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How Long Do You Have To Work to Pay for What You Buy?

leftovers In physics class, we learned about the law of inertia – an object in motion stays in motion. So it is with our money. We start spending and we keep spending!

Now we’re trying to slow down our spending and find ways to save money. Today, we want to discuss a new way to think about your purchasing decisions.

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Getting to the numbers

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) tracks many things, including consumer finances. From their most recent study, we calculated how much the average wage earner makes a year.

We then did some more research to determine how much vacation we take and how many hours a week we work, on average. From all this data, we determined that the average earner made $19.38 per hour before taxes.

Next we looked at spending by category, according to the BLS study. We divided that amount by the $19.38 an hour to determine how long we have to work to pay for what we buy.

The numbers

The average American wage earner works for almost a month to pay for entertainment and dining out.

We work about a week and two days to pay for our vacation. Think about that – we spend more time working for our vacations then we spend on them!

And since we’re nearing that time of year where we’re all feeling extra generous, we also found that we spend a full week working to pay for Christmas presents.

There’s power in this tool for you

It may be useful to think about past spending decisions, but the power of this tool comes in helping you make decisions now.

For example, say you’re the average wage earner thinking about purchasing a LCD HDTV. It would cost you around $600. You would have to work two-and-a-half days to pay for that TV.

Is it worth it to you?

A bigger house

We recently saw that the median price for a house is $200,500. You would have to work two months and a week every year to make your mortgage payment on that house.

You may not be thinking about a bigger house now. But let’s say the day comes when you decide you’d like to stretch a little. The median priced house was requiring 19% of your income; you think you could handle 25%. Now you’ll have to work three months out of every year to pay the mortgage on this bigger house.

Is it worth it to you to work three extra weeks every year just to pay your mortgage? Is there anything else you would rather buy with your hard work?

The formula

So far we’ve talked about averages, but they don’t really matter. What matters is how much you make per hour. Here’s how to calculate it:

Amount earned per week ÷ Hours worked per week = Hourly earnings

Your pay cycle may not be a week, but you can adjust accordingly. The BLS statistics look at before-tax income. Ideally, you’ll look at disposable income – after all taxes have been paid – since that’s the only money you have available to spend.

As salaried employees, we often don’t fully track how much time we work. You may have to track it for a week or two. If you really want the full picture, include your commuting time and any other job-related time.

Invisible expenses

Don’t just think about your major purchases. Consider your invisible expenses – those frequent small purchases that can really add up over the course of the year.

For example, say you spend $5 every day on lunch. Over the course of the year, that would add to $1,275 (assuming one week’s vacation). The average earner would have to work 66 hours to pay for this.

Is it worth it?

You might look at that and decide that it’s not. You start packing a lunch which only costs you $1. Now you would only have to work thirteen hours a year to pay for your lunches.

That’s 53 hours of work that could be spent on something else!

How about a nicer vacation, starting that emergency fund, or paying off the debt that’s keeping you up at night?

So frame your expenditures by the number of hours you have to work to pay for them. Then ask yourself if it’s worth it. It’s a great way to prioritize your spending.

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Thanks for visiting us today. Come back next time when we discuss why you can’t have it all, but you can have all you really want. 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/00276-120108.mp3

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Is Convenience Busting Your Budget?

time-money The good people at CareerBuilder recently posted the results of a survey of workers. Forty-seven percent of the people surveyed said they “always” or “usually” live paycheck to paycheck.

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Does more money help?

One way to stop living paycheck to paycheck is to make more money. Forty-two percent said an additional $500 each month would help make ends meet.  Fourteen percent already work more than one job.

The amount of money that comes into a household does make a difference, but not as much as you might think. Twenty-one percent with salaries of $100,000 or more said they also live from payday to payday.

We’re working ourselves to death instead of thinking about the other solution to the more month than money problem. We need to look at our lifestyle. We’re so busy trying to make more money to support our lifestyle that we end up spending money we wouldn’t need to spend if we just slowed down and honestly assessed our situation.

Convenience expenses

We’re so busy that we spend more money on “convenience expenses”. We define convenience expenses as the premium we pay for goods and services because we don’t have time.

So we end up in a downward spiral – we work more to have more, but then we
spend more and we don’t have any time to figure out how to do anything differently.

One example of a convenience expense is that we eat out more than we plan to. An appointment runs long. We get stuck in a traffic jam. The boss needs to talk. The next thing you know it’s late. Now we feel we have no choice. We’ve hit that wall. We’re hungry now! We’re too tired to do anything but grab some carry-out or order delivery.

Cutting back

It may seem like a small expense, but it eats away at your budget (pun intended). If you’re feeling like we’ve described you perfectly, don’t feel like you’re alone. We’re right there with you! Here are some ways we’ve found to cut back on this convenience expense:

Always stock some food that’s easy to stick in the oven or microwave.

Then if you’re running late, you can have less expensive convenience food. Plus you’ll save the time of stopping or running out for carry-out.

Plan for leftovers

If our next week’s schedule looks busy, we’ll cook up a little extra food on the weekend so we have leftovers which can be nuked in a matter of minutes. These leftovers are also an excellent way to save money on going out for lunch. There are more productive ways to spend a lunch hour than driving back and forth.

Invest time today to save money tomorrow

By planning next week’s meals, you can find coupons for the items you want to purchase. It’s like printing money legally as we learned from Crissy Thompson, who often spends as little as $10 a week to feed her family of five.

You can also think about where you shop. They’re called “convenience stores” for a reason! We pay a price to be able to run into the store and grab something on our way home.

