Tag: Blog Hop

Are your finance resources past their use-by date?

I love words, language, and reading – and most of all, books. New or old, I love them all.

But when it comes to books spouting financial advice, it pays to check the publishing date, just like it pays to check the manufacture and use-by dates on packaged foods.

So how are financial books like cases of wine with sour milk?

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What will you do with your freedom?

What interests you about the concept of freedom? No matter what our money goals, those of us fortunate enough to earn more than is required to satisfy our basic needs are generally aiming for some kind of freedom. Freedom from working as much, or at all, the freedom of your next holiday, of finishing your study, of whatever.

For me, it was the millions of little things.

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Whose dream home is this anyway?

Imagine going to McDonalds and seeing someone – let’s call them Bobby – order a Family Favourites Dinner Box – four boxes of fries, four burgers, four Cokes, and a box of nuggets. It’s such a calorific meal, that even when shared between four people, each serving still contains over half of your entire daily allowance of kilojoules in a single meal. Bobby sits there, eats a tiny fraction of the meal, just enough to make up a single serving, and then throws the rest in the bin.

Why? It’s not like there weren’t plenty of smaller options on the menu. It’s not like there wasn’t a homeless person out the front who might have enjoyed a meal. It’s not like it was the least expensive option available – in fact, it was one of the most expensive.

If Bobby told you it was to look successful and fit in, you would most likely be perplexed.

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Why should I pick up pennies?

‘Look after the pennies, and the pounds will take care of themselves’ my grandmother used to say. But perhaps you’ve heard the old story that if Bill Gates sees $100 on the ground, it will cost him more to bend down and pick it up than to keep on walking?

It’s the same kind of logic used to justify domestic services:

‘I earn $30 an hour. Why should I clean my own house when I can pay someone else $15 to do it?’

On the surface, this seems to make (financial) sense – You earn $30, give half to the cleaner or the lawn mower, and still come out with a profit.

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How can I calculate my energy use and save?

We’re suckers for research, and enjoy running our home as a personal research lab. One of the biggest things you can experiment with is energy use. Reducing our electricity, water, and gas usage is one of those many intersections between frugality and conservation.

Before we started this experiment, our average usage was 8.22kWh per person per day (lower than the American average of 10.9kWh, but higher than the Australian average of 7.26kWh). I found this ridiculous, given the tiny size of our apartment, the fact that we don’t have airconditioning, a washing machine or a large fridge or a big TV or many other power-hungry appliances that a lot of households do. And we have (unmetered) gas for our cooking. Certainly, there are efficiencies of scale (a family of five and a single person both need to run a refrigerator, it costs no more for eight people to watch a TV than for it to have only one pair of eyes fixed on it). But perhaps the secret was buried in the design of our tiny apartment?

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How can I make smarter money goals?

Words are like a set of blocks we can use to build structures.

I find this analogy useful in constructing goals – in particular, financial goals.

Having a set of well-defined goals is important. A goal that is too open or ambiguous cannot possibly be ‘SMART’ – that is, Specific, Measurable, Achievable, and Realistic within a particular Timeframe. Think of each one of these elements as a building block.

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What is the connection between health and wealth?

We all have our own ‘choice’ words to describe work-related stress, but Japanese has one of the most severe.

When I started my career, I always thought they’d have to carry me out of my office ‘in a pine box’ (as my grandmother’s charming expression would have it!). I thought I’d love it so much, I wouldn’t want to retire until I was 80+.

It didn’t take me that many years to realise that those visions might come a lot sooner than I expected if I didn’t stop working.

Over the past week, I suffered a mild cold, and for the first time, discovered that my main concern was  getting well, rather than masking the symptoms sufficiently for me to perform my work duties.

We all want to be healthy, wealthy and wise – and to some extent, these three things may be related – making wise choices can improve our health and wealth, being healthy can help us to increase our wealth and education, and being wealthy often makes obtaining health care and education much easier. But aside from rhyming, what do health and wealth have in common?

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