Studies Show That Buying Stuff Is Good For You!

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So often we pit decluttering and being green against frivolous spending and self indulgence; virtuous against irresponsible; conserving against wasteful. It can get to the point where you can feel guilty about buying anything you don’t absolutely need!Watch

To the rescue comes a study from Harvard B School showing that in the long run, people don’t regret having spent a lot of money on pleasure. The key is the time frame. When people felt they would regret a purchase the next day, they didn’t make it. When they felt they might regret that purchase several years down the line, they made it.

Another key idea for me is that the buyer really wanted the luxury item in question. It was clear to them that they would enjoy it and savor it. This is quite different from buying something because you want the experience of buying it, or because it’s a status symbol, or just because everyone else is buying it.

I’m all in favor of having experiences and stuff that make you happy. Just check in with yourself about why you want something. And use the research; ask yourself if tomorrow you’ll regret forking out for that ruby-encrusted watch or if in five years you’ll still feel surge of happiness every time you see it on your wrist.

Do you have something you spent a fortune on that you regret now? Or that you’re completely content with?

Chanel J12 watch from bbaunach’s photostream

Are Personal Trainers Worth the Money?

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You know how to jump rope. You also know how to climb up stairs. There might be a treadmill lurking in your basement that you certainly know how to use.

The question is: Do you?

People need the structure of a gym to get their exercise done, even if they could do it cheaper at home without driving anyplace. Still, plenty of folks pay their gym memberships every month even though they never seem to make it over there.

If they’re smart and serious about getting exercise, they hire a personal trainer.

They’re smart enough to know that they won’t go to the gym unless someone is there waiting for them. They’re serious enough to understand that it’s worth hiring someone to stand there with a stopwatch and make them jump rope.

Knowledge and intention don’t flatten your stomach. Doing the exercise flattens your stomach.

A colleague of mine commented that I shouldn’t be publishing blog posts that spelled out exactly how people can get organized. “You’re giving away the cow!” said she.

Anyone who can get organized simply by reading my blog is perfectly welcome to do so. Yay, you! There are plenty of people who can’t, or don’t, or don’t want to, and those are the ones who want to work with me.

These folks read a post and say “that’s a great idea!” but never make the time to do it. Or they get confused or distracted. Sometimes they understand a concept but don’t see how to relate it to their own situations.

These people hire professional organizers.  They know what they want and they can see that this is the most effective way to get it.

So, unearth that jump rope, or give me a call.

Keep Tabs on Your Credit

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Recently, I got a brochure in the mail about identify theft from the Federal Trade Commission. It reminded me that it’s time for my yearly request for free credit reports.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act says that all three of the major credit reporting agencies offer free credit reports to everyone once a year. It’s a good thing to do, to make sure no one has taken out a loan or applied for credit in your name, and to make sure the information they have regarding your accounts is correct. They’ve even created a website where you can get all three at once. There is a maze of menus to get through, but it’s worth it. You’re also entitled to a free report anytime you are denied credit.

The brochure also reminded me, and I will remind you:

  • Shred any documents with sensitive financial or identity information on them
  • Don’t give out your Social Security number unless you have to. On request, most entities will issue you an alternative identification number
  • Don’t click through any email links regarding your finances or identity!

This last point bears repeating. Just don’t ever do it! Your bank, your credit card company and everyone else you do business with will tell you that they’ll never ask you for sensitive information, nor to update your account via email. Believe them! Many otherwise intelligent people I know have fallen for this.

If you’re still curious about an email link, just visit the sender’s website yourself by opening your browser and typing their address manually into the address bar. Log in to your account and see if there are any messages for you. That’s the failsafe way to do it.