This is just one example of the many convenience expenses. If you’re living payday to payday or not saving as much as you would like, think about your convenience expenses and the time / money interplay.

There is a huge trade-off between time and money. If you have money,
you can save time. If you don’t have money, it’s important to really
 think about how you’re using your time and try to save money.

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You can get the tips and tools you need to be a bigg success
Subscribing to the Bigg Success Weekly! It’s conveniently e-mailed to you once a week. And it doesn’t cost you any money! But the time you spend reading it will help you make and save money! How’s that for a deal?

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Next time, we’ll discuss how to create wealth in today’s new economy. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00261-111008.mp3

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Paying Attention to These 4 Things Pays Off

There’s an old saying, “I’m so poor that I can’t even pay attention.”

We’ll grant you it’s a funny one-liner. But here’s probably a more accurate saying,

I’m so poor because I don’t pay attention.

There are a lot of things competing for our eyes and ears. It’s important to focus on the right things to succeed bigg. 

#1 – Pay attention to your finances
You’re the CEO (and the CFO) of the most important organization in the world – You, Inc. If you’re in a relationship, your significant other may take care of the financial duties. But the point is, just like any other successful organization, you want to make sure you have more income than expenses.

A lot of people don’t pay attention to their finances until there’s a problem – too much month and not enough money! Then it’s a much more difficult situation than if you pay attention all along.

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#2 – Pay attention to what needs to be done
A lot of people spend a lot of time paying attention to what they want to do. Bigg goal-getters focus on those things that will advance them toward their dream life.

It’s easy to get sidetracked. Many people seem to have a sort of attention-deficit disorder when it comes to focusing on their goals. They keep bouncing from one idea to another, but never make any real progress on anything.

People who succeed bigg, zero in on what’s important. What needs to be done to get one step closer to your ultimate goal?

Related articles and posts

How Do You Define Success?

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#3 – Pay attention to people
On the show, George said that there have been a number of times that he had a problem for which he couldn’t find a solution. Then, in a short conversation with someone, they helped him arrive at an answer.

You can learn a lot from people. Listening to others is important for several reasons:

  • The one we just mentioned.
  • You may also help them find a solution to a problem they’re having. They won’t forget it.
  • Opportunities that result from relationships.

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#4 – Pay attention to yourself
This is probably the most important one. It’s vital that you keep yourself energized and inspired. George said that as a business owner, time is always so precious. At times, he would let days, even weeks, would go by without replenishing his spirit. He found that he needed to read or listen to things that kept the cobwebs out of his head and inspired him to keep pushing.

That’s one of the reasons we started Bigg Success … five minutes or so every day to get your mojo going! So pay attention to yourself by stopping by Bigg Success every day!

Our bigg quote today comes from Edward de Bono, who said:

“An expert is someone who has succeeded in making decisions and
judgments simpler through knowing what to pay attention to and what to ignore.”

It pays to pay attention to the things that pay off.

What have you found pays to pay attention to? What doesn’t pay? Share your thoughts!

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

(Image by otbora)

Help – My Spouse Spends Too Much!

 
man_holding_money

Bigg Challenge
We received an e-mail from Diane, one of our newsletter subscribers. Diane says her husband has a passion for electronics and their credit card debt just keeps rising. She wants to know how to confront him and get their family finances back in order.

Bigg Advice – 4 tips to stop the bleeding without getting bloody

#1 – Plan for a conversation, not a confrontation.
You want to solve the problem, not have an argument. So use the word “we” frequently and “you” infrequently. Now that may be tough when you’re not the spender. If it’s easier, talk about the “situation”, so you remove yourself, too.

#2 – Make it an event.
Gather up any needed information and go out for cup of coffee or a very inexpensive dinner. This signals that you’re not planning on arguing, so your husband’s defenses will be lower. Find a place that’s private and doesn’t have a lot of background noise, so you can hear each other.

#3 – Agree to this rule, “Pay today or say no way.”
Repeat this rule out loud to each other, over and over again. This is where you have to start. Stop the future bleeding today so you can focus on the problems from the past tomorrow.

Saying it is one easy, doing it is hard. If your situation is really extreme, put yourselves on a cash allowance and agree what expenses that covers. If it’s less extreme, you can use debit cards that draw on separate accounts – one for you, one for your husband.

#4 – Create a fun account.
Set aside an agreed percentage of your incomes into this account. IF, and only IF,   you’re able to pay all of your other bills in full, THEN you get to spend this fun money.

So if you’ve met your goals, your husband gets bonus money for the gadgets he wants. By the way, you’ll get bonus money, too. This is how you get his “buy-in” and keep him from going into withdrawal, which is crucial because you can’t do it alone.

Don’t think you have to be debt-free to trigger any bonus money. You just have to see a reasonable level of progress. Sometimes a small investment in rewards pays bigg dividends.

For example, you may agree that when you’ve reduced your debt by 25 percent, you’ll draw down 10 percent of your fun account.

As you get your financial house in order, check out our article on the five piggy banks. This will help you keep it in order.

Thanks, Diane for sharing your bigg challenge. We wish you bigg success!

Do you have a bigg solution for Diane? Share it with a comment.
Are you facing a bigg challenge? We’d love to help!
E-mail us at bigginfo@biggsuccess.com.

We don’t know who originally came up with our bigg quote today, but we sure like it!

“Between work and family, I’m really not spending
enough quality time with my money.”

So give yourself time to get to know your money so it can get to work for you!

Next time, since it’s leap year, we’ll look at leaping from place to place. You can see the world while you work! Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes 

Related posts

More Bigg Challenges/Solutions

More Debt Reduction

More Financial Freedom 

(Image by greggoconnell, CC 2.0)

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