Stupid ideas come in all sorts of packages. Bad debt, various loans, purchase decisions, and delayed savings. Most people reach the age of 65 with little or no savings. They live off social security and what little else they have. It is no wonder the golden arches are filled with workers in their golden years.
Anything that wastes your money and prevents you from becoming debt free can be a stupid idea. The only way to save and invest money is to not send it to creditors each month. Only when it is yours to keep can you put it aside to work for you as hard as you have worked for it.
It is not your job in life to make your creditors rich. The goal is to make you rich. If you are going to make that happen, stay away from bad decisions. Decisions made in the absence of good, or even any, information. Time pressured, desperate decisions are seldom made with enough information.
Anything that slows down spending and requires you to think twice before parting with your money is a good idea. Fill out a Purchase Checklist for any decision that requires spending more than what you have in your pocket. Some questions you need to answer:
-- Is it on sale?
-- Can you pay cash?
-- Where will the money come from?
-- Do you know the cost of credit if you don't pay cash?
-- With that cost added in, is it still worth buying?
-- Is this a need or a want?
-- Could you justify this purchase to another person? and
-- Would you accept these reasons from someone else?
Stupid ideas abound when ignorance, greed, and pride (definitely not the common sense triplets) form the basis of your decisions. Ignorance is simply an absence of knowledge or information. Greed is nothing more than wanting more than you should. Pride is caring what your neighbor, or someone you don't even know in an advertisement, thinks of you.
So, knowing there is no winner in the contest to see who is the most stupid, here are some things to avoid in your financial life.
Bad debt is defined as any debt other than a home mortgage, education loans, and some business debt. Bad debt should be avoided. If you have it, getting rid of it should be your number one priority. Then get rid of your other debts. The more money you can put away as opposed to sending to your creditors will make a dramatic difference in your financial progress.
These particular types of bad debt need to be avoided at all costs:
-- Auto Title Loans
-- Payday Loans
-- Rent To Own Stores
-- 125 Loans
-- Credit Cards
-- Pawn Brokers
If you find yourself even considering using any of these call a friend and have them talk you out of it.
Other bad ideas include some of our habits. This is not moralizing here, just a hard look at how bad habits drain your financial resources. Smoking, alcohol consumption, buying coffee and a donut on the way to work, lunches at work, and anything else which has become a habit can cost you a tremendous amount of money per month. Money you could be putting away.
Make a fast calculation of what you spend each day on these habits. Then multiply it by the number of working days in a month (usually around 22). This is the money you waste each month. You need to put it in your pocket not someone else's. And let's face it, you will feel better too.
There are plenty of people willing to benefit from your stupid ideas and bad decisions. If you find you have already embraced some of these stupid ideas, change your choices. Don't double your mistake. If you make a stupid decision, you don't need to stick with it. Learn from it and move on. Decide if you are going to have some burned fingers or a ruined life. Live and learn from the burned fingers; let someone else ruin their life.
Article courtesy of David Wilding at www.debtattack.com. Visit the site for other ideas to combat debt. You may print out and use their Purchase Agreement to save yourself from further debt. Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.© 2004 debtattack.com
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