ICFE eNEWS #08-01 - January 7th 2008
Home Tell a Friend! Contact ICFE Link Exchange Search ICFE Subscribe ICFE About the ICFE
ICFE News Releases ICFE in the News Children and Money Financial Education Personal Financial Counseling with Paul S. Richard, RFC Credit Card Tips Credit File Correction Mending Spending Links and Resources Order Options

Ach Mei Zeit! I really overspent on Christmas, now what?

What a way to have to greet a new year; facing a mountain of credit card statements within weeks of Christmas. Ach mei zeit (oh how awful), an Amish expression, is the certain lament of more than a few consumers who went overboard with gifts and entertaining who now find themselves all charged up.
Help! Now what do I do?

First things first, rein in the spending by make it harder for you to spend. There are ten initial steps
one may take immediately to begin the turn around. Remember, everyday spending decisions,
especially the credit based ones, will do far more harm to one's financial future than any investment
decision one is likely to ever make.

1. Freeze credit cards and ATM cards in a glass of water in your refrigerator freezer.

2. Get spending on a cash basis and make notes/keep receipts on all purchases to help raise your
awareness of where your money is going, day in and day out.

3. Freeze your credit files. This is now available in all 50 states. Freezing credit files will make it more
time consuming to open new credit accounts or make large credit-based purchases. In the process
you will be sent a copy of your credit files.

4. Take some financial pictures of yourself. The big picture is your net worth, listing the things you own
versus the things you owe. But don't stop there, determine how many years you have been working
full-time and how much money you have earned during that time. Now, what percentage of your lifetime
income (to date) is reflected in your net worth? 10%? 20%? 50%? 150%?

The close-up picture is your cash-flow, how money moves in and out of your life on a monthly basis.
It is a list of all income received in a month and also a list of all expenses during the same month. The difference in the two amounts equals your cash flow, be it positive (more income than expenses), or be it negative (more expenses than income), or be it zero (monthly income and expenses are equal). The
close-up picture will help in prioritizing monthly spending. The cash-flow will also help identify spending
that may be hurtful to getting out of debt. Try to get as much extra cash going to debt pay-down as possible.

5. Create a written spending-plan and implement it with the next paycheck or the first of the month,
whichever comes first. The cash-flow exercise is the basis for the spending-plan; all the leg-work is
done. The monthly spending-plans then become your financial roadmap. The key is to follow it closely,
because within that spending plan will be the Christmas debt reduction and, eventually overall debt
elimination. Printable one page spending plans are on icfe.info.

6. Look for ways to get a better value for your dollar. It may mean doing things for yourself that you may
have paid others to do for you, such as lawn care, car washes, laundry, and so forth. Comparison
shopping is another way to save money and get more value. Coupons and rebates add value to your
dollar, especially at the grocery store where the average American family spends 30 cents of every
take-home dollar.

Make it a family affair. Everyone can contribute to energy savings, avoiding food waste, clipping
coupons and watching out for sales on things regularly purchased. Everyone can become a comparison shopper and look for better values. An over-spender is not just someone who spends more than they
earn, an over-spender is also someone who pays too much for things and the latter group is the majority.

Add to your income at the same time you are spending smarter. This can be done by taking part-time employment, selling things on the internet with eBay, for instance, perhaps generating additional income
from a hobby, craft, music or language instruction, and tutoring, to mention a few.

9. Get some visual reminders around your home and office about improving spending. If ATM and some
credit cards must be unfrozen, place "ICFE Credit Card Warning Stickers" on the front. There are four different versions, the most popular is: "WARNING! Overuse Can Be Dangerous." Also keep those cards protected in an "ICFE Credit Card Sleeves.". View them here on ICFE.info.

10. Take the inter-active spending quiz here on ICFE.info. There are two; one for looking at your spender's profile and the other is an over-spenders quiz. They both will help anyone gain some insight to their spending Practices and habits.

Good luck and Happy 2008.


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.

Home ] ICFE News Releases ] ICFE in the News ] Children and Money ] Financial Education ] Resource Center ] Credit Card Tips ][ Credit File Correction ] Mending Spending ] Links and Resources ]  [ Online Store ]


Copyright ©  1997 - by Paul S. Richard
and the Institute of Consumer Financial Education, All Rights Reserved.
View our
Privacy Policy Our Terms and Conditions

Institute of Consumer Financial Education
PO Box 34070
San Diego, Ca 92163
Paul S. Richard, Executive Director
Phone 619-239-1401

FAX 619-923-3284

Questions for www.financial-education-icfe.org Click to go to Website Contact Us or 
Website Design Donated by Desgn School Programs