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Giving Yourself Permission to Spend

vacation.jpgBigg success is life on your own terms. The five elements of bigg success are money, time, growth, work and play. Today we want to focus on money.

Some people struggle to save money in the first place because they love to spend it. Other people have no trouble saving it, but they get uncomfortable spending it.

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georgeI grew up with one of each. I’ve never seen research on this, but I bet that happens fairly often. Mom was a saver and Dad was a spender. I learned from both of them.

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marylynn
So I know the answer to this, George, but share with everyone which one you are.

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georgeI think I’m both so I face this internal battle – there are times when I swing to the savings side; there are times when I lean toward spending. The challenge for me is not letting it get out of balance when I shift one way or the other.

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marylynnBoth of us tend to spend on small ticket items. We’re not bigg ticket buyers so we can completely relate to one of our readers, Paul.

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Bigg question

Paul sent us an e-mail about his dilemma. He’s a regular saver, but he has trouble spending it – especially on bigg ticket items. For example, he could comfortably take a vacation but he’s not sure if he should pull the money out of savings. He wants our advice.

Bigg solution

Reading between the lines, it sounds like Paul wants to spend the money but he’s afraid he’ll need it for something else. Here’s the bigg solution:

Set up a separate account dedicated to the next bigg purchase you want to make. Set aside a portion of what you save in this account.

Right now, you’re implicitly saving for these things, Paul. By planning for your purchase and explicitly saving for it (i.e. by stashing money for it in a dedicated account), you’ll feel comfortable buying it once you’ve accumulated enough money.

Since you’ve been saving all along, Paul, consider taking a portion of the money you have in your general savings account and seeding this account with that money. You may feel you have enough to take that vacation now. If that’s the case, go for it! Then use this separate account for your next bigg ticket item.

Live (a little) in the moment

It’s important for all of us to save for our future. It’s also important to live a little in the moment and enjoy life along the way. Otherwise, we risk forgetting why we’re doing what we’re doing.

So Paul’s going to save for a vacation. If you can’t afford that right now, plan for a weekend away. If that’s going to stretch your budget too much, plan for a nice dinner out this month. Maybe even that’s too much … plan for a nice meal at home. Make it an event. Every day … every hour … every moment is precious. Don’t fall into the trap of living too much for the future. Strike a healthy balance between now and then. That’s living bigg!

How do you save for bigg ticket items?

Share that with us by commenting below, calling us at 888.455.BIGG (2444) or e-mailing us at bigginfo@biggsuccess.com.

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Please join us next time when we discuss getting your employees to take a step toward personal leadership. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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(Image in today's post from vranarc)

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. 

Subscribe to the Bigg Success feed.

Direct link to The Bigg Success Show audio file:
http://media.libsyn.com/media/biggsuccess/00276-120108.mp3

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(Image by House Of Sims, CC 2.0)

You Will Enjoy Your Vacation if You Know This

Are you a morning person or a night owl?

You probably have a good grasp of your daily pattern. The bigger challenge is understanding your patterns for refreshing yourself, for getting away and recharging.

With vacation season upon us, we thought it would talk about these patterns. Obviously, your ability to fully control how you take time off depends upon your flexibility at work. 


George said that his dad was always looking for a job with two paid vacations a year … six months each!

3 questions to make time off more rewarding

#1 – Do you need a long break or a series of shorter ones?
Some people are so stressed by the time they take a break that a short one just won’t do. They never get past the stress so they can relax and enjoy their time off. If that describes you, then take a long vacation!

Others get more stressed if they’re away from their normal routine too long. They start worrying about getting further and further behind so they don’t relax. If you’re one of these people, take a series of long weekends.

#2 – Do you need a day or two to get back in the swing of things after a break?
Do you need a vacation to recover from your vacation? If so, plan your vacation so you get an extra day or two to “unwind from unwinding”. If that’s not possible, try to schedule your daily routine a little lighter for your first day or two back in “the real world”.

Others get back from vacation, whether long or short, and are immediately ready to jump into daily life again. If that describes you, you can max out your days at your destination.

#3 – Are there certain times of the year when you really need some time off?
Some of us have extremely busy seasons. A break immediately after the season is often the best medicine! You’ll be able to keep pushing, knowing that some needed time off is on the horizon.

Another example is people who live in areas where the winter months are cold, long and dreary. Time away in the sun is just the prescription to cure their winter blues.

“Vacation is what you take when you can’t
take what you’ve been taking any longer”
Author unknown

Our top 5 signs that you need to take a vacation

#5 – The last time your phone rang at your desk, you picked up your stapler and started talking.

#4 – You’re secretly hoping to get sick so you can take a day off.

#3 – You’ve been at the airport so much, security is greeting you by your first name.

#2 – You had to call your spouse and ask for directions home.

#1 – When you look in the mirror, you realize that you actually look like your passport photo.

Subscribe to The Bigg Success Show in iTunes. 

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Related posts

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(Image by duchessa)