Tuesday, November 01, 2005
Frugal Tips for Beating High Costs of Life
Hi! As a journalist, I receive a steady stream of news releases from different sources. Some of the stuff is really news you can use.
For example, the following news release is from Jim Baird of Midwest-based Plante Moran Financial Advisors.
"Five Consumer Tips for Beating the Rising Cost of `Everything'
"According to Jim Baird of Midwest-based Plante Moran Financial
Advisors, here are some quick tips that can put a little more jingle in
one's pocket now without compromising the long-term financial horizon:
1. Set A Monthly Budget: If you haven't already established a monthly
household spending and saving budget, do so now so there is knowledge
of actual expenditures and savings for both short- and long-term needs.
2. Maintain Current Savings Schedule: Alter spending habits first
before even considering a change in your savings schedule. Do not
reduce automatic savings and 401k percentages just to meet short-term
cash flow needs. Doing so will impact your longer-term financial
3. Re-think Charge Card Habits, Especially on Gas Purchases: Don't charge gas on a credit card if you cannot pay the balance in full at month's end -- this will lead to high interest payments on the balance
and you'll end up paying much more, depending on the terms of your credit card. Assuming common terms such as a 4% minimum monthly paymentand an 18% interest rate compounded monthly, a single purchase of $500 could ultimately cost as much as $716, if only the minimum payment is consistently made until the balance is paid off in five years. Other cards with more lenient 2% minimum payments could increase the total cost to $931, with payments extended to almost eight years. This does not take into consideration additional purchases or previous balances.
The best habit is to simply not use a credit card if you're unable to
pay the balance in full each month. Also, beware of "teaser rates"
which seem like good deals; eventually, a much higher rate will apply.
At best, you're buying time. You will still have to pay off the balance
quickly to avoid high interest charges.
4. Review Work and Errand Alternatives: Discuss with your employer the ability to telecommute to save on gas expenditures; consider forming a car pool with fellow employees living within a five-mile radius of each other and ask your employer to facilitate such car pool organizing
efforts. Multitask on outings and errands versus taking multiple,
single-purpose trips; in a two-vehicle household, use the vehicle that
is most economical.
5. Temporarily Alter Discretionary High Spending Behaviors: Reduce discretionary spending such as restaurant visits, shopping, and personal pampering excursions temporarily until prices even out. A weekly restaurant outing of $40 totals $160 for the month; a bi-monthly visit to the nail salon can eat away another $50 a month. Use this money for necessities first before purchasing what may be personal luxuries.
Plante Moran Financial Advisors is the nation's seventh largest
independent financial advisory firm based on assets under management
according to Bloomberg Wealth Manager magazine. Plante Moran Financial
Advisors is an affiliate of Plante & Moran, PLLC, the nation's 11th
largest accounting and business advisory firm. Our Internet address is
That's the end of the release. Great tips!
Frugal tips for beating high costs of life
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