When your debt is out of control and you don't want to consider bankruptcy, what do you do about it? How do start to transition from financial child to intelligent behaving adult? Here are some steps that you can take to prevent yourself from getting into more debt, and help yourself eliminate some of the debt that you are currently dealing with.
#1 - Put Your Credit Card Away; Literally!
If you have a difficult time saying no to purchases, or you get that credit card out of your wallet as fast as anything, take your card out of your wallet and put it in a safe place at home where it is not with you. Make the decision that you will leave it there and will only take it out when you absolutely must have it. This one small step will help force yourself to be more cautious in your spending.
#2 - Cancel Those Retail Credit Cards
Retails credit cards typically have the highest interest rates on the market. It is also difficult to stop spending when you feel like you have several payment options. Get rid of these retail cards and keep only one main credit card, which is hopefully the one you have already taken from your wallet and placed in a safe place at home!
#3 - Pay Back Your Debts as Quickly as Possible
If you have a balance on a credit card (or 2 or 6), be sure to pay at least the minimum monthly amount each month on all your debts. Do your best to pay back your debt as quickly as you can by using the snowball method (see article here). By paying off your debt as fast as possible, you will eliminate some of the high interest charges that continue to build as time progresses.
#4 - Consider a Second Job
If you can work even one extra hour or day per week, you will pay back your debts sooner. At the very least, extra work may give you extra wiggle room so that you do not get yourself further into debt over time. Yes, a second job will take up some of your free time, but it will be worth the sacrifice when you have nothing but good debts left in your life.
#5 - Creatively Find as Many Ways to Save as Possible
Look for every way possible to save money. Whether that is by clipping coupons or shopping only during sales, make it work to stretch your dollar. Find other ways to save in other areas, such as your electricity bill. There should be a bazillion different ideas all over my blog to help save some money.
Keep doing the hard work for as long as it takes! Take a bagged lunch to work instead of buying fast food every day. Make coffee at home before you leave for work instead of stopping at the drive-thru on the way there. Stop spending on any unnecessary purchases.
Learning to be frugal takes a little bit of preparation, but it gets easier as time goes on. It might seem like a tough chore at first, but the benefits are wonderful. You will become a more creative person and you will be able to save your hard-earned money for retirement. What better benefits could there possibly be than that?
It wasn't so long back that I wrote a fairly controversial statement. To be exact, I said, "just for the record, I believe the government's account of inflation about as far as I can throw a piano. Anyone that has been to the grocery store over the past 12 months will tell you that inflation is here in a big way already."
I would like to say it feels good to be correct, but I would be lying about how I feel. What I really feel is saddened. Saddened that most Americans will continue to do the same thing over and over again, never even worrying about how more and more of their money gets taken away from them by the government each year.
Here is the article proving I was correct.
Corporate America’s new dilemma: raising prices to cover higher transport costs
ReutersFebruary 26, 2018
FILE PHOTO: Freight trucks are driven on the Fisher freeway in Detroit, Michigan, U.S., March 27, 2009. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook/File Photo
MoreBy Eric M. Johnson and Chris Prentice
SEATTLE/BOCA RATON, Fla. (Reuters) - The drive for cost cuts and higher margins at U.S. trucking and railroad operators is pinching their biggest customers, forcing the likes of General Mills Inc (GIS.N) and Hormel Foods Corp (HRL.N) to spend more on deliveries and consider raising their own prices as a way to pass along the costs.
Interviews with executives at 10 companies across the food, consumer goods and commodities sectors reveal that many are grappling with how to defend their profit margins as transportation costs climb at nearly double the inflation rate.
Two executives told Reuters their companies do plan to raise prices, though they would not divulge by how much. A third said it was discussing prospective price increases with retailers.
The prospect of higher prices on chicken, cereal and snacks costs comes as inflation emerged as a more distinct threat in recent weeks. The U.S. Labor Department reported earlier this month that underlying consumer prices in January posted their biggest gain in more than a year.
As U.S. economic growth has revved up, railroads and truck fleets have not expanded capacity to keep pace - a decision applauded by Wall Street. Shares of CSX Corp (CSX.O), Norfolk Southern (NSC.N), and Union Pacific Corp (UNP.N) have risen an average 22 percent over the past year as they cut headcount, locomotives and rail cars, and lengthened trains to lower expenses and raise margins.
Quickening economic growth, a shortage of drivers and reduced capacity, and higher fuel prices have driven up transportation costs, prompting some companies to threaten to raise prices on goods ranging from chicken to cereal.
For a graphic, click http://tmsnrt.rs/2oth2Zx
Cream of Wheat maker B&G Foods Inc (BGS.N), Cheerios maker General Mills and Tyson Foods Inc (TSN.N), owner of Hillshire Farms brand and Jimmy Dean sausage, said they will pass along higher freight costs to their customers.
Tyson Chief Executive Officer Tom Hayes told Reuters in an interview that its price increases "should be in place for the second half” of its fiscal year, and that it has begun negotiating price increases with retailers and food service operators. The company declined to specify how much its freight costs increased in recent months, but a spokesman said they are up between 10 to 15 percent for the total industry.
