Personal Finance Tip – Pay Cash For All Non-Investment Expenditures

Most personal finance gurus continually stress the importance of budgeting for monitoring and modifying poor spending habits. However, I have noticed that most people who attempt to implement a family budget eventually give up on the activity, mainly because it takes the fun out of spending money. You know what, I agree! An impulse purchase here and there feels good! And as it turns out, an impulse purchase made on occasion won’t necessarily create a big problem for most us. The problems arise when we decide to make them on credit. Here’s an excellent personal finance tip for all you budget-haters out there – pay cash for all non-investment expenditures and eliminate your need to budget.

What is a Non-Investment Expenditure Anyway?

First off, let’s define investment expenditure. By my own definition, an investment expenditure is a transaction that involves the purchase of an asset that appreciates in value. On the flip side, a non-investment expenditure represents all other transactions. One quick check you can make before whipping out your credit card to buy something is to ask yourself, “Is there a high likelihood that I will be able to sell this item in the future for more than I am paying now?” If the answer is “no,” pay cash. If you don’t have the money, you can’t make the purchase. It’s that simple.

Examples of Non-Investment Expenditures

Unfortunately, the vast majority of our everyday spending is classified as non-investment expenditures. Groceries, fuel for the vehicles, dining out, your cell phone bill, a new pair of designer jeans – these are all non-investment expenditures. Some of these items may be extremely important, even life sustaining. But purchasing on credit, even for life sustaining expenditures, encourages excess. Let’s take food, for instance. To purchase enough food for the family to survive really does not cost much money. What costs us a pile of money are the rib-eye steaks, junk food, alcoholic beverages, and sodas we routinely buy. Moreover, these foods are bad for our health! Grocery shopping with cash forces us to reconsider the food choices we make, in terms of both health and money. And that’s a good thing.

What Else is There?

You may be asking yourself, “Would any of my spending be classified as investment expenditures?” For me, two things come to mind – your home and your education. A home is rather obvious because, over time, houses have always increased in value. A college education would also be considered an investment because it provides one the opportunity to earn more money than he would otherwise make. Because these two items are considered investments, taking out a loan to pay for them can be justified. In addition, home mortgages and college loans offer some of the lowest interest rates of any form of credit, making them even more attractive expenditures.

One Caveat to Consider

Although following the above advice can eliminate the need for a budget, one other choice must be made to assure financial success in the future. An automatic investment plan must be initiated to make certain your investment accounts are funded before all the money is spent. If you work for a company that offers a 401k plan, this is done automatically. If you have outside accounts, you will have to notify the firm to initiate automatic transfers from your checking account. With most firms, you can set up the automatic transfers yourself from your online account interface.

Summary

Although a budget is a fantastic tool for monitoring and modifying our spending habits, the cold hard truth is that many of us will never stick to one. Should these folks be doomed to financial hell for the rest of their lives for this so-called lack of discipline? Of course, not! Just follow our simple personal finance tip to pay cash for all non-investment expenditures and you, too, will reach financial success in the future.

Personal Finance Tips While Traveling

Traveling around the world is my passion, hobby, pastime, or whatever you want to name it. I just love traveling and I take my family where ever I go. So even they love it, al least that’s what they say. Over a period of time, I have developed a habit of saving enormous amount while we are on a trip. This helps us to save some amount for the next trip. Let me get to the point and help you with few personal finance tips while traveling that can really save some money.

Food

If you are on a short vacation, say for a couple of days, remember to pack your snacks. When I am driving out for few days I carry string cheese, apples, and carrots.

A note on apples: To avoid sleep while driving, not is as effective as apples.

If you can manage to pack a lunch that can last a couple of days and lots of snacks, much of your money spent on eating in expensive restaurants can be reduced.

A day before you commence your trip, visit an eatery or a grocery store near your house and buy lots of snacks. Same foodstuffs at a tourist location or a crowded place or even a convenience store near gas pump will cost much more.

If you don’t like eating packed food, or carrying them, get some coupons. These discount coupons are quite inexpensive way to eat while traveling.

Carry lots of water with you. Something that’s freely available at home costs much outside. Lastly, be proactive and not reactive.

Gasoline

If your trip involves lots of driving, carry a cash-back credit card with you. I have also found that better quality of petrol provides better mileage. Probably, this is the only way to save money in this category. You cannot replace gas by anything else like water or beer.

Sometimes, my employer reimburses the amount spent on gas. So I get the whole amount back plus 3% cash back.

Hotels

Living in hotels is very expensive while on a vacation. For me, hotel was a major factor affecting our travel budget. Not any more. I reserve my rooms online well in advance. Several portals like MyPoints or Ebates offer a cash back scheme.

If you are a regular traveler, it’s wise to become a member of holiday clubs, or loyalty clubs that offer discounted stay.

Most of the time when we are traveling, we halt at any hotel on the way. However, since last year I have developed a new strategy that has helped me save a lot. Before going for a tour, I jot down the names and numbers of all the hotels in and around the place we had decided to halt at. I also jot down the details of hotels that are about one hour’s distance from our expected halt. This way, we have started to get the best deal.

Also, while selecting hotel, check weather it includes a free breakfast. When I travel with my family (5 members), it saves a great deal of money.

Additional suggestions

This is not a very frugal suggestion, but I am ready to pay $20 to $30 extra for cleanliness. I wouldn’t opt for a hotel that has creepy cockroaches and long hairs on the bed, just because it’s cheap.

If your family includes a kid or two, do make a note of malls on the way before starting your journey. The play area in a mall is the best refreshment you can offer your kids while traveling.

It’s good to save money while traveling but not at the cost of your life. If you are very sleepy while driving, get yourself a room to sleep, if not for whole night, at least for a couple of hours. Okay, if you want frugality here, get an energy drink and get going.

Three Essential Personal Finance Tips

Personal finance is extremely important in today’s society. Whether you are looking to purchase a new home, pay for college or take a trip of a lifetime, personal finance can help you achieve these goals. While there are many ways to benefit from good money management, here are three essential personal finance tips that can truly help you achieve your goals.

Save and Invest

It is absolutely essential that you save as much money as possible and then invest it so that it can work hard for you. Saving money is vital to having a nest egg in the future for the purchases you desire. Saving requires a plan and usually lots of time. One of things that you should do once you receive your paycheck is to pay yourself first. Take a set amount of your pay check and put it away. Once you have money saved, the next step is to invest it and make it work hard for you. Over the years, you can earn hundreds of thousands of dollars off of just $30K to 50K in savings using the power of compound interest. There is no magic involved. In order to create a nest egg in 10, 20 or 30 years save money and invest it.

Create a Budget

Creating a budget is essential for anyone that has an income and expenses. Many of us are usually carefree and do not keep a record of all our purchases, however if we knew just how much we spent each year on junk or impulse purchases we would be aghast. Creating a budget is a great way to understand what we spend our income on, reduce spending on non essential items and discipline ourselves to save and invest our money for the long term. Creating a budget is extremely simple and requires only a few hours of time each month. A simple budget can literally save you thousands of dollars a year and give you true piece of mind.

Use Credit Wisely

Credit cards can be extremely convenient, but many times they are equally destructive. A credit card is not a license to spend; it is in effect a loan. Understanding how credit works and how to use it responsibly can make your life much easier. Credit cards can be a great option in certain situations, however using them properly is essential to proper money management.