Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Are you prepared for a financial speed bump?

I have been listening to and reading news reports lately that talk about a possible recession coming in the next 12 months. So I have begun to look at my overall fiances to see how and if I would be able to weather a financial storm

One thing that concerns me is that during any time of economic crisis the African American community is usually more effected than the larger population. Already we have seen many cases of African Americans, especially older African American women, being caught in the mortgage crisis. So if there is a general recession what might the impact be on Black America?

Also I read a post at the blog What Tami Said about being frugal and a post by Liz at Los Angelista's Guide To The Pursuit Of Happiness about the so-called black Friday shopping craze.

So I thought this would be a good time to take inventory. And after doing so I feel pretty good. I have been saving for quite a few years. In the last six months I have stepped up the pace of saving a bit. Only occasionally using those savings to splurge on something unnecessary.

I have cut back on my bills and cut out certain 'perks' that I felt I deserved.

Regarding bills, I cancelled my cable t.v. this past August. I was paying about $60 per month. Instead of just getting rid of that bill I decided I would truly save that money. So in August I opened a new savings account. Every month I take the $60 I would have spent on Cable t.v. and put it in that savings account. I know that saving $60 a month does not sound like much but multiply that by 12 and you have $720. And to project into the future that will be $3600 over five years.

I also add to my savings account in the following ways.

I've stopped buying lunch when I'm at work. I figured I was spending between $5 and $10 dollars a day, five days a week. Using $7 as an average spent per day, I have been taking my lunch to work and putting $35 dollars a week into savings. That's $140 per month and $1680 a year. Even when I subtract the $2 to $3 dollars I now spend taking my lunch to work, that's quite a savings over time.

Another 'little' thing I've cut back on is buying USA Today. I'm a news junkie so I have been a big fan of USA Today for a long time. I used to buy it Monday through Friday without fail. I decided that I would stop doing that and only buy it on Mondays and Fridays (unless there was a particular news item I really wanted to read about). Since USA Today costs .75 cents a day, that's $3.75 a week and $15 a month or $123 a year. So buying it two days a week costs $1.50. Saving me $2.25 a week, which adds up to $108 a year.

All those things that I've cut back on are relatively inexpensive. But when I add them up they amount to the beginnings of a nice nest egg.

The savings from my cancelled cable is $720 a year, averaging my lunch savings at $4 a day, that equals to $960 per year plus $108 a year saved by buying USA Today only two days a week. These savings total $1788 a year and $8940 after five years. Not bad.

Are you planning to save or are you saving for a "rainy day"? If so what strategies would you share about your savings plan?

Are you cutting back or cutting out anything? Are you worried about a possible recession?

I have one more thing I want to cut back on, Starbucks Frappuccino. I drink at least one per day and some days two. The 13.7 ounce size costs $2.19 each so that's at least $65.70 a month, not counting days when I have two. That's going to be my next cutback and it's not gonna be easy!

12 comments:

Homeland Colors said...

Wow, I hear that. You're inspirational.

Mes Deux Cents said...

Hi HC,

It was a little hard to get used to at first. But I've found that the key is treating yourself every now and then to something nice. Otherwise I think I would feel too deprived and get off my savings schedule.

Thanks

YAZMAR said...

First time coming thru...Nice blog you got here...commentary is on point!Definitely wont be my last visit!

www.Yazmar.com

Tami said...

This is smart, MDC. You ARE inspirational. I am going to take some of your hints for my Year of Consuming Consciously, formerly know as the Year of Living Frugally.

I fear that 2009 will be a bad year for many. That is one of the reasons I want to make sure my family and I am as financially fit as possible.

Mes Deux Cents said...

Yazmar,

Thanks for stopping by. I'll be sure to pay you a visit as well.


Tami,

2009? You think the problems will skip 2008?

I can't wait to read about the new and improved "Year of Consuming Consciously"

Mes Deux Cents said...

Tami,

One more thing, did you have a chance to listen to the Nicole Willis song I posted below?

I'd really like your opinion. I think it's a GREAT song.

Liz said...

I have cut back on a bunch of things. Chai only once every two weeks instead of almost every day (saves the calories too). No more buying books every time I go to the bookstore (once a week) - instead I'm going to the library.

I also have started browsing second-hand shops for clothes for my boys. They're growing like weeds and don't really care anyway. I have to buy jeans for them since they're so slim, but shirts? Second-hand all the way.

But I could be doing a whole lot more. I've thought about canceling TV as well, but I think I'd die without the history channel.

Randi523 said...

Sorry for the late comment-been a busy bee at work!

I opened an HSBC account, and I have $20 a month auto drafted from my Wachovia account (I know it's just $20, but I'm trying to get a little more established, then I'll contribute more, promise!)

Additionally, I contribute to my company's 401(k), and they match it. I know that's money that's not supposed to be touched until retirement, but it could come in handy in a real financial bind.

Mes Deux Cents said...

Liz,

Books and dvds are a weakness for me. At first I began to buy them on Amazon to save money but now I'm trying to go to the library too.

I actually now have 3 library card from three cities in the area. (lol)



Randi,

I don't think any amount is too small. It's best to choose an amount that you're comfortable with otherwise you'll raid your savings.

Ehav Ever said...

One of the things I have learned from my mistakes while living in NYC is save first and buy later. That is the rule I have been living by here in Israel. Because it is hard to say what the future holds I have held off on a lot of things to build up a security blanket so to speak. I am waiting to really furnish my apartment. I am also not taking part in the social scene. The good thing is I get free lunch at my job. My job also gave me a car and pays for my gas so I save there also.

I changed my eating habits a bit to save money. I eat a hardy breakfast, and a light dinner at home. Because Israel is not big on fast food I save there also, and I enjoy cooking my meals again. I drink coffee and I don't smoke so I save there, there are a lot of people I know who either drink lots of coffee or smoke or both. I also have to go to the bank today to change my dollar account to a Euro account. I should have done that earlier.

All in all, the mistakes I made between 2000 to 2005 have taught me a lot about saving first and moderately spending later.

Malacyne said...

I look over all of this wistfully! Asset and wealth building are essential to any woman's survival. There are not alot of black women who invest in this sound principle. Mes Deux hit it right on the head...save, sister, save!
I was foolish in my younger years and wish I had the foresight to see the forest for the trees so to speak.
Preach on sister!

Mes Deux Cents said...

Hi Malacyne,

I hit a financial speed bump a few years ago and that has inspired me to do whatever I can to avoid it happening again.

I think that a lot of young Black women get caught up in consumerism in college. They hand out credit cards like candy to college kids. And that sets the stage for problems.

But it’s never too late to save, that’s the good news.

Thanks for stopping by

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About Me

West Coast, United States
African American, Poet?, Vegetarian, Music lover, Agoraphobic, Social Phobic

My Favorite Poet

My Favorite Poet
Staceyann Chin

My Favorite Track Athlete

My Favorite Track Athlete
Christine Arron