Archive for November, 2009
by Ryan Loos on Nov.23, 2009, under Budgeting, Debt, General, Personal Finance
Well, we’re well into November now, and we are already seeing the retailers advertising for Christmas even though black Friday has not happened yet. I even have heard some radio some stations have switched over to Christmas music all the time. Christmas lights have been hung (some people even turn them on at night), Wal-mart is open till midnight, and the other stores are following along with extended hours starting this week.
All of this means that almost everyone is going to be spending extra in the upcoming month getting ready for Christmas. Travel, meals, parties, and of course gifts are among the expenses that will be higher at this time of year. How will you be paying for these items for your family? Some people will unfortunately be putting much of the cost onto their credit card(s) and hoping that they can make the minimum payments in the New Year. Hopefully you have seen this day coming – it is December 25th every year after all – and have saved over the past year in anticipation.
No matter what your Christmas 2009 budget is, there are many ways to make your yuletide dollar stretch a bit further. It’s a bit of a cliché, but it’s still true that it’s the thought that counts. A handmade craft is often a gift that’s remembered and cherished far longer than a store-bought item. This is especially true for children giving gifts to older relatives. Make use of such online sites as craigslist.com, where you can buy quality, gently used items for anyone on your list. My wife and I bought a gently used outdoor play set for our kids last Christmas for over 75% off the price we would have paid if it was brand new! It’s also a great place to buy vintage items that wouldn’t even be available in a store. Children in particular don’t care if the toy comes in a box or not. Don’t forget about stores like Ollie’s Bargain Outlet. Brand name items can be found there at significant discounts.
Above all, it is important to be in control of your spending. Knowing how much you have to spend and staying within that limit is key. A cash envelope can be very helpful for this. Remember, even if every other Christmas you’ve known involved credit, 2009 can be the year you break the cycle and commit to doing it debt-free!
by Ryan Loos on Nov.17, 2009, under Debt, General
After years of low interest rates, low inflation and robust consumer spending, card issuers confront rising defaults and deteriorating credit quality.
The past quarter-century was fun for American consumers. But after all that borrowing and spending, they’ve rediscovered thrift and prudence. This is good news for personal balance sheets but bad news for credit card companies.
Fitch Ratings recently forecast that earnings of U.S. credit card issuers will continue suffering because of the lousy labor market, bankruptcies and bad loans.
The report, summarized here by Zacks Equity Research, details how the major credit card issuers were dealing with losses as the nation’s unemployment rate hurdled above 10%. ”Also, as it is expected that the (unemployment) rate will remain above 10% through 2010 (and that) consumers will increasingly fall behind on payments,” Zacks said. “As a result, the losses of the credit card issuers could worsen further.”
This was copied from MSN Money
by Ryan Loos on Nov.13, 2009, under Budgeting, General, Personal Finance
I was reading a USA Today article this morning about the new FED rules for overdraft fees. I was blown away when USA Toady stated that the financial institutions for 2009 will generate approximately $38.5 Billion in overdraft fees in a single year! We must get control of our money. If you balance your check book, have a budget, and use cash envelopes there is no reason that you should ever have an overdraft fee. Overdraft fees are a sign that you do not have control of your money or you spending habits. Stop the madness, $38.5 Billion in overdraft fees, come on America and Canada we are giving them our money because we are not paying attention! New rules go into effect at 7/15/10 for new customers and 8/15/10 for existing customers. The financial institution can still offer the service but will need your permission for the overdraft.
by Shaun Somers on Nov.09, 2009, under Uncategorized
:debit interac "credit card" Canada
It may soon be the case that we Canadians no longer need to have a credit card! Currently, Americans can do everything with a debit card that a credit card can do, but in Canada our Interac system didn’t work the same way. So if a Canadian wants to book a hotel or reserve a moving truck, we need a credit card (we don’t need to PAY by credit, just have it to make the reservation). Well it seems that some healthy competition is on the horizon. Visa and MC debit cards will soon be making their way to Canada. Interac doesn’t like this of course, and may try to stall or block it, but I’m certain it will happen soon. A little competition is great for the consumer of course, and I just got an email from an online retailer telling me I can use my regular Interac bank card to make online purchases! I look forward to the day I can finally cut up my last credit card for good!
by Ryan Loos on Nov.09, 2009, under General
It was such a beautiful weekend here in Buffalo, NY- 65 degrees and sunny! I had to work on Saturday, so I prepared to accomplish a number of home projects after church on Sunday. Well, the weekend is over and none of the projects are complete! Driving home from church, my wife and I decided that we needed to scrap the projects for the day and take a family bike ride! This is something we’ve really enjoyed doing over the last few years, and didn’t make time for this summer. It was a great day! We drove along the Niagara Falls Blvd and parked around service road 24. We had a beautiful and smooth trail to follow all the way to Dufferin Island, where we stopped to feed the ducks and grab a snack. After biking back to our vehicle we had a sunset picnic by the river. The kids had a blast and bedtime was a breeze! It was so much fun just being with my wife and kids. It made me realize how precious our time is together and helped me to remember my priorities in life. What can you give up or put on hold to get more time with your family?
by Ryan Loos on Nov.04, 2009, under Uncategorized
Did the local politicians that you expected to win actually win? Did you get out and vote or were you to unmotivated to vote? I did not make it out to cast my choices for my local politicians. I just can not seem to get into local politics that much. I know that the local politicians affect us more than the national politicians (local tax rates, sales tax adjustments, zoning laws, and requiring permits) but there never seems to be a clear choice of a good solid tax and government reduction choice. What do you think?