Maybe my perspective is different than most. Maybe I’m the odd duck. I keep hearing about all these amazing ways to save money, get out of debt, stretch the almighty dollar … People are getting onto news shows and writing books on this stuff. Others are sopping it up like the best brown gravy ever made.
HELLO. This is not rocket science. And, to many of us (ok, maybe some of us) it is not new or unique or awe inspiring – it’s just common sense. Don’t live beyond your means. Don’t buy things when they are not on sale. Don’t get caught up in the ‘everybody else has one’ spiral. Don’t buy a house you cannot afford. C’mon, people who make $50,000/year cannot buy (and should never want to buy) a $500,000+ house. I don’t care what everyone else is saying. If you can’t even save enough money for even a minimal down payment, you are not ready to buy a house.
So, here are a few ‘tips’ that will surely save you some money. Stop. Think. Say no. Then, when you have reconsidered and still feel the need – shop around. Find the bargains. Place limits on what things are worth. Needing a car does not mean you have to buy a new one – no matter what you think you deserve. Your kids will not die if they don’t have Uggs to wear – really. My kid is still kicking around in her Target (Tuggs, we like to call them) version. A plain t-shirt should cost less than $20 – not $50. If you can’t afford to pay for next semester’s tuition bill, don’t eat out this month. Do you really need new placemats, curtains, bedspreads, … right now? Is it worth charging and paying much more for them in the long run?
Finally, for those who use credit for many purchases – have you ever figured out how much it really costs you for the things that you charge? (assuming you do not pay your balance each month). Think about this – if you charge a $500 purchase and just pay the minimum payment every month, you will pay almost $200 more for that charge (with an interest rate of 18%). Was that item worth $700?? Think about it.
I’m not saying that there are not good tips for saving money out there. We should all be more aware and do things that conserve and try to save. Turn off lights – replace light bulbs with more efficient ones - combine car trips and carpool to save gas – recycle items – buy used – cut coupons – etc. Every little bit helps. And don’t forget to teach our kids the value of a dollar. Maybe the next generation will be on a better financial track, but ‘m not holding my breadth. This is America after all!
On my walk this morning, I was especially enjoying the view throughout my neighboorhood. Last night’s rain had cleared, the lawns look plush and green and the leaves are starting to show some scattered color. My mind wanders through things to do later today, company coming this week, need to dust upstairs and then settles in on what I see as an American mess of politics and overall attitude right now. Bummer - I liked thinking about the pretty colors better!
We gripe a lot here in the US. Of course, we have the right to gripe – because we live in the US. In Iran, they have to be careful not to gripe in front of the wrong people, in Tibet they can’t say anything bad about China, in several countries in Africa, they are too weak or tired or hungry to gripe … I could go on, but I hope you get my point. So, to all of you out there busying yourselves by posting divisive commentary on your facebook wall or tweeting complaints about ‘Obama socialism’ or watching Fox crazies reinvent the meaning of words to suit their own agenda and so on – think for just one moment about how lucky you are that you are able to do all of these things without fearing anything more than a nasty comment back from someone who disagrees with you. We may not love everything about living here, but I don’t see many of us choosing to make a life somewhere else.
So, do yourself (and others around you) a favor – stop the madness. Let’s have civil discussions about what is happening. Let’s look at words and try to understand the true intent. Let’s not listen to people who’s only intent is to mislead and rile people up. Let’s not jump on every darn bandwagon before we do our homework about what the real story might be. Let’s get sensible people!
This is not my first blog. I blog on my small business website and I have a WordPress blog that is business related (or at least written for my professional side). I find that I want to write about other things – politics, parenting, things I observe, etc. – but they did not fit into my other sites. So this will be it. My place to vent and put some other thoughts out there – get things off my chest. I often come back from a nice long walk with things that I want to write down – things that came to light during that cathartic walk through my beautiful neighborhood or along a wooded path.
I hope you will read and enjoy and respond every once in a while.
More to come soon!