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Posts Tagged ‘economy’

Why Many Americans Are Becoming Minimalists!

In Your Guest Writers on February 20, 2011 at 10:15 PM

(And how you can too)

By: Jennifer Brown Banks

 

 

Image Credit Somedarkson

 

 

“Sometimes less is more”.

If nothing can be said of a tough economy and uncertain times, it’s certainly causing us to reassess our lives and redefine what it is that we value. True? Prosper perspective is crucial for survival and optimal quality of life.

‘Dem days of living high on the hog, keeping up with the Joneses, and making bold risks have gone bye-bye like eight track tapes and “free love “ in the ’60s.

As a case in point, I was surfing the Net and saw where quite a few folks were constructing and living in what are called “Tiny Homes” now. These structures, that are a mere fraction of the size of your typical American Dream, are said to “house” just as much joy for those that own them. Not to mention, they cost less comparatively in many cases, and prevent the possibility of over indulgence and hoardering.

With this being said, here are some factors to consider if you’re contemplating this lifestyle choice in the future.

 

  1. Our parents survived on less, and in many cases were just as fulfilled. In former generations, many didn’t have cable TV, or Internet or fast food conveniences.
  2. Minimalism typically means less debt.
  3. Less debt leads to less stress. Less stress can lead to longer longevity and better health.
  4. Having an attitude of materialism and defining ourselves through our possessions is unhealthy and unrealistic. As we have seen through world events, our status can change with one act of God or misfortune.
  5. Stream-lined living and proper focus can cause us to spend more time with family and friends,  develop and sustain important bonds and relationships, and cultivate cherished memories.

 

A wise person once said, “You don’t have to have everything, to have everything you need.” Food for thought.

Jennifer Brown Banks is a veteran freelance writer, Columnist, and Pro Blogger.  You can find her work at  Pen and Prosper, Coffeehouse for Writer’s and Technorati.com


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Learn How to Live Below Your Means

In budget, Your World on September 14, 2010 at 8:14 AM

Image Credit David Siqueira

 

When I was in my late teens and early twenties, I’d easily spend $300 on a Coco Chanel wallet or Tiffany card case.  And that evening, it was nothing to drop another hundred on dinner with friends.  Sears, Kmart, Target and “the Walmart” were definitely off my shopping radar.  After all, only poor people shopped those places.      

When I look back at all the money I wasted buying status symbols that only served to make other folks rich, it makes me ill.  The genius who said, “Youth is wasted on the young,” sure got that one right!       

Thankfully, when I turned 24, I married a man who can make a $20 last six months!  He showed me how to manage our money so that it wouldn’t end up managing us.       

These days when I climb into my 11 year-old Honda (156,000 miles and counting) – I smile.  And the folks at my local Walmart, well, they know me by name. 🙂  I’m ecstatic when I find scream’n deals on toothpaste, or save cash by dining in.  And paying extra on my mortgage makes me downright giddy!      

Being frugal doesn’t mean you have to live like Ebenezer Scrooge.  It simply means living below your means – comfortably.        

Here are five tips to get you started.     

 Invest in yourself.  I believe in stimulating my economy.  And don’t count on Uncle Sam or anyone else to take care of my needs.  Dedicate a portion of every paycheck to savings. Whether you invest in the stock market, deposit money in a credit union savings account, a tin can or under your mattress – pay yourself.  Even if it’s just fifty cents a week.     

 *Backyard, Sauna and Room for a Pony.  Your mortgage or rent shouldn’t consume more than 28% of your monthly gross income.  But remember – just because you qualify for a loan or have 28% to spend on rent, doesn’t mean you can afford to make the payments.  Owning a home involves much more than paying the banknote.  Home maintenance, property tax, and home owner’s insurance are just a few of many, expenses.     

Note:  Your total debts, (rent, car payments, student loans, credit cards, etc.) should equal 36% or less of your gross monthly income.      

 Paying Retail is for Suckers.  It’s silly to pay full price unless you have to.  Shop around on and offline before making purchases.  And be sure to clip coupons and take them with you.  Check out, My Simon, Fat Wallet, Retail Me Not, Deal Hunting, and Ebates, to find mind-blowing savings.     

 Budgets Rock.  Whether you’re making a six figure salary or living off tips, the only way to see where you spend (and hopefully save) money is with a budget.  Mint and Money Strands are two good and FREE budgeting tools.   YNAB 3 is also a great choice, but the price is $60 bucks.     

 Got a Raise? Great!  Good for you.  Save at least 50% and put the rest towards paying off debts.     

Don’t let a sense of entitlement make you poor.  Instead, practice a little self-control and spend carefully.      

*Keeping Up Appearances – British Situation Comedy.