San Diego, CA. - Regularly making prudent spending
decisions which result in consumers obtaining a greater
value for their money is one of the main educational
objectives of the ICFE. One of the most compelling
reasons why is that everyday spending decisions,
especially the credit based ones, will do far more harm
to one's financial future than any investment decision a
consumer is likely to ever make.
The biggest culprit for many consumers is impulse
spending and the convenience effect. Sighting
convenience as a main reason, people say it prompts more
spending without much forethought and research on
whether or not the purchase is a good value, whether or
not the purchase is even necessary and whether or not
the purchase takes money away from debt payments which
may become due and/or eliminates any money being put
aside to accumulate.
A question to ask yourself is: "Are your spending habits
and Practices doing something to you or for you?" It is
a question that makes many people cringe. Sometimes
questions about how and where money is spent makes some
people more uncomfortable than asking them about the
role religion may play in their lives.
If your spending Practices are doing something to you,
it may reflect a number of symptoms including there
being too much month left at the end of your money.
Other common symptoms of over-spending that far too many
Americans are experiencing is living their lives from
paycheck-to-paycheck. For others, all the bills may be
paid but there is nothing left over for savings and
retirement planning or planned discretionary spending,
like a vacation, for instance.
If your spending Practices are doing something for you,
chances are your savings and investments are still
growing, your retirement is being fully funded, equity
might growing in a home, and there is no credit card
Hurtful spending Practices (the ones that do things to
you) - especially the credit-based ones - are often
reflected negatively on credit reports. This is common
among the John and Sue Workhards of America.
A typical American family may be taking in some $2,500
a-month, for example, and they are spending $3,000
a-month. The difference is being made up using credit
cards, other loan proceeds and in the worse-case
scenarios, where all available credit is exhausted,
current spending often borrows from the next month's
scheduled payments, which is more commonly known as "the
Sharpening spending skills and transforming bad money
handling habits and Practices is relatively easy
especially compared to dieting and quitting some other
things like nail biting or smoking. It begins with some
simple planning. Some folks refer to it as budgeting, a
somewhat negative term that implies one has to do
without. A lot of people and financial planning
professionals prefer to call it a spending-plan.
A simple monthly spending plan includes a listing of
income received and also a list of anticipated
expenditures, some reoccurring every week or month and
others maybe every three, six or 12 months. Setting
money aside each income period to meet a portion of the
annual and semi-annual expenses is good planning and
allows one to avoid getting into the paycheck to
paycheck routine. Unplanned spending results in wasted
money. Many times consumers find themselves owning
things others wanted them to have instead of buying
things they needed or really wanted to buy.
Household and grocery items, for instance, account for
about 30 cents of every take-home dollar according to
government statistics. Convenience spending at the
grocery store is rampant and the grocers do everything
they can to promote it too. Other purchases, such as
home entertainment, electronics, computers and the like
are also taking up a large portion of discretionary
spending. Research and planning will enable consumers to
get a good value and spend less overall.
One way to extend the value of the dollars spent is to
take advantage of those ubiquitous coupons. The
Promotion Marketing Association (PMA) Coupon Council
unveiled data recently that shows 71 percent of people
between ages of 18-24 use coupons when purchasing a
product or service. Coupon clipping is a time-honored
ritual that saves Americans billions of dollars annually
on grocery, healthcare and household items. The PMA says
"coupon clippers" represent 86 percent of the overall
U.S. population, up ten percent from 2006.
Some remarkable data on coupon usage of 18-24 year olds
from BIGresearch's July 2007 Simultaneous Media Survey
Coupons are more influential in purchase decisions to
18-24 year olds in four out of the eight retail
categories measured than the general population,
Electronics (37% vs. 23%)
Apparel/Clothing (31% vs. 24%)
Car/Truck (11% vs. 8%)
Telecom Services (9% vs. 7%)
54% of 18-24 year olds were influenced to purchase a
grocery product (food/cleaning/ beauty) because of a
46% of 18-24 year olds were influenced to eat a
particular restaurant because of a coupon.
37% of 18-24 year olds were influenced to purchase a
particular electronics product as a result of a coupon.
Basic Coupon Facts
86% of the United States population uses coupons.
Shoppers saved approximately $2.6 billion last year by
using manufacturer's coupons.
The typical manufacturer's coupon was worth $1.15
savings in 2006.
Coupon users report an average of 11.5% savings on their
grocery bill with coupons.
Manufacturers offered approximately $330 billion in
coupon savings in 2006.
Some tips that the PMA Coupon Council suggests to help
young adults and all ages maximize coupon usage include
registering on rewards and coupon program web sites to
access exclusive "members-only" coupons; look for
coupons in the Sunday newspaper, coupon books, in
magazines, in your mailbox, at the grocery store shelf,
on the Internet and with your cash register receipts;
and organize your coupons in the order that you shop the
store for quicker savings trips. For more coupon
clipping tips visit: CouponMonth.com.
By the way, this writer enjoyed rebates and coupon
savings of $749.10 from Jan-Oct 2007 and $1,127.41 for
all of 2006.
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.