Most people are familiar with the phrase, “What’s in it for me?” And many may think it is the cry of a selfish or immature person. This phrase can be a valuable stepping-stone to determine where you stand financially, and an effective process to review your goals! Cost-benefit analysis weighs the total expected costs against the total expected benefits of your actions, in order to choose the most beneficial option.
Many people think of cost benefit analysis as something large corporations do annually for their board and stockholders. It is also a great tool for you to weigh your personal financial choices. It is important to take out the emotional responses and express all benefits and costs in monetary terms.
There are some people who regularly deny themselves life’s pleasures; typically they come from a generation that has experienced hardship. Saving is very important, but taken to an extreme, even saving can be harmful. An extreme saver risks losing the joy of living today by planning for a future that never comes.
Current American culture, on the other hand, teaches that all desires can be met with a credit card. We live for the moment. Not only do we neglect to think about the future, but we also sacrifice future stability for instant gratification. It is important to find a balance between saving and spending.
***Spoiler Alert*** You are going to have to budget to see this in action!
For example, you may say, “I really need a vacation in Hawaii. It’s going to help me relax and feel less stressed.” If you charge a package trip to Hawaii now, are you willing to give up some weekly luxuries and put 200 dollars monthly toward the credit card until it’s paid off?
If you can commit to that plan, take the vacation and keep your promise to yourself! Since there are no physical reminders to make the payments, you need to be disciplined enough to follow through with your budgeting choices.
Now you’ve made a conscientious choice. Either way – Hawaii or a “stay-cation” – you set your parameters ahead of time and empowered yourself financially. When you tap into your own financial power, you no longer wait for a lucky break or hope that you win the lottery – you are actively taking charge of your life. What a great way to end the day!