Managing your money and making sound financial decisions is difficult.  We budget and save and try to invest our money wisely, but sometimes we make choices in our everyday lives that don’t make financial sense.

Related: Why Do We Save?

Here are some of my miscellaneous musings.

Why is it that –

  • Single income earners whose spouses raise their children at home qualify for less of a mortgage than two income earners with their children in day care?

When we applied for a mortgage on our first home, the mortgage lender qualified us using only half my salary.  Apparently the theory then was that I would leave my employment once we started having children.

Since I was noticeably pregnant at the time it was probably a reasonable expectation, but these days it would be considered incredibly sexist.

But let’s think about this.  Mortgages are approved based on current gross income.  Realtors love this.

How much are you pre-qualified for?

We’re approved for a mortgage of $400,000 and have $25,000 for a down payment.

Great!  Let’s start looking at these houses in the $450,00 – $475,000 range.

And before you can catch your breath, you get sucked in to the excitement of house hunting.

A house purchase is a long-term commitment and you don’t want to end up house poor.  It would be advantageous to discuss future expectations and perhaps buy a smaller house and take on a lesser mortgage amount that would be more comfortable in the long run.

Why is it that –

  • People moonlight for a for a few extra dollars to make ends meet, and then go out to eat or buy convenience foods because of lack of time?

In many cases a second job – evenings and/or weekends – will not pay a great deal.  When you take into account the travel to and from your employment, perhaps special clothing needs, a quick stop for a fast food supper – and increased taxes if you get bumped to the next tax bracket – you may want to rethink the type of employment you moonlight at.

Why is it that –

  • Some people will drive across town to save a few bucks on a small purchase?

You see this often with people who will go out of their way to a distant gas station to fill up their vehicles.  Grocery shoppers will visit several different stores to take advantage of sale prices from the flyers.

This used to drive me crazy when I stayed with my parents for a few months to help them out.  Almost every day we drove all over town to buy one thing at this store, another thing at that store, and yet another item at a different place.  Then we’d go home, unload and start all over again!

There’s nothing wrong with comparison shopping and picking up good deals – but make sure the savings are worthwhile, or that you’ll be in the vicinity of the stores in question.

Why is it that –

  • People don’t donate money to charity but will buy over-priced merchandise they don’t need because it’s for a good cause?

The worst offenders for this type of sales are schools and children’s activity groups.  I realize fundraising is important in order to pay for the various programs, activities and field trips.

Perhaps they feel it builds good character to turn youngsters into little salespeople when in reality it becomes up to their parents to flog the items at their workplace.

I would much rather donate the cash to a worthwhile cause than buy yet another scented candle, Christmas ornament or case of grapefruit.

Why is it that –

  • People will order a big iceberg lettuce salad for a diet lunch, then pair it with a double chocolaty frappucino at 500+ calories?

Final thoughts

Everyone wants to save money, or earn a little more – but you need to use good sense (and the right tactics) or you’ll end up wasting time and still not getting any further ahead.

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