72

A budget is a plan for spending money in the future. Tracking spending is only looking at what happened in the past. Many people only track their spending, a proper budget can be key to achieving financial goals. You might earn enough and not spend frivolously enough that you aren't hamstrung by lack of a budget, but if you have specific financial goals, ...


58

That's just his base salary for last year. Keep reading in the article: He also received $1.6 million worth of securit[ies]. Plus, he's probably earned plenty in salary, bonuses, and other compensation in previous years to more than keep up his lifestyle. He can also sell (relatively) small amounts of the stock he already owns to get millions in cash ...


56

I found the best way to do this was to make a spending plan at the beginning of the month with someone else. If you're married or in a relationship where you pool resources, then this is a natural way to sync up on your expectations. If you don't have a relationship of that nature, it's still good to have a friend that you talk to about things you are ...


53

The key question is this - What brings you happiness? How much is this behavior actually making you miserable? It's possible, and important, to find balance between frugality and as you say, being a miser. It's also important to understand the diminishing return, and to value not just your hour of time but your happiness-hour. By this I mean there's a ...


50

Note: I am not a lawyer; this is not legal advice. TL;DR: As Hart CO says in their answer, there is probably nothing they can do once you've used the points, other than close your card and, potentially, any other accounts you have with them. The Offer & Benefit Terms for American Express's Gold Delta SkyMiles® Credit Card can be found at this link. ...


47

How to prevent myself from buying things I don't want We all buy stuff from time to time that only satisfies us for a short time. I was able to locate a few expenses that fall under that category. Makes me happy only for short time Too expensive for what you get The perception of them will change from “fun” to “work” (aka I often think “damn,...


43

I spend hours researching two comparable products to try to save $3. Me too! I have also argued for hours with customer support to get $5/month off a bill (that's $60/year!), and I feel guilty every time I eat out or do something remotely luxurious, like getting fries with my $1 McChicken. Geez, even when I play video games, I hate spending the in-game ...


33

To me the key is a budget. Each month, before it begins, decide on what to spend on each dollar that you earn. Money should be allotted for normal expenses such as housing, food, transportation, and utilities. If you have any consumer debt that should be a priority. Extra money should go to eliminate that debt. There should be money allotted to savings ...


30

Are you in the US? One thing you can do is prepay taxes at a rate of a 1.8% fee. Much lower than paypal. I would do this on what is "left over". Here are somethings that I would tend to do in your case: Pre-buy gifts. Do your Christmas shopping now. Even if you don't know what to buy, you can get gift cards to the stores you are likely to buy from. ...


30

The two are closely related. A budget is a detailed plan for how to spend. Expense tracking is a tool to analyze your previous spending performance. Creating a plan for how to spend your money without any record of your previous spending--is an empty promise to yourself that you will never follow up on. Did I stay within my budget? Doesn't matter, I didn't ...


29

The gift card for specific stores has no fee. In our budget of nearly $500/mo for supermarket, it would be easy to just buy 10 x $500 cards, and then be careful with them. A look at your past 12 mo of spending should provide a hint what GCs might work for you. Else, for a $4.95 fee, I've bought $500 generic Visa cash cards. When my new credit card offered ...


28

If everyone bought used cars, who would buy the new cars so that everyone else could buy them used? Rental car companies? Your rant expresses a misunderstanding of fundamental economics (as demand for used cars increases, so will prices) but economics is off-topic here, so let me explain why I bought a new car—that I am now in the 10th year of driving. ...


24

Two reasons: Many people make lots of financial decisions (and other kinds of decisions) without actually running any numbers to see what is best (or even possible). They just go with their gut and buy things they feel like buying, without making a thoroughgoing attempt to assess the impact on their finances. I share your bafflement at this, but it is ...


21

One of the most effective tools we have to keep ourselves from doing things is procrastination. Most of the time procrastination is a bad thing because we use it to avoid doing things we should be doing. But it's equally effective at keeping us from doing things that are not good for us, like overspending or overeating. How do we procrastinate things like ...


21

Rich people use debt for various reasons. The question should not assume that billionaires don't use debt. They also pay lower interest rates on that debt because they have enough collateral that their debt is safer than a typical mortgage. Many rich people will use interest only mortgages on their primary residences so that they can keep their stock ...


