Wednesday, May 20, 2009

My Advice: My One Money Advice (MOMA)

“My One Money Advice” (MOMA) Meme. These meme was started by Moolanomy to help promote financial responsibility.

The question: If you can give one advice, tip, or story related to money, what would you share?

I am no Suze Orman and to be honest, when I first saw this on the Being Frugal blog I almost decided to pass and not complete this meme. That said, after some thought, I realized that I do have a technique I use that I think helps me be more financially responsible. So ... my advice is to use lists to 1) help determine your spending/purchasing priorities and 2) to determine if you really need to buy a particular item. Allow me to explain:

Using a wish list to align my spending with my priorities:

I should start by sharing with you what some of my current wish list items, aka spending/purchasing priorities are: remodeling the kitchen and bathroom, refinishing the hardwood floors, installing a solar power system, converting the gardens to water-saving, drought-tolerant plantings, expanding my container vegetable garden and fencing in the front and back yards.

On a daily basis, when I know what my spending priorities are, it makes it easier to "go without" certain things knowing that I am saving the money to spend towards my priorities. When I finally get the money saved up and start think about making major purchases or hiring someone to work around the house, I look at my wish list, aka spending/purchasing priorities, and ask myself, "Am I spending money on my priorities?" If yes, then I proceed. If no, I ask, "Can the expense wait or be delayed? Does it need to be added to the wish list? Is it a bigger priority right now? Will it lead to getting a wish list item completed at a later time?" and proceed accordingly.

I find that if I can keep my priorities in mind, it's easy to limit my day-today spending if I am doing it in the service of fulfilling my dreams and crossing things of my wish list. To this end, I write my wish list down on a whiteboard that is stuck with magnets to my refrigerator door. Being married, I share this list with my husband and recruit him to be on board with these priorities as well.

Using a wish list as a "wait and see" tool:

The second way I use a wish list is when I want to buy every day, ordinary items that aren't clear necessities like food, medicine, gas for the car, etc. I make a list of the discretionary items I would like to purchase, with the goal of putting off the purchase for at least one month. In that month's time, I see if a) I still want the item, b) I have found an alternative that is cheaper/free/can be made from something I already own and c) if I have found the item on sale or on eBay for a lower, more affordable price. Putting the breaks on buying things in this manner has really decreased a lot of impulse buying. Sometimes having the time to think purchases through means realizing you can get by with something else, you actually need something quite different or don't really need that item at all. Some items do fall off the list after a month; some items are definitely purchased. It just seems to make buying items a more conscience, thoughtful process and in the end has resulted in fewer episodes of buyer's remorse as well as fewer merchandise returns.

You can read the original post I saw that inspired my blog post on this meme at: "I’ve Been Tagged! | beingfrugal.net" - http://beingfrugal.net/2007/08/18/ive-been-tagged/#ixzz0FqzoIMf6&A

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