plonkee money an english-er's thoughts on personal finance

April 30, 2007

my friend has bought a house

Filed under: house,plonkee — plonkee @ 5:45 pm

My friend has just completed on her new house, and I haven’t got mine yet. Boo.

I was in her house on the weekend and we were discussing some of the changes that she want to make to it and I was being asked all sorts of questions like, do I think it will look better with carpets or laminate flooring? how much do new windows cost? how could someone have chosen such a hideous bathroom suite?

Of course, not being a homeowner myself yet (yes I am bitter btw) I don’t know the answers to these questions. But I do know that making changes to a house cost a lot of money. And I know that some changes pay off in terms of adding value to the place. What I’m more interested in is a sort of cost benefit analysis of the value to me. Kind of like, how much use will I get out of an addition.

For me, colour and design are quite important, so the amount of time and effort spent on painting a place are probably worth it – even if it is already decorated in perfectly acceptable neutral colours. I like to cook, but I live on my own, so altering a functional kitchen probably isn’t good value to me.

This kind of thinking extends to furniture. I have a sofa bed from Ikea that has no arms (deliberately, I might add) its also kind of uncomfortable. Since having it, I have discovered that the only way to sit on it and be happy, is to lie down. Ideally, it would then have arms for me to lean my head on. I’ve seen the sofa of my dreams in Habitat, but it costs several hundred pounds. How do I determine the cost benefit of this sort of thing? It certainly won’t increase the value of my house, but it could increase my happiness.

98th carnival of personal finance is up

Filed under: links — plonkee @ 12:31 pm

The 98th carnival of personal finance is being hosted by the King of Debt at we’re in debt, so check it out.

Beware of the post on financial independence, as the scheme suggested sounds a bit too much like multi-level marketing to me.

April 27, 2007

money scripts: voting (part 2)

Filed under: philosophical — Tags: , — plonkee @ 12:43 pm

To me, a money script is something that I believe I should do in connection to money, based primarily on something I absorbed as a child. I wrote earlier, that I was taught that it is important to vote, and this can actually provide financial benefits. As there are local elections coming up soon, I thought I’d discuss my second money script in connection with voting. This concerns who you should be voting for.

The script that I have, is that you shouldn’t vote for the person that will make you best off, but for the person that would be best for society as a whole. This is generally how I try to vote. If I think about it rationally, do I think that this is a good idea?

I try to be a good person as I live my life (as I’m sure most other people do). As part of this, I realise that I am very priviledged in comparison with people in the rest of the world. In fact, I’m priviledged in comparison with a lot of people living in my own country. A good person would try and do something about this and improve other people’s position. I’m trying to be a good person, so I should try and improve other people’s position and one of the opportunities I have, is through my vote. So, overall, I think that I should vote for the benefit of everyone, not just myself.

How does this impact on my personal finances? Well, it means that I sometimes vote for people and policies that will make me worse off financially. But it wouldn’t be better for society if I was a net beneficiary, so once policies are decided, I seek to minimise their negative effects on me. For example, I accept that raising the state pension age is beneficial to society and vote in favour of it, but to compensate, I plan to save and invest more so that this won’t harm me.

What do you think? Should a person interested in improving their personal finances vote for policies that will benefit them, or not?

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