Bloggers can foul up finances too
Personal-finance writers have been guilty of buying too much house or too much car, or living too large.
Don’t true stories like these just about make your hair fall out?
You can find these and other financial foul-ups -- housing and otherwise -- in a series of guest posts compiled by Brian, the 20-something blogger at My Next Buck. Being smart people, these bloggers learned from their blunders and often offer possible solutions.
- Bing: Mortgage horror stories
“The problem lies in the simple fact that we believed we needed things before we could actually afford those things,” Matt wrote. He added that “since we cannot get out from under the home, we are focused on rapid elimination of non-mortgage debt. Once that is gone, we will move on to the second mortgage, then the first mortgage.”
Maybe we can all learn from these bloggers’ mistakes. Here are some other samples from Brian’s Financial Foul-Ups series:
- Too much student loan debt. Stephanie at Poorer Than You applied early decision to film school without finding out first how much financial aid she would qualify for. The result: $42,546 in student loans. “Student loans are debt, and no, they’re not ‘just a part of life,’” she wrote. “Thanks, 17-year-old me, you’ve got me paying off student loans until I’m 48! You little brat!”
- Too much car. Jason of Redeeming Riches bought a new car when he worked part time during college -- financed at $254 a month with a huge balloon payment after four years. “Thankfully GM was struggling at the time (the four years were up) and they came out with an incentive program: Trade in your car for a brand new one and we’ll wipe out your Smart Buy!” he said. Kelly at The Centsible Life also wrote about wasting thousands of dollars because of poor car planning.
- Too much spending. Jeff Kosola took a part-time job delivering pizzas -- his blog is called Deliver Away Debt -- to pay down $101,000 of debt, but a lifestyle his family couldn’t really afford ate up the $1,200 a month in extra income. They adopted a budget and have paid off $13,000 in four months. Plus, he wrote, “Never deliver pizzas in a leased H3 Hummer. The gas will KILL your best efforts.”
- Too much rent. David Weliver of Money Under 30 moved back in with Mom and Dad after he racked up $15,000 in credit card debt during college and one year working in New York. He couldn’t handle living at home again, so he got an apartment with friends. Too cramped, he found a place of his own. The $1,000 a month allocated for debt reduction thus dwindled to $300, and he’s only now close to paying it off. “Had I been willing to live at home for an additional two years, I probably could’ve gotten debt-free and saved up a modest down payment to buy a home,” he said.
- Bad credit. Brian, the host of this series, contributed several posts, including one about how an unpaid $81 late fee for library books kept him from renting an apartment after a landlord spotted it on his credit report. “Now I know to check my credit report annually -- to make sure everything is kosher -- on AnnualCreditReport.com,” he wrote.
Brian, a serious comic book fan, also compiled The Spectrum of Personal Finance, a one-day project inspired by the Green Lantern. Eight PF bloggers contributed to that event.
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ABOUT SMART SPENDING
Editor Bev O'Shea lives and works in the foothills of the Appalachians. A former copy editor for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the Orlando Sentinel, she joined MSN Money in 2007. She's a fan of sunsets, college football and free shipping, among other things.
Having worked as a writer, reporter and editor for more than 25 years, Editor Julie Tilsner is the sort of person who can't help but correct grammar in Facebook postings and on billboards. She's written for BusinessWeek, the Los Angeles Times, Parenting, Redbook, AOL and others. She lives in Los Angeles County with her family and loves to drink wine and practice yoga, although not generally at the same time.
A writer for MSN Money since January 2007, Donna Freedman won regional and national prizes during an 18-year newspaper career and earned a college degree in midlife without taking out student loans. She also writes about smart money tactics for magazines and on her own site, Surviving and Thriving.
Mitch Lipka has been warning people about scams and shining light on questionable business practices for more than 20 years. Mitch, the consumer columnist for The Boston Globe, has also been a reporter and editor at The Philadelphia Inquirer, Consumer Reports, South Florida Sun-Sentinel and AOL. He won the 2010 New York Press Club award for best consumer reporting online and was honored in 2011 for his reporting on child product safety.
Marilyn Lewis is an award-winning writer with a passion for getting readers clear, straight information that helps them stay out of financial trouble. A former reporter for The San Jose Mercury News, she works from her home in Port Townsend, Wash. Contact her at MarilynLewis@Outlook.com.
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