Generosity doesn’t have to break the bank

Written by Emily on July 11, 2007 – 10:00 am -

Get Rich Slowly offers practical suggestions for gift-giving on a budget in the post How to Escape the Gift Trap. We’ve all tried drawing names and going homemade, but I loved the idea of giving an experience. Making and sharing a meal, or inviting someone on a family outing. By doing this, you’re not just giving money or a gift, you’re making memories and history together.

Budgeting for gifts is tricky. We made a list of every occasion and person we wanted to give to, with the amount we would like to spend. We made sure to include Mother’s day, Father’s day, Valentine’s day, our anniversary, and any other easily-forgotten occasion for gift giving. When we added it all up, we were astounded–it cost as much as a vacation to Disney World! Now the tough question: what do we value most? Yes, we want (and need) to give, but we’re also saving to adopt another child, not to mention our goals to pay off debt and finish our basement. We didn’t eliminate gifts altogether, but had a great perspective to pare down our spending.

When the time comes to buy gifts, we consult our plan. If one of us wants to give more, we spend our personal money doing so. In a way, that makes getting a nicer gift even more meaningful. Another thing we’ve done is to give “our favorite things.” We created a list of our favorite items–things that make our lives easier and make us happy every time we use them. This ranges from the practical (Pampered Chef rubber scraper) to the luxurious (Mary Kay Satin Hands Pampering Set). We don’t feel the need to spend a lot, because we are giving something that we love and know is great.

Posted in Budgeting, Relationships | Comments Off on Generosity doesn’t have to break the bank

8 ways to prepare to become a millionaire

Written by Sam on January 16, 2007 – 9:13 pm -

8 ways to prepare to become a millionaireToday I went to lunch with a very wealthy person. I don’t know exactly how wealthy , but based on his frequent trips to Maui, the fact that he earns a free plane ticket every month through his frequent flier points, and the fact that the other day he decided to go out and buy a truck just because he’s never had one before, there’s good reason to believe he’s close to a seven-digit earner. As I talked with him, it raised a lot of questions in my mind about how managing my finances will change as my wealth grows. If I were a millionaire would I still need to budget? Would I still want to track all my spending? Would I still need to negotiate with my wife about finances? It seems logical that with an income over $1,000,000 a year you wouldn’t need to plan as vigorously. But in the end thats a lie. Millionaires that manage their money irresponsibly can quickly lose it all and fall from grace (MC Hammer comes to mind).

Financial management principles are the same for millionaires and low-income-earners alike. Certainly the numbers your dealing with will change, but the basic principles and processes are still the same. In fact, by following sound financial management principles and optimizing your frame of mind, you can accelerate the process of building wealth and know how to keep it when you arrive. Here are 7 ideas that will help you think about and manage money like a millionaire, regardless of your income.

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Posted in Budgeting, Couples, Finances, Money, Personal Finance, Relationships, Saving, Spending | 24 Comments »

How to become a personal finance “black belt”

Written by Sam on October 3, 2006 – 11:56 pm -

David Allen in “Getting Things Done” compares productivity to the martial arts. He gives instruction on how to become a black belt in your personal productivity with a “mind like water” that allows you to handle anything that comes your way with a balanced response. When a stone is thrown into a pond, the water reacts with perfect balance. It reacts just enough to disperse the energy, no more, and then returns to a calm state. It doesn’t over or under react.

Becoming a black belt and having a “mind like water” in your personal finances is very similar. It means you can take whatever is thrown at you without knocking your finances out of control. You can respond to any situation with perfect balance. Unexpected events or changes in your finances, good or bad, can be handled with optimum efficiency, and little or no stress. It means you can direct the flow of money where you need it almost effortlessly.

In an effort to help people gauge where they are in their personal finance development, I’ve defined what people at the various “belts” might look like. Where are you?

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Posted in Budget, Budgeting, Budgets, Cash, Couples, Credit Cards, Emergencies, Finance, Finances, Money, Personal Finance, Relationship, Relationships, Saving, Spending | 20 Comments »

3 keys to making your personal finances work as a couple

Written by Sam on September 20, 2006 – 11:34 pm -

Get Rich Slowly recently had a reader pose the following question:

“While I try my best to “get rich slowly” I have one huge issue: a husband. My husband likes to spend money. I’m referred to as the “Thrifty One Who Won’t Allow Me To Buy Stuff” and he’s referred to as “That Jerk Who Buys Stuff”. Do you have any advice for couples that need to have the other half put on a strict budget without making them feel like a child?”

I posted a comment at Get Rich Slowly in response, but I thought this excellent question deserved a more thorough answer, so here goes.

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Posted in Budget, Budgeting, Budgets, Couples, Finance, Finances, Money, Personal Finance, Relationship, Relationships, Spending | 4 Comments »

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