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72 votes
Accepted

Is keeping track of your money and having a budget the same thing?

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 ...
Hart CO's user avatar
  • 70.5k
58 votes
Accepted

How are people able to spend more than what they make, without going into debt?

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 ...
D Stanley's user avatar
  • 137k
56 votes

How to prevent myself from buying things I don't want

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 ...
NL - Apologize to Monica's user avatar
50 votes
Accepted

What can Amex do if I cancel their card after using the sign up bonus miles?

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, ...
TripeHound's user avatar
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48 votes
Accepted

How to prevent myself from buying things I don't want

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....
Aaron Hall's user avatar
33 votes

How to prevent myself from buying things I don't want

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 ...
Pete B.'s user avatar
  • 76.7k
31 votes

Is keeping track of your money and having a budget the same thing?

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 ...
NL - Apologize to Monica's user avatar
27 votes
Accepted

What’s the difference between inflation and inflation tax?

It's mostly semantics. Per https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk%3AInflation_tax#:~:text=An%20inflation%20tax%20is%20the,that%20subtracts%20value%20from%20currency. An inflation tax is the economic ...
Hilmar's user avatar
  • 7,915
24 votes

What is the optimal number of months to base my "average spending" on?

You might be overthinking this... There is no right or wrong answer. In my opinion, the more data the better. If you're only looking at the past three months, you might be missing seasonal shopping ...
0xFEE1DEAD's user avatar
  • 8,498
21 votes

How to prevent myself from buying things I don't want

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 ...
farnsy's user avatar
  • 15.1k
21 votes

How are people able to spend more than what they make, without going into debt?

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 ...
NL - Apologize to Monica's user avatar
20 votes

Buy tires and keep car for 12-36 months, or replace car now?

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 ...
Rocky's user avatar
  • 24.1k
17 votes

What’s the difference between inflation and inflation tax?

It IS going to the government. What causes inflation is when the government increase the money supply faster than the economy is growing. Imagine a simpler monetary system with no fractional reserve ...
Jay's user avatar
  • 22.8k
10 votes

How to prevent myself from buying things I don't want

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 ...
JTP - Apologise to Monica's user avatar
10 votes

Should I have a "Vacation" category in my budget?

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 ...
Hart CO's user avatar
  • 70.5k
9 votes

What is the optimal number of months to base my "average spending" on?

You have a tradeoff between timeliness (which favors using recent data) and precision (which favors using longer-term data to average out fluctuations). A reasonable approach is to average over a ...
nanoman's user avatar
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8 votes
Accepted

How do I evaluate reasonability of home improvement projects?

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. ...
Jay's user avatar
  • 22.8k
8 votes

What can Amex do if I cancel their card after using the sign up bonus miles?

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 ...
Heather's user avatar
  • 339
8 votes
Accepted

Saving hard to buy one specific item worth it?

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. ...
John Spiegel's user avatar
7 votes

How are people able to spend more than what they make, without going into debt?

I don't know about Jeff Bezos in particular but, in general, and with a a few other notorious exceptions like Warren Buffet, billionaires also have incomes (salary, dividends, fees to seat on various ...
Gala's user avatar
  • 171
7 votes

How to prevent myself from buying things I don't want

Since these are specific items that you don't really want to buy, it might help to figure out what you could spend that money on that you DO really want. It sounds like right now you are thinking "Wow,...
ale's user avatar
  • 131
7 votes
Accepted

Credit Card Offer Wording?

For Chase I can confirm that it's $500 during the first three months. Typically the clock starts running on that three months the day you are approved, not the day you activate the card. Also with ...
quid's user avatar
  • 49k
7 votes

What can Amex do if I cancel their card after using the sign up bonus miles?

Remember there is a financial arrangement between the card and the airline mileage program. If you violate the terms and conditions with one there is an impact with the other. When you earn miles ...
mhoran_psprep's user avatar
7 votes

What is the optimal number of months to base my "average spending" on?

The other answers have suggested, correctly, that there is no correct answer to this. If your timeline is too short you may miss rare events (eg: once or twice a year you have a major event and you ...
Eric Nolan's user avatar
  • 1,059
7 votes

What is the optimal number of months to base my "average spending" on?

For the very best answer, you need years of data. You would plot graphs of spend by month, comparing year to year to find the pattern in the months. They're likely to have similar shape year to year, ...
ThomasRedstone's user avatar
6 votes
Accepted

Do budgeting % breakdowns apply globally?

The exact percentages depend on many things, not just location. For example, everyone needs food. If you have a low income, the percentage of your income spent on food would be much higher than for ...
Ben Miller's user avatar
  • 116k
6 votes

Buy tires and keep car for 12-36 months, or replace car now?

I don't see how anyone could give you a hard-and-fast formula, unless they know where to get some applicable statistics. Because several factors here are not a straight calculation. If you don't ...
Jay's user avatar
  • 22.8k
5 votes

Is keeping track of your money and having a budget the same thing?

What you are doing is neither one. You are simply watching to make sure you don't overdraw, which itself suggests you might be living hand to mouth and not saving. Keeping track of your money and ...
Harper - Reinstate Monica's user avatar
5 votes

Buy tires and keep car for 12-36 months, or replace car now?

I tend to agree with Rocky's answer. However it sounds like you want to look at this from the numbers side of things. So let's consider some numbers: Cost of new car: $25K Value of old car: $8K ...
aroth's user avatar
  • 389
5 votes

How are people able to spend more than what they make, without going into debt?

Bezos made very little "money." But he is very wealthy because of stock grants and options, from his previous years. Banks or brokerage firms will lend him (or anyone else) up to half the value of ...
Tom Au's user avatar
  • 6,021

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