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credit card issuers
spending habits
Money And Family Values
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Money is essential. I grew up in a traditional middle-class home; my father had a job and my mother stayed at home. Over the years, I have spent a great deal of time and money trying to figure out why I was not making more money. I believe that I should be more financially secure. Over the years, I have realized that my relationship with money is and continues to be a challenge and that I may have inherited poor money management habits from my parents. My goal is to break the cycle.

I am well educated. I have a stable work history and I am well versed in corporate protocol. I probably appear to be successful and maybe I am but I do not feel financially successful when I look at my savings. It was only within the last two years, when I started to examine my spending habits that I finally realized why I was always coming up short between paychecks. It was those sneaky expenses that I considered a necessity, which were setting me back. I would hail a cab instead of taking a bus from the train station to the office. The cost of the cab was $12.00. The bus ride cost $2.25. I would take a cab every day for six months until I realized how much it was costing me. It stopped!

The year 2009 was my turning point. I did not get a raise. Every year for five years, I got at least a 10% raise and even a bonus. The generosity ceased. I would have to cut back further on more ‘so-called’ essentials. In 2009, Con Edison was approved for a 6.1% rate increase. My utility bill went up $6.00 per month. Then they did it again in 2010. New York State Public Service Commission approved Con Ed for another increase -12.6% over a three-year period. In 2012, the cost to the average customer will be $94.00 per month. I started shutting off all lights in my apartment. I also reduced my dependence on the air conditioner. My utility monthly bill now averages $76.00 per month.

As you know, credit card issuers offer account protection programs. If the holder of the account becomes unemployed (unintentional unemployment such as downsizing) or disabled; the holder would not have to pay the minimum for a certain time (in some cases six months) nor would the holder be subject to late fees or accrued interests.

These temporary debt cancellation programs are costly especially for those who use revolving credit. Account protection fees can range from $0.50 to $0.99 per $100.00. If an account has, an outstanding balance of $2500.00 per month that account will be accessed a monthly fee, which can translate into an additional $24.00 per month. These fees are also subject to interest charges. I have six credit cards with outstanding balances. I was paying more than $150.00 per month for such protection. I cancelled each policy.

I was a very active member of several book clubs. I enjoy reading mystery and suspense novels. I could never resist a monthly special such as buy two books and get the third free but I would have to pay shipping. Once I had satisfied the terms of membership, I cancelled the automatic shipments even though I had the option to return the books at no additional cost.

As I previously stated I grew up in a middle class home. My family was not wealthy and financially they were always just making it by. They did not save any money and they were not prudent about controlling their expenses. There was no effort to reduce daily expenses such as limiting the use of appliances, reducing the use of electricity, and refinancing the mortgage.


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