Archive for the 'Credit card debt' Category

Do Your Work With Your Whole Heart

Friday, August 1st, 2008

Do your work with your whole heart, and you will succeed. (from my fortune cookie)

I love this fortune. It’s so simple yet very meaningful.

The best way to deal with these challenging times is to find the joy in what you do - and put your whole heart into it. If the job isn’t you’re idea of perfect, and you have no other choices, find something, even the smallest part of that job and find the joy in it. The more you focus on the joy, the more things you’ll find that you enjoy in that job.

It’s no different than when we were little and we would tense-up when the doctor went to give us an injection. Tensing up only made it hurt more, but no matter how many times Mom told us that we continued to tense-up when were given injections. Now, as adults we know to look away and remain relaxed when the needle is inserted and we barely feel the pinch, if at all.

When you put your whole heart into something it becomes a joy to do. And, whatever is a joy to do flows with ease. When we tense up with negative emotions such as fear, or anger, for example, we dam-up the flow and actually end up making things worse in our lives.

When in doubt follow the path of least resistance. Resistance is painful, acceptance peaceful.

Repay! Repay! How to Find Hidden Money in Your Budget

Sunday, July 20th, 2008

The Sunday edition of The New York Times had an excellent article titled, Given a Shovel, Digging Deeper into Debt, about the dangers of using credit cards and cash-out refinances to live beyond your means. The story focuses on a woman, who like millions of homeowners in recent years, refinanced her home several times to pay off credit card debt, until she ended up $271,000.00 in debt; $129,000.00 more than the original loan amount she’d taken to buy her house. Her financial house of cards came crashing down when she had a serious medical emergency, and then later lost both her jobs. Her home is now in foreclosure.

The article also placed some of the blame on lenders’ policies of easy access to money for both mortgages and credit cards, and their strategic marketing campaigns designed to ease the guilt associated with spending money and increasing debt. The woman in the article says what she regrets most is all her needless shopping. She said if she had it to do all over again she would learn to deal with her emotions instead of using shopping as therapy.

I’ve written several similar posts on this such as; Is Advertising Making up Poor?; Creating Kindergarten Consumers; Will We Ever Learn When it Comes to Mortgage Lending?; and How to Reduce Credit Card Debt all dealing with the issue of living beyond your means, and our addiction to consumerism. The road to financial solvency and real wealth begins with reducing, and then eliminating credit card debt.

To find the extra cash needed to pay off credit cards take a hard look at where your money goes each month:

1. Bottled water. Buy a water filter instead and “make” your own.

2. Don’t use paper towels for everything from cleaning to spills. Buy some good dishtowels and micro-fiber cleaning cloths that can be washed and used over and over.

3. Do not waste another cent on disposable ANYTHING from paper plates, plastic cups and utensils, coffee filters, toilet scrubbers, to mop cloths. Buy permanent and reusable items instead.

4. Go through your pantry once a month and pull everything out. You’ll probably find you already have 2 or 3 of everything you keep buying each time you go grocery shopping.

5. Cut back, or cancel your cable television entirely. You’ll be surprised how much time opens up to do other things in your life.

6. Stop shopping for clothes for every occasion. Go through your closet and find all the clothes with tags on them, or that you rarely wear – and start wearing them. Everyone will think you bought new clothes anyway.

7. Use up all the shampoos and conditioners you have lining the shelves of your medicine chest before you go out to buy more.

8. Don’t pay to have others do the things you can do yourself such as house cleaning, manicures, or hair coloring. Cancel the fancy landscaping and fertilizer service. Scale back to just a mowing service, or better yet cut the grass and trim the bushes yourself.

9. Wait a day and think before making a purchase on credit. Many times the impulse to buy fades within a day or two and we realize we really don’t need the thing as much as we thought we did anyway.

You’ll be surprised how much more money you’ll have to pay down credit card debt when you cut back on just a few of these things. Look around there are probably more things you can cut. Commit to buying with cash from now on and you’ll be on your way to attaining real wealth.

To read the NYT article paste this link into your browser:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/20/business/20debt.html?th&emc=th

Who Creates Your Economy?

Monday, July 7th, 2008

Do consumers create the economy, or does the news create the economy we experience? I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. Why is it that when the economy is sizzling we feel positive and go out and buy what we need even if nothing has changed for us, and when the economy slows we step back and allow fear to grip us?

A few years ago when the housing market was roaring and seemingly unstoppable there were some lone voices touting that it was only a matter of time before the “housing bubble” would burst. But, these voices were few in comparison to the din of positive ones, so buyers continued to buy and sellers continued to sell with ease.

The negative voices started drowning out the positive ones when banks began showing losses in the subprime market (loans to buyers with sub-par credit), which caused buyers to hesitate and stand on the sidelines. As buyers withdrew from the market prices dropped based on oversupply and decreasing demand. As values sank banks began reigning in many of the programs that had enabled a majority of home purchasers to buy, cutting another segment of buyers from the market and compounding the problem.

