I read a Wall Street Journal article, entitled “10 Money Moves that will Always Pay Off”. Being the frugal-minded person I am (for those of you that have read my previous posts, I apologize for the bad language!), I read the article, looking for more ways to better my financial status. But alas, right from the first “move” suggested, I realized this article was simply not going to suffice for frugal little me.
Note: A link to the full article will be included, but first I’d like to share my $0.02.
According to the Brains at the Wall Street Journal, here are their Top Money Moves:
1. Max out the 401(k) – This is a slam dunk for you. Every dollar you invest saves you money on taxes because it comes off your taxable income. So Uncle Sam is effectively chipping in.
A slam dunk? Really? Ok, yes investing for your future is important, however with the current recession many people have lost money from their 401(k). Wouldn’t it be better to use some of that money to pay down current debt? And what if the tax rate goes up in the future? Will you end up paying more money when you withdraw the funds than the 20% your not paying now ??
2. Give up the vacation home – Sorry to be a spoilsport. But the finances just don’t stack up.
Oh, ok I’ll sell my….wait WHAT?? My “vacation home”? Sure……?
3. Put $5,000 into an individual retirement account or Roth IRA tax shelter – If you’re over 50, put in $6,000. And make sure your spouse does too.
Sure, once I sell the vacation home and max out the 401(k)…..
4. Pay off your credit-card debt -Haven’t you heard? If you’re still carrying a balance each month, this is a quick win.
Finally some sage advice! But then again, didn’t I already know this??
5. Fire your banker – This isn’t just good financial sense — it’s fun, too.
Sweet! Now it’s cool (according to the Wall Street Journal) to keep my funds stashed under the mattress and buried in tin cans around the yard. Gramma would be so proud!
6. Get your tax refund early -How? By not overpaying your taxes in the first place.
Ok this is sound financial advice. Raise your allowance so you pay less in taxes. According to the Internal Revenue Service, the average tax rebate is $3,000 (yeah I always knew I wasn’t average). And according to the Federal Reserve, the average credit card debt is also about $3,000. Only problem I have with this advice, some people will automatically spend the extra amount in their paycheck, instead of using it to pay off debt or saving it, which in turn will only increase their debt situation.
7. Buy inflation-protected bonds –Treasury inflation-protected securities, or TIPS, aren’t sexy. They won’t make you rich. But they’re guaranteed — twice over.
Got it! To recap: Sell the vacation home, max out the 401(k), invest $5,000 in Roth IRA, then use the remaining (wait, let me do the math…..) $0 to purchase unsexy bonds. Okie dokie!
8. Buy a bread machine – You want a certain winner? If a $50 bread maker saves you, say, $7 a week on buying bread, that’s $350 year. The easiest dough you’ll make.
Buy a bread machine????? This is the best the Wall Street Journal can do?? And who the heck pays $7 a week for bread? How many sandwiches can you make with that much bread? And did the author factor in the cost of the ingredients to make said bread? Or the cost of the mayo, lunch meat, lettuce, tomato, etc. needed to make the bread more than just a slice of bread?? Buy a bread machine??? Seriously?
9. Play hardball with your insurance company – Call competitors and ask them to quote you prices for your current house and auto policies.
Again, I’ll admit this is good advice. Comparison shopping, combining policies, raising deductibles are all good things to do. Can’t really pick on this one.
10. Get a freebie from a bank – Why not? You bailed them out. I’m not just talking about stopping in for a free lollipop or cup of coffee (though my local Bank of America brews an OK cup). Sign up for a credit card with a big bonus — like a free air ticket or weekend hotel stay. Use the card enough to qualify. Then cancel the card.
Sign up for a credit card and use it = incur more debt. I will hand it to the Wall Street Journal, encouraging Americans to sign up for credit cards is one Money Move that will Always Pay Off….for Wall Street. Here is the full article: 10 Money Moves That Will Always Pay Off
If you’re still with me, I think I can offer one more Money Move of my own.
Buy an Octopus and Save $$: The Hidden Cost of Ink!
But then of course my words of wisdom will fall on deaf ears because if you really want to be frugal, you either don’t own a printer or have already sold it 🙂 Maybe Save an Octopus and Save $$ would have been a better title!