Monday, January 19, 2009

TV can be good for you!

When I have free time, I watch a show in the aforementioned post- 'Til debt do us part. It's actually a really clever show in which Gail Vaz-Oxlade helps people who are drowning in debt get their finances in a better shape. Some people are completely clueless and are spending an upwards of 70% over what they make every month, no savings for rainy days or retirement and they often have to resort to pay day loans or carry balances on their credit cards (read: really bad and ridiculous interest rates).

Anyway, having watched this show for about two years (it's on Global TV in the afternoons), she does have some recurring messages for her clients:

1. Budget so you know where your money is going. You can control and clamp down on variable expenses (clothing, transportation, food, leisure, others) but you need to know how much is going towards fixed expenses too (mortgage, debt repayments for car, credit cards, store cards)
2. Don't have the "buy now, pay later" mentality. Instead, save up for large purchases. You may find that, in the time that you take to save up the money, you really don't want what you are planning to buy as badly.
3. Use cash only and document where you are spending every cent in a budget book if you can't control your spending. Get rid of your credit cards!
4. If you have tons of debt in many different places, consolidate it and you may get yourself a lower overall interest rate.
5. DON'T use payday loans. The interest rates are incredulous.
6. Communicate with your spouse/significant other about your finances.
7. Call your credit card companies to see if they can lower your interest rates if you set up a repayment plan with them.
8. Find free family/leisure activities (ie picnics, games night, sports, walks)
9. Don't eat out- cook your own food (much cheaper and healthier)
10. Save up for home maintenance (and car maintenance also if you own one).
11. Make your own gifts. It's too easy and too costly to buy them. Homemade and handmade stuff is more meaningful.
12. If you want to purchase something outside of a tight budget, find other ways to make more money to pay for it (extra shifts, ask for increase in wages, look for odd jobs)
13. Pay attention to any useless fees that you are charged (ie bank withdrawals, ATMs that are not your banks, banking fees, overdraft fees, interact fees) and avoid them. There are some banks that have zero fees(pcfinancial, ING direct)...you may consider switching to banking with them.
14. Looking through your expenses will also allow you to know where you are leaking money and where you are spending ridiculous amounts of money towards stuff that you don't need (ie eating out, smokes, alcohol, cash on snacks, shopping, big tvs, lavish trips)

This is all I can think of off the top of my head. It's quite a sensible show. It's a bit of a rant but I hope this helps!

1 comment:

Cheng Family said...

one more thing. You need to get rid of debt to get yourself in a better financial position, next to saving money and gaining control in how you spend and where you spend. She also suggests that you write post dated cheques to the person that you are indebted to and also to set up and follow repayment plans to companies. If you fail to plan you plan to fail!