I like saving money as much as the next person, possibly more than the next person since I don’t have a lot of money. However, because of the economy we have an influx of articles touting money saving ideas. Obviously, not everyone has the same needs, but in Babble.com’s article I found a few issues that needed to be addressed.
One of their ideas is to sell your house. Their feeling is that if you are upside down on your house you should do a short sale. They tack on a “HEY! You could get a $3000 HAFA credit if the sale completes.” That is possible, but they fail to mention the pitfalls and qualifications for short sales. This is not selling lemonade on the corner (if your HOA allows that.) This is a messy situation. They should have at least mentioned that to even qualify for a short sale you must be in or near default status. The bank is not going to make this deal if you are able to make your payment every month. Beyond that, your credit score will be affected. Not at all by the short sale, but by the very fact that you are forced to go into default.
Moving on to the next tip: They say you should move back in with YOUR PARENTS. Are they for real? Yes, I realize that “Multi-generational living” as they call it used to be the norm. However, it isn’t now. Part of that is because people don’t respect their parents like they used to and part of that is because it’s significantly easier to find a place to live. I imagine 150 years ago you might actually have to build the house your family would live in as opposed to moving in to one of the many homes and apartment complexes that are available. Would you save money? Possibly. However, your parents then are expected to take on some of the cost of your family and not to mention the stress of having you and your fam around.
They say you should maximize your couponing. I don’t have a problem with that necessarily, but don’t cut out coupons for things you don’t buy. Why do you need 32 packages of bacon if you don’t eat it? Even if you got it for free it’s a waste. Also, most coupons are for processed or prepared food. You save a lot of money by preparing your own food plus you get less preservatives and TONS less sodium. (They do use the extremecouponing name which sent me into a rage. Talk about illegal and insulting.) To learn about couponing in an ethical and non-ridiculous way visit http://www.couponing101.com/
Their other tips really are things that you should be doing anyway like swapping baby and children’s items around with your friends, shopping around for insurance (duh. Who are these people who just take the first insurance quote and run?), and finding the best cell phone service deals. They say to ask your cell phone company what they are willing to do. Let me tell you, basically not much. They might be able to find a plan that works better for you, but they are generally not matching a competitors rate.
I do have a problem with the fact that they suggest a pay as you go phone as an option. I am not talking about a Metro PCS or Virgin Mobile phone with no contract, flat fee, monthly rate. They suggest a phone where you load the minutes monthly and you are charged per text or per call. My main problem with these services is that they have a tendency to charge fees, some of them slightly ridiculous. Research is definitely necessary.
My biggest issue with the article is that even though it’s supposed to be informative, there is very little in the way of usable information. There are very few links to help you learn more about these tips and of those some of them don’t even work like the link for hiremymom.com. (As of this writing, the site won’t load and there have been no twitter posts since June 3rd when prior to that the updates were nearly every day.) It makes me wonder how much research was actually done for the article or if the writer simply sat around, drank coffee, and made stuff up. (I say that as I’m finishing my third cup of coffee and typing away. I INCLUDED LINKS THOUGH!)