More tips to avoid impulse buying

More tips to avoid impulse buying

In that regard we have all heard about, or even know some of, the many individuals enrolled in the Public Service Program who made payment for the required 10 years, but then did not have their debt forgiven, because they were told that, in fact, they had the wrong type of federal loan or repayment plan. Without getting into the weeds of the details, only about 5,500 borrowers (about 10% of the applicants) had their loans erased by the program that started in 2017. To its credit, the Biden Administration is making some temporary changes through October of 2022 that will make many of those 90% of applicants eligible to have their loans erased. Bottom line: If you are one of those applicants, get right on this! On a different subject, there have finally been some important developments in the area of student loan debt forgiveness programs. I tell students that if they are going to incur a significant amount of student loan debt, start looking early, and before they graduate, at any loan forgiveness or repayment programs that they may be able to take advantage of. These may include an employer benefit program to pay off some debt, and the Federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. Also I talk about how important it is to make sure that you fully understand all of the details and requirements of any such program. On another subject, we continue to hear about the need to raise the debt ceiling again in December from members of Congress and Janet Yellen, the Secretary of the Treasury. At times it seems to just be a lot to do about nothing, because, according to thoughtco.com, Congress has tinkered with the debt ceiling, the statutory limit on the amount of money the United States government is authorized to borrow to meet its legal obligations, a grand total of 78 times since 1960 — 49 times under Republican presidents and 29 times under Democratic presidents.

— Give yourself permission to do some impulse buying by giving yourself a per-store splurging allowance that you can afford that won’t throw you into credit card debt, and never exceed that allowance. Eventually, NERDWALLET says that you may find yourself lowering the allowance over time. — If it is a free service, consider using curbside pickup for the things you need, so that you can avoid being in the store and being bombarded with all of those retailer marketing strategies that may encourage you to impulse buy more things that you don’t need.

— Get an accountability partner. We have talked about this in this column. Having to explain your intended purchase can make you look at it more objectively and in terms of how it could affect your overall budget and financial plan. You may remember that study that reported that people were willing to spend up to 40% more for game or concert tickets if they could use a credit card instead of cash!

I just hope that everyone is paying attention and trying to find ways to keep their budget balanced. On another subject, driving to Cleveland earlier this past week, we drove past a tractor trailer truck that had a large sign on the back advertising $2,500-plus per week after expenses. Makes working in the food service and many other industries not look so inviting anymore. Senior citizens will get some help with their budget with the now finalized 5.9% cost of living increase for 2022, and with the labor shortages, many other Americans may get some help with their budgets with higher wages, but everyone is certainly going to feel the effects of inflation, including the predicted significant increase in utility costs in the future.

On a different subject, we all know by now that gasoline prices are the highest that they have been in seven years. As I drive around and see so many prices of between $3.39 and $3.49 per gallon for regular, I smile, because I am driving around with $2.97 per gallon gasoline from Walmart in Henrietta. By the way, speaking of increased prices, if you haven’t heard, inflation is going to be with us for a while longer than we thought. We are all seeing it every day at the grocery store, from the cost of cat food, to the cost of coffee, to the cost of ground beef. I don’t buy a lot of our groceries, my wife does, but I can’t think of one thing that isn’t more expensive than it was a few months ago. It’s actually rather complicated, but the simple “no-brainer” reason, advanced by those in favor of raising the debt ceiling again, is that Congress has already authorized the spending that it is necessary to borrow to pay for. It just makes me wonder how the cost projections of Congress could be so consistently wrong, or did it always know that the spending it was authorizing would have to be paid for with additional debt?

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