My parents were both raised during the Great Depression and learned to live within their (very meager) means. Their main concern was putting food on the table.
Our economy has since recovered from that dark segment of history, but the lessons we can glean from it still apply today — maybe more so than ever.
Today our economy is based on credit and spending beyond our means (both personally and at the Federal Government levels). This can bolster an economy by adding workers to the workforce (your dollar will pay not only a retailer, but also the credit card processor, who will then spend it again). The downside — and the upside — is the interest paid on that dollar. A $10 item may end up costing $12.50 or more — much more if you only pay the monthly minimum (as this pays virtually no money against the principal).
The solution? Live within your means. Don’t spend more than you make. And above all, put money away for a rainy day. This way, you save up for your purchases, and are much more likely to buy quality (rather than “disposable”) items. Additionally, rather than you paying interest on what you’ve spent, your bank will pay you interest for letting them use your money.
Unfortunately most checking accounts don’t pay interest. To make matters worse, most savings accounts pay interest at rates less than inflation. (In other words, if the rate of inflation is less than your rate of interest, you’re actually losing money.)
SavingsAccounts.com is a new site focused on the direct to consumer online banking industry, specifically high yield savings accounts. Rates for savings accounts are as high as 6% now.
The time to take action is RIGHT NOW. Put your finances in order and live within your means. The more you do so now, the better!