The following information is updated from an article that I wrote while I was a financial counselor/educator at the Naval Submarine Base in Groton, CT. I regularly wrote financial articles for the Subase newspaper, “The Dolphin.”
Hasn’t it happened to all of us? We go to the grocery store or the mall to buy what’s on our list and somehow we emerge with three times what we wanted. How could we have done that?
Well, chances are we are unaware of emotional triggers that can make us overspend. To be a savvier, thriftier shopper, try these nearly effortless strategies because they could have a big impact on your bottom line.
Keep your hands to yourself. Studies show that the longer you hold a product, the more likely you’ll want to buy it. Handling an item, even for a moment, makes you feel it’s yours.
Get ride of temptation. That means halting the never-ending stream of e-mails and catalogs from your favorite stores. They just intensify your urge to splurge. To stop receiving catalogs, direct-mail ads and store e-mails, visit dmachoice.org or catalogchoice.org. Unsubscribe from e-mail lists individually by following the directions that are typically at the bottom of each message.
Calculate the real cost of your purchase. Before you buy that “gotta have it” item, try thinking about the money you’ll spend in terms of your time or what else it could buy. How many hours will you have to work to pay for it? Could that chunk of change cover a car payment or a week’s worth of groceries? You may decide that “must have” item isn’t a “must have” after all.
Unglue yourself from the tube. According to the A.C. Neilson Co., the average American watches more than 4 hours of TV each day (or 28 hours/week or 2 months of non-stop TV- watching per year). In a 65-year life, that person will have spent 9 years glued to the tube. And that could be hazardous to your financial health because people who watch a lot of TV tend to crave more material possessions – that’s according to a study published in the Journal of Consumer Research.
Be prudent with your plastic if you lack self-control. As you’ve probably learned the hard way, charging your purchases to your credit card makes it easier to overspend. Researchers discovered that people are more likely to buy only the basic necessities when they fork over actual dollars and cents.
If you are tempted by promotional offers that come through the mail, buy a shredder and shred the stuff immediately. The purchase of the shredder will be a cost effective move in the long run.
Finally, keep your financial goals in sight. Clip a beautiful image from a magazine that represents something you really want. If possible laminate the picture and stash it in your wallet so you’ll see it every time you purchase something. It may prevent you from making an impulse buy.
Once again, thank you for reading my blogs, playing the money-o games and downloading my free ebook, “Money-O management kit for beginners.” Every step, no matter how small, you take to educate yourself about financial matters, is one step closer to your becoming less stressed out over your finances.
What your credit reports say about you is important information for you to know.
Your credit report contains detailed information about you and your credit history. Your credit report contains the following details:
Who you are, other names you have used and where you have lived and worked.
How much you owe creditors, including how many accounts you have and how long you have had them.
Whether you have made payments on time and as agreed.
Whether there is negative information about you in public records, such as liens, collection lawsuits, bankruptcies and judgments.
How many inquiries have been made and by whom which may indicate how often you have applied for credit. Applying for credit too frequently may be viewed by creditors as an indicator of high credit risk.
Information remains on our credit report for 7 years. This includes delinquencies. Bankruptcies can remain on your credit report for 10 years.
You should review your credit reports for the following reasons:
Credit reports can be reviewed by many entities, such as lenders, employers, insurance companies and landlords.
You need to confirm that the reports are accurate, to correct any information that is inaccurate and to monitor for fraud or identity theft. In my counseling sessions, I saw problems particularly with people who had names such as “Smith,” ” Jones,” “Baker” and the like. Many times information on their reports belonged to another person with the same surname.
Studies show that consumers who read and understand their credit reports do a better job at obtaining, responsibly using and maintaining good credit. Also, reviewing your report will help you identify and improve weaknesses in your credit history.
You are entitled to one free credit report annually from each of the national consumer reporting agencies (Experian, TransUnion andEquifax). You are also entitled to free copies of your report if you’ve been turned down for credit based on information in that report.
Order online: http://www.annualcreditreport.com. This website (authorized by Federal law), however, will not give you a credit score.
Play the Money-O game on Credit. It’s just another tool to help you become more knowledgeable about the whole topic of credit.
Thank you for reading my blogs, and I wish you continued success with your desire to learn more about personal finance.
A recent survey showed that 43 percent of all married couples argue over money. What’s a couple to do?
First, work as a team in managing your finances and maintain equal voices in your partnership no matter how much money either of you earns. Talk honestly and openly about money attitudes and expectations without judging and criticizing. It is important to develop a dialogue about money that last the rest of your lives.
Money is a very big part of marriage. And when a husband and wife are not on the same page as far as family finances go, other difficulties inevitably arise. Most couples discover soon enough that a lack of money, a lack of spending control, or a lack of emergency savings eventually causes other problems in a marriage.
One subject of major importance – communication, followed by setting objectives and agreement on a financial roadmap – are key.
Some suggestions for accomplishing financial objectives:
Stop living beyond your means
Treat your household like a business
Pay down your debt and agree on a plan of action in which you both share equally in cutbacks
Go on a debt diet starting with the little stuff
When you pay off debt, celebrate a LITTLE
Simply talking with each other, being realistic about expectations, and making that financial plan, married couples can have healthy financial marriages.
Finally, respect and love each other for both your strengths and weaknesses.
Thank you for visiting my website and reading my blogs. And keep up the good work of increasing your knowledge of personal finance.
It’s evening for me as I write this blog so I hope the day has been or will be a good one for you.
I’m asking you a question with this blog because being wealthy has different meanings for all of us. And I urge you to write down what wealth means to you. Does it mean having enough money to buy a house, send your kids to college, being able to save money for a retirement, or some other goal.
Once you know what wealth means to you, you can learn about how to create it. It’s very important to get the right information, to plan and to make good choices in order to achieve your goal/s. Yes, some of the best things in life are free, but everything else takes money to buy. And some of the most important events in our life involve money – getting married, having a child, going to college, planning retirement, enduring a major illness, getting a divorce, fill in the blank with your own need/s ____________.
And why am I concerned about the financial security for most of us – because I just read an article that said that by 2016, the 1% of wealthy people will own about 50% of the global wealth! It’s a lot easier to make more money when you have it. That’s why for those of us that are not part of the 1%, we need to acquire a basic understanding of money and how to manage it.
In my next blog, I’ll write about establishing goals. Until then, thank you for visiting money-o and reading my blogs.
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