The discussion of finances and economics resonated with a large number of people. Far more than actually follow this blog.
Because there is an interest in the subject of finances it is appropriate to discuss, in order to assist responsible individuals where their personal finances are concerned.
1) Stop using Internet banking. The possibility of your account being hacked grows daily. Most financial institutions are not prepared and have no intention of being prepared for an assault on their systems, which could result in theft and liquidation of accounts on a scale unknown previously.
2) Return to traditional banking. Long term it is cheaper in terms of the cost of checks, stamps, and envelopes to pay bills with. It provides you with peace-of-mind because the balance of your bank account becomes your responsibility, and you do not have to play games trying to figure out the language banks like to use when it comes to Internet banking: Pending balance, likely balance, outstanding debts, pending payments, pending deposits. When you write a check and record it in your bank register you know the money is spent. When you make a deposit and record it you know the money is deposited. The language involved is simple.
3) Make it your personal standard and rule: Do not spend money you do not have on things you do not need. Pay cash whenever and wherever possible. I have one major credit card, and it used only in times deemed an “emergency”. When I needed to purchase a plane ticket I had to use my credit card because cash is not acceptable. When I needed a rental car after my plane landed I put it on my credit card. When I needed accommodations I put it on my credit card. But each time I did so I noted the expense and set aside that amount in my bank account, and paid the balance of my credit card in full when the bill came due.
4) Challenge yourself daily to save money. If you go to lunch five days a week make and take your lunch one day a week, and bank the money otherwise spent on eating out. One day a week, at five dollars a meal, will become two hundred sixty dollars after one year. It is not a lot, but it is more than you had at the start of the year.
5) Get back to the basics. Get rid of cable television. Get rid of satellite. Get rid of anything you do not need. If you choose to watch television, choose to watch over-the-air television. Read a book. Visit your public library. Go for a walk. Ride a bike. Enjoy the outdoors.
A challenge to Coloradans: What do you do to ensure your personal finances are healthy?