Foreclosure? Job loss? It's time to be brutally honest.
An anonymous GRS reader submitted a question last week that hits close to home:
I have a family member who this past year has been in serious financial trouble. He is one of the most ambitious and intelligent people I know and I would have never imagined him getting in this kind of trouble. His ambition may have been his downfall as he keeps shooting for the stars and has fallen short on some of his business ideas, which may have put him in a more vulnerable position when the economy turned south. He is now living in debt and struggling to put food on the table for his wife and four young boys. He has had to live on credit cards for several months and they are all maxed out. I have never seen firsthand anyone in this much trouble. My question to you is: When faced with job loss and depleted savings, how can you avoid going into credit red? To what lengths would you go to avoid living on credit cards and missing payments on just about everything? In the situation, is credit rating even worth anything?
As I say, this situation hits close to home.
Marketers want to mind too much of your business.
Why, when we're confronted, do we tend to blurt out the truth, even when it works to our disadvantage to do so? Chaucer had it right when he said that "truth is the highest thing that Man may keep." Sometimes we should keep it to ourselves.
Asked in the right way, we'll often reveal private, sensitive information that's strictly none of anyone's business, that's valuable to people trying to manipulate us into buying products and services, and that can be used to pester or even harass us. Warranty cards with long lists of personal questions are especially egregious: What about your favorite sporting event and the magazines you read is needed to guarantee a flashlight's performance? And how often do you give your phone number to companies that have no need to know it?
There are several calculations to consider.
Particularly for those looking to buy their first home, the big question is always: How much house can I afford based on my income? I can still remember when my wife and I tried to crunch the numbers when we bought our first home back in 1993. I was scared to death that we wouldn't be able to afford the mortgage payments. But we did, and as the months and years went by, our mortgage payments became more manageable.
If you're considering buying a home, it helps to have an idea of how much you can afford. It's very important to think of this question from two different perspectives.
Fewer cars are being built with manual transmissions.
Better gas mileage can be had from what used to be standard in cars -- the manual transmission, or stick shift. But how many drivers know how to use one these days?
It's a lost art, but a very efficient one. For its October issue, Consumer Reports bought two versions of seven different cars -- ranging from a $15,800 Scion to a $24,000 Mini Cooper -- and found a gain of 2 to 5 mpg with a standard versus automatic transmission in the same model.
Most readers say 'don't do it.'
Hank's friend, a father of three, faces a difficult decision: He's been offered a job in Iraq that will pay $290,000 for a year's commitment.
Like most big decisions, it's very complicated. But we'll tell you right now that most readers who commented on Hank's post said, "Don't do it."
Do your research, and remember you're dealing with expert negotiators.
This post comes from J.D. Roth at partner blog Get Rich Slowly.
When I bought my used Mini Cooper in April, things didn't go exactly as I'd planned. Part of this was because I hadn't done enough research. But a lot of it was because the dealership had some tricks up its sleeve and I did not.
'Historic' tax is expected to encourage about 1 million to quit.
Many smokers aren't finding the cost of cigarettes a laughing matter. The federal tax on a pack jumped Wednesday -- April Fools' Day -- from 39 cents to $1.01. The tax increase is so big, it's being called "historic."
Higher federal taxes apply to other tobacco products, so even those smokers who have taken to rolling their own to save money can't escape them. (To see how your preferred product is affected, click here.)
You can supplement your TV diet with rentals and downloads.
Are you tired of paying for cable or satellite TV?
Would you like to get digital-quality TV and many of your favorite cable shows for free?
If you answered yes to these questions, today is your lucky day. Today is the deadline for broadcast TV stations to switch from an analog to a digital signal. This switch from analog to digital broadcast television is referred to as the digital TV or DTV transition. Starting Saturday, June 13, full-power television stations will broadcast only digital over-the-air signals. Many local broadcasters have already made the transition.
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Even those who don't like to shop are probably hitting the stores this month. Here's what to be on the lookout for and here's what to avoid.