Drive down debt, literally, with some tips from this post on Recession Proof Living. In it, the writer talks about how transportation costs, while necessary (we do need to go to work and all), can also quickly eat up your budget. Have you checked out much it costs to fill up your tank lately? Exactly.
The writer encourages his readers with several options, including buying an older car without bells and whistles for daily transportation, carpooling, working from home a few days out of the week, or taking public transportation.
I’m fortunate to be in an area now where I don’t need anything but public transportation, so my costs are very low. That said, when I lived at home I did have to drive a car to get anywhere worthwhile. I made sure to budget for gas and other typical expenses for the 1997 Ford Taurus I drove — brakes, sensors that blew right before inspection, regular oil changes, etc. — and stick to it, much like the six steps I offer for a comprehensive personal finance plan.
I don’t necessarily think you should buy a POS car just to keep costs down. It has to run well, too, otherwise you’re defeating the purpose by spending tons of money for repairs. Just know what you can afford by planning it out ahead of time, that way you’re not mired in debt just for car payments.
Speaking of debt, one woman went after Bank of America for raising her interest rate from 12.99 percent to approximately 30 percent on her credit card by launching a YouTube video virally. She finally won her battle, getting the company to reduce the rate back to its original percentage. All credit card companies are doing this now, to try and make up for money lost after our financial world went to pieces a little more than a year ago. Both American Express and Capital One jacked mine up, too. I don’t really care all that much because I don’t carry a balance.
The real lesson here, though, is you should not take these increases and hikes lying down if it is going to seriously affect you. Fight back, arm yourself with knowledge, and threaten to no longer do business with these credit card companies. More often than not, if you have been paying your bills on time, companies will compromise rather than lose you as a customer. Customer churn is a big deal. Due to the fact that virtually all studies on this topic show it is much more expensive to obtain new customers than keep existing ones, you have a bit of leverage.
Finally today, here’s a post from a Christian personal finance blogger — but it is not entirely devoted to personal finance. He talks about his fight with losing weight — 30 pounds in four months — and doing so without having to spend hundreds of dollars on fad diets, and other “state-of-the-art” exercise equipment. Personal finance and fitness have a lot of similarities in approach, obstacles, and ultimate results. Don’t shirk your health and fitness just to save money. A little balance is necessary — otherwise the costs associated with health insurance (unless you have an amazing plan from your job) can negate any personal finance gains.