Category Archive 'Personal finance'

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?

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.

The Art of the Emergency Fund

Personal finance

Do you have an emergency fund? Are you ready to deal with emergencies?

Don’t lie! Most of us don’t. After paying bills and dealing with investments, who has any extra money to save? Who wants to save money for something that hasn’t happened yet?

Many personal finance bloggers preach the idea of an emergency fund. Today I wanted to get into more detail on this topic and how it works.

 What are the benefits of an emergency fund?

  • Deal with the unexpected.
  • Not have to use your credit card.
  • Bail yourself out.
  • Sleep at night know that you’ll be covered.
  • Plan for a rainy day.
  • Cover expenses if you ever get fired.

Now you know why you should have one. This usually isn’t enough to start a new savings account. Just to be transparent I wanted to share my emergency fund situation with you guys.

How do I run my emergency fund?

I leave money in my checking account. I also have a beefed up savings account.

I don’t have an elaborate “emergency fund.”

I just have extra money sitting around to deal with emergencies and whatever life may bring me. Things always happen. It’s not a matter of “if,” it’s a matter of “when.”

Have I ever used my emergency savings?

YES. Many times.

One specific story comes to mind…

I was driving home from school. It was late at night and it was pretty damn cold. I just wanted to get to the library to cram for my final exam the next morning. I was over-worked, under-motivated, and just feeling crappy. As I’m getting off the highway, my car slides and hits the curb at a fast speed.

I panicked. I was nervous. I drove to my buddies house. I knew that something was wrong. He’s a mechanic and he helped me check out the car. He told me it definitely needed work and that it couldn’t be avoided.

The next morning I went to the shop before my exam. I studied in the waiting area while they fixed my car. It sucked. I didn’t want to hand the money over, but I had to. Luckily I had money saved up to deal with this.

Now it’s your turn…

How can you set your emergency fund up?

Start saving. Save a dollar. Save two dollars. Save anything that you can. Put this money away. Hide it. Just keep on going.

I also suggest that you create a new account to keep this money in. I would label it”emergency” just so that you mentally separate this from your other accounts.

You don’t have to do anything special. Just keep some extra money on the side.

This isn’t the sexiest topic, but we all need to protect ourselves.

Are you ready to get your emergency savings off the ground?

How You Can Train at Home to Save Money

Personal finance

Are you ready to finally get in shape? Is a lack of money preventing you from training? Well, this is the article for you…

I like to cover all sorts of financial experiments on here because I want us to save money together and crush our finances. I also want us to get in shape together. It’s time to use our limited financial resources to look better than ever before.

How can you train at home to save money?

You must first realize that getting in shape isn’t 100% all about working out and training. A majority of the battle relies on your diet and what you put into your system. Before you start to stress about training and different workout regimens, the first goal should be to focus on your diet and what you’re eating.

You can check out this resource on fasting and eating right.

Once you improve your eating, you can focus more on different types of strength training.

What about home workout programs?

We live in an era where home-based workouts are gaining popularity. In the last few years all sorts of random home-based workouts have been sold and marketed like crazy to us. Should you give in to the marketing hype?

It depends on how you follow up to be honest. Buying P90X and letting it sit on your desk next to your “to-do” list is a waste of money. If you pop that dvd in right away and use it 3x per week, well then it’s a pretty decent investment.

How can you ensure that you actually use the dvd?

  • Create incentives for yourself.
  • Find a workout buddy.
  • Give it a test run. Use free material online to see if any of these programs are right for you.

Should you buy any equipment?

Perhaps. I have a few pieces of equipment that make training easier for me. What equipment have I purchased to train from home?

  1. Kettlebell.
  2. Resistance bands.
  3. Two 20lb dumbbells.

You don’t need to buy these tools. They just help with your training.

What are some basic workouts to perform at home?

There are all sorts of workouts worth checking out. I recommend that you read the beginner body weight workout at Nerd Fitness if you’re just getting started. You don’t need much to perform this workout routine.

If that workout doesn’t work you can never go wrong with some basic pushups and going for a walk. When I don’t feel like lifting weights, I grab some music and go for a 30-minute walk. If I don’t have time for the gym, I bust out the pushups at home. All that matters is that you push yourself.

That’s how you can train at home to save money and look like an athlete!

 

How Much Sleep Do You Need When Working Like an Animal?

Personal finance

How much should a young person sleep? What do you do about sleep when you’re trying to get lots of work done?

“Scientists know embarrassingly little about why we spend roughly one-third of our lives asleep.” — Tim Ferriss

I’ve struggled with sleep over the years. I have a very difficult time falling asleep. There have been times during college where I barely slept. Then there were also times where I slept way too much and it affected my productivity.

How much should you sleep every night?

I didn’t just want to share anecdotal advice here so I looked for something a little more scientific. I found this little tidbit on the Time website:

“Studies show that people who sleep between 6.5 hr. and 7.5 hr. a night, as they report, live the longest. And people who sleep 8 hr. or more, or less than 6.5 hr., they don’t live quite as long. There is just as much risk associated with sleeping too long as with sleeping too short.”

I wanted to throw out some random thoughts on sleep that have worked for me while I was getting lots of work done:

It’s always critical to have a “sleep-in” day.

If you work long hours during the week because you have a full-time job and are building a side business, I highly recommend a sleep-in day where you sleep in as long as you want and catch up on your rest. This gives you something to look forward to in your sleep-deprived state during the week,

Cut out the distractions.

If you focus more on your work, you can get more done. Ultimately, leading to more sleep! I found that I didn’t need to stay up late so often. I was doing so because I was foolish and wasting time on distractions that were cutting into my sleep.

Take power naps.

If you didn’t get much sleep at night, I strongly suggest that you take a power nap during the day. This beats that 7th cup of coffee or walking around like a zombie. A quick 30-minute snooze can do wonders for you.

Work with your body.

I can get by on 6 hours of sleep just fine. I do realize that when I’m older, I’m likely going to need more rest. It always makes sense to work with your body. If you can survive n 4 hours of sleep, then all the power to you. If you need more rest, go for it.

That’s what I think about getting sleep in when you’re working hard.