A Straight Talk on Debt

A Straight Talk on Debt gives you the real deal on debt, straight from our employees and personal finance experts. Learn more about debt relief plans and how to be financially fit.

Times are Tough

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Everyone is feeling the pinch. Groceries, gasoline, and heating and air conditioning bills have skyrocketed over the past several months and wages are stagnating.  

This is requiring families who may have already been under a financial strain to stretch the family budget even further. We have made some changes in our house to help cope with these economic pressures. I already worked a second job but decided to pick up a few more shifts as we are also saving for a wedding.  

What can you do?

  • Coupons.  When we grocery shop we take coupons with us and try to only buy things that are on sale. We also shop at Costco (bulk purchase) for items that we can freeze or for paper goods. A good idea is to split these costs with your family or friends. Before we go we talk to our family and see what they need to see if we can split any of the purchases. 
  • Plan your trips.  We plan our trips to make sure we take care of everything while we are out. It’s also a good idea to plan where you are going and take advantage of any other stores or stops that are in that area. Every few miles you save helps! 
  • Thermostat.  Our thermostat is set at 80 while we are out, 75 when we are home during the day, and 72 at night. During the summer take a look at purchasing ceiling fans or oscillating fans. They are far cheaper than a big electric bill from the air conditioner running all the time. When you buy a ceiling fan, look for one that you can reverse the blade direction and use that in the winter to push the heat down from the ceiling.
  • Cut the vacations short.  Originally we had planned to go to Florida but we opted instead to go to a local beach a few hours away. We will still get to do everything we wanted to but at about half the cost. Try to think of different things you can do as a family that aren’t expensive.
  • Entertainment.  Bowling is a great option because coupons are readily available, it’s inexpensive, and most alleys are air conditioned which is great in the summer. The cheaper generic movie theaters are another great option because it’s cheap and air conditioned.

What not to do

  • Stop contributing to your 401K.  We all have to retire sometime and the earlier you start and the more you put in, the better. On top of that, it does lessen your taxable income for the year which helps on April 15th!
  • Buy a fuel efficient car.  Spending fifteen to twenty thousand dollars on a new vehicle because it gets better gas mileage does not make sense if you have a vehicle that runs well now and is either paid off or close to being paid off.
  • Borrow from your retirement accounts.  The tax implications and future damage to your retirement savings can be disastrous. It is best to leave them alone.

 

Rob Taylor   

Rob Taylor is a contributing author for A Straight Talk on Debt. Rob tells it like it is when it comes to the latest debt industry news and shares his advice on personal finance.

 

 

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