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3 Things to Watch to Make Sure You Aren’t Being Overcharged

I think it’s safe to say that we live in a society where everything moves very fast. Most of us are busy, and life just seems to fly by. I think it’s great how much stuff we can get done at any given time, but it’s important to slow it down sometimes to make sure we aren’t being taken advantage of. Here are 3 instances I think it’s important to take a step back and make sure you aren’t being overcharged.

 1) Grocery Store Reciept– I don’t know about you, but I hate grocery shopping. I’m a poor college student so I tend to shop at Wal-Mart (it’s so cheap). Wal-Mart alone is probably why I hate shopping. It’s always so crowded, which make it impossible to navigate the isles! People are always walking around slow. They stand side by side and block the shelves. It’s just a giant mess. Because I hate it there, I’m always in a hurry to checkout. They don’t really use baggage people so I’m always busy packing up my own groceries. I’m sure there have been times where I’ve been overcharged because I wasn’t paying attention. It wouldn’t surprise me if they didn’t have baggage people just to distract their customers from noticing items being rung up twice or with the wrong amount. This is why it’s important to put the rushing attitude behind at the checkout stand and make sure you’re not overpaying.

 2) Monthly Bills– I’ve always been terrible at combing through my monthly bills. I like to just pay them and get it over with. Recently I’ve been hearing a lot about companies tacking on extra fees. It feels like most companies want to hold you upside down and shake every last penny free. Their like bullies stealing lunch money. Most of us probably have no idea if we’ve ever actually paid these extra fees, but in these tough times it’s important to pay attention and end the shakedowns. If we keep paying the fees, they’ll keep adding them.

3) Foreign Travel– My girlfriend’s parents recently got back from a cruise that went to Komodo Island. Tourist from all over the world travel to this island to see the endangered Komodo dragon. Before the cruise ship company would let them off the boat, they made sure they booked a tour with the local Komodo dragon tour company (they are a monopoly). The tour cost over $175.00 a person. If they didn’t book a tour with them they wouldn’t let them on the island. My girlfriend’s father is a very thrifty guy, and he read ahead of time that he could get a private tour of Komodo Island by going to the ranger station and paying $15.00. When he tried to do this the local tour company through a fit. It took a while to work out, but they ended up getting a great tour for 10% of the cost. This example shows how important it is to be informed when you travel to another country. He did his research and was able to get a great deal, and if he would have just gone on with everyone else he would have been overcharged.

 
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Posted by on March 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Sex Ratios & Men’s Finances- I Bet You Didn’t Know This

An academic study came out suggesting that men are less responsible with their finances when they live in an area with a male biased sex ratio (more men than women). The article is called The Financial Consequences of Too Many Men: Sex Ratio Effects on Saving, Borrowing, and Spending (from the journal of Personality & Social Psychology January 2012).  What the article comes down to is men spend more money when women are scarce. Now I’m sure the ladies love hearing stuff like this because it makes them feel special, and in all honesty it should. It shows that we need you, and are willing to go through extraordinary measures to get you.

When I first started reading this article I didn’t buy it. I always seemed to me that I spend way more money having a girlfriend then I would if I didn’t. All the dinners for two,  the vacations for two, and even filling up two gas tanks. No, this article had to be wrong. If men spend more money when women aren’t around then what are they spending it on?

As I read further, the picture began to fill itself in. Every man wants a woman. When there are more men than women it makes matching of partners impossible. Every man wants a woman, but they all can’t have one. So what do we as men do? Well, thousands of years ago we probably would have ran around beating our chests and killing each other to find out who’s the strongest. Since we can’t do that anymore (and women have more say in the matter), we go out and spend money to try and lure women into choosing us.

As it turns out, the more male biased the sex ratio, the more money women are expecting men to spend on them. If you can’t take them to a nice dinner and buy them expensive gifts they will find someone who can (I realize not all women are like this). So to prevent that from happening what do we do? We take on debt. So not only are we spending more but we also have more debt, and with more debt comes less savings; However, when the tides have turned (and there are more women than men), men spend less on their women.

I think this article is interesting because it shows us that there are underlying issues that affect our finances that we might not even think about. They use an example of two cities that are located close together, but their finances are completely different. The city that has more debt is the one with a male biased sex ratio. It’s an issue most of us would never have even thought about, but it seems like it could have a substantial impact. That’s why the study of psychology, sociology, and finance mixed together is so great. Have any of you heard about other psychological/sociological issues affect finances (I’m always looking for some good reading materials)?

 
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Posted by on February 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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When It Comes To Saving, It’s Always Better Late Than Never

There are tons of things in life that we know we need to do, but we never get around to it. It’s not that we don’t plan on completing these tasks, they just live on to be done another day.  For example, this blog post was supposed to be done on Monday, but here I am on Tuesday finishing it up. I might lose some points on my homework assignment, but sometimes when life gets crazy you  have to re-asses your situation. Luckily the cost of changing plans for something as little as a homework assignment isn’t too steep, however, I cannot say the same thing about the process of saving for retirement.

Everyone will tell you one of the most important things about a retirement plan is starting while you’re young. I completely agree that that would likely be a huge help. However, there are millions of people over the age of 45 with no savings at all. Now if you are one of those people, what are you to do?  I mean, no one wants to work for the rest of their lives (and that’s if they are fortunate enough to be able to). No one knows how long social security will be around for, and who can live off of that alone anyways? After thinking about these questions, no easy answer occurred to me. They are hard questions with hard answers. The only idea that really came to mind is: start saving right away!

I come from a family that has never been good at saving money so I understand how people get in these situations. There are multiple reasons/emotions that explain why someone would wait so long to start saving for retirement. They might have had other issues that seemed more important at the time, or maybe it’s as simple as they don’t know how to start. Whatever the reason may be, it’s important to remember that when it comes to saving, it’s ALWAYS better late than never. You might have feelings of discouragement now, but after you get started, you’ll feel so much better (just like I do now that my homework is almost done). Even if you start out small, that’s better than nothing. Then, opportunities might present themselves where you can save more and more. No matter how it turns out, I can promise you that you’ll be better off than you were before. And that’s all any of us really want, to be a little bit better, to live a little happier, and of course, to have a little more money in our savings accounts.

But seriously, if you want some good tips for retirement savings click this link and read a helpful article from moneyeconomics.com.

 
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Posted by on February 21, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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