San Diego, CA Many people
think of themselves as good spenders because, to them,
being a good spender means spending all the money you
have. And they are usually broke. More often than not, the
really prolific spenders, will borrow more money, in a
variety of fashions from credit cards, to auto loans, to a
home equity loan, and continue on spending. Americans, of
all ages, are responding to about 1500 messages a day, on
average, to spend their money. So much so, they just might
be the world's best consumers, in addition to being
amongst the worst of the savers on this planet.
Not only that, most consumers are over spenders. Some are
borrowing more than they earn to pay for things they want.
Many more are just simply paying too much for those
things, because they have failed to comparison shop.
Spending is an everyday issue for most John and Sue
Workhards. Decisions to spend or not to spend, coupled
with the question of is it affordable, plus other issues,
like size and color, are often made on the spot, without
concern for getting the best possible value, and the
retention of value. Why is getting a good value for your
spendable dollars so critical?
Because everyday spending decisions, especially credit
based ones, will have a far greater negative effect on
your financial future than any investment decision you are
likely to ever make.
Some typical spending decisions might be found among the
following questions: How often are you dining out? How
many times a week do you go to the grocery store? How much
did you spend on a wardrobe? How much are you paying in
interest charges on credit cards?
The forces in our society are successful at getting us to
spend money. Also, many consumers are easy prey for
merchants and credit card issuers who go to extraordinary
lengths to entice people to spend beyond their incomes by
making shameless advertising pitches for indiscriminate,
credit based, spending . Other promotions include: no fee
and low fee credit cards, instant credit approvals,
discounts on a present purchase if you sign up now for a
store credit card, sweepstakes and contests where chances
of winning are increased with each credit card purchase,
extended manufacturers warranty programs, replacement
insurance programs and, oh yes of course, 'cash-back with
People have gotten confused about interest. You are
supposed to collect it, not pay it! Hello, anybody out
there still collecting interest instead of paying it?
It is not just credit-based spending decisions that get
people into trouble. Some folks who have either exhausted
credit or ruined their credit rating, or never even used
credit, still have no trouble overspending. Cash slips
through their fingers so fast, that at the end of the day
- starting out with $50, they will often have less than $5
remaining end of the day - they will have great difficulty
determining just where it was all spent.
Answer seven yes or no "I always" questions and
get a snapshot of your spending style.
1) Always set aside at least ten percent of income for
savings and investing using the payroll deduction method.
___Yes ____No ___Sometimes I manage to put some money
2) Always contribute maximum amount to employer sponsored
pension plans in order to get the maximum contribution
from employer every year.
___Yes ____No ___Contribute some, but not sure if my
employer even matches any.
3) Always use manufacturer's and retailer's coupons when
possible and send in for rebates.
___Yes ____No ___Use only instant rebates and coupons,
otherwise no time to clip them out.
4) Always look over sale flyers and comparison shop before
I spend, especially for food.
___Yes ___No ____Occasionally I stop in at a place and I
will get the money saving special.
5) Always comparison shop motor vehicle and household
insurance policies when they come up for renewal. ___Yes
___No ____Policies automatically renew, never thought to
6) Always pay credit and charge card purchases in full
when the statement arrives and never pay interest charges
or penalty fees of any type.
___Yes ____No ___Sometimes I take up to two, three, six or
12 months to pay off purchases, but never calculated the
7) Always keep banking and other receipts, even for
smaller purchases, and note on them the details.
___Yes ____No ___My important receipts are on my credit card
bills, otherwise, unless I will get reimbursed for the
expense by somebody else, I pitch everything else.
Scoring: 100% = 7 yes answers
7 Yes: A wise spender you are and a spender mentor you
6 Yes: You are right up there with the minority, however,
how much would the money you could save, in the question
you answered no to, be worth in 12 months if you invested
5 Yes: Getting close, but no big savings payoff yet
because you may still be missing out in the areas of the
questions you answered no. If you want your assets to
grow, look for saving in every area of your spending.
4 Yes: You are past the half way mark, however, if you do
what you have always done, you will always get what you
have now. Time to change some spending habits if you want
to see a brighter financial future. If credit cards are
your bane, try something that will remind you about the
dangers of spend, spend, spend, like warning labels and
protection sleeves with anti spend messages for your
3 Yes: Get off the money-merry-go-round! You are probably
living from paycheck to paycheck or earning upwards to
$100,000 a year and have little or nothing to show for it.
Poor spending Practices must be doing you in. If you need
a quick shot in the wallet, the average household spends
30 cents of every take home dollar on household and
grocery items. You can make a big impact there the next
time you go to the grocery store.
