Saturday, April 26, 2008

Stimulate This!

President Bush is having the tax rebate checks mailed early. They will start going out on Monday. Now before you get all excited and try to figure out just what you're going to spend your "free" money on, keep this in mind. You will be taxed on this money next April. My advice, figure out what that amount will be, set it aside - a money market account or interest bearing savings account would be great - and do something equally as smart with the balance. I've heard people say they were using the money to go to Disney, buying this or buying that. My thought on that is this, think about what you've already bought (and are still paying on) and PAY IT OFF. Now, I know, this isn't very exciting. You'll no doubt have to watch your neighbors sport new items and all you'll have is fewer bills in your mailbox, less headache every month when you're trying to figure out how to make all your payments, and, oh yeah, more money left in your checking account because it's no longer going to pay those bills. Now, use this money to stimulate the economy.

I have long thought America is falling short on the American dream. Sure, we can dream it and achieve it. But with work, people. Not with credit! There are so many people living beyond their means. It makes me sad. While I'm on this soap box, I'll confess, we do have a balance on a credit card or two. Things come up and that's our recourse. I'm not talking designer clothes, dinners out, or anything extravagant. No trips to far away lands, or Disney. I'm talking life. So, our balance isn't high. But it is there and I wish it wasn't. Now with two mortgages, it's a bit harder to pay it off. But it is going down. Next month is our last payment on my car. We'll then own both of our cars. The money that would have gone toward the car will now go toward our debt.

Bush originally wanted us to stimulate the economy by buying more. Now he wants us to use the money to buy the food and gas we need daily. I suggest we make cutbacks on what we spend on both. Use coupons for food, shop for the best prices on groceries(this internet site is great for both), join local co-ops if you have them in your area, in short, do what ever you can to save money on your groceries. As far as gas goes, drive less. Combine errands. Pick one day to get as much done as possible or at least group errands by location and tackle them by side of town. Ride your bike instead of drive for short trips when you don't need a trunk or have to transport kids. Ride-share and carpool. Do not, I repeat, do not use this check to pay for gas. The gas problem isn't going anywhere, your rebate check will be gone before you know it. And you'll still need to gas the car and eat. Why not put actions in place to help you long term? Stimulating, isn't it?

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