Some Things Are Worth Spending Money On

The other day I had a Twitter conversation about the purchase of a new duvet. The buyer was very happy with their purchase and looking forward to bedtime ;) It also got me thinking about things I think are worth spending money on because even while in debt, there are certain things I won’t compromise on, bedding being one of them.

For the amount of time I spend in bed it has to be good. I want the most comfortable sleep possible, especially given that, with a light-sleeping two-year-old, I may actually only get five hours a night. My very frugal mother converted me to good bedding when I was a kid and I’ve never gone back. Same goes for cheap mattresses, just not worth it to me.

There are some other things that are definitely worth spending the extra money on.

what to spend money on

Food

This isn’t necessarily a quality thing per se but I won’t ever compromise my family’s health for debt payments. I spend a great deal of money on fresh produce, food we eat and enjoy. I could easily save $100/month on groceries if I wasn’t buying as much fresh food but it’s something I won’t do. We rarely waste this produce through spoilage so it is money well spent.

Cell Phones

This is a major ‘’want’’ on our list of things we pay for but in 2014 it’s quite simply a way of living. This little device makes my life easier so a price I’m willing to spend. I’m still constantly changing our rate plans up when deals are make available so it’s not something I’ve just set up and forgotten about.

Coffee

Life is just too short but that doesn’t mean I’ll waste $5 per day on it either. I have a Keurig which we love and when the cups go on sale for $0.50 each we stock up!

Bank Fees

I know this is insane to some, but my husband and I attempted to deal with an exclusively online bank but it just didn’t work for us. There were too many times where I needed a teller (for one, it’s 2014 and I’m still paid via payroll cheque), and the online bank couldn’t offer the immediate support we needed. I love that at any point I can walk into the branch at my local bank and know my issue will be resolved.

Travel

This also falls into the ‘’life is too short’’ category. Though our travel is slightly limited while we’re working on paying our debt off, once it is paid off, a large portion of our extra debt payments will be going towards travel. Exploring the world is important to my husband and I so this is money well worth spent. I’m not talking about sitting on a beach somewhere (thought that might be nice once and a while), I’m talking about exploring a country like Turkey and experiencing both Asian and European cultures.

This can be done on the cheap too, though.

The money we earn is meant to be enjoyed. While some want to build up a massive savings so when they pass there is a large estate for whomever to benefit from; that is not in our plans at all. We plan on saving for a comfortable retirement and spending money while we’re alive on things we enjoy!

What are things you enjoy spending money on??

3 Questions to Help You Figure Out the Shortest Path to Personal Finance Happiness

What do we want? To get what we want! When do we want it? Now!

That’s what it might sound like if there were a protest about personal finance in your brain. For some reason, we’re wired to want immediate gratification in almost every aspect of our lives — from take out food to eBooks to software downloads.

financial happiness

Image via

But sometimes the long way is the short way. That is, when you do things the right way, you experience more lasting and permanent success or happiness. And that’s definitely the case for personal finances. Here are three simple questions you need to ask yourself to figure out your shortest path to personal finance happiness:

Question one: What exactly do you want?

State your goal explicitly before you go any further. And be specific. The more clear you are about what you want to do, or what you want to acquire, the easier it will be to achieve success.The hardest target to hit is the one you can’t see.

Bonus: WRITE IT DOWN! Even better, write your goal down and post it on the fridge or frame it for above your headboard so you can see it as you climb into bed each night. Having your goals right there in front of your face is absolutely invaluable to keeping your eyes on the prize and remembering what you are working for each day.

Question two: When do you want it?

Do you want to hone a skill in a few days? A few months? A few years?

Do you want to purchase an item sometime this year? Sometime this decade?

The timeframe for when you want (and will reasonably be able acquire) something is important. Be honest. Be reasonable. And then, be diligent. Stick to your timeframe and know that you will get what you want in the time that you have determined that you will.

Question three: What can you do?

After figuring out what you want and when you want it, break the large task of getting what you want into several small pieces (also known as milestones). How many small pieces? It depends.

If you save for a deposit for a home, you may only have a few milestones. The milestones might only involve you reaching certain savings goals by certain dates.

But depending on your goal, your list of milestones might be longer.

One milestone might involve you securing another form of income. A milestone might involve you deciding who sells an item that you want at the best price. Another milestone might require you to spend time researching a subject.

Before you go any further toward achieving your goals, use these three questions to decide what you want, when you want it, and what you can do to get what you want.

What Are My Options If I’m In Debt And Need to Pay it Off?

Debt. Regardless the form, it sucks. While some forms of debt may suck a little less, owing anyone else money just plain sucks. Getting out of debt is always the best option. If you have any form of debt, you should be working at paying it off. Again, some debts are a little less of a priority but should still be worked on.

If you’re unsure what your options are if you are in debt, you may be surprised to know just how many options there are.

debt options

image via

Budget and Control It Yourself

This is the simplest option. Learning how to properly budget will quite literally save your financially life! Track your spending and look for areas of saving. At the same time calculate what you owe and come up with a plan of action. Though this sounds easy it’s not often that simple. There is usually a reason your debt hasn’t been paid off as of yet and may require more steps than just create a budget a pay off the debt.

