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Think Want, Need, Must About Your Money

pyramids Today we’ll discuss a simple, yet effective, way to make sure you’re spending your money how you intend. Divide your spending into three categories – wants, needs, and musts.

We used to think about luxuries and necessities. This splits those luxuries into two categories because, over time, luxuries tend to become necessities.

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georgeLike the dishwasher we have. It’s not a need; it’s a want. But I’d sure hate to live without one!

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marylynnI think my cell phone is a need. But the unlimited texting and the ability to watch videos are wants that I added to my package.

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With our cable TV, we have DVR and premium channels. Those are definitely wants, but we love the convenience and variety.

Climbing the pyramid

Picture a pyramid, with wants at the base, needs in the middle, and musts at the top. We tend to move things up the pyramid. The importance we place on them climbs, so to speak. We look at things that are truly wants as needs; we view things that are really needs as musts.

That’s why we think it’s a good idea to break necessities into two – needs and musts. It helps us refine what is really important.

Mixed message

It’s pretty easy to define our musts – food, clothing, shelter, and transportation. But even within this category, there are mixed messages.

For an example, let’s consider transportation. At its most basic level, the only thing we need from our chosen form of transportation is the ability to get from one place to another. Public transportation clearly would suffice for many people.

However, if you use public transportation, you lose some control over your own schedule. You give up the convenience of having your own vehicle.

So some people may need a car because of their job. They need a vehicle to drive to appointments. Could it work without one? Possibly, but it might cost you too much time to be worthwhile.

It depends on your situation. In the end, only you can know what is best for you.

Gizmos and gadgets

There’s another way that wants, needs and musts can come into play. We’ll stick with the example of a vehicle. Even if you need a car, what do you really need? Something reliable or that fancy car in the ad? Just the basics or a vehicle with all the gizmos and gadgets?

The second of these choices, which are clearly wants, can make a huge difference in the price you pay for a car. And if you happen to finance it, they will add many dollars more in interest costs over the years.

We interviewed Adam Shepard on The Bigg Success Show not long ago. Upon graduation from college, he decided to see if the American Dream was still alive. Starting with only $25 and the clothes on his back, he was eventually able to buy his own vehicle among other things. His vehicle wasn’t anything fancy – an old pick-up truck with manual windows, one which didn’t work. But he still had the transportation he needed!

Keep these three categories in mind and you’ll keep your budget in line!

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Thanks for reading our post today. Join us next time when we’ll discuss how these same three categories relate to how we spend our time. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Close Encounters of the Rude Kind

rude Does anything bring out rude behavior more than the holiday shopping season? People cutting you off in traffic, stealing your parking spot, talking on their cell phone while being checked out, leaving their garbage in stores, and even being physically aggressive on Black Friday!

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Oprah recently did a show on rude behavior where she highlighted these statistics:

  • Eighty percent of Americans think rudeness is a serious national problem.
  • Yet ninety-nine percent say that they themselves are not rude.

So we can only conclude from these results that all of the rudeness must stem from one percent of all the people! Evidently, most of us think that almost everyone else is rude, but we’re not.

Test yourself

To see how you stack up, she provides a quiz. Here are a few of the questions:

Are you chronically late? 

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georgeI would have to say n…yes. I want to say “no”, but there may be some people who would disagree with me! Too often I think I can squeeze in one more call or answer one more e-mail before heading off to that next appointment.

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marylynnOprah answered the same way. I know I need to work on this … I tend to be five minutes late to meetings.

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Have you ever interrupted a face-to-face conversation to take a non-urgent cell phone call?

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george
I can’t ever recall a time when I’ve done this. Hey, that means I got one right!

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marylynn
I’m good at ignoring the phone when I’m talking to someone face-to-face.

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Have you gone through a supermarket 10-item express lane with more than 10 items?

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georgeWell, that depends on how you define the word “item”. If I have multiples of a single item that does only count as one, doesn’t it?

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marylynn
I’m guilty by association because I go to the store with you, George.

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george
Oh thanks, Mary-Lynn, for blaming it all on me! That’s rude!

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These questions made us think – things that we don’t necessarily think are rude may be perceived as rude by others.

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georgeI get annoyed with oblivious shoppers. When it’s December 24th and I’m starting to shop for Christmas, it’s just rude for people to wander around like they don’t have anything to do. They get in the way of us serious shoppers!

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marylynnFor me, it’s rude drivers – they don’t use their turn signal. They don’t get over when I’m trying to merge even though there’s plenty of room. Drivers who don’t pay attention are inconsiderate!

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What rude behavior is a pet peeve for you?

3 rules of civil behavior

During her show, Oprah talked with Dr. P.M. Forni, author of Choosing Civility: The 25 Rules of Considerate Conduct.

He says our society is structured to encourage rudeness. We’re stressed, fatigued, and in environments with a lot of people we don’t know. For example, we may be one of hundreds of people in a store or traffic jam. His book points out three rules to behave more civilly:

Pay Attention
Without attention, no meaningful interaction is possible. When we relate to the world as if we were on automatic pilot, we can hardly be at our best in our encounters with our fellow human beings.

