The 7 Personal Finance Articles We Loved This Week

By and Thursday, April 26, 2018

Happy Thursday, everyone! I hope everyone’s had a great week and has some ~restful~ plans coming up this weekend.

I’m currently facing the reality of having to purchase a new phone. My iPhone has been dying within a few hours of having a full charge (sometimes even deciding to shut off when it says it has 50% left), and while I could probably spend just a little money and get the battery replaced, I’ve been wanting to switch to a Google phone for a while. I’m deciding between dropping several hundred dollars to pay for it outright or going for the installment plan option — neither of which I actually want to do. I need a new phone, and I’m lucky that I have the ability to pay for it, but spending that much at once has always made me feel a bit queasy (unless I’m like, paying my rent). But on the other hand, I also feel like I’d rather spend that lump sum now so that my monthly bill is a lot lower.

This feels like such a big decision…but it’s not, really. I know that in a few months, I’ll forget I had to spend this amount, or I’ll be used to the larger phone bill I’ll have each month. Additionally, I know that while I’ll eventually need a phone, it’s not an urgent expense — I can save for just a few months so I don’t even have to pull from my current savings to cover it. That’s why I loved ESI‘s pick from Jack the Dreamer this week, all about the finance-related lessons he learned while working on a farm for a year. Sometimes, a little perspective helps me make a decision I really need to make, especially when it comes to spending money. For instance:

Money lessons on the farm usually had an air of actual urgency, importance, and realism to them because if farmers didn’t manage their finances properly, they in effect, “Starve for the winter.”

This was different from the “I need $800 to buy the latest iPhone!” sort of urgency, or the, “OMG, Starbucks just raised the price of their chai spice latte from $4.50 to $5.25.”

In the farmers case, it was something like, “The tractor’s turbine just broke and we need $20,000 to replace it today otherwise we can’t plant the crops in time for harvest and our cows die, along with our income.”

If something urgent came up, you want the peace of mind to know that you have cash right now that you can use to fix your problems.

The amount I need to spend is, overall, not that much — and there are plenty of things I need to make sure I’m even more prepared for in the future. I don’t need to jeapordize those just because I feel like I need a new phone right now. Whatever decision I end up making, I know that I won’t let it get in the way of the more important things, like building my emergency fund or putting money away for retirement.

Be sure to read on for some more awesome personal finance articles from the past week!

1. 5 Life Lessons from West Point: Knowledge Taught by a Boot Up the Ass – Making Sense of Life 

“The four years I spent at the United States Military Academy were amongst the most grueling and challenging years of my life. There were several times when I thought “I can’t go on anymore, this is my breaking point.” These moments of vulnerability and the ability to persevere beyond them taught me some of the most valuable lessons in life.” 

2. 6 Clever Investing & Life Lessons via Playing Poker – Birds of a FIRE 

“Life lesson: Don’t compete against people who are better than you if you want to win. Luck isn’t a thing. Hard work + skill get you the win.”

3. What Living On A Farm For A Year Taught Me About Financial Independence (And Life) – Jack the Dreamer 

“After growing up near New York City my whole life, I had the opportunity to go live on a farm for a year. What I didn’t expect was what I would learn about money, how to handle it, and how not to handle it.”

4. You Don’t Owe Anyone Anything! Or Do You? Should We Give Our Friends And Family Free Money? – Duke of Dollars 

“If you are in a position of financial stability or strong personal finances, due to the sacrifices and effort you made to get to that point, are you obligated to use that money to help your family and friends freely when they may have made bad decisions or forgone sacrifices to need that help?”

5. Road Trip Finances, Factoids, & #VanLife Wisdoms – Miss Mazuma

“It took me 20 years to make good on this idea of a cross-country road trip.  I can guarantee it won’t take another 20 before I do it again.Here is what I learned about van life (in my case, car life) along the way.

6. What I Learned from Teaching Middle Schoolers How to Make a Budget – Mr. Jamie Griffin

“Nobody taught me much about money so I had to teach myself what a budget was and how it could change my life. I started an adventure teaching my middle schoolers how to make a budget and learned a lot in the process.”

7. My Recent Experience with Visiting a Hospital in Chiang Mai Thailand – Mr. Free At 33 

“When I wrote about my reasoning behind not wanting or having health insurance here in Thailand, I wasn’t expecting to put my theories to the test so quickly. But that’s the way life works.”

Image via Unsplash

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