budget tips

Should You Save or Sell Your Valuable Heirlooms?

Gold_industryThis question tends to pop up at difficult times in life. It’s not uncommon to find yourself in possession of some odd goods when a friend or relative dies. And it’s at times like these that you might be ill-equipped to manage these goods, especially if you are feeling a lot of grief at the time. There are many considerations to make, and not all of them have to do with the precious metals exchange rate that applies to your situation.

This is because many of these items will have sentimental value in addition to monetary value. People might feel guilt for trading an item that reminds them of a lost loved one for cash. But this isn’t always the way to think about it. Death happens, and memories of loved ones should be afforded a certain place in your life. But it should also be compatible with how you live. If an item, such as a piece of furniture of a painting, can be loved and displayed in your home on its own merits, not just because it belonged to a loved one, it might be a good addition to your life, as well as an appropriate reminder of your loved one. But if the item doesn’t have any value to you other than it’s sentimental value, it isn’t appropriate to sell it after a certain amount of time. In most cases, the individual who passed it on to you would rather you have security and happiness than perpetual possession of the item in question.

That aside, let’s talk money. Oftentimes, people inherit items made of precious metals, like gold, jewelry, and coins. Because these items have no function in themselves, other than to serve as placeholders for wealth/value/buying power, it makes sense to sell them when they’ll command the highest price. But when is that? Do metals like gold always increase in value?

Well, not really. Gold, for instance, has something of an inverse relationship to the standard economy. If you look at charts of gold value, you’ll notice that gold tends to be in high demand when the US economy isn’t doing so good, and vice versa. This is because gold represents inherent value, while the economy is based largely on perceived value and good will. The economy works well when people spend money without much worry. When people are worried, they don’t spend money. Keeping gold is the epitome of “not spending money”, and it’s an example of people putting their trust in something they feel might have more staying power or foundation than a particular market.

So in general, I say buy gold when the market is good, sell it when it’s down. As you can see, this would’ve worked out to great effect if you bought a bunch of gold in the hot-economy days of the 90’s and kept it till the financial crunch of 2008. But because these things are impossible to predict, and because gold doesn’t have inherent factors which determine it’s value, I generally sell gold a lot more than I buy it. And that’s how I generally treat stuff if I’m ever in a position to inherit money or goods. A lot of top finance blogs agree.

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A Surprising Way To Save Money: Being More Organised

If you’re trying to save money for a new house, for a wedding, or towards anything else, then you’re probably looking at all the things you can cut out of your daily routine in order to save cash. Perhaps you can save money by eating less? Or maybe you should give up that nice gym membership?

Actually though, jumping immediately to what you can cut out of your budget is a tad premature if you haven’t first looked at your efficiency. In other words, you might not need to spend less on food if you can find a way to make the food you currently are buying last longer. And you might not need to give up your gym membership if you can get it to work with your routine a little better. Being more efficient and more organised is often a more effective way to save money, so think about that before you stop eating out at restaurants.

Become more organised, and you’ll find you save money almost without having to do anything. Here are some examples…

Food

Switching to ‘own brand’ foods is something that many people saving towards a mortgage will be familiar with, but there may be no need.

Think for a moment about the amount of food you probably waste on a regular basis – especially if there are only one or two of you at home. Chances are that you will buy bags of carrots for a meal for example and then have half the bag go off before you get around to using the rest. You’ll probably have old salad leaves decaying in your fridge, and you’ll probably have all manner of leftovers that never get eaten. In fact it’s probably not an exaggeration to say that if you live alone or with a partner you likely waste around 30% of the food you buy.

This can easily be fixed with a little organisation – by planning what you are going to eat for the upcoming week and then choosing meals that use the same ingredients. Having a hot pot one evening? Then why not have some of those same vegetables with a steak later on in the week?

Likewise you can also save a lot of money by cooking large meals and then freezing the leftovers to eat later. Again this will require just a little planning in order to ensure you have space in the freezer along with the forethought to cook in ‘bulk’ that way to begin with.

Activities

You can save a lot of money similarly by planning your activities better. This might mean thinking more carefully about how you’re going to get there, or how you’re going to save money while you’re out.

For instance if you’re planning a holiday, then you can save money by doing some planning: this may mean travelling with friends to the airport so you can car share, or it might mean minimising your time off work by coinciding your trip with bank holidays – or even by arranging a remote work agreement and then working while you travel.

You can save a lot of money on travel by simply planning your route more carefully and again by sharing lifts. And you can save on nights out by choosing to have drinks at your house first and by arranging a lift home from a friend or partner rather than having to pay for a taxi.

Efficiency

By organising your lifestyle you can be more efficient in everything you do and thus reduce waste. This goes for energy efficiency of course too – and simple things like planning what you are going to wear can help you to save a lot of money that you would spend running your washing machine or on washing products. Even carefully timing when your heating comes on and for how long can make a huge difference.

So when you’re saving for a mortgage , don’t think you have to stop doing all the things you love. Just learn to do them more efficiently!

 

 

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The author of this post, Jack Norman, is a freelance blogger who often writes for First World Mortgage, a company that provides home loans in CT. An audiophile, Jack is the proud owner of the Boney M signature collection.


Tips for Sticking to Your Bar Mitzvah Budget

Tips for Sticking to Your Bar Mitzvah Budget

Your son is about to celebrate his entrance into manhood. This is one of the biggest events of his life, and as you start planning for the ceremony, ordering invitations, contacting caterers and arranging entertainment, you are going to realize that this is also one of the biggest, at least in relation to expense, events of your life as a parent. A Bar Mitzvah can easily cost tens of thousands of dollars, if you are not careful. How can you stick to your budget and give your son an amazing experience, without depleting his college fund? Consider these tips to stick with your Bar Mitzvah budget.

Get Organized

Being unorganized when you are planning a huge party can lead to expensive mistakes. If you order too much food from the caterer, you will be paying for food that no one is eating. If you pay a DJ and forget to do the follow up call, you could end up with money out of your pocket and no music at your party. Figure out an organizational system, and use it.

Go Cheap with the Venue

The party is not about the place. Rather, it is about the people, entertainment and food. You do not have to have the most expensive place. In fact, you may not even have to rent a venue at all. Do you have space in your home or yard to host the party? Then do it there! Sometimes you can split the party into two, with one party the day before the event for the adults in your son’s life, and one the day of the event for the kids. This allows you to use a smaller venue, like your yard, rather than renting a hall.

Know Your Guest Limits

Your guest list is going to be one of the biggest factors of your budget. Avoid the temptation to add people without thinking about it. You are not going to be able to include everyone, so talk to your son, and choose only those who are the most important to him, with close relatives always included. Once you know the number of guests you can afford, stick to it, even if it means some delicate conversations with extended family members.

Remember, this is just one event out of many you have in your son’s life. Yes, it is important, but it is not worth going into deep debt or spending all of your savings. Create a budget, and then use these tips to stick with it, and everyone will be happy in the end, including your young man.

Samantha Hunt works at eInvite, an online retailer of invitations, personalized announcements, stationery and other paper goods.


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