Debt: Financial Bondage
The key to staying debt free is to spend less than you make. It sounds so simple and yet many people seem to ignore this common sense counsel. We have a personal debt crisis in North America fuelled by our "buy now, pay later" philosophy. When we buy on credit we usually end up paying interest and interest is only good when it's working for you.
"Remember this: debt is a form of bondage. When we make purchases on credit, they give us only an illusion of prosperity. We think we own things, but the reality is, our things own us." —James E. Faust
Children: Our Future (Spenders)
Are your children convinced that "money grows on trees?" No wonder—so many of our money transactions are invisible. Paychecks are directly deposited and payments are automatically withdrawn from bank accounts. We pay for purchases with debit or credit cards. If children do see money it's often spewing out of bank machines.
It might be hard for children to see the connection between work and money. But it's essential that they learn the value of work and money management skills in the home before they start out on their own.
Food: The Unavoidable Expense
Can you imagine a day without food? It's not only a necessity, it's also an obsession. We celebrate with food. We eat when we're happy or if we're sad; when we're excited and when we're depressed. Sometimes we even eat because we are hungry! Whatever the reason, food expenses make up a large part of our budget—not just groceries, also our fast food and dining out bills. These expenses add up quickly.
The good news is we have some maneuvering room here. You can save hundreds of dollars by implementing a few money saving strategies.
Savings: A Lost Art?
There was a time when people saved their money first before they made a purchase. Times have changed. We discovered that we could have what we wanted NOW and worry about paying later. This change of philosophy is reflected in the decreasing personal savings rate of American households.
But savings have to be included in a healthy financial plan. We still have to live today but if we spend everything today, we'll have nothing for tomorrow. We have to learn to balance the needs of today with the needs of the future.
Travel: See The World On A Dime
Grab a flight, take a boat, board a train, hop on a bus or jump in your car—the world really is at your doorstep. You can take the traditional route and visit a travel agency or even be your own travel agent. Either way, there are many ways to save a buck when you make your travel plans.
You can find the best deals on flights, accommodations, dining out and entertainment; you just need to know where to look. The Internet can be your best travel advisor. So travel the world or vacation at home—it's all up to you!