2 Yes: When it comes to saving money, you must stop at
nothing. Kick it up a few notches, you will be amazed at
the results. You have an obligation to be as good to the
person you are going to be in 20, 30 or 40 years as you
are to yourself today. Start saving and spending with your
future in mind.
0-1 Yes: What is that smell? Smoke from your credit cards
being overused? Put them in a glass of water and freeze
them solid. If you aren't in credit counseling or
bankruptcy court, both could be right around the corner.
Outside intervention is what you need now. And start
looking for a spender mentor, quick.
The good news is that there is help and opportunity to
change things for the better at the nonprofit Institute of
Consumer Financial Education (ICFE), a San Diego, CA based
group, dedicated to helping people of all ages improve
their spending, increase their savings and use credit more
wisely. For online help mending spending, visit
www.financial-education-icfe.org. Click on
For the same information in printed format, please send $1
and a SASE, with 60 cents postage, to: ICFE, Money Helps,
PO Box 34070, San Diego, CA 92163-4070
* The ICFE has credit/debit card warning labels and
credit/debit card protection sleeves, a/k/a credit card
condoms in four versions. They may be viewed at
About the ICFE:
The Institute of Consumer Financial Education (ICFE) was founded in 1982 by the late Loren Dunton (creator of the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation). The ICFE is dedicated to helping consumers of all ages to improve their spending, increase savings and use credit more wisely.
The ICFE is an award winning, nonprofit, consumer education organization that has helped millions of people through its education programs and Resources. It publishes the Do-It-Yourself Credit File correction Guide, which is updated annually. The ICFE has distributed over one million Credit/Debit Card Warning Labels and Credit/Debit Card Sleeves world wide.
The ICFE became an official partner with the Department of Defense/Financial Readiness Campaign in June of 2004.The ICFE was an active partner in the California Student Debt Resource Awareness Project (CASDRAP) which resulted in a new web site: (studentdebthelp.org). CASDRAP disbanded in 2010, shortly after the web site project was completed. In 2011 the ICFE assumed the single sponsorship of the (studentdebthelp.org) web site and is now responsible for its content and operation.
The ICFE is also an on-line help for consumers who spend too much. ICFE's spending help was featured in PARADE Magazine in the Intelligence Report section. The money helps and tips are from the ICFE's Money Instruction Book, our course in personal finance.
Visit the ICFE's other web sites at: www.financial-education-icfe.org and studentdebthelp.org. Both sites helps consumers and students with mending spending, learning about the proper use of credit, budget and expense guidelines, how to set up and implement a spending-plan and also how to access financial education courses and how to teach children about money. Other ICFE services include: Ask Mr. G, a free eNews, and an online resource center for students, parents and educators, plus financial education learning tools and a book store.
About the ICFE:
The Institute of Consumer Financial Education (ICFE), founded in 1982 by the
late Loren Dunton (creator of the 'certified financial planner' (CFP)
designation) and it is dedicated to helping consumers of all ages to improve
their spending, increase savings and use credit more wisely. The ICFE trains and
certifies Personal Finance Instructors for its own curriculum. It also trains
and certifies Credit Report Reviewers and Identity Theft Prevention Specialists.
The ICFE is an award winning, nonprofit, consumer education organization that
has helped millions of people through its education programs and Resources. It
publishes the Do-It-Yourself Credit File correction Guide, now in its 16th
printing and has distributed over one million 'Credit/Debit Card Warning Labels'
and 'Credit/Debit Card Sleeves' world wide.
The ICFE became an official partner with the Department of Defense/Financial
Readiness Campaign in June of 2004.
The ICFE is also a partner in the national Jump$tart Coalition for Financial
Literacy and the California Jump$tart chapter. The ICFE staff is also active
with San Diego Saves, an offshoot of America Saves, and the California Student
Debt Resource Awareness Project (CASDRAP) (studentdebthelp.org).
The ICFE's on-line help for consumers who spend too much was featured in PARADE
Magazine in the Intelligence Report section. The money helps and tips are from
'The Money Instruction Book,' a course in personal finance, positioned to become
among the premier programs in the new bankruptcy and debtor education
The ICFE Web site at:
www.financial-education-icfe.org helps consumers with mending spending, learning about
the proper use of credit, budget and expense guidelines, how to set up and
implement a spending-plan and also how to access financial education courses and
videos and how to teach children about money. Other ICFE services include a free
eNews, and an online resource center of financial education learning
tools, including videos, books, software and personal finance courses.