What do you make room for in your budget? If you are a serious baseball fan and decide to get season tickets that’s one way of spending your money. What if you would rather be able to enjoy your money a little at a time by going out to dinner a couple of times a month instead? Both cost about the same amount of money.
It all depends on what is important to you. Each person has a comfort level as to what they want to spend and how they spend. If you are not going into debt and have some cushion for the future then who should care what you spend your money on? Two hundred dollars a month, could be saved up over a year or so for a great vacation; or could be spent several days a week on a muffin and cappuccino – it’s how you prioritize.
Reallocating your discretionary funds is for you to decide. Saving and spending money in a chunk or spending it in dribs and drabs equals the same amount. Enjoying something special may give you a different perspective and gives you a goal to work toward.
Conversely, charging your morning coffee or big splurge without having the money to pay for it, really busts your budget. What I can live without may not appeal to another person, whereas something I absolutely need to keep my sanity wouldn’t cause another person to bat an eyelash. It’s all about finding your financial center, if you will. A year’s worth of meals in a nice restaurant could definitely pay for a vacation, but if you are too busy to get away or can’t arrange of time off with your loved ones, having a meal together is a way of connecting.
Budgeting fun and entertainment on whatever scale you choose is necessary. If you have a small budget – your splurge may be buying a name brand item or ordering pizza. Sounds cool… delay that gratification for a couple of months and you could go out and eat at the pizza place or other restaurant. It has to do with your money style and personal spending.
There is a renewed call to “Buy American.” Is this xenophobic, altruistic or impossible?
Decades ago, when an American made item was manufactured with components created in the United States that was easier. It is a different world now and using materials from your local area is more of a challenge, especially if you want to be competitive. I know when I make jewelry, I buy from an American company from the beads and some findings are not from the United States or North America.
When was the last time you bought an electronic item that was made solely in the United States from American made parts? Coffee and tea drinkers, those wonderful beverages that are made with fruits of the Earth are not necessarily grown here.
What can you buy that is made in America with American parts? There are plenty of items but you have to seek them out. A couple of product lines that come to mind for me are from companies that make camping goods and leather items. If you are looking for a quality leather bag that is made in the USA and will last a long time, then look for Duluth Pack or J.W. Hulme Co.
Buying products that are made in your own country is not showing that you are afraid of outsiders, but you are supporting your own. Case in point if you have a choice to buy something at a comparable price, or even a little more from a company that is in your neighborhood but factoring in that you could walk to the store, instead of drive, the price would be about the same… wouldn’t you want to support the neighborhood business? [Spending a little more for a local product, is subjective to your budget, comfort level and taste.]
So, if you consider the US as your neighborhood then you have an opportunity to buy something that is just as great. The problem is that smaller companies don’t always have an opportunity to have competitive prices and if something costs more, even if you don’t have to go to get it, then you might go with another brand that you are more familiar with because of advertising. Smaller places have to build up their clientele with word of mouth, happenstance and quality. Larger companies may not always have the best product, but they may have more control fo the advertising dollar
It’s not xenophobic to want to spend your money in your own country, it just takes a bit of research to find things that are made in the USA. Unlike ages past when Buy American was a catch phrase and didn’t require extensive research or effort on the consumers part, now in order to buy American you need to do some work. Then if you like the product, tell others. Sometimes getting the cheapest item, isn’t the best deal. Not all products made in America are great.
Buying locally (or nationally) is always good, because it shows that you have pride in what your fellow citizens can create. This doesn’t mean that you can only buy products made in your country, state or city, but when you do it helps the economy.
A few days ago I was talking to some people at a luncheon about Starbucks. I said I can go into Starbucks and order something that isn’t really expensive – black coffee. They all looked at me shocked. One even said “Starbucks sells regular coffee?” Yes.
Amazing but true that people just think of fancy coffee drinks when it comes to Starbucks. What’s wrong worth regular coffee? Just plain, coffee, no frothed milk, no added pimps of flavor, just the coffee flavor? Granted most of the time when I get just regular coffee from Starbucks or another coffee place for that matter it is because I am out and do not have the luxury of making my own.
Getting into the habit of making your own coffee at home is more than a notion but can save you a great deal of money. Even when you buy high quality coffee you can save a lot of money. For a week’s worth of coffee, you can buy a pound of beans and make your own at home. Many people who enjoy coffee, do not make their own at home even though they already have a coffeemaker. Its’s the convenience of buying it. A coffeemaker with a timer on it, is great because then the coffee can be brewing while you are getting dressed in the morning. It saves money and can save time if you don’t have to stop in the morning to buy coffee.
For those who like a coffee beverage in the morning with some foam, and heated milk there are options for you to make your own at home as well, but will require more of a time commitment and some cleaning of machinery. I cannot vouch for those actual items (such as Bialetti’s stovetop cappuccino maker) but I have a milk frother and a stovetop espresso pot. Neither of these are as easy to operate as a regular drip coffeemaker and require attention. Coffee beverage drinkers may be out of luck when it comes to trying to duplicate their favorite beverage for less at home.
In that case, try saving your coins and putting money onto a gift card via Coinstar, buy a smaller size which will save you a little money, or complete online surveys and trade in your points for gift cards. If this doesn’t work, then cut back on the coffee beverages (which you can make at home) and alternate between regular drip coffee and a coffee beverage, every other day or so.
We have a new president as of Noon (Eastern Standard Time) according to our constitution.
When you are buying items to commemorate this moment and time in history buy what you want, not just any item so you can try to resell it on eBay. Actually, you probably won’t be able to really make money on any of the memorabilia for another 60 years if people haven’t saturated the market with souvenir items, unless you are selling souvenirs yourself.
Revel in the moment of history and work to make a difference yourself.
The inauguration is tomorrow and many leaders are urging people to use to day as a day on – doing some kind of community service instead of deciding just taking the day off.
If you don’t have the day off, adding some community service to your life doesn’t have to be on any set day. Also, you could do something on a consistent basis with another group. Giving blood regularly, may be your own form of community service and will definitely have an impact on people. Act in your community.
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King spread the message of togetherness and unity. It seems now that on the eve of the swearing in our first black president, what has brought more people together is the economy. Most people are hurting, cutting back and realizing that conspicuous consumption and flaunting of wealth is no longer chic. What is chic is having enough for all your needs (and maybe a few extras) without going into great debt.