Monday Night Finance- Volume 103

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8 Things to Avoid Buying in Bulk

With inflation the highest it has been in decades, we all want to save a little bit of money at the grocery store if we can. While the price of nearly everything in the grocery store has skyrocketed lately, there are still some ways for crafty consumers to save money. One of the most common pieces of advice is to “buy in bulk” at the grocery store. This strategy, often touted as a surefire way to stretch your dollar further, has become a cornerstone of frugal shopping. Yet, as intuitive as it might seem to stock up on larger quantities to save money over time, this approach does not apply universally.

After six months to a year, spices start losing their potency. So buying huge bulk containers might not be the way to go — unless you cook a lot. Think about what you use most often, and whether or not you really need that much of each spice.

~Miranda Marquit,

While buying in bulk is often hailed as a cornerstone of frugal shopping, not all items are suited for bulk purchasing. You may find that sometimes it’s better to buy certain items in smaller quantities. This article by  Miranda Maqruit summarizes eight examples of things you may not want to buy in bulk: examples include nuts, cooking oils, brown rice, condiments, cereal, frozen foods, spices, and nutritional supplements. These items all have relatively limited shelf lives and can lead to waste if bought in large amounts. For example, nuts and seeds can go rancid within a month or two due to high fat content. Brown rice, healthier but less shelf-stable than white rice, lasts six months to a year and frozen foods suffer from freezer burn, diminishing their quality. On the other hand, if you think you can consume all of the product before it spoils, it may make sense to buy in bulk. You’ll want to make sure you can buy what you will realistically use and avoid discarding spoiled but unused food. Check out the article for more details.

Managing Money Is Easy, Managing Wealth Isn’t

Do you know what it means to be wealthy? Is that the same thing to you as being rich? Are you constantly looking after your investment returns, but haven’t talked to your friends since leaving college years ago? The difference between money management and wealth management is worth pondering. This article by Anthony Isola looks into the essence of true wealth, which goes beyond mere numbers in your bank account.

Wealth isn’t as easily defined. Many agree true wealth involves contentment, not dollar signs. Measuring something this nuanced, like individual happiness, is more complex than your retirement number. Pondering this isn’t time wasted.

~Anthony Isola, A teachable moment

This article talks about how to handle your money smartly and what it truly means to be wealthy. The easy part (managing money) is to put 10-20% of what you earn into simple investment funds and letting it grow over time. The author warns smart people not to think they can outsmart the stock market by picking individual stocks. It’s much easier to invest in the whole market (through index funds). While this is common financial advice, the article gets more interesting when it takes a broader view of wealth. True wealth, says Isola, isn’t just about having a lot of money, but It’s about being happy with what you have and spending your time on things that matter. He then shares advice from Seneca, an stoic philosopher, who said we protect our money but waste our time on things that don’t matter. When we look at wealth, we should remember time is valuable, and we shouldn’t put off important things, thinking we have forever. If you have been worried about how you’re spending money and time, you may want to check out this article.

Should You Invest in Stocks at All-Time Highs?

We all know we are supposed to invest our savings, but what happens when the market just hit an all time high? Does that mean that it’s a bad time to invest since the market is at its peak? Or perhaps it is a good time to invest if you think the stock market has momentum and will continue to climb? No matter what your typical investment strategy is, you may have more emotions around investing near an all time high. If that’s the case, you might want to check out this article by Nick Maggiulli.

While this is just one possible strategy you could use to try and profit from all-time highs, as you can see, timing the market is almost never a good idea. I’ve written about market timing maybe more than any other topic, yet I always come to the same conclusion—don’t do it.

~Nick Maggiulli, Of Dollars and Data

Investing at all-time market highs can seem intimidating, sparking debates among investors about the wisdom of buying stocks during such times. Nick Maggiulli revisits this topic, analyzing historical data to evaluate the performance of investments made at all-time highs. Historical patterns indicate that while markets tend to trend upwards, reaching new highs is relatively rare, and their occurrence does not guarantee immediate future gains. Maggiulli finds that short-term returns might be slightly better following new highs, but the advantage diminishes over longer periods. The analysis suggests that investing solely based on market highs is not a reliable strategy, highlighting the importance of maintaining a well-considered investment strategy rather than attempting to time the market. Ultimately, the decision to invest should be based on individual financial goals and risk tolerance, rather than market condition