Is The Price Right?
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Is The Price Right?

San Diego, CA. - Things do seem to be getting a bit out of kilter on the financial side of our lives here lately. Gold is spiking, crude oil and the retail prices of its refined products are skyrocketing, the hot real estate market is cooling a bit, and spending, well, it continues to go unchecked.

There will be downward adjustments, some very severe, to be faced in the future. This is especially true for individuals who speculated in real estate with interest-only mortgages. And also those college students who are financing their education with high-interest credit cards.

The real supporters of the credit card cause, however, are all of those individuals who paid an estimated $16.4 billion in penalty fees in 2005 - 70% of which were late fees. Not surprisingly some five to six percent of cardholders are late with their payments every month. Universal default was no doubt created with those particular cardholders in mind. Because of an increasing reliance on fee income, creditors are now more closely monitoring credit reports of their current clients for signs of trouble, especially with other lenders and invoking the universal default clause, resulting in even higher fees.

In 1994 late fees averaged $12.55. By 2000 the average reached $27.10 and by 2005 the average was up to $34.42 according to Consumer Action. Despite this startling insight to the enormous income from late fees, credit card spending remains largely unchecked in many American households.

Everyday spending decisions, especially credit based ones, will do far more harm to your financial future than any investment decision you will likely ever make. That has been one of the ICFE's main mantras for over twenty years. So, the question when people are out spending becomes: "Is the price right?"

Improving spending techniques enables most consumers to get a better value for their dollar. One of the easiest steps is to comparison shop before spending. A recent example of the benefits is a comparison of prices for prescription medicine.

ICFE shopped three different stores. Costco, a membership store and two major retail drug chains, Savon and RiteAid. In all cases 100 pills were requested for three different medicines. Metformin (diabetes), Metoprolol and Nifedical XL (both blood pressure) pills.


 

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.

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