Do you even know where your paycheck goes? Sometimes I am at a loss where my paycheck went or if it even came at all! Did I even get paid? ‘Cause some days, it sure doesn’t feel like it. My wallet is still empty!
If you have that feeling a little to often, then it’s time to take a closer look at your finances.
Yes, it’s that time of year again, when we evaluate all the things that we spend money on. It’s almost time to file taxes, folks! If you have children in college, it’s also that time of year again when they renew their FAFSA applications and if you’re like me, you’ll probably have to renew yours too. It’s not only time to file your income taxes, the deadline for paying your property taxes has also just passed. For some employers, it is also the time to wrap up your medical spending accounts and re-budget for the next year.
It comes pretty close to reflecting my actual spending habit. Some things like our housing, insurance and transportation expenses are pretty static and there’s not much else you can do about it. But the rest of the expenses like food, entertainment and ‘everything else’, we can do something about. And I am still determined to even be more frugal this year. We waste a lot of stuff!
How about you, does this infographic reflect your spending habits?
Our eleven-year-old minivan has served us well over the years but it is now at a point where little things here and there are cropping up. Although it’s been well maintained and hasn’t had any major repairs done to it, the little problems are starting to crop up more often than it did in its younger years. I can relate. Aging does that to the best of us.
As much as I love our Chrysler Town & Country, buying the latest model would just not make too much sense for us especially since we now have two daughters in college. Not only is their college expenses putting a crimp on our finances, we also don’t need that big a car anymore now that we only have one daughter to drive around.
I have gotten very good at tuning out commercials or I just switch to another channel whenever they come on. I have fallen in love with TiVo just because I can watch pretty much anything now commercial free! But I digress.
I usually read the Simple Dollar via email subscription so I don’t get to see all the comments. Being a parent though and this being a subject close to my heart, I knew that this post would generate some comments. So I headed to the site and I was not wrong. There was a long list of comments basically agreeing with what Trent had to say, which basically comes down to his last point being:
… if my child had a routine habit of calling the things we did “dorkiness,” referring to us as the “Geek family,” or directly calling his parents names, that child wouldn’t be headed out for a fun afternoon with his friends.
Absolutely! The situation may have been amusing for a TV ad but in real life, with real parents, that boy would be back home scrubbing that lame ol’ van instead of going out with his friends!
Trent’s first point is especially true when it comes to family financials: “if you’re a parent, your kids shouldn’t have any influence over your buying decisions”
I was just having this discussion with my co-worker yesterday because she saw that my daughter was driving when I got dropped off. Yes, my second daughter is practicing her driving so she can get her license. No, she won’t be getting her own car much less a brand new one like some of her friends are. Although there is a tiny part of me that feels bad we can’t afford to buy her a car new or used, that guilty feeling doesn’t last too long. She just got a job and if she chooses, she can save her earnings and maybe buy a used car. We’ll help her with the insurance, which is going to be hefty, we’ll help with the maintenance and of course we’ll be there for incidentals. However, she knows that she is in no way entitled to get a car just because she’s old enough to drive and have a license. Some of her friends feel that way; but we’ve talked about this and I am very open with her and her sisters about our financial situation.
Now if maybe I was a millionnaire and a new car would equate to me buying a new outfit, then of course I would get her a new car. What parent wouldn’t want to be able to do that for their kids?
But I happen to think that there is something to be said about having to work for the things you have. When you work for something, it is more valuable to you. You take better care of it and you are more aware of how other people may feel about their personal property.
Having your first car is definitely one of the highlights of a young person’s life, but learning about how to manage your money early on is a bigger lesson that must not be overlooked.