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What Kind of Financial Tradeoffs Do You Make? Mint’s Personal Finance Roundup

Photo: Mike Fillion

Many thinkers and motivators throughout history have advised us to “choose our battles.” From Sun Tzu to Dale Carnegie and even Dr. Phil, we are urged not to “sweat the small stuff” and, instead, to channel our energies into things of higher priority. Heeding these words makes sense, given that we have but 24 hours a day and only so much energy to work with.

Just as it is with time and energy, money is a limited resource that we need to manage with care. We just don’t have enough of this resource to go around, in order to address all of our needs, wants and whims! Each significant financial choice we make often means making a sacrifice and careful deliberation. It’s therefore often the case that we ask ourselves “is making this purchase worth it?” How do value a purchase before you go ahead and make it?

This week’s personal finance blogger roundup is all about how we make choices and how we determine whether the things we pay for are worth the money. Then again, there are no right and wrong answers here, because each consumer’s situation is different. What’s important is that we are all able to arrive at our own personal decisions through careful evaluation.

Have you been presented an upsell as you’re faced with a major appliance or electronic purchase? Before falling for it, ask the question: Are Extended Warranties Worth The Money? Explore this extra cost in this article by 50 Plus Finance.

Out Of Your Rut’s New Or Used? Cheap New Cars – Are They Worth the Money? takes a look at Yahoo’s discussion on cheap cars. This post goes through various points that need to be considered by the car buyer. For instance, would you go for a brand new but cheaper car — or a used but pricier car? Weigh all the criteria to arrive at the decision that you’re most comfortable with.

Recently, hybrid cars have been all the rage. Peek under their collective (and figurative) hood before you buy one, by reading WealthPilgrim‘s take on hybrids: 5 Big Disadvantages Of Buying A Hybrid. Just how economical and environmentally friendly are they really?

Let’s move on to international trade and currencies. MoneyVille discusses a credit card and currency issue for Canadians: Is A U.S.-Dollar Credit Card Worth It? Foreigners may wonder whether applying for an American credit card can make sense. If you are Canadian and are considering the possibility of picking up a US Dollar credit card for yourself or for business, then MoneyVille’s article discusses the pros and cons of this decision in-depth.

It’s a good idea to diversify into foreign assets. But one thing that you may not hear about often are certain schemes that are marketed to expatriates. Creveling & Creveling discusses the thorny issues behind offshore investing in the article Five Things to Consider Before Buying Offshore Investment Schemes. It’s an interesting read, and offers us a “buyer beware” warning. While it’s good for our portfolios to have foreign exposure, always be aware of the risks found in different types of schemes, particularly those that involve unconventional investments.

Let’s move on to domestic matters. Some people may find that outsourcing certain jobs is a worthwhile tradeoff between the time they save and the money they spend on these arrangements. DIY or Hiring a Professional: Factors to Consider by Squirrelers.com can give us some points to consider. Which stance will you take for the tasks you need to do — hire someone or do it yourself? Which activities should you delegate to someone else?

Is a TV set worth keeping as a living room accessory? A lot of us are certified couch potatoes, and will say that our indoor entertainment offers us a pretty good value. However, Million Dollar Journey disagrees about this in his post about Living Without A TV. Where do you stand?

A life isn’t well lived if you’re only thinking about saving money and penny pinching. If you work hard, you deserve to treat yourself to an occasional break. If you’re not a traveler, then you may want to Try A Staycation, which is also a budget-friendly way to enjoy a break. This article by The Savvy Life may help you find a creative, frugal way to unwind and de-stress.

Throughout our lives, we expect to face a lot of financial decisions, both large and small. Ultimately, living well involves maintaining the right kind of balance in our lives. The decisions we make should be based on our understanding of the tradeoffs between our time, money and other resources. Any mistakes we end up making in the face of these decisions should be taken as the price we pay for a lesson learned.

Silicon Valley Blogger (SVB) runs  The Digerati Life and  The Smarter Wallet, where she writes about  general personal finance topics such as investing, budgeting, debt management and small business ideas.