You may need to make more money for instance. There are a multitude of ways you can make more money in your spare time from a standard part-time or contract job to selling stuff you already own. Figure out your budget and, if necessary, figure out ways to supplement your income to meet your financial goals.

Conversely, look for areas to cut out or back on within your current budget. You may be surprised how much you can save per month by cutting back!

Debt Management Programs

DMP’s are either for-profit or not-for-profit organizations that help negotiate with creditors on your behalf when you feel you can’t comfortably pay your debts back. Though each company will have their own agenda, simply put, they negotiate for you with your creditors significantly lowering or totally eliminating any interest rate. This works for unsecured debts only. Once you agree upon a contract with the company you make a monthly payment to them and they take all responsibility for dispersing negotiated payments to the creditors in question. This can be advantageous for many financial situations and if you think yours is one of them, check out a local not-for-profit agency to help. You don’t want a for-profit company making money off you when you’re attempting to pay debt off, right?

The downside to the DMP is that there will be a ”flaw” or slight mark against your credit score while enrolled in the program. In Canada at least, the mark remains on your credit score as long as you’re in the program plus two years. Though this may sound intimidating, the alternative of you not even making minimum payments and living in a cycle of missed payments or never paying debts off, is much worse.

Bankruptcy

This is an obvious very last choice. Rule out ever single other option before pursuing this and though it may seem tempting to just ”eliminate” all your debt there are quite a few financial repercussions you need to consider. Discussing options with a bankruptcy trustee is ideal before making too many decisions.

Getting in debt is a whole lot easier than getting out. Regardless of what route you choose there will be a lot of work an effort involved but when you’re done and debt free it will be so worth it!

More Free Stuff for Grown Ups!

One of the best things about being a kid was that you always seemed to get a free surprise-especially when it came to food. Fast food restaurants would often, if not always provide a free toy with the kids’ meal. Over the years I collected a lot of toys from McDonald’s. Too bad I didn’t keep any of them. They’re probably collectibles now and worth a lot on eBay.

I enjoyed going to the seafood restaurants Red Lobster as a kid (and still do!) because after you finished your meal, the waiter/waitress brought out a treasure chest filled with toys for you to pick out one.

Cracker Jack and kids’ cereals have toys buried in the bottom of the box. I’m pretty sure I must have dug into the box at one point, trying to get that toy.  Don’t forget the chocolate egg with the toy inside, known as the Kinder Surprise. The extra surprise is that you have to put the toy together, which is a good way for kids to use their fine motor skills. I personally was never really into building stuff, but for some reason, it was fun to put a Kinder Surprise toy together.

 

Image Courtesy of ImageryMajestic/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image Courtesy of ImageryMajestic/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I even had a book called, “Free Stuff for Kids” where you could write to organizations and have free stuff mailed to you from them such as stickers, pencils and bookmarks. I would eagerly check the mailbox every day to see if my package of free stuff had arrived.

It’s quite obvious that being a kid is fun. Being an adult? It’s still fun, but unfortunately not as much. You have more stress, responsibilities, less sleep and bills to pay. As the saying goes, “Oh, to be young again.”

This may not amount to much, but I feel adults deserve some fun free surprises too. While we do have some free samples, such as the food ones from Costco, I feel we deserve a little more.

Whatever happened to random free samples in the mail? It could only just me, but I feel now they’re non-existent and I would have to take the time to sign up for one. When snail mail was more popular, I remember finding free samples of cereal or little packets of shampoo and conditioner in my mailbox and getting super psyched about it! I thought to myself, Wow! Free stuff that’s actually useful!

While the free snail mail stuff seems to have died down a bit, the beer companies still remember that adults like free stuff. You’ll often find a free t-shirt, hat or beer opener in the box.  The coolest free thing I’ve seen in a beer case was a small portable USB charger. Considering how much our society is obsessed/dependent on technology, it’s definitely a handy thing to have.

Even though I don’t eat the same kinds of cereals that kids do, I still eat cereal. I eat it almost every day. I haven’t really received any free stuff lately. Some cereals will ask you to mail in a couple of UPC codes in order to get something, but why can’t I relive my childhood days and get excited about finding a small surprise in the cereal box? Something light like a pack of gum? What about a pocket flashlight? Or a USB stick? You really can never have too many of those lying around.

Those items may seem pretty random, but isn’t that the whole point of the surprise? It’s unexpected and it’s random.

If it seemed to costly or too much of a hassle to include a free item in a cereal box, at least have a coupon in there to get 50 cents off the next time I purchase the cereal. Aside from kids with newspaper routes and teenagers with part-time jobs, adults are the ones with the money. Just because we make more money, doesn’t necessarily mean we want to spend more money.

Just give me something! Ideally, for free. :P

What the coolest free thing you received? Should there be more free stuff found in products for adults?