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The bumpy road to financial independence. . . .


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Frugal confidence. . . .

Apparently, Americans have a confidence rating in the economy of -47 (on a scale of 100 to -100)! That's pretty dismal, people! This confidence or 'comfort' rating is based on personal opinions about three separate variables:

  • National economy
  • Personal finances
  • Buying climate (meaning, is it a good time to make purchases. . .)
Interestingly, our opinions varied based on several factors. For example:
  • People with higher incomes reported more confidence (-17) than those with the lowest incomes (-72);
  • Those with a college degree felt better about the economy (-35) versus high school dropouts (-63);
  • Homeowners were slightly more confident (-44) than renters (-54).
Also interesting (though not surprising), less than half of us feel positively about our finances. In fact:
"Forty-five percent rate their personal finances positively, typically the best of the three measures. That’s down 7 points in the past month – the steepest such decline since May 2008 – to just 4 points from the record low in January, and 12 points below average."
Actually, the last half of last month and the beginning of this month have been quite difficult for me, financially. I still haven't published my zero-based budget from May, and had quite a difficult time getting my June budget to zero out. Meanwhile, I had my debit card declined last weekend after a day of grocery shopping (I had to transfer from money from savings to cover what I'd spent)! That is the first time this has ever, ever, EVER happened to me, in spite of all the years of spending---and I didn't like it one bit! I guess this isn't surprising, considering I rarely used my debit card in my non-frugal past and simply whipped out the credit card for every little thing.

Anyway, this rather rude awakening (it's embarassing!!!) helped me to get back to the basics, in checking my accounts more frequently BEFORE going shopping! I'm feeling a little less positive about my finances than I have in the past, though, in spite of being nearly credit-debt free. This might be because I'm sensing that times will get even tighter when my income decreases very soon!


Andrea said...

These are definately times of uncertainty no matter what socio-economic group you are in and I find it best to be causious.

Blessings and prayers, andrea

How to get out of debt said...

I've been in the situation where I had no money in my bank account for food too - and that was when I was paying back debt. It really brought home how much I had been relying on my credit card to get by.

I solved it by stocking up inexpensive stuff at home - bags of rice, lentils, pasta. That way, when I ran low, I could make dinner very inexpensively, and simply avoided going to the supermarket except to buy milk.

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