While this is an over-simplification of what happened, I believe the repetition of the message that the real estate market was in a melt-down reached a saturation point in the consciousness of consumers causing the market to come to a halt. When a vast number of buyers stopped buying – home prices tumbled – affirming the ‘bubble’ theory. So, if we consumers contributed to creating this stalled real estate market can we UN-create it?

In order to release the brakes on the economy, we have to realize that our buying habits affect the economy tremendously. The only way to begin to reverse this economic contraction is by first recognizing what’s working in our lives, no matter how small it may be. This doesn’t mean we don’t acknowledge the difficulties and challenges we or our fellow citizens may be facing, what it does mean is that we take whatever action is necessary, do what we need to do, and then we move on. We don’t allow ourselves to wallow in the negativity. Only when we begin to feel confident about the course of our own lives will the economy begin to perk-up.

Do you have business-clients to work with? Be grateful. Even if it’s being able to pay your bills this month – commend yourself. If you have the money to buy something you’ve been wanting – do it. Don’t allow the fear-based headlines to hypnotize you. Stop replaying the messages of lack and limitation and acknowledge what’s going right in your life instead. Do something you enjoy, even for an hour a day that distracts you from constantly dwelling on all this depressing news, and you’ll feel better and possibly even come up with a great new idea that will improve your life. Endless worrying will not solve any problems.

I’ve decided that I do create my own economy. My economy originates from within me. If I allow myself to be consumed by fear I’ll surely make wrong choices based on panic and probably end up creating the fearful circumstances I’m trying to avoid. I know for sure I’ll overlook opportunities. I believe that if I’m calm I’m more apt to come up with solutions. So, I’m choosing to focus on what’s working in my life rather than on what the headlines say. What’s the worst thing that can happen? I deal with my problems while remaining calm? You have to deal with them anyway.

I’d like to hear from readers who’ve overcome difficulties when they chose to focus on what was working rather than what wasn’t. We all need to be inspired. Share you story.

Independence Day: Choose the Thoughts You Will Entertain

Friday, July 4th, 2008

I started thinking about this day and what it means, in light of the current economic and emotional climate, early this morning. Our founding fathers, member of the 2nd Continental Congress, announced their intention to adopt the Declaration of Independence on this day in 1776. They declared their right to form a new country, to govern themselves and to CHOOSE a new way of thinking that elevated Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness in the consciousness of their citizenry.

This day we celebrate is in commemoration of our collective spirits standing together and saying, “We will partake of our unalienable right to live our lives with Liberty and in the pursuit of Happiness.” It is NOT a day where we are to shrink with fear about our futures.

The U.S. has been through some pretty tough times in the last 232 years, starting with the fight for our independence, the Civil War, WWI, the Great Depression, WWII, other recessions, etc., and now our current travails. The reason I point this out is that we’ve survived and even thrived after all these shocks to our collective systems, and we will again survive and rise from this low-point again too. That’s just who we are.

I wonder what the signers of The Declaration would say to us if they were living in these times?

I think they would tell us to un-plug from the collective fear that’s paralyzing our national psyches and start focusing instead on what we want to accomplish – not on the fear driven headlines. Many of the signers of the Declaration of Independence faced terrible circumstances for their stand on the Declaration. Some were killed by the British, or had family members killed, many went broke and lost everything they owned but they felt the outcome was worth their sacrifice and so they pressed on despite the odds. And that’s what we have to do now. Press on and focus on the good that exists right now in our lives – now matter how small it appears.

I’m going to begin my celebration of this day by focusing intently on what I know is the Truth about the USA. We are a great and resilient people and I see us prevailing and prospering thanks to each of us exercising our Independence from the collective negativity we’ve allowed to take hold of us. Opportunities still exist. It’s up to us to begin noticing them. Not unlike when we buy a new car and start noticing that car everywhere afterward, we must practice focusing on seeing opportunities. Whatever we choose to focus on expands.

I choose to focus on limitless opportunity for all. What about you?

All is Well And I Have Enough

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2008

Yesterday Steve made the following comment about the post, Is Advertising Making Us Poor?

We recently watched “Finding Nemo” on network TV. I was floored. It was nearly impossible to watch with all the commercial breaks. We decided to time it as I was sure the breaks were longer than the movie bits. Sure enough, eight minutes of Nemo, and 13 minutes of advertising. Unbelievable. No wonder kids have ADD, and want everything they see.

“The things we own, end up owning us.”
-Tyler Durden, Fight Club.

Angela writes:

Isn’t amazing what we’ve learned to put up with? I say - Turn off the TV!

First we’re bombarded with advertising to buy, buy, buy, and then we’re barraged by headlines saying that the economy is tanking. I think we need a national media black-out day where everyone just lives their lives and listens to their heart instead of media. Whatever we focus on expands.

Let’s all start thinking - All is well and I have enough!

Would our world change if we all collectively changed our thinking? My gut says YES.

Let’s get a dialogue going on this topic. What do you think?