Friday, June 21, 2013

Living like You Didn't Just Win the Lottery

Sound easy to do? It's not. History is filled with stories of real down and outers who suddenly won their ticket to freedom and found themselves on skid row a number of years later. The same holds true for us as our income levels increase and opportunities for fun in the sun can actually become dreams come true. I have come up with a number of tips that will help you hang on to what you have and build for the future by avoiding what is referred to as lifestyle inflation.

Back to the Beginning

Remember when you first started out in your first apartment with the job you snagged straight out of college? We were all so careful with every expenditure back then, but we made it work. Our beginning salaries miraculously covered our living expenses. Maybe not much more, but we were satisfied. Ok, then we started up the corporate ladder and increased our wages big-time. Did we stay in our same cramped apartment that we were so happy with the year before? No. Bigger salary, bigger apartment. Housing is one of the largest monthly expenses. Not only the size of the apartment, but the furnishings, utilities and taxes that go along with a larger abode. If you can resist (or postpone) the urge to upgrade your living quarters, you can save a bundle.

Transportation Costs

Ok, so you've hooked a great job but you don't want to be seen driving the '75 Volkswagen that got you through your university years. You want to upgrade according to your job position. It's understandable that when you pull into the company parking lot that you need to drive a vehicle that represents your company well.  But go easy. Don't try to impress by something you can't afford.  Try a good-looking pre-owned car that fits easily into your budget.

Learn to Cook and Hang on to your Health

Now that you have more money you can afford to eat out every night. But should you? Is restaurant fare or take-away the natural way to save money and maintain your health? A much better solution would be to invest in a few simple cooking lessons that would give you the opportunity to make quick but healthy meals at home. You would not only hang on to your well-earned salary, but maintain a healthier diet as well.

Set up a Savings Plan

It's easy to spend every single dollar that hits our bank accounts. There is always something we need or something we could use. But believe me, there is nothing we need more than a savings account. How to do it? The only way I've found that is successful is by making a forced, or preset payment into a retirement fund or some sort of a savings plan every month.  It's like taking a small cut in your salary, but the long-term dividends are well worth it.

Preparing for Tomorrow

All that said, use the resources available to you today to make the most out of life. Drive a great car, eat well and enjoy life. Isn't that what it's all about?  Save for tomorrow and you can enjoy life well into the decades to come.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Modern Art Exhibits to Look Forward to in 2013

As a great appreciate of modern art, I have been checking out what 2013 has in store for us, so I can plan my travel agenda to catch a few of them. Excellent art pieces are good for the diverse portfolio and especially when we latch onto an up and coming artist who deserves early investment. Following are a few of the shows worth catching and artists who deserve to be followed.

Alexandre Singh at the Drawing Center

Scheduled for the early months of 2013, Singh will be holding his first North American exhibit in New York. Born in France and raised in the UK, Singh began his work for the project with a series of interviews that included famous screenwriters, fellow artists, playwrights, directors and art critics. He then created adventurous versions of the interviews that are printed to be readwhile wandering the exhibit, which consists of black and white inkjet prints that Singh made of his own collages. Like maps or schematics of the interviews, the prints are arranged in a sleek display as he tries to create an entire universe within the limits of a gallery.

The Artist and the Poet

An interesting show that aims to explain the collaborations among artists like Picasso, Hockney and Motherwell with famous poets. The show will be exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago. It coincides with the Picasso and Chicago exhibit and was inspired by his love of poetry. Picasso collaborated with many of his poet friends while working in Paris, and this is a collection that shows the ways that visual artists were inspired by poetry in the 20th century.

Masterpieces of Modern Mexico

The Nelson Atkinds Museum of Art will be hosting an exhibition of works that are part of the collection of two East European expats who have been Mexican citizens since 1942. Besides representations of modern Mexican masterpieces, the exhibit includes pieces of Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera.

Good to know that wherever in the world we may travel, there will be some good art to be seen.