I just read an article with tips for saving money and getting into better financial shape before the next recession. Here’s the tips in a nutshell:
- Use an app to get great coupon codes to save money when shopping online. Well, that seems good except for one thing: the app is sponsored by a major credit card company. So, while they help you find coupon codes that work to save you a few bucks on stuff you buy online, they also market their credit card to you. A fair number of people will take them up on their offer. So, once again, while you’re saving a few dollars on stuff you buy online, you’ll be giving it to the credit card company monthly instead. Credit cards are MUCH more expensive than paying full price for something online.
- They suggest also that if you have over $10k in debt, that you sign up with a debt consolidation company to roll all your debt into one monthly payment. The say there are zero fees for doing this UNTIL YOUR DEBT IS RESOLVED. Well what happens then? They take a percentage, that’s what happens. NEWS FLASH: You don’t need to pay a debt consolidation company to do this before, during, or after you have paid off your debt. You can do it yourself using a debt snowball reduction plan and still have your debt paid off in a couple of years (except for your mortgage perhaps …) With this plan, you make minimum payments on all your debts, but you focus your attention on the smallest one to get it paid off quickly and get a win. Throw everything you’ve got at it. Then, when that one is paid off, you move on to the next smallest debt and do the same thing. You do this until they’re all gone. When a tsunami of debt is hanging over your head, it’s hard to believe that you will ever be able to get out of your situation alive, but you will if you are persistent. You don’t need to incur additional debt by using a debt consolidation company.
- They say you should cancel your car insurance. Use their service instead, to find the lowest rates out there. Their service hooks you up with every national insurance company that promises to save you $500 or more a year on auto insurance. Now this is one area in which I don’t like to take my chances or get the cheapest insurance out there. Once your emergency fund is fully loaded, it might make sense, but until then, in my opinion, it doesn’t. I spent many years as a single mother, and I can tell you that some things are simply worth paying for. Good auto insurance is one of those things. When I was a single mom, I certainly couldn’t afford to be without transportation if anything happened to my car. And inevitably, something would happen to my car every few years. I commuted back and forth to work every day for about 45 minutes to an hour each way and I can tell you that Murphy’s Law is still in effect. When you’re commuting like that, there are plenty of opportunities for Murphy to move in and set up housekeeping in your life. This is how I learned about how worth it was to pay a little extra for things like auto rental insurance. If you don’t have transportation, because you can’t afford to rent a car while yours is in the shop being repaired after a fender bender, you’re out of business in a hurry. Ditto for windshield coverage, which is a very small amount compared to purchasing a new windshield because the truck in front of you threw a rock into yours. Now you can’t pay hundreds of dollars for a new windshield, and you don’t have coverage because you thought you wouldn’t need it. Wrong! And the last thing I want is to be on the phone and email list of every fly-by-night insurance company in the country. Use a good, reputable, local insurance broker. That person deserves your business.
- You can earn a $300 bonus if you use the new Blobbity Blob Blah Card and maintain excellent credit. Well guess what? It doesn’t matter what my credit score is if I don’t use credit cards. There are also no annual fees associated with not using credit cards. Go figure. Also, according to the article, my first 12 months is zero interest, but then after that I’m locked into a variable rate interest situation that ranges from nearly 19% to nearly 29%.
- Then, they figure that when I hit that 12-month mark, I may want to consider moving my balance to another card with a longer interest-free time. I can delay high interest – or any interest – for up to 21 months doing this, but then I’ll need to pay the piper eventually. Interest rates then go up – starting at nearly 17% to nearly 27%. OK, a little lower than the previous card, but still expensive. The only reason I can see for doing this is so that I can use that time to pay those balances off entirely and then close out the cards.
You can run, but you can’t hide. The house always wins. Play accordingly.