marriage, partnership, whichever.

So for all our benefit, here ’tis again:

Holy Smokes(!)…giving gifts is not a license to be fiscally irresponsible.

More from:
The GiveWell Blog, an interesting blog that takes the gift-giving discussion to a community scale. They evaluate non-profits to gauge the appropriateness of their use of funding, including financial gifts from the average Joe. GiveWell also reviews the effectiveness of a non-profit’s service. That seems a prickly albeit relevant undertaking.

QOTD, class & income, spending habits with barfy stats
August 17, 2007

10 second clip:

That really made an impact on my financial thinking.

—as have articles like this re: income growth rates & class. The article talks broadly on income, class, & happiness in the US yet these stats are what got me:

According to Census figures, the average inflation-adjusted income in the top quintile of American earners increased 22% between 1993 and 2003. Incomes in the middle quintile rose 17% on average, while the incomes in the bottom quintile increased 13%. Over the 30 years prior to 2003, top-quintile earners saw their real incomes increase by two-thirds, versus a quarter for those in the middle quintile and a fifth among the bottom earners.

This is telling & worth looking at. The issue of earning ability in the states has its place at the financial planning table.

Yet my expertise is not in that arena; it’s in my family’s ability to learn & recover from mindless spending habits. In 2006, we spent over $1k in banking fees (vs using our bank’s ATM exclusively), $2k toward retirement savings, and wait for it, wait for it, $11k in eating out + entertainment.

Puke.
Puke.
Puke with me.

And that’s during my sales commission manager job where many times I wouldn’t submit for reimbursement on those client lunches or staff rewards to protect those tracked margins. Imagine what the numbers would be if I had tracked that? I’d still be numb with liquor.

So cheers to new habits, conscious spending, all sprinkled with joy in between.

And may we all take time to cook cuz oh mercy — that habit really impacts the bottom line.

Savings fable + financial planner says his clients spend, spend, spend
August 16, 2007

Stunned I say, stunned!

10 second video: how much his clients overspend per a DC-area financial planner

What drives that spending itch?

In a meeting with a financial planner this week, I asked him how much a higher income impacted one’s success at saving.

He then shared this story that knocked my socks off:

He generically referenced two of his clients — one was a grounds keeper and one was a leader at a university. Their retirement financials were similar; each wanted to retire in a year. The grounds keeper was overjoyed at the financial planner’s feedback: due to his conservative spending and aggressive saving habits, the grounds keeper could live comfortably on Social Security, with his retirement savings as buffer & as help for his grandchildren’s college costs. Yet the university leader, with a considerably higher income, agonized over his retirement nest egg. The financial planner said due to his over zealous spending habits & reluctant savings plan, he (the university leader) would not be able to maintain his living standard in retirement years. Or the other prospect was he could continue working and cut back costs.

…I promptly refrained from a Starbuck’s visit walking home.