Need Money? said the spider to the fly

Who wouldn’t like some more cash? Unless you just won the lottery, it’s probably you (and me).

But listen, friends. The loan spiders know this and they are licking their fangs to get you trapped into their web. They are not your friends, being nice by handing you a check. They are looking at how much they’re going to make off the interest you’re going to pay. Here’s a real life example…

The Wedding Loan

One greedy credit union is now advertising that they make “wedding loans.” That’s right. In case love isn’t enough and it’s really all about your vanity and ego, you can borrow $10,000 and pay 4.99%. You end up paying back $11,006. Paying $1K in interest on $10K = paying 10% more!

(If you can afford a $10K or $100K wedding, I have no problem with it. But borrowing money for a ceremony is a bad idea. You don’t need to start your new life in debt.)

The “Me Loan” (They actually call it that.)

If you’re not totally pleased with your appearance and want to get some cosmetic work done, you can borrow money at what they call an “affordable” 9.45%. If you borrow $20,000, you’ll pay back almost $25,000 over five years.

Paying $5K in interest on $20K = paying 20% more!

The Vacation Loan

The worst idea of all is their “vacation loan.” Listen friends, if you haven’t been able to save enough money to travel, then it’s better to enjoy a “stay-cation” than to go into debt so you’ll have to work even harder just to keep even. Backyard parties, bike rides, the local sites… they can all be a lot of fun without spending a ton of money.

Yes, there are times it makes sense to take a loan. Some of those valid situations are…

  • Your house needs a vital repair, such as the roof is going bad. (Not new granite counter tops.)
  • Your child needs orthodontic work.
  • You need to take a class in order to qualify for a higher-paying position.

For the non-essentials, it’s best to save money until you’ve got the cash.

To get ahead, here are some ideas to consider:

  • Sell clothing/coats/handbags through a consignment shop.
  • Sell collectibles you no longer love on OfferUp, Ebay, or Craig’s List. In some neighborhoods, garage sales are effective for unloading a lot of inexpensive items in one day. Ebay is better for high priced items. Craig’s List is pure luck.
  • Cancel extra cable channels and maybe even cable TV altogether. Switch to antenna TV and read more.
  • Pack your own lunch for work. (Add up how much you spend eating out in a month.)
  • Switch to a cheaper grocery story. (You don’t have to spend gas driving all over town to four groceries, just stop paying more at the most expensive store in town.)

Two words to the wise (make a big different in a hurry):

  • Stop using the debit card. Examine the past two months of your bank statement and you’ll see what I mean. Add up all those “little” charges to see how your money is flushing away at an alarming rate.
  • Track your spending! Become more aware of where your money is going and then get creative with ways to save. I know 90 percent of you can do it. (The other 10 percent are already doing it.)

Temporary sacrifices bring wonderful rewards.

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