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Money management

Money And How You Think About It

american-currencyBecoming more mindful has led me to realize that the amount of money that something costs and whether it seems like too much or a real steal depends on what it is, who you are, and where you are.  I first began to think about this when I started watching HGTV and realized that what was considered a reasonable price for a house in one part of the country or the world was not reasonable in another part.  Decent-sized homes could be bought for $200,000 or less in some places, for $500,000 or less in others, and for over a million dollars in yet other places.  The same was true of rent which ranged from under $1000 to several thousand dollars a month.  The bigger prices were found not just in resort communities but also in suburban areas.highpricedpen

I am currently on a fixed income and am very money conscious.   I found that what I considered to be a good price for something depended on what category it fell in.  I found that I was the cheapest about clothes, hitting clearance racks and garage sales and usually spending under a few dollars usually no more than five or ten bucks; but  I found that I would  spend that much on eating out and on a very special occasion, I might double that.  It all dealt with what I allowed myself to spend even actually keeping a running total in my head.   Why is it more acceptable to spend more on laundry detergent than than on many grocery items?

You might not be on as tight a budget as I am and you may have to spend more to keep up appearances than I do.  Even the higher house prices don’t shock you and you may have already invested that much in a place to live.  What determines what seems reasonable to pay for one type of thing and not another?  Yes, this can be a matter of personal taste and the desire for quality in something you purchase.  But it does seem at least for me that I am willing to spend more on somethings than others.  How did I get that way?  Is it price fixing like the cost of a carton of pop?  Is it brain washing?  Is it due to propaganda?  What one person considers acceptable to pay for something may not be acceptable to another person.  How much of this is due to what is the usual price for something in a certain area and how much of this is due to what its really worth.  Or are things not intrinsically worth anything, except what you can get people to pay for them?



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It Is Never Too Late


budget (Photo credit: The Survival Woman)

It is never too late and it is never too early to budget your time and especially your money.  Some of the most important things in life, we rely on experience to learn.  For example, being pregnant and giving birth, keeping a home, and raising children is something people frequently have to learn the hard way.  Some of this in the past was taught to children by having them learn by doing,  by modeling behavior, and/or by having children shadow their parents.

Many articles about the causes of divorce and marital conflict highlight budgeting money and housework as the chief or most common problems that develop conflict.  Yet, we often do not anticipate these problems when set out on our own and establish our own household or family.  We limp along and rely on credit and wind up in serious financial straits with no idea of what we can afford to spend, to borrow to  pay for a house and/or a car, and still pay our bills.

As our income improves, we often do not use it wisely.  We see ourselves as having increased buying power and credit card companies encourage us to take on an even larger debt load rather than paying them off.  It is like a house of cards ready to collapse at almost any time when a small breeze (decrease in income in terms of increase in deductions for medical insurance or reduction in pay due to a dem0tion, loss of job, or becoming a part-time employee instead of a full time employee, the death or loss of an income provider, another child especially one with serious medical problems, a dependent parent, and property loss due to fire or storm damage) comes along.

I remember in high school being taught how to fill out an income tax return and how useful that was especially when I had to figure out my parents income and expenses to apply for financial aid for college.  Some schools have kids carry around a five pound sack of flour or a very realistic baby doll 24/7 that requires frequent feedings and diaper changing as well as not being able to be left alone.  Tutoring children, adolescents, and young adults in how to finance their current or future lifestyle makes sense.

Why should learning the most important things in life be left to chance.  Few people learn to budget their time and money because they like to do it, usually they don’t do it until they have to do it and then they often make a mess of it.  Yes, we rely a lot on parents to do this; but how can they do this when they weren’t taught to do this themselves.  Our society thrives on financially competent people who can take care of themselves; but we do little to promote this.  Instead we encourage dependency on welfare and government payments to take up the slack which is getting bigger and bigger.  Some people when this happens (God bless them) learn to pull themselves up by their own bootstraps; but this can be a big price to pay for financial independence which they might have been able to learn how to have before they went out on their own.

Do you fit this picture?  Is there anything you can do about it before it is too late?

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There Is No Accounting For….Part I

There is no accounting for….

There is no accounting for how some people run their lives.  Their accounting system doesn’t exist.  They take from Peter to pay Paul.  They don’t pay and/or file their taxes on time.  What comes in is theirs and they don’t like to share.  They run up bills.  At no time do they exactly know what their net worth is and they pay the bill collector who hollers the most or gets there first.  Scary, isn’t it?  How do they get by?  By the Grace of God?  A family member had a boss like that and I had an aunt like that.

Here are two different examples.  Did you know that the rich are often notorious for not playing their bills.  They run up a bill with one provider and when that supplier cuts off their services or stops extending them credit, they find someone else to buy from or use who does not know what they are like and who assumes that they will pay because they have money.  Another example is that of some people with lower economic standing who move from rental apartment or home to residential apartment or home after being evictedThe Accounting

for not paying rent.  They rely upon the trust of others.  Is it stealing?  Yes, it is when it is the person’s modus  operandi and they use it to get things without paying for them.  Some people seem to feel that ignorance is bliss.  As long as they can continue to live in their world where bills are never paid on time or in full and sometimes not even opened, they will.  Ignorance is bliss?  For them, denial is not a river in Egypt.

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