August 20, 2003
Debt Debt Debt
I think every furniture store offers in-store credit, usually with some "great deal" where you buy the sofa, loveseat, and chairs today, but no payments, no interest until January 2005, or something like that. It must work too, since so many people take advantage of these "deals" to purchase new furniture. You people do understand that this isn't a good idea, right? Let me explain why: you buy the sofa, let's say it costs $2000, and you take the in-store credit which says you don't have to pay a nickel for 16 months, and then you pay $250/month with 15% interest until the thing is paid off. But that's ok, cause you don't have to pay anything now, right? NO! What it means is that you're going to have this great new sofa, and all your friends are going to be complimenting you on it.. for a while. But in 2 years, after the kid has spilled orange juice on the cushion, and Living Rooms-2-Go has their new inventory, you're going to want a new sofa. But guess what, you still owe $1700 on the current one. That sucks.
The solution to this, which doesn't take a degree in rocket science to figure out, is to actually have the money for stuff before you go buy it. I know, it's revolutionary. Pay attention here. You get your paycheck. If you're like most people, it's direct deposited into a checking account (or maybe you go to the bank, cash it, and sew the cash into your matress, hey, different strokes, I dig it). It being 2003 and all, you should have a bank that has a 24-hour phone line and website that you can use to check your balance, transaction history, and all that kind of stuff. So you check your balance, and you discover that you only have $1500 in the account, but man, you really need a new sofa since Junior spilled grape juice all over the old one and your friends don't like to come over anymore. PFFT! Start saving, genius. In the meantime, get a slipcover, or go to a garage sale in a ritzy neighborhood and buy some rich guy's 6-month-old sofa for $100. Or just live with it, and make Junior eat his snacks in the kitchen from now on.
But please, don't let them take advantage of you. I'm not just talking about furniture stores here, but it's possibly the most obvious example. How many of you people sign up for every store credit card they throw at you just cause it'll save you 10% the day you sign up? What other possible reasons could there be for signing up for these cards? Credit card debt is really hard to get rid of, once you start building it up. You are letting the credit card companies make mucho dinero off of you because you're too lazy to make a budget, or just not buy things you don't need. Despite what Junior says, he's probably not going to die if he doesn't get the latest toy, and the teenager will, in fact, be able to show her face in public with last year's clothes. Grow a brain and then grow a spine, folks. PFFT!
Published: August 20, 2003