It all depends on where you live.
Can a family with an income of $100,000 or more really have a hard time getting ahead? FreeMoneyFinance's recent post on that question has prompted quite a discussion among commenters at his site. FMF launched the debate by remarking on a family mentioned in one of a package of MSN Money stories about the "squeeze on the middle class."
The couple make six figures, but are unable to save. "We struggle to stay afloat with the rising costs of car insurance, gas, utilities, food and other necessities," one of the family members said. FMF's assessment: "They're simply spending too much. They have no control on expenses." He also guesses that they live in an expensive area, noting that "$100,000 per year is a lot, but it's more in Omaha than it is in Los Angeles."
What can you do if you want to move?
You don't need to have a crazy interest-only or adjustable-rate mortgage to feel the pain of the housing slump. A reader who posted a question at Free Money Finance wisely put 20% down and got a fixed-rate mortgage in Las Vegas when that housing market was sizzling hot. Now it's not, and he's upside down -- he owes more on the house than it's worth because of dropping values.
His problem is that he wants to move.
"Free Money Finance" wrote: "This is a tough situation. He's played by the rules, been faithful, and is now left paying on an asset that's worth less than what he owes on it. And, to make matters worse, he needs to move (or at least I think that's what he's saying.) So he has to sell at a loss."
Planning, coupon clipping will cut your food bill.
To some, 60 minutes may be a TV show, but to Kris at Cheap Healthy Good, it's the time she takes each week to implement her personal system for saving major money on groceries. With the rising price of food, this is something we all need to read about.
Before you try her system, she advocates three steps. First: Junk any food on hand "that A) you can't identify, B) is in an advanced state of decay or mummification, and/or C) is old enough to be carbon-dated."
Samples abound -- if you don't mind looking like a pig.
After reading "Filling up on freebies: Where to score free food," at AzCentral.com, we thought: Writer Scott Craven wasn't craven -- in fact, he was brazen -- as he scoured the Phoenix area for free food.
From car dealerships and grocery stores to churches, restaurants and probably the most celebrated source of free samples of all (all hail Costco), Scott scored so much free food that he probably put on weight.
- Bing: Costco vs. Sam's Club
He proved that "there is such a thing as a free lunch. Or breakfast. Or dinner." That is, if you know where to look.
First, he set several conditions and expectations:
Many need to look at their own financial actions instead of making excuses, blogger says.
Some people are financially sidelined by circumstances beyond their control, while others just poor-mouth -- making excuses for their circumstances with phrases like "The poor man just can't get ahead" or "We struggle just to make ends meet" or "I work hard so I deserve it."
"Frugal Dad" calls these folks the "perpetual poor" and explains how you can identify them in this biting and humorous post. For instance, he writes, those who use the "poor man" rant referenced above "can recite the last five winners of American Idle (that's not a typo) from memory, haven't picked up a book since high school," and "never stretched to learn a new skill at work, but complain about being passed over for promotions."
Steps will help her financially, even if she keeps her job.
This guest post comes from "vh" at Funny about Money.
It's probably a bit late to batten down the hatches, since the perfect storm has already made landfall.
On the other hand, I hadn't planned on being laid off, and that still looks like a possibility. My beloved employer, the Great Desert University, did not announce the predicted layoffs that were to have included everyone in my job classification. But with the economy still riding the down elevator, it's likely GDU will have to make more cuts.
So, I've taken a series of steps to help weather bad times. Some of these, I think, apply to just about anyone in most situations. Here's some plywood to nail over the windows:
Planning your meals will help you save.
This post comes from Lisa Wade McCormick at partner blog ConsumerAffairs.com.
A family of five now spends an average of $135 a week on groceries, according to the Food Marketing Institute's U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends report for 2008. Fuel costs and other economic concerns could force that grocery bill to climb even higher.
- Bing: Find grocery coupons
Consumers are already feeling the pinch of high food costs on their pocketbooks, and many have changed their eating and shopping habits, the survey found.
One responder laments decision to get liposuction.
"Fox" at Squawkfox once a week hosts "squawkback." She poses a question every Wednesday and invites her readers to sound off.
Hayden Tompkins' three worst covered the gamut: "Co-signing for my brother's student loan. Signing up for a credit card in college. They need to get those people off campus. Getting liposuction. Sigh. Don't ask."
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