This morning while waiting for my car to fill up I put the time to good use. I read all the hazard warnings.
I couldn’t help but think how much better off we might be if there were similar warning signs posted in stores, restaurants and malls warning of the hazards of plastic. ATM, debit, and credit cards can be every bit as hazardous to our financial health as fumes and improper handling of gasoline fuel can be to one’s physical health.
The vicious cycle of plastic-induced debt begins subtly. Before you know it, you’re knee deep in the accumulation of things, all the while losing something precious called financial freedom.
There is a cure for the plastic disease. Put yourself on a cash diet. Here’s my challenge: No plastic whatsoever for the next seven days. Of course you shouldn’t send cash through the mail, but I’m talking about day to day living. Continue reading
The most powerful financial tool you have at your disposal is your ability to control and choose your thoughts. Your attitude is the only thing in your life over which you have complete control.
Your attitude is more important than anything–more important than education or experience. It is more important than how much money you have, how much you owe, what you would like to do or where you want to go.
You cannot design the circumstances of your life. But you can tailor make your attitude in response to those situations. The way you choose to respond to your circumstances from the mundane to the major has the potential to change the course of your life.
Here are some ideas for how you can put your attitude to work for you. Continue reading
Recently I spent a few days on the campus of a private university in the mid-west. I was there to speak to the students on money matters—specifically the student loans many of these students will take with them as part of their college experience.
Remember the days when to get a loan you had to qualify and prove you had the capacity to repay the debt? Well, for college students those days are history. They do not need to have a job or a co-signer to get humongous amounts of student debt. And, from what I discovered on my recent visit, students are more than willing to accept large amounts of student debt and at the same time load up on the credit-card debt as well.
But here’s the good news. These young adults are willing to listen to advice from someone who’s been around the block with debt. Seizing the moment, I told them: Continue reading
Money a little tight? The secret to getting the cash coming in to exceed the cash going out is to reduce your spending. It’s as simple—and as tough—as that.
But once you understand that cutting expenses is really like giving yourself a tax-free raise, the job gets much easier. The challenge is to find realistic yet painless ways to trim spending without taking all of the the fun out of your life.
Go on a cash diet. It’s best to spend only cash in order to curb mindless spending. Surveys indicate that cash customers are more mindful of what they’re doing, and therefore spend 17 to 23 percent less than those who pay with plastic.
Also, limit ATM trips to once a week. Develop an envelope system for areas that can get out of control, such as office lunches and entertainment. Take your ATM cash and distribute it among your marked envelopes. When you go to lunch or a movie, take the money from the corresponding envelope. When the money is gone, that means no more spending until the next fill-up. Continue reading
Frugality. It’s a word that for many people screams deprivation and even poverty. I get letters from readers who say they’ve had it with trying to live below their means and never having anything they love. “What’s the point if all of this deprivation if it just makes me feel even more miserable?” was the way one woman closed her letter.
Look, I can’t know your particular situation. But I do know this: If you adjust your attitude, get a plan and then let nothing stop you from reaching it, you can have the things you love.
Frugality isn’t just about cutting costs. There has to be a specific reason involved. And it can’t be something nebulous like “Because I want to be rich.” Frugality is about scrimping and cutting like crazy on the things you really don’t care about so that you can the things you love. It’s a matter of deciding what’s really important and what’s not—and I mean on a daily basis, and as a way of life. You have to get out of your “coma spending” and into conscious spending where every expenditure counts and every dollar matters. Continue reading