I am resolute about one thing: commitment is better than a fling
December 29, 2005
Most of the time, New Year’s resolutions are good for business.
The membership rosters of America’s fitness centers fatten. No pun intended.
And they’ll keep getting that monthly membership fee even when the majority of the overweight and overworked stop going in April.
Smoking cessation programs are another one. I always wonder if Philip Morris gets really nervous around the holidays – that is, until the next generation of smokers takes its first drag.
Then there’s the whole “get out of debt” one.
I’ve yet to overcome the debt obstacle. Recently, I’ve decided that I’m not going to, at least not in my 20s. As much as I try (for the last four years that I’ve tried) something comes up: dental appointments, car repairs.
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My father tells me that I shouldn’t be so hard on myself. He says when you’re young is the time you’re most going to be in debt. Buying a car, paying for education, building a home, etc. The moral of the story: It gets better. But not when I continue to purchase things I don’t need. I think this is a disease most Americans have, which is a doom preached by economic pundits from the top of their piles of money.
I like to think my purchase of frivolous things has declined this past year, but really I think the money I have made has gone to pay back the things I’ve already purchased, such as my Honda. And my Ikea bookshelf. And my teeth. I’m happy to say that I own all of those … but my gums are debatable. To pay for the skin graft surgery I charged other things onto my credit card.
It’s rather miserable to think that the only things I own are 3Ú4 of an automobile (which depreciates by the nanosecond), a bookcase (which I almost burned down not once, but twice) and my Ikea bed. Thankfully, I purchased that right after I college. So it didn’t go on the credit card.
But I think the mattress did.
For all of you who inhabit the same island, maybe this will help:
Step one: Actually look at your debt. Calculate the total amount you owe.
Step two: Set a deadline for paying it off.
For example, I’m giving myself nine months. I’m treating it like a child. Using that, calculate how much it would require you to pay each month. For me, that’s $244 a month. This will keep you from paying the minimum requirement, which is a joke and will keep you in debt for the rest of your existence.
Step three: Keep your spending in line with this monthly payment. Set the amount of spending necessary for groceries, gas, rent, car payment, utilities, entertainment, emergency/savings fund and gift fund. Your credit card payment must balance out and it must be a payment you make.
Pay off the high-interest ones first. If you can’t, eliminate unnecessary items, such as $50 birthday gifts for all your relatives. Chop that down to $15. They’ll understand. Put that tax refund in a savings account for emergencies, or to pay off a high-interest credit card.
Stop spending money on stuff you don’t need. Just because that pair of jeans is on sale doesn’t mean you need it. Or, as my best friend Mary puts it, “Do you really need five pairs of jeans? I have two, and I make more money than you do.” That’s how Mary works. A little bit of guilt and a whole lot of truth. If splurge spending is your problem, sock away a gift card from Christmas and use it when the urge hits. Or, keep your monthly entertainment money in an envelope. Once that’s gone, it’s time to play a board game or watch a movie you already own.
Step four: Never pick up those cards again until you can pay for a purchase the same month you make it. Remember, you’re spending money you don’t have. Think of it this way: every time you use your credit card you’re denying yourself something you need later, such as a car payment or a gift for your child.
New Year’s resolutions are a short-term fling that sets you up to fail. Make this a life-time commitment. Marry a debt-free life.
Rural business enterprise grants are now available. The grants are available to eligible public bodies, private nonprofit corporations and federally recognized tribal groups. The grants will be awarded to those who will develop a small private business enterprise in a rural area.
The public bodies, private nonprofit corporations and federally recognized Indian tribes receive the grant to assist a business. The grant funds do not go directly to the business.
For more information about the rural business enterprise grants visit USDA Rural Development’s Web site at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/rbs/busp/rbeg.htm. Complete applications must be received in the USDA Rural Development State Office, 1390 South Curry Street, Carson City, Nevada 89703 by close of business Feb. 28. Contact Gini Fleming at 887-1222, ext. 24. for information.
n Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at email@example.com or 881-1212.
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