Acknowledge Others

Acknowledge others' existence, their importance to you, their feelings, and the things they do for you. A simple "Good morning" as you walk past a co-worker in the hallway is a perfect example.

Think The Best
When we approach others assuming that they are good, honest, and sensitive, we often encourage them to be just that. Yet from the results of this study, it appears that we assume the worst in others while thinking the best of ourselves. Sometimes it is dissatisfaction with ourselves that makes us judge others unfairly.

Finally, Dr. Forni also says being polite is a healthier way to live. Going through life behaving rudely can make you physically sick. 

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We really appreciate that you took the time to read our post today. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving here in the U.S. We’re going to put a different spin on it and talk about thanksgetting. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

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Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00273-112608.mp3

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The Riskiest Thing Most of Us Do Every Day

drivingWe saw a great post by John Grohol at PsychCentral called Distracted While Driving. He really caught our attention with one thought. We allow ourselves to be distracted while we drive because we think we’re playing a race against time. In reality, we’re playing against the odds.

A study by Virginia Tech Transportation Institute and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that about 80 percent of all crashes and 65 percent of all near-crashes involved someone who was distracted within three seconds of the event. 

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georgeI plead guilty as charged. I have to admit to using my car as a roaming second office. I store up phone messages and return calls while I’m on the road. .

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marylynnI’m in the car on a busy, busy day with all these things rolling through my mind. That’s one of the distractions that we often don’t take into account. I zone out … I don’t really pay attention like I should. I’m in my own world. .

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Psychologists have identified four types of distractions, according to Grohol’s article.

  • Visual … checking out an accident or looking at a billboard
  • Audible … cell phone calls, the radio, or another person talking
  • Physical … eating, flipping the dial, shuffling your iPod, or putting on make-up
  • Cognitive … daydreaming, thinking about other things in your life

Of course, a lot of distractions are multi-faceted. For example, talking on your cell phone includes three of these – audible, physical, and cognitive.

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marylynnI really do think it saves time. We have a friend who consults with us. He talks to us when he’s on his hour-and-a-half commute home. I can understand why you would use your phone when you have that long drive.

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georgeI won’t dispute that at all, but I now realize more than ever that I have to recognize the odds of something happening and take measures to try to minimize the distractions.

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Changes we plan to make

  • Leave earlier. When we have a lengthy trip, we usually don’t give ourselves the time to stop and eat. We gas, grab, and go … eating on the road. Leaving earlier will allow us time to stop and eat. We’ll probably eat healthier, too!
  • Ignore the phone. Granted, that’s a hard thing to do. So we’re going to turn our ringers off when we’re only going to be in the car for a short time.
  • Change our greetings. If we’re expecting an important call, we’ll change the greeting to let them know when we will be checking our messages.
  • Pull over (if we can). For those rare situations where we have to take the call, we’ll stop driving momentarily.

What's your biggest distraction while driving? 

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Don’t Wait Until the Cougars Get Hungry

By Dana Mancuso
Bigg Success Contributor
05-28-08

Life Skills

cougar 

There were two cougars. Somehow they had killed a tiger and eaten it.

Never mind that this was in a hotel that I was staying in and that the scenery kept changing.
And never mind that I was walking past these two cougars on tip toes down the long stairs to the lobby to call 911 on my cell phone. In fact, ignore completely that this was a dream I had, because there is a point coming up that makes more sense than cougars eating a tiger or being in a hotel.

So in this dream, I called 911 and told the man who answered about the two cougars on the loose. That they had eaten a tiger and were just wandering free around the hotel – scaring guests nearly to death.

Long story short, I had to hide in a hotel tub (which was now outside) and put some type of board over my head to keep away from the cougars. While in the tub I called the folks at 911 again. When are you going to come get these cougars? At least send someone to stun them!

Okay, here comes the part that will later make my point. They asked me if the cougars had eaten anyone else.

NO, I told them. Well then, they didn’t think they needed to come get the cougars yet. The cougars had just eaten a tiger, so they should be full for a while. 

As often happens in dreams, this one ended without any resolution. But come on, this one needs some resolution. Someone has to come get the cougars before they get hungry, right? And someone should have recognized on the other end of the phone that even full cougars are dangerous.

As I thought more about the dream, this seemed like a classic procrastination story. Wait until later. No need to tackle this problem now. The cats are fat and sassy! But wait a minute; how long do cougars stay fat and sassy once they’ve eaten? Most things in life aren’t going to jump out and eat you if you don’t deal with them. But not keeping up can really take a bite out of your day or your ego.

This dream made me look at procrastination (which I am great at in some cases) a little differently. I had never looked at procrastination as something dangerous both now AND later, like the cougars.

  • It is dangerous now because putting something off robs me of my sense of accomplishment. It robs me of peace of mind. Even if I put it off now and “put it out of my mind”, I still know it has to get done. And so it nags at the subconscious.
  • Later it robs me of time because I have to rush to get it done.

Dreams can help you work out your “awake life”. This one was a step in the right direction for me. Instead of siding with the 911 voice, I strongly opposed putting off catching the cougars and wanted to take action now. Not a bad anti-procrastination statement! Maybe next time I can catch the cougars and conquer procrastination forever? I’ll tell you what I find out. Anyone have a stun gun I can borrow?

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