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1st No Spend Day

January 5th, 2007 at 02:33 pm

Well, it looks like I'm going to finally have my first No Spend Day.

I mentioned in my previous post that the grocery store is usually what keeps me from having a no spend day.

I made it through today without going to the grocery store, but I'll definitely have to go tomorrow, cuz the Chiefs made the playoffs and we plan on grilling up some good chow for the game (even though I don't think anyone expects us to beat the Colts)!

Anyway... I'm excited about my first No Spend Day and am looking forward to many, many more No Spend Days in the future!

I Want a No Spend Day!

January 4th, 2007 at 02:51 pm

So far in 2007 I have not had a No Spend Day.

My biggest obstacle is that we go to the grocery store almost every day. As hard as I try (grocery lists, menu planning, etc.) I always seem to need something.

So... I'm on a mission to have my first No Spend Day (tomorrow - already went to the grocery store today). Wish me luck!

Holiday Spending Update

December 26th, 2006 at 10:49 am

I just added up my holiday spending for this year, and I did ok!

Although I don't stick to a strict budget, I did have a spending limit in mind - both a total limit and per person.

I have to say that I overspent on my two nieces (the two babies of the family - I just couldn't help myself!). But, thanks to a couple of really good sales, I saved quite a bit on gifts for my parents and sister, so I still met my overall spending limit.

Thrifty Ray blogged about Christmas Account 2007... Already?, and I couldn't agree more with him. Having a savings account/fund just for Christmas gifts is a huge stress reliever, so I will be starting mine soon.

How about everyone else? Did you meet or exceed your spending budget? Any tips/thoughts to make next year a better year?


Beware the high cost of payday loans

December 12th, 2006 at 09:05 pm

I noticed that a payday loan store moved into my neighborhood recently, then I looked around and realized there are several in my area.

This made me wonder... how profitable are these payday loan places, that they are popping up on every street corner? I've heard that payday loans charge high interest rates, but I had never really researched this info before now.

Here's what I found out...

First, if you're not familiar with payday loans, basically, they are short-term loans, usually in small amounts. Typically, you write a check for the amount of the loan plus fees, and the lender cashes the check on a specified date, usually one to four weeks later.

Here's an example: you need $100 to pay your bills so you borrow $100 from a payday loan company. You write a check for $115 and leave it with the lender, to be cashed in two weeks. Your fee for that loan is $15 - that is an annual percentage rate (APR) of 391%.

Although the Truth in Lending Act requires lenders to disclose the finance charge, including the APR, many consumers do not understand the true cost of a payday loan. To continue the example above, let's assume that you can't pay the $115 when it comes due. The lender allows you to roll the loan over for another two weeks, but you pay another fee each time you do this. If you rollover the loan in the example above three times, your total finance charges would be $60, for a $100 loan. That equates to an APR of more than 1000%!

As you can see from the example this a very costly way to borrow, even when compared to high interest credit cards. If you find yourself in a cash bind, here are some alternatives to payday loans to consider: a personal loan from a bank or credit union, a personal loan from family or friends, a cash advance against your credit card, a cash advance from your employer, etc.

Tips for Controlling Holiday Spending

November 15th, 2006 at 07:27 am

I was thinking about ways to keep holiday spending in check this morning. Here's what I've come up with so far:

1. Set spending limits, including a total limit for all holiday gifts, and limits for individuals you will be buying for

2. Make a list of each person you want to buy for and gift ideas. Carry list with you as early as Fall to take advantage of any sales, etc.

3. Start a Christmas fund in January for next year. Many banks offer these. A CD (if interest rates are good) might be another good idea.

4. Make your own gifts (if you have creative talents). I like to cook, so I will sometimes bake goodies and give as gifts.

5. Pay cash. Or, if you are disciplined enough, use your credit cards, but pay the balance in full as soon as you get the bill.

Any other suggestions?