Archive for November, 2012

Is Lifestyle Inflation Okay?

Personal finance

Have you started making more money? Have you been debating upgrading your lifestyle?

Today we’re going to look at lifestyle inflation and the idea of upgrading your lifestyle once your income increases. There are two polarizing views on this idea. One strategy is to use your pay increase to push up your savings. This means that you pretend you never even received an increase in money. The other view (uncommon on personal finance blogs) is to upgrade your quality of life when your income goes up.

Is lifestyle inflation okay?

I’m going to say that it is. Most personal finance pundits suggest that you save and deprive yourself. I believe in the opposite. When you make more money, the odds are that you worked for it. You likely earned your raise or salary increase or bonus. Why not spend it on yourself? Why not reward yourself? I say that you go ahead and upgrade your life.

There are a few caveats when it  comes to lifestyle inflation. What are they?

I suggest that you start off small. Instead of buying a new car or moving into a bigger place, why not start with food? You can treat yourself more often and increase the frequency of how often you check out your favorite restaurant. There’s nothing that most of us love more than the convenience of going out for food. If you worked hard to increase your salary, there’s nothing wrong with eating better. You can eat out with your friends or form a new weekly tradition.

Next, you can cut out a redundant task from your schedule. Is there something that you’re annoyed by? We all have a task or two in our routines that we wish we could eliminate. Some of my friends have hired maids or someone to perform their lawn care. Some young folks would rather spend more time on the productive tasks while eliminating duties that don’t add much value, yet need to be performed.

The best part is that there’s no need to feel guilty about hiring someone to cut your grass, shovel your snow, or clean your apartment. You’re going to pay for this with money that you worked for. Why work so hard if you don’t seen any results or positive changes?

These two new luxuries alone will often be enough to allow you to appreciate your new raise. You’ll notice an upgrade to your lifestyle because you’ll be eating your favorite dishes more often and you’ll have cut out tasks that you don’t care for.

Have you recently increased your income? What did you do with your new-found income?

Saving Images From The Web With Excel VBA

Excel macros

The other day I was given a challenge by a reader who needed to download some images from the web. First off, why not do it automatically? The first reason would be to save time because with excel vba you can automate the task. It automate the task. In this case, the image is a stock chart which can change every day so being able to quickly update the excel file required being able to download it.

What Is Necessary To Do This?

The most important is to know the exact address or URL of the file including the name such as:

Once you know that, you should be ok. In my opinion there are 2 different tasks that could be ran when downloading a file, you can

#1-Download the file and save it to a directory

The first one requires a bit of code but it’s straight forward once you do have it in place, you can simply use the following:

Private Declare Function URLDownloadToFile Lib “urlmon” _
Alias “URLDownloadToFileA” (ByVal pCaller As Long, ByVal szURL As String, _
ByVal szFileName As String, ByVal dwReserved As Long, ByVal lpfnCB As Long) As Long

Private Const ERROR_SUCCESS As Long = 0

Sub LancementProcedure()
DownloadFile “”, “C:\stock.png”
End Sub

Public Function DownloadFile(ByVal sURL As String, ByVal sLocalFile As String) As Boolean
Dim lngRetVal As Long
DownloadFile = URLDownloadToFile(0&, sURL, sLocalFile, 0&, 0&) = ERROR_SUCCESS
End Function

The 2 main parameters that you must change are the Downloaded File URL and the location+name where you’re saving it.

#2-Download the file and add it to the excel spreadsheet

Sheets(1).Shapes.AddPicture “” & Ticker & “&ty=c&ta=1&p=d&s=l” _
, msoFalse, msoTrue, 380, 60, 800, 410

In this case, it will simply add the image to the spreadsheet of the size and location that is mentioned. I also run a couple of lines to always delete the previous chart before adding a new one.

You can see what it looks like here:

And download the spreadsheet here

How You Can Increase Your Savings

Personal finance

Are you looking to increase your savings? Do you want to beef up how much money you have stashed away? I’m here to help with that!

What’s the quickest way to increase your savings?

Improve how much money you have coming in.

You just have to make more money. There are no shortcuts or secret formulas to accumulating money. Anyone that tells you there are, is simply trying to sell you some sort of a dream. Don’t buy it!

The best way to do this is to find a side gig that you can do on the evenings or weekends. The hidden benefit of working extra hours is that you now have less time to spend money. When you work on a Saturday evening, you’re forced to avoid the bar for a bit or random occasions. This means that you make more money and save more money.

Before you try to rip my head off, I do realize that this isn’t very fun. That’s true. I’m sorry about that. This isn’t an article about selling dreams or making you feel good. This is a wake up call. If you want to save some serious money, you need to find a new gig, and hold on to your new found cash. Once you begin to do this, you can slowly start to get ahead of the game. The more money that you save, the more addicting that it will become.

How do you deal with time management? Let’s look at how you can still survive with less free time now that you’ll be working more…

  • Cut out the crap. When you’re busy working, the little things don’t matter any more. Who cares if you miss Jersey Shore? Who cares who said what about you? You’re busy and don’t have time to waste.
  • Eat well. The trick is to eat well. This is advice that we all know, but just don’t apply. It’s much easier to grab a BigMac than it is to cook food. If you hate to cook, you can grab a couple of cans of tuna with some almonds. You can sneak in some egg whites, protein shakes, and beans. The better that you eat, the more energy that you’ll have to work hard and save up that money!
  • Let loose when you’re free. If you have a night off or time off, you deserve to let loose. You need something that keeps you sane. It helps to have something to look forward to after a stressful period of time. Plus, you’l have more money to spend on what you enjoy.

That’s how you can increase your savings. With your beefed up savings account, you can pay off that debt, finally start that business, or travel more often. You worked for it, so you owe it to yourself to enjoy the money now.