20

If the car is in otherwise good shape, it's always less expensive to keep it longer. Think of it this way: you have to buy new tires no matter what. It's just a question of whether or not those new tires are attached to a new car or your current car.


15

Unless your stinginess has reach truly compulsive levels, it should be enough to consciously remind yourself of the value of your time when you make purchase decisions or find yourself chasing minor savings. Another way might be to deliberately give yourself a monthly or weekly budget that you're allowed to "waste" on luxuries and conveniences without ...


12

There was a study last year -- it was all over the news -- that concluded that experiences, not stuff, is what makes people happy. The satisfaction from going on vacation lasts even after the holiday is long over. That new gadget only gives fleeting satisfaction. To that end, I recommend splurging on the affordable luxuries that give you a better experience....


12

I had a 2000 Chevy Cavalier until late 2011. It worked well, but was very definitely at the end of its life. This was a low-end car, certainly, but I dispute your claim that cars last 20 - 25 years. Consumer Reports apparently says the average life expectancy of a new vehicle is around 8 years or 150,000 miles. When it came time to replace my Cavalier, I ...


11

The car you dream of might not be available in your local used car market. Or if it is, there might be something wrong with it. Here are some reasons that a person might want to buy a new car. Basically, if you have a picture in your mind of what your next car should look like, it is easier to shop for a new car: You can choose the paint color. You can ...


11

There are many reasons for buying new versus used vehicles. Price is not the only factor. This is an individual decision. Although interesting to examine from a macro perspective, each vehicle purchase is made by an individual, weighing many factors that vary in importance by that individual, based upon their specific needs and values. I have purchased ...


10

I agree with JoeTaxpayer's answer. The question you should be asking is not "how do I spend more" but "how do I become happier". From what you say, it may be that you could increase your happiness simply by cutting back on these aggressive attempts to save a few bucks here and there. At the same time, if you do this, on some level your personality is ...


10

Nathan's answer was a +1 from me. The answer is not always simple. Having the money available is surely the first step. Using Pete's process aligns with this. Another thought is depending where you are in your finances, delay by a day for every $100 in cost. e.g. For a $1000 purchase, sleep on it for 10 days. Adjust the number for your circumstance.


10

I separate entertainment from vacations. Entertainment would be dining out, movies, cable tv, video games, etc, but that category is only for use while not on vacation. Those same items, if they happen on vacation, are part of the vacation budget. I like keeping vacation separate because I like knowing the all-in cost of a vacation for future reference. We ...


8

You can't both enforce saving and have access to the money -- from what you say, it's clear that if you can access the money you will spend it. Can you find an account that allows one withdrawal every six months but no more, which should help to cut down on the impulse buys but still let you get at your money in an emergency?


8

Do you plan a monthly budget at the beginning of each month? This might seem counter-intuitive, but hear me out. Doing a budget is, of course, critically important for those who struggle with having enough money to last the month. Having this written spending plan allows people struggling with finances to control their spending and funnel money into debt ...


8

If you're looking for some formula, I don't think one exists. People talk about this all the time and give conflicting advice. If there was a proven-accurate formula, they wouldn't be debating it. There are basically 3 reasons to do a home improvement project: (a) Correct a problem so that you prevent on-going damage to your home. For example, have a ...


8

If you churn enough cards with AMEX they will blacklist you from ever getting another bonus with them again. I learned this the hard way. If I had realized this I would have kept my AMEX cards longer. I actively churn cards (free travel for 6+ years), but I am currently unable to get anymore AMEX bonuses. They are willing to give me their credit card, ...


8

It's going to depend on many things that we don't know and your personal preferences. I could have a Ferrari, but wouldn't be worth it to me based on what else I'd have to cut back to have it. Others would make that choice. As developers, one thing we tend to get caught up on, though, is an idea that our computer's greatness is a reflection of our ...


7

"How much is your time worth" This has been useful for me, judging things based on how much their time value is worth to me, weighted more heavily than their actual worth. For instance, there was a time when I used to work on the weekends and pay to have my laundry done. Doing the laundry myself would have cost 25 cents, but taken two hours at least. Since ...


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