Rob M. recently forwarded an MSNBC article which proclaims life is harder now, some experts say. By “some experts”, the author means Elizabeth Warren, whose ideas I both love and hate. “Warren’s theories fly in the face of conventional wisdom and those crowded malls,” the article says. Her theories also fly in the face of my personal experience. Sometime I’ll sit down and read a lot of Warren’s writing at once so that I can post more than a gut response.
Here’s an example of the sort of debt I see in the people around me: This woman — who recently appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show — has $135,000 in debt and spends $400/month on Starbucks. She spends nearly $60/week on tanning and manicures. (Her husband bears responsibility for this debt, too, of course.) I don’t know couples who are in this much trouble, but I’ve seen a lot of wanton spending in my time. (I’ve done a lot of wanton spending in my time!)
At Dumb Little Man, Jack has posted some advice that the Oprah couple ought to heed: 10 smart ways to live below your means. Most of these are mantras you’ve heard before, but it never hurts to review: buy store brands, buy used, keep your car as long as you can. My favorite — avoid advertising — isn’t listed here.
Elsewhere, Pick the Brain recently asked: What tools do you use to manage your personal finances? We’ve covered this subject a couple of times at Get Rich Slowly. Someday I’ll find the time to compile a comprehensive list!
Finally, if you don’t read the Get Rich Slowly discussion forums, you’re missing out. There are some smart folks over there. The place has been hopping lately, with interesting threads like:
- The effects of politics on the U.S. economy (as you’ve noticed, I try to avoid politics in the blog, but they’re fair game in the forums)
- Kitchen appliances: The good, the bad, the unnecessary (this is a great topic — I may have to appropriate for a front-page post)
- I started the success stories forum for the Wii contest, but now that we’re finished with that, this area is taking on a life of its own. It’s a great place to crow about your personal finance victories. For example, SJean just found the courage to successfuly negotiate an increased salary. Awesome!
The forums just passed the 750 member mark. Next stop: 10,000 posts!
This article is about Spare Change