Tax time is a special time of year in that it forces us (at least those of us who do our own tax returns!) to take a look at our finances. We submitted our own returns last month, and have just received the refunds. But no matter the outcome – tax refund or tax bill – tax time can be full of pressure – and communication problems.
New Years is often the time we start thinking about resolutions and goals – and reflecting on the year gone by.
For several years, while we were working towards our financial independence, I kept a Financial Journal in which I would write down all of my savings goals, and notes from the (many!) finance books I read. Of course, you can use an online solution, but studies have showing that writing down your goals leads to greater conviction, and handwriting what you learn helps you to remember it.
I kept my Financial Journal in a gorgeous ‘Money Planner’ I had been eyeing off for some time (although naturally, I waited until I found a slightly dented copy reduced to half price!) but you can use pretty much any notebook you have on hand.
If we play a little word association game, and I say cheap, what springs to mind?
How would you fill the gap: ‘cheap and ……’?
Collocations are two or more words that often ‘go together’. The term is used in corpus linguistics to indicate ‘a sequence of words or terms that co-occur more often than would be expected by chance’.
According to the Ozdic Collocation Dictionary, the most common collocation phrase for ‘cheap and’ is ‘cheap and nasty’.
Google’s predictive search has a slightly nicer suggestion, ‘cheap and easy’, as in the top recommendation, ‘cheap and easy meals’. But even ‘cheap and easy’ can be a nasty jibe depending on what – or who! – it is directed at.
So how can we turn ‘cheap and nasty’ into ‘cheap and tasty’?
Having just returned from the shops with boxes full of melomakarona (μελομακάρονα, a dessert made of flour, olive oil and honey) and kourabiedes (κουραμπιέδες, a butter shortbread dipped in rosewater and powdered sugar) in preparation for Christmas in Greece, food is on my mind!
The holidays season should be a time of joy and togetherness, not financial stress, but it is also the time of year that, more than any other, we hear those messages to ‘buy, buy, buy‘. With pressure from not only the media but social expectations – at work, among family and friends – it can be hard to remain focused on not only the real spirit of the season, but our financial goals.
According to some sources, almost two-thirds of shoppers do not save anything for their holiday spending, and around a third finance the holiday entirely on credit card.