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The www.FedPrimeRate.com Personal Finance Blog and Magazine

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Bad Spending Habits All Around Me...

MONEY: Bad Spending Habits All Around Me...
So I am back living in the house I grew up in; a big town just outside of New York City.

The house had been empty for years...Not because it's in a bad neighborhood.

Empty because the cost of maintaining this house is too high.

Old-world construction is very strong and sturdy, but the cost of heating + cooling this place is extreme.  It's the kind of house that OK during the cool months, but feels hotter than the outdoors during the summer, and colder than outside when the weather gets frosty.

And then there is the property tax.  Extremely onerous, and it never goes away.  And if the bill goes unpaid for a long time, as it has here, a lien can happen, then a tax sale...πŸ’°πŸ˜­πŸ’ΈπŸ˜­πŸ’Έ

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Student-loan debt is pure evil.  Many years ago, when I was really struggling, I defaulted, and "they" were able to access my bank account and take every penny I had.  It was less than $1,000, and they just took it without warning.  I wasn't able to pay my rent.  It was hell.

Losing control with credit-card debt? MUCH worse.  Did that when I was young and stupid, but eventually get my act together and paid it all down to $0

But credit-card debt is unsecured. A bank can't take your home away from you, no matter how much credit-card debt you have.  BIG difference.

So my cousin decided to move into this house and give living here a shot.  Made sense to her, because she landed a great nursing job in NYC.  Great pay, A+ benefits and all the overtime she wants. Only problem was that she lived in Massachusetts. This house solved that.

So now my cousin has two places that she calls home, in two different states.  She commutes back and forth a lot, but the 3-hour drive goes by fast, especially on weekends.

My mother (RIP) spent lots of money on repairs and renovation.  Other members of my extended family pitched-in too.  While empty, thieves and/or squatters did bad things.

There are young children here, but the house is big, and the walls are thick.  Noise is contained, and the kids have plenty of room play, without disturbing anyone. The situation here is cool and calm and drama-free, which is very, VERY important to me. After all I've been through over the past 22 years, I have no tolerance for ugly behavior of any kind. ZERO TOLERANCE!

This OLD House!

There is, however, a nagging concern here: my cousin and her husband are both shopaholic-spendaholics.  There is more footwear dumped all around this house than I have EVER seen in any home.  There must be at least 300 pairs of shoes...In every corner, and every room.  Moreover, there are more daily deliveries from Amazon than I used to see in the retail outlet I managed years ago.  Stacks of boxes, all shapes and sizes, and from all over the world, waiting outside,
every day. Crazy....πŸ˜±πŸ“¦πŸ₯΄πŸ“¦πŸ˜±πŸ“¦πŸ˜΅β€πŸ’«πŸ“¦πŸ˜±

The mother of my child was REALLY GOOD at wasting money, and doing so in the most despicable way. Tantamount to just flushing it down the toilet.  So yeah: these things bother me...πŸ˜‘πŸ˜’πŸ˜πŸ«€

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Ease Your Mind By Taking Control Of Your Finances

Ease Your Mind By Taking Control Of Your FinancesIf you are feeling like you don't have any control over your finances you are not alone. Whenever there is an economic downturn like we have recently experienced it is normal to feel a sense of panic regarding your finances. Admittedly there are many things you may not have control over when it comes to your money, however there are some areas where you can and should take charge of your finances to have some peace of mind during these troubling times.

  • Do you know where your investments are? Many people allow their retirement accounts or other investments to go on auto pilot during good times. There is no better time than the present to dig deep and get a better understanding of your portfolio.

  • Don't panic if your home has lost value. Unless you are in the market to move or sell right now, you shouldn't worry needlessly about your home losing value. The housing market goes up and down and having your house lose value is simply part of home ownership. However if you are struggling to make your mortgage payment due to having β€œtoo much” house you should consider looking for help now before you get too far behind to help yourself.

  • Secure your job. This tip may be easier said than done in the current employment market. With many people losing their jobs and companies downsizing everyday it is clear that you may not be able to do anything to prevent job loss. That being said, you should make every effort possible to do the best job you can do. Now is not the time to be slacking at work. Get there on time, try to limit time off and be as efficient as possible while you are there in an attempt to secure your job.

  • Pay down debt and reduce expenses. This common sense advice should be followed regardless of the economy but is especially important in a recession. While you may have no control over the state of the global economy, you do retain control of your individual spending. By cutting costs and paying down debt you put yourself in a better financial position for the future.

  • Put major purchases on hold. If possible put off any major purchases that will further strap your budget. Now is not the time to incur more debt or tie up your existing disposable income for additional payments.

  • Protect your credit. Credit is a precious commodity as lenders try to reduce their risk in the current economy. Protect your existing credit by always making at least your minimum payment, on time, every time. If you skip a payment or pay late, creditors may see you as a risk and respond by applying higher interest rates or reducing your available credit, both of which hurt your financial position and credit score.

By taking control of what you actually have control over, you can reduce your stress level and feel confident in your money management plan. However if you find you are losing control or are unable to follow the steps outlined it may be time to ask for help. There are many options available for debt relief if you find yourself in a position where you no longer have control over your finances. Your problems won't solve themselves, be pro-active and face your situation for a better financial future.

Trisha Wagner is a freelance writer for DestroyDebt.com, a debt community featuring debt forums. Trisha writes regularly on the topics of getting out of debt and personal finance.

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