Month: November 2016

Saying Goodbye to Black Friday and My New Shopping Rules

Today is Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving in the United States. Since the 1930s, this day has traditionally marked the beginning of the Holiday shopping season. It’s popularity comes from the happy coincidence of Thanksgiving being the last major holiday before Christmas and that employers often give workers the Friday after Thanksgiving off as part of a holiday weekend. The name ‘Black Friday’ references stores accounting coming out of the ‘red’ (negative numbers) and into the ‘black’ (positive numbers. (citation needed) It’s a day that retailers employ some of marketing’s best tactics to increase sales: entice with doorbusters to get customers in the door, create a sense of urgency by limiting sales to a single day, and utilize the power of the hype train in all communication channels. Black Friday: Then and Now Over the past decades, the allure and madness of Black Friday has grown. Every year news outlets report on larger and larger crowds pushing, screaming and fighting over limited, out-of-stock or one-time only items. We see viral videos from inside stores …

Find Your Values and Prioritize Your Spending

One of the most important factors in personal finance success is prioritizing your spending in a way that is commensurate with your values. But what if you’re not sure what your values are? What are values? Values are those building-blocks that make each of us who we are. They are the things that you use to make decisions whether you’re aware of them or not. It’s important to call out that values are separate from morals. While culture and society may shape your morals, you, and you alone, define your values. How to Gain Clarity and Define Your Values By working to discover and name your values, you begin to build out explicit and strict criteria that can be used to make decisions in all areas of your life. My favorite value exploration exercise goes as follows: Grab some paper and something to write with Down the left side of the paper write down careers or jobs that you think you would enjoy Example: Historian, Author, Park Ranger On the right hand side write down …

Reflecting on Role Models and Thankfulness

This undertaking – committing to rapid debt reduction and writing about it – has given me lots of opportunity for reflection. To look back at how I got here and what has influenced me along the way. Each time I sit down to write a new post it becomes a rare opportunity to do nothing but reflect and think. And with Thanksgiving just a few days away in the United States – what better time of year to reflect on the journey here and say thank you. A small recognition of influence for people who have already achieved the success I’m working towards. For years – literally, years – I’ve followed blogs and websites, eating up every word and with each new post saying to myself ‘I’m gonna do it, too! Yeah!’ – only to log off, let negative self-talk creep in, default on what was comfortable, and live my life deep in debt. It’s easy to make excuses, to look at writers and think to yourself ‘My situation is different.’To look around you and …

Let’s Talk About Lifestyle Creep

I recently earned a promotion and raise at my place of employment that will amount to a few hundred dollars extra each month. Given my recent commitment to rapid debt reduction, this is a great boon – but in the spirit of reflection, I have to honor that my previous raises haven’t always been so responsibly allocated. So today – let’s talk about lifestyle creep. Lifestyle Creep in 3 Parts: Coffee, Clothing and Cuisine All it takes is a quick glance at my spending history to identify the common culprits of lifestyle creep. They are also my strongest temptations to spend: coffee, clothing and cuisine. Part 1: Coffee There’s something about coffee that warms my soul. The bitterness of a dark roast served black. The warmth and comfort of my go-to soy macchiato. The time spent with friends over a cup of chai. The triple-shot monstrosity to get me through a Monday. It all adds up to an easy excuse to spend a few bucks here and there – and gets easier to justify when you …