This is a guest post from Shanendoah at Baking the Budget. I’ve known her for awhile and I’m so happy that she not only agreed to write this post but is now a fellow Yakezie challenger!
I decided a guest blog post was the perfect place to talk about choices in personal finance. As the recent “If I had $1,000,000” meme showed, not all personal finance bloggers would make the same choices. And I’m certain that most readers of these blogs would make even more varied choices. And that’s the way it should be. There are no wrong answers.
See, personal finance bloggers aren’t actually more qualified than anyone else to talk about personal finances, we’re just the ones who are willing to do so. And none of us actually care what choices other people make, we just hope to help you make informed decisions so that you know in advance what the trade-offs are, because there are always trade-offs, since most of us don’t have an unending supply of cash.
So what choices do I make that might make other personal finance bloggers or people on money message boards
I have cable TV and internet. The TV part might actually be going here soon, at least for a month or two. Not having cable internet is not an option for us. (Well, it is an option, but one we’d only take in drastic situations.) Yes, I pay too much for this, but I make the trade-offs. We go to see a movie in the theater maybe once every 3 months. We don’t go have drinks with friends. We only eat out when we plan on eating out.
I pay more for electricity than I need to. A few years ago, when the husband and I were both working, we signed up for a green energy program. It means we pay more money per kilowatt hour for our power, but it guarantees that our power company buys at least that much power from renewable sources. When my husband lost his job, we could have cut that bill by leaving the program. We chose not to. We had some really lean months where the extra $25 or so would have made a difference, but instead, we chose to focus on other areas to cut and free up cash (like getting rid of our debt). Per haps we should have dropped out for a few months and then re-signed up. Maybe that would have made better financial sense, but it wouldn’t have been the right choice for us.
You don’t even want to know how much I pay for gas or oil changes. We chose to buy a car with a diesel engine. And we choose to run bio-diesel in it – not fry grease or even the B5 or B20 you can find at most stations now. We run B99- that’s diesel that is 99% bio and only 1% petroleum. Its not sold in a lot of places, and I’ve been paying over $5/gallon for over a year. Sometimes we have to make special trips just to go fill the tank. But, B99 prices are more stable than gas prices, so I’m able to better budget my fuel consumption. I only take the car in for an oil change every 10,000 miles (instead of every 3,000), and we have an engine that should last our entire lives. We pay more for upkeep but with the plan that we won’t be replacing this car for another 20 years at least. My husband jokes that he plans on being buried in the car.
These are the choices we make because they are the right choices for us. We are willing to make the trade-offs needed to sustain these choices. That doesn’t make them right for everyone, or even anyone, else.
And that’s my point. Personal finance is all about choices. As long as you make your choices knowing what the trade-offs are, knowing what you’re willing to do and what you’re not, you’re making the right choices for you.
What things do you pay more for that others might consider best cut out when on a tight budget?