Maybe younger folks will learn and pledge 'never again.'
Baby boomers have been receiving a lot of criticism in recent months for their collective contributions to our country's economic problems.
First, we are blamed for an extreme amount of debt-driven consumption that inflated highly leveraged real estate and credit bubbles. Second, we are now being blamed for an excess of saving when many so-called economic experts are calling for increased consumer spending. In general, boomers are probably guilty on both counts.
I have a suggestion.
Instead of wasting energy hurling insults at financially irresponsible baby boomers, why don't we make a list of all the money mistakes that were made by the boomer generation? The younger folks can read the list and then pledge "never again." I hereby volunteer to start the list of boomer mistakes. Here we go:
Many of today's fixed expenses are for luxuries.
This post comes from Trent Hamm at partner blog The Simple Dollar.
When I was young, my parents always managed to make ends meet, even though my mother was a stay-at-home mom (she had a part-time job of less than 10 hours a week when I was in school) and my father worked in a factory. Sure, we were able to bring in a little extra money by fishing and we lived very frugally at times, but my parents were able to raise three children on the income of one factory worker.
Flash forward to today. That scenario is basically impossible. Virtually every family I know either has both parents working full time or one of the partners earning a very solid income. The idea that one parent can work a typical factory job while the other parent stays at home is pretty much a thing of the past.
A summer spent serving hot dogs can scar you for life.
Daniel at Casual Kitchen gave up fast-food burgers for life after working for one summer at a Burger King. The experience of making thousands of burgers -- and that was 20 years ago -- ensured that he just couldn't face another one. (He can still eat french fries.)
"Being around this food so much cured me of this ‘cuisine' for the rest of my life," he wrote in a post called "Scarred for life by a food industry job."
Dan asked: Do readers have similar experiences to share? That question opened up a mini floodgate. (Our thanks to Kris at Cheap Healthy Good for the link.)
When was the last time you cleaned your coils?
Your refrigerator/freezer combo is the biggest energy consumer among all of your appliances -- seriously. It gobbles about $100 in energy each year. Even worse, it's often home to lots of wasted food -- leftovers forgotten and allowed to spoil, etc.
To put it simply, your refrigerator and freezer are money sinks. They're expensive in the first place, gobble down energy like there's no tomorrow, and sometimes ruin the food that's inside. What's a thrifty person to do?
Here are a few simple techniques to overcome and reduce these costs with surprisingly little effort.
Blogger has some unique money-saving ideas.
"Frugal Dad" provides 75 tips for cutting back to help your budget withstand the impact of rising gas prices, higher food prices and our other economic ills. We love compilations like this because you can print them out and put them on the fridge.
Frugal Dad covers a lot of ground here, and has some ideas we hadn't considered. He cuts bottled juice with water to make it last twice as long. To save money but salvage his social life, he meets friends after the dinner hour. Eating out, after all, can be a mighty budget buster.
Here are some other samples (click here to read the entire list):
The small 'justifications' can add up.
This post comes from partner blog The Dough Roller.
While we don't have any credit card debt now, except for 0% APR balance transfers, there was a time when we did. While we never let our credit cards get completely out of control, we did build up several thousand dollars on our credit cards when I first got out of college.
So having gotten into card debt and then climbed out of it, we've learned many of the causes of this financial pain. The fact is, we can talk ourselves into using our credit cards in ways that will hurt our finances down the road.
So here are 10 lies we tell ourselves that get us in credit card debt and keep us there.
Parents face social pressure to pay for photos every year.
Are school pictures one of those things you can’t sacrifice, no matter what they cost? What if you simply can’t afford them?
Jenn at Frugal Upstate offers three ways to avoid this expensive, annual tradition. (However, she wrote that under the pressure of time, "I caved. … Yes, I have now shelled out a grand total of $75 for school pictures: $29 for each of the kids for one of the smallest packages, then $17 for Buddy’s soccer pictures," she added.
One reader of Lafayette, Ind.-based MomsLikeMe.com reported paying $100 total for her two kids. Others lamented that you can’t buy photos a la carte anymore, but have to get an entire package.
"It's like cable. You have to pay for all the stuff you don't want or use," wrote "mockingbirdmom." "What a racket."
Maybe your bank will let you opt out of overdraft protection.
We’d venture that overdraft fees are the most hated fees charged by banks, and they charge a lot -- an estimated $36.7 billion last year, USA Today reports.
Bankaholic explains how overdraft fees work:
It doesn’t matter whether they’re buying a mink coat or a $4 latte at Starbucks. And to help them charge as many overdraft fees as possible, the banks deduct the largest purchases on any given day first to drain accounts as quickly as possible.
Now, facing possible restrictions from Congress and the Federal Reserve, more banks are putting limits on the despised fees, which are often in the neighborhood of $26 to $39.
Here’s what you can expect in the near future:
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