A little background: when I was a freshman in high school, I had a class called “Electronic Publishing,” which basically amounted to “fool around on the computer time.” Every day I would take this opportunity to check out my daily “humorscope” on a very funny website. Yesterday, I got the inclination to check and see if the site was still up and running. Turns out that The Daily Humorscope lives on, exactly as I remember it.
One of my favorite parts of the site was “Really Bad Advice,” where people would email the guy some questions, and he would in turn offer them some really bad advice. A good example of this “really bad advice” is his suggestion that you use Polka music and HamsterDance.com as a cure for a haunted house. Actually, that sounds like pretty good advice!
And indeed, strung amongst the bad ideas he offers people, are some pretty darn good ones. In particular, I enjoyed the response to a financial debacle. Although “Really Bad Advice” was written back in 1999, the following is still, well, some pretty good advice:
Likes to Spend Money asks,
I don’t make much money, and I like to spend what I do make on things for myself! I often have trouble paying the bills. Should I set up a budget and stick to it, or shall I continue as I have been?
I always say “Budget, Schmudget”. Well, actually, I’ve never said that, but I’ll bet it would be fun to say. No matter how little you make, the first thing to do is to take 10 percent off the top and save it for the future. Just pretend that you never even made that money – it’s not even part of the picture. Next, take 10 percent of what remains and put that in your “just for fun” category. You can have a lot of fun without spending much money, but you need at least a little bit of money for almost anything. And what’s life, without fun? Use all the rest for responsible things, like paying bills.
People often approach saving money with a sense of dread – they think of all the things they’d like that they shouldn’t get. Turn it into a game! For example, you can save money by bringing your lunch to work, rather that buying lunch somewhere. See how many different types of sandwiches you can make – never make the same kind twice in a month. Or make your lunch a work of art.
And whatever you do, stay away from credit cards.
I love the whole response: Pay yourself first, find fun ways to be frugal, and avoid credit card debt. Win!
Source: Really Bad Advice by Ron E. Lunde.
Hi Stephanie–I just discovered your site through some browsing. I am currently a Senior in college and is in debt. I’ve gotten to the point where ALL of my credit cards have been maxed out and is not able to keep up with the minimum payments for all of them. As a result of that, I’m on numerous hardship programs with only one working credit card while the rest are closed accounts. I’d like some advice or some input on what you think about the hardship programs. Thank you.
If credit cards are the greatest source of bad debt, auto loans are a close second. You are upside down on the loan the second you drive off the dealership’s lot and it’s downhill from there. Too many people shrug off a car payment as a necessary evil.
And after credit cards and car loans comes housing. I am going to start eat sandwiches for every meal.