another 'How stupid do they think we are?'

chery2October 23, 2005

Remember when paper towels were serrated to tear off one-at-a-time? Gee, I wonder what genius figured out that making it less easy to tear off just one would cause consumers to tear off MORE than one, thus ending the roll sooner?

GR-R-R-R-R-R-R. . .chery2

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Oh, you've got to try "Bounty Select A Size" ! The roll is perforated every 6", so you can tear off just one small section if that's all you need. I know Bounty is more expensive, but seriously, I have saved money with this product since I typically only use one section.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2005 at 11:12AM
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I found my