Archive for the ‘keeping up with the Jones’ Category

A Debt Reduction Carnival

August 6, 2007

Our First Carnival.
Warning: Many exclamatory statements ahead. I guess we’re just excited, excited, excited about hosting our first ever debt reduction carnival. It certainly has been inspirational to be a part of the debt reduction community, really.

Would You Consider Helping Another PF Blogger?
We’ve learned a lot. So, sit back and click. Would you mind? The pf community is a great place for otherwise scarce information about debt reduction. Pf bloggers are making a public commitment to debt reduction — a powerful motivator. Perhaps you will post something to the next carnival, respond in kind? Since you’re reading this, it only makes sense.

[If the previous paragraph reads like utter dross — please pardon, there’s a reason, to be explained in a later post about marketing that exploits our deepest, largely unconscious needs. Look for it on Wednesday, most likely.]

For the record, these are in absolutely no particular order! Enjoy.

Two Investment Mistakes:
I’m partial to this post, perhaps because it looks into two mindsets, cognitive rules of thumb, heuristics, that can get us into trouble when investing. That’s psychology folks. So read on… It’s hard not to want to spur someone on that has just started a pf blog, whatever the focus — debt reduction, money management, frugality, investment. Check it out!

Building A Better Snowball:
Is it possible to resist such a title. This is an awesome post. If you haven’t read it yet, get thee to consumerism commentary and check it out. It’s got Pink Floyd, it’s got a killer financial plan for getting out of debt, it’s got a credit reduction calculator, did I mention it’s got a plan. For my money, setting up the emergency fund is key, this message cannot be crowed off the rooftops enough. Check it out!

When You Put Your Mind to It:
Clever Dude is not kidding. He shares his method for destroying $58,000 in debt. There’s hints galore for even the most world-weary debt gladiator. One of my favorites is “We Fix Things Ourselves.” It doesn’t take much — not that I’ve done it — to change the oil in your car, does it? Check it out!

Free Credit Reports, A Cornucopia:
Hustlerama offers no less than 15 ways to get a free credit report. Not that I’ve actually ever done this, but this could be the inspiration that finally puts me over the edge. I’m actually kind of worried that some of our behavior has led to some nasty credit comments. Maybe not. An important step in reducing debt: Know where you are, financially. (And for the not-faint-of-heart, scroll down about halfway down his homepage and look in the left gutter — something to roil the emotions of any debt reductionist.) Check it out!

Alternate Income Streams:
I’ve ventured into this area, but think it is underutilized. An occasional CD sold on amazon has bought me the occasional lunch. At businesscreditcards, the focus is New Media Ways to Raise Capital. Some tips you’ve probably not considered. If you’ve got a little time, these could really pay off! Check it out.

David On Finance:
Has got some well considered thoughts on when to consolidate debt. He also uses the phrase “raw power”, which I think is highly under-used in the pf world. If it was good enough for Iggy… David makes some excellent points about credit unions (not always…) and extra payments (ah, the power!). Check it out!

Grad Money Matters:
He calls them myths. I call them heuristics, cognitive shortcuts, rules of thumb. Well, some of them, anyway. There’s a goldmine of good advices and links here. I particularly like what he’s done with the I’ll-never-get-out-of-debt-so-I’ll-give-up mindset. Check it out!

Mighty Bargain Hunter, Putting Things in Perspective:
This is a refreshing post that puts a little forest into the viewfinder (rather than trees). Your debt needs the context of your life. Not other people’s lives. An important thing to be reminded of, that. Check it out!

Sex for $3:
Can you beat that for a deal? Another whale of a post from one of the funniest bloggers around. If you’re not conversant with the ways of Bianca and Basil, you’re in for a treat. Check it out!

OOPS: It appears that the Bizarros have “scrapped” their blog. I’m not sure what this means, but hope it’s temporary. The link may not work. Sorry.

A Book Review. Now I Want to Read This Book.
Books are invaluable motivators for re-focusing. Get it at the library or one of those great used books sites (I kick myself when I think of all the new books I’ve bought — used books are simply no longer the coffee-stained acid-ravaged items we encountered in less-than-savory warehouses.) And of course, Trish at blogging away debt is a certified maven of personal finance. Check it out!

Another Lie About Debt:
Here’s another perspective enhancing article. (Or a link to it.) In the circle of linking, I got this one from blogging away debt. I found it so interesting I broke my goal of having 10 links for this carnival. So now we have a nice prime number. Check it out!

Am I Really Ready to Get Out of Debt?
Okay. So Let’s Make It An Even Dozen. NCN submits some interesting points, ready starting points for self-inquiry. I particularly liked the one about being ready to withstand the opinions of others. Let’s face it, turning down lunch because you don’t want to spend money is awkward, in many circles. Check it out!

Comments?
We’ve enjoyed hosting this incarnation of the debt reduction carnival. If there was anything you particularly liked or disliked, we’d like to hear about it.

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You’re Jonesing and You Don’t Even Know It — 5 Signs You’re Trying to Keep Up

June 10, 2007

I just read an article by Jean Chatsky called Trying to keep up? You’re jonesing for debt.

The term “keeping up with the jones” always seemed like some sort of alien suburbian phenomenon to me. Something that I was not susceptible to…after all I don’t care about fancy cars or a top of the line lawn mower. But if I’m honest with myself I do fall victim to this and so might you. Here are 5 signs you might be trying to keep up with the Jones just like me:

(1) Free Lunch?
You accept invitations to go out to dinner or lunch without recognizing if it’s part of your budget.

(2) Everyday Plastic
You use credit cards to pay for everyday expenses such as your morning latte or your groceries. You do this because you don’t have enough cashflow to pay for these items. You convince yourself that it’s because of the miles and you’ll pay it later.

(3) Guilt Money
You have guilty feelings (perhaps unconscious ones) about not spending time with your child or about your child having less than other children in the neighborhood. You say you want “the best” for your child and this leads you to buy clothes, toys, books you perhaps cannot afford.

(4) Retail Therapy
You may have had a mediocre day at work or a fight with a friend. Perhaps you just have the blues. Your response is to treat yourself to retail therapy. You do this without consulting your budget. This could be as innocent as a trip to Target. $100 later you are still the same person but have more stuff and potentially $100 of debt.

(5) High Anxiety
High anxiety can lead a person to do regular retail therapy. It can also allow a person to make bad lifestyle choices that can influence your long term fiscal health. I see many parents in Los Angeles make bad financial decisions (pay for private school, too many classes for their kids, etc…) because they do not have faith in themselves or in their kids’ ability to adapt and succeed. Expect a little more from yourself and from your kids. Throwing money at a perceived problem doesn’t mean it will be solved. And there may not even be a problem just perhaps some anxiety or discomfort that needs to be looked at more closely.