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A productive way to “keep up with the Joneses”

Written by Sam on September 19, 2006 – 9:50 pm -

I recently listened to a podcast interview at The Money Blogger Podcast with J.D. Roth from Get Rich Slowly. The interviewer, Scott, mentioned the fact that some personal-finance bloggers, like the one at the end of this post, display their net worth online. While I’ve not felt comfortable displaying such information, I think it’s great that others have.

Personal finances are such a private thing and are managed behind closed doors. People avoid in-depth discussions about how they manage their personal finances out of fear that they’ll be judged or will feel inadequate. Understandably, people don’t share specifics of their financial situation. But unfortunately, we don’t even talk in general terms. This creates a vacuum of real-life information and a lack of yard sticks to measure our progress against. Instead, all we see of others is the exterior. We see their new car, fancy house, and weekend toys. What we DON’T see is how they achieved such external glitz. Debt statistics indicate that for a large portion of “joneses,” their external wealth comes with some degree of debt. Even more hidden are the other financial goals the joneses have given up to achieve their external wealth.

I applaud those who have posted their net worth for others to see. It gives us a new standard to reach for. It’s a new, more productive and healthy way to keep up with the joneses; one based on savings and living within our means rather than external appearances regardless of the “internal” cost.


Posted in Finance, Finances, Money, Personal Finance, Saving | 3 Comments »

Personal finances can be a “deep mess”

Written by Sam on September 15, 2006 – 2:55 pm -

My friend Clark once introduced me to the concept of the “deep mess.” A deep mess is one that gets worse before it gets better. Cleaning out a closet is an example of a deep mess. To get it cleaned out and organized, you first need to take every thing out. Then, once everything has been spread out and you can see what’s there, you can put it back in an orderly, organized fashion.

Starting a new personal finance or budgeting system can also be a deep mess. It will usually get worse before it gets better. But it WILL get better with consistent effort.

Read more »

Posted in Budget, Budgeting, Budgets, Finance, Finances, Money, Personal Finance | 2 Comments »

8 ways to save for a short-term emergency fund (or any personal finance savings goal)

Written by Sam on September 12, 2006 – 9:34 pm -

For the next 2 or 3 posts, I will be addressing questions that have come up over the last few weeks. After posting the article about creating and managing a short-term emergency fund, I received the following question:

I was wondering if you could mention some practical ways of building a STEF; any advice would help, especially for those on irregular incomes.

There’s really no trick to building an STEF. It’s mostly a matter of focus and making it a priority. That being said, here are some ideas to help get you started.
Read more »

Posted in Budgeting, Emergencies, Finance, Finances, Money, Personal Finance, Saving | 18 Comments »

Budgeting on a self-employed or irregular income

Written by Sam on September 6, 2006 – 10:05 pm -

Since I wrote my post about “How to create a zero-based budget,” I’ve had a lot of feedback asking how to budget if you’re self-employed or your income is irregular or unpredicitble. For the most part, the process is the same regardless or how regular or irregular your income streams are. However, there are a few tips that will help take the bumps out of budgeting an unpredictable income and may even make budgeting a pleasant experience.

Read more »

Posted in Budget, Budgeting, Budgets, Cash, Emergencies, Finance, Finances, Money, Personal Finance | 22 Comments »

3 reasons most budgets don’t work and how to fix them (a.k.a. How to create a budget that works)

Written by Sam on August 1, 2006 – 9:57 pm -

Let’s face it, budgeting can be a pain. Most people get too discouraged trying to get a budget to work. They spend hours trying to figure out how much to budget in each category and may even track every penny spent during the month only to find out that reality didn’t match what was budgeted. In these instances budgeting just seems like a futile theoretical exercise. There’s no follow up or reconciliation to tie one month’s budget to the next. Add to this the emotional issues that budgeting can trigger and your chances of maintaining a budget dive bomb. Many people who get to this point just give up and quit.

Read more »

Posted in Budget, Budgeting, Budgets, Cash, Finance, Finances, Money, Personal Finance, Processes, Spending, Tools | 19 Comments »

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