The enemy invades your territory on every front! He comes in your daily mail trying to tempt you. When you are checking out at a department store, the clerk tries to entice you with a 10% discount on your purchases if you will only fill out these papers. Now the grocery stores have a little bonus card if you will give them your pertinent information for their database. Why do you think they are gathering this information, to send you a birthday card? NOPE! They are trying to keep up with what you purchase. The cynic in me says that they are going to use all this data on us, our families, and our buying habits against us — either with denial of coverage for insurance because we didn’t buy the proper healthy foods, or to tempt you with more credit cards, or ploys to get you in their store so they can collect more data. The maddest I ever got in a grocery store was over that bonus card. They had advertised a huge savings on dog food, and I went in to purchase a 20 pound bag; because I did not want to fill out the paperwork for their bonus card, I was required to pay an additional $6.00. This was all because I didn’t read the fine print! For this savings of $6.00, they wanted me to give them the keys of my personal information so they could bombard me with more ads and deceptive practices exactly tailored to our preferences. They wanted to pay me for selling out my family. I refuse to be a traitor!
One of your assignments today is to read the fine print. In your Sunday paper, there will be lots of advertisements. Pull out one for furniture and where they tempt you will 0% financing and one year is the same as cash; you will find and asterisk (*), then take a magnifying glass and find the asterisk somewhere else in the sale paper. Now read it. It will be very difficult without a magnifying glass. You will find that you have to jump through the right hoops. I feel that these companies are no better than loan sharks. They lure you in and tempt you with their offers and then hound you until the debt is paid, all the while bombarding you with more sales literature that comes straight into your home via the mail.
While you have your magnifying glass out, find one of your credit card statements and read the fine print on the back of it. Do you know what percentage rate you are being charged for your credit card debt? Oh, and don’t forget your installment agreement on your car debt — read page two! This fine print is the part that is hard to read and most of the time we just sign away and don’t realize what we are doing. All we are really interested in is the monthly payment. Have you ever taken the payment and multiplied it by the number of months of the agreement to get the full amount of money you will be paying for the car when you have finished? By the way, that amount should be written out for you in the agreement you signed. Now do it for your mortgage payment. I know that we need long term financing for our homes, but do the math for yourself. Knowledge is power.
Now here is the tricky part about your credit card debt: it is hard to figure when your last payment will be and how much of your hard earned money has gone to pay it off. This is not that easy. This difficulty is the reason that they have us captive!
So you see that FACE (Financial Awareness Continually Empowers) can help you be vigilant against these ploys that the enemy has to steal your money! Next time someone wants to give you a 10% discount on your purchases, you will know that they are not really giving you a discount; you will pay them back and lose your hard-earned money the first month you only pay the minimum payment.
We have been looking at our spending for a whole week. Do you know how much you have spent this week on groceries, food eaten out of the house, household items, entertainment, bills, gifts, donations, and interest on your debt? How much money did you save for the future? Knowledge is power! Take 10 minutes and total this up. If you can’t separate it, then that is OK. You can start doing it this week. Jump in where we are, you are never behind. In your control journal, write down in your FACE section what you have spent. Tape your receipts in there if you have to in order to keep up with them. We are not going to do this forever; just until you get a feel for what you are actually spending your hard-earned money on.
One good rule to shop by is: If you have to charge it, it is not on sale!
Are you ready to FLY by FACEing your spending habits head on?