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If you’ve ever been in a long-term relationship, especially if you’re married or living together, I can almost be sure that you’ve had a money fight. If you’re one of the lucky few couples who never had a money fight, my advice to you – keep talking to each other and taking into consideration each others financial goals.

When it comes to money, one of the biggest causes of problems in relationship is differences in values, goals and habits, especially when it comes to talking about money issues.

There is a saying – Money can’t buy love, but it sure can tear it apart.

While I can’t say that my fiancée and I are perfect when it comes to money matters and relationships, I can say that we’ve come a long way when it come it handling our money matters, and now we rarely ever have money disagreements. We are in a much more solid relationship these days – we learned how to talk about money, and how to align our financial goals.

Learning how to talk about money and how to align your financial goals is the core of this post. If you can do those two things, there is a stronger chance that your relationship is on solid ground and you’ve accomplish more than most couples.

Sit and talk about each others financial goals and values. It seems obvious and sensical, but many couples often neglect this step, because talking about finances can be uncomfortable – especially in the early stages of a relationship. Many times these important things are left unsaid and often don’t even think about it individually. That’s a mistake, as one person might want to be penny-wise in order to save for future goals, while the other might like to spend and enjoy things now, while the getting is good. The differences often come from different upbringings. But it doesn’t have to be difficult, just tell you partner you would like to sit down and talk about the future – what your goals are and how you can work together, as a team, to achieve them. In the beginning Liuda (my fiancée) and I just started spitting out different things each of us wanted – a house next to the beach, kids, going back to school, traveling around the Caribbean, tech gadgets, and etc.

Then start to prioritize, and see if you can come up with things in common. If you want different things, it is important that you talk about why, and consider the other person’s desires. If that’s what makes the other person happy, you should want to make them happy — that’s the basis of a good relationship, where both individuals are happy within the relationship.

Remove emotions from financial talk. It’s important that the two of you stay calm, from the first meetings about financial goals to your subsequent monthly talks. Try looking at these issues objectively without getting hurt or angry over any of the issues. Often financial issues are tied up in all kinds of emotional issues, from a previous relationship, from childhood or maybe if your way of spending is criticized in any way by your partner. With financial issues these emotional issues most times are tangled together. It’s important that you untangle them and just deal with financial goals and habits.

Don’t go blaming the other person or even be negatively critical. Simply talk about your financial goals, developing a plan for getting to those goals, developing a system for dealing with finances, and so forth. Again, think of this as a team effort, not as a you-vs-me effort.
Come up with a plan to meet your goals. You need a plan to get there. Once you’re able to come up with some common financial goals that already is a huge step (celebrate!). I’m talking about thinks like your joint income, your debt, your savings, how much you can put towards debt and/or saving each month, whether you want to cut back on certain things in order to meet your savings goals, how long you want to give yourself to meet financial goals, and so forth. Having a definite time-frame for each goal is a good start, and figure out how much you will need to pay towards debt and save each month to get to your goals. Don’t be upset that you might need to cut back on some things, or need to earn some extra income-or both.

This plan to meet your goals is how you will align your daily and monthly spending with your long-term goals. It’s also a great way to resolve minor short-term dispute — you should definitely buy fewer shoes, and I should buy fewer video games, so we can buy that house in three years. 🙂

Above all, stay positive and be honest. Remember: you’re a team and you want each other to be happy while working towards common goals. Team members can help each other out and encourage each other, or they can rip the team apart by being negative, by blaming, by working against common goals. Try staying positive and you’ll succeed as a team. Lastly, make sure love is the foundation of everything of you do.

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By now you should notice the skyrocketing prices for groceries at the supermarket – it’s hard not to notice these chances in prices, because they going up by the days, weeks, months and years. You may have also noticed that even locally produced food items like eggs and bread, have risen by nearly 25%; while many of the imported (processed foods) stays the same or drop in price. Even worse, the price of fruits and vegetable has all gone up at the local market, making it even more difficult for a family to eat healthy.

What could be causing these prices to up? There are many possible reasons: fuel cost, export restrictions, global shortages,and the list go on. But the true of the matter, you as a consumer these high prices are hunting you bottom line. Economists are predicting further price increases ahead, now, it’s becoming mandatory to save some extra money for the future. By the outlook on how things are going-no knows when these prices with come back down.

Here are some tips on how you can eat healthy and still save some money in these high times.

Stock up (now) on Basic Non-perishables Food Items

Over the past months, flour (white) has gone up by almost 30%. Rice 10% I strongly believe that now is a time to start stocking up on the important non-perishable. I’m not saying that you go and stock up a five year supply of everything, a half bag of rice will last a long time for any regular size family, it will not spoil and it will act as a cushion against the constant increase in prices over time. The same goes for other products like pasta, flour, beans, and vegetable oil, each of these are going up at mad rates so it would be worth it to buy this in large portions.