General Mills informed convenience store and food service customers of the price increases directly, a spokeswoman told Reuters in an emailed statement, declining to provide specifics. Chief Executive Officer Jeff Harmening cited logistic costs and wage inflation as factors.
"It feels to me like an environment that should be beneficial for some pricing,” he said in a presentation at last week’s Consumer Analyst Group of New York conference.
Hormel Foods, the maker of Skippy peanut butter and SPAM, has been talking with retailers about raising prices, according to Chief Executive Jim Snee.
“We don’t believe we’re going to recoup all of our freight cost increases for the balance of the year,” Snee told Reuters in an interview, noting operating margin sank to 13.2 percent, from 15.6 percent due to higher costs - including freight - in the most recent quarter.
Confectionary and snack company Mondelez International Inc (MDLZ.O) halted operations over a weekend late last month at its Toledo, Ohio wheat flour mill - the second-largest flour mill in the United States - because the plant could not get enough rail cars to carry flour to bakeries, a spokeswoman said.
She declined to comment on whether Mondelez would raise prices to cover any higher costs.
A new government regulation for drivers and truck availability are pushing up freight costs at JM Smucker Co (SJM.N). “We anticipate inflationary pressures likely to cause upward price movements in a variety of categories,” Chief Financial Officer Mark Belgya said last week at an analyst conference.
To be sure, transportation costs are just a sliver of the price consumers pay at the grocery store. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates transportation represents just 3.3 cents of every dollar consumers spend.
But an increase in truck rates over the next 12 months implies a 15-to-18 basis point gross margin headwind for U.S. food companies on average, according to Bernstein analyst Alexia Howard.
For a lot of people, a stock market correction is a beautiful thing. Theoretically, corrections adjust equity prices to their perceived actual values or "support levels" where the business is being fairly valued. In reality, it's much simpler than that. Prices go down because of reactions to expectant news, actual news, and/or investor profit taking. While most people's retirement plans are mutual funds, and not individual stocks, fund managers rarely take profits at the top but often take losses as the market goes down. Here's a list of ten things to think about doing during a correction, or to avoid doing, during corrections of any magnitude.
1. Don't Change Your Asset Allocation. Your asset allocation should be tuned in to your long term goals and objectives. Resist the urge to change your allocation just because you expect a fall in stock prices. That would be an attempt to time the market, which is almost impossible. Continue buying the best mutual funds and stocks at a discount and relax.
2. Do Take a Hard Look At The Past. There has never been a correction that has not proven to be a buying opportunity after enough time has passed. The market will come back at some point, so start collecting some high quality, dividend paying, stocks as they move lower in price. This is especially true if you have 30+ years before retirement.
3. Don't Hoard Cash. Put your money to work! Remember, there are no crystal balls, and no hindsight in any investment strategy. Focus on the best stocks and mutual funds that are available for a discount during the market's sell off.
4. Do Take A Look At The Future. No, you can't tell when the rally will come for stocks, or how long it will last either. If you are buying quality equities on sale (as you certainly should be), you will love the rally when it finally shows up.
5. Don't Rush Your Purchases. As the correction continues, buy more stocks and mutual funds slowly, and establish your new positions slowly as well. Hope for a short and steep decline in prices, but be prepared for a longer one. Once a market turns it could bring years of buying opportunities to you.
6. Do Increase Contributions. You should be out of cash (and buying good companies) while the market is still correcting. Take this opportunity to buy! As long your cash flow doesn't change at home each month, then the change in market value is only hypothetical. Remember, if you didn't take the profits at the top, then the money was never yours to lose.
7. Do Go Long. Examine your holdings for opportunities to average down on your favorite stocks or mutual funds. Remember to look at pricing in EPS or the P/E ratio. If is was a good buy at a P/E ratio of 25, then it's a better buy at 15.
8. Do Identify New Buying Opportunities. By using a consistent set of rules and knowing what your investment strategy is ahead of time, youw ill find new buying opportunities in the market. Focus on value, or stocks with consistent earnings. Now only is it easier and less risky. It is also better for your peace of mind. Coca Cola, Amazon, and Wal-Mart are not going out of business anytime soon.
9. Do Examine Your Portfolio. When you have your asset allocation and investment objectives clearly in focus, you can focus on the big picture and not price changes. Yes, stocks will lose value in a correction, but the company may be as strong as it ever was. Make sure your portfolio lines up with your goals.
10. Don't Look Down. So long as the market is down in price, there is nothing to worry about overall. Don't watch the market fall out, just keep focusing on your individual stocks and funds. As long as the fundamentals haven't changed, then the company is still worth investing in.
Corrections and depressions will vary in length of time and price reductions. Both characteristics are only visible in rear view mirrors. The short and deep corrections are the most lovable, the long and slow marches down in value are more difficult to deal with for most investors. The market has been goos for a long time and people forget that recent corrections have been too short to take advantage of. Unlike many things in life, stock market investments need to be dealt with quickly, decisively, and with zero hindsight. During all of the uncertainty that occurs during a correction, there is one undisputable fact; there has never been a correction/rally that has not been corrected in the next rally/correction.