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Champagne Taste, But Only Beer Money


I heard this phrase the other day and I thought it was genius! It perfectly sums up America today. People have champagne taste, but only beer money. Meaning, people love the finer things in life – you might enjoy big houses, expensive vacations,and nice cars. None of that is bad stuff, but if you only have the money to afford a small apartment, a camping trip, and a Ford Escort, then you are trying to buy champagne with only beer money!

The Problem Is…..That It Is Possible

20140228 - beerThe average household earns almost $50,000 a year. With this income, a family should live rather modestly (especially if they have children). Their house value should be somewhere below $125,000, their cars should each have a value of no more than $5,000, and the vacations should be limited to one small one a year. However, people tend to embrace the YOLO (You Only Live Once) lifestyle and continually match their friends’ nice cars and homes as if it were a game to be won. Of course, they don’t buy their stuff with cash that’s laying around the house. Nope, they start financing everything, because after all, that’s what everyone else does!

In order to buy that “champagne” car we decide to borrow from the bank. It might only cost us $250 a month, so it’s no big deal. Then we find that perfect executive style “champagne” house. Oh we could just live in it forever and be so happy! Back to the bank we go and start paying out $1,600 a month in mortgage payments instead of our cheap $600 rent. We are quite happy for a month or so, and then the weather begins to turn cold. “We could really use a vacation,” you think to yourself. “After all, we work way too hard. We deserve to get away.” So, out comes the credit card to pay for that “champagne” Caribbean all-inclusive vacation.

After a few of those “champagne” moments, we begin to realize that we have no cash left at the end of the month. We have the finest bubbly all around us, but we still have to pay for it each month, which means that we are now in shackles without escape. We can’t sell the car because we owe more than we could sell it for (and then we would be without a car). We can’t really sell the house because we overpaid for that too (since we wanted it so bad), and that credit card bill certainly isn’t going anywhere. We had champagne tastes, but only beer money, and since we overspent we can barely afford the necessities of life! This is certainly not the way you want to live.

I Prefer Water

I’d say that my income is somewhere in between champagne money and beer money, but quite honestly, I prefer water (figuratively speaking, and literally). Beer money would mean that I can afford a $125,000 house, but what’s wrong with the $75,000 house that I just bought? Absolutely nothing, and I am loving my extra cash flow every month! It has allowed me to pay extra money toward my mortgage and to make a few car investments (yes, I am flipping cars again). By purchasing water (back to figurative speaking again) with my beer-ish money, I have so many more options available to me than those with champagne tastes – and that’s the way to truly live and be happy. It is a carefree, easy going lifestyle that I promote to everyone I meet.

Are you trying to buy champagne with your beer money? You might need to check yourself and curb your spending.



My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.

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