Eat What’s in Season

Fruits and vegetables has also seen an increase in price over the past two years, making harder than ever to eat healthy, ever for middle income families. Buying fruit and vegetables that are in season either at your grocery store or local farmers’ market is the best way to make sure you get a good deal, and can make a big difference in the price you pay.

Another way to save money is to freeze them. Pineapples, tomatoes, cherries, and mangoes all freeze very well, although freezing them may leave them a little soggy. Rather than simply eating them raw, there are still many uses for fruits in cooking. Same goes for vegetables, they freeze very well – they’ll be ready for use without any more prep work once you’ve clean and chop them before.

Buy Meat on Sale

Over the past several years, the price of meats have had a pretty flat average. Trick is to get it when it’s low or on sale. Then you freeze this too.

Plan Meals and Shopping Ahead of Time

Probably the most important thing you can do is to plan you meals and shopping ahead, this will help with in spoilage – which lots of time a result of poor planning. Writing it all down on a list and see what you’re going to need to make all your meals for the next two weeks. Bring that list with you whenever go the store/supermarket, try not to buy anything that’s not on the list unless you realize you honestly forgot something.

Take along a Calculator

Knowing how much you are buying as you go along shopping will help you stay within your budget, so that there will be no surprises at the check out counter. Luckily, a lot supermarkets put the price (per ounce, pound,etc), which makes it a lot easier for the consumer to decide what the better deals are.

Stop Buying Bottled Water

one of the biggest rip-offs in the world would be bottled water, especially in Dominica. You pay more for a bottle of purified tap water than you do for a soft drink. Aren’t there fewer ingredients in bottled water, so why are you paying more? That needs to be stopped right now. It’s cheaper to get an inexpensive reusable bottle and a water filter, if you must have a bottle of H2O with you.

Hope these tips can help you save some money on your next visit to the grocery store. What about you? What tips do you use to save some money at the grocery store? Share them in the comments.

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There are lots of people who enjoy keeping busy and even holding down jobs all the way into their old age years. In a recent post I asked the question “When Last Have You Thought About Your Retirement Income?“, I discovered that a large number of people are considering skipping out on retirement altogether and prefer staying employed for a long as they are physically able. My boss is a perfect example – for the past sevens years she’s been planning on retiring.

Yet around Caribbean there also tons of people who just don’t have a choice but to keep on working beyond the age of 60 which is the average age for retirement, simply because they haven’t saved enough for their retirement or didn’t start saving early enough.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could retire on our own terms to pursue the things we’d like do. Taking on a job in our senior years is something that should be voluntary and not a requirement. And though the idea of retirement may be a big change for many people – many prefer to continue working instead of relaxing – retirement is still a goal that everyone one of us should aspire to attain, just so we get to control whatever time we’ve remaining in this world.

For all those who are not workaholics like me 🙂 and who would like to retire on time, here are some great tips I came across over at TheDigeratiLife.com – a blog which writes about money, personal finance, geeks and cyberspace in the silicon valley.

Start investing early.

This is by far the most important recommendation made to anyone who would like to retire on time. It’s one of the most ubiquitous tips I’ve read about investing, and for good reason: the earlier you start investing, the longer the magical power of compounding can work on your funds, thereby ensuring you a healthy retirement.

Invest with any amount you can afford.

A lot of people make the excuse that they don’t save and invest because they just CAN’T. I know someone who says he just cannot afford opening a retirement account because all of his income goes to supporting his family. Yet he’s a heavy smoker and drives a fairly expensive car that requires some maintenance. With some adjustments and heartfelt effort, he could very well be on his way to building a decent retirement nest egg. Freeing up even just a $100 a month to put in an investment account is really all that it takes to build a simple, diversified investment portfolio.

Avoid procrastination and letting life “take over”.

Let’s face it, thinking about retirement and more generally — financial management — may not be the most exciting thing in the world. We’re faced with distractions on a daily basis and we’re living busy, hectic lives. If you’re like me, you’re constantly wondering where all your time has gone, by the end of the day. So its way too easy and tempting to have our financial matters take a backseat to everything else; but by going along this path, we may eventually find ourselves in our middle age with meager savings. Being more proactive about our finances and taking a more serious look at our long term financial goals should help us avoid this plight.

——- Personal Note ——–
Forget how hard the economy is presently, the early you apply these tips together if whatever ideas you’ve – the better chance you’ll have not to work in your retirement years. Though I believe a lot of people will agree with me – that it will be fun to keep working all the way into grey years. Once you do it on your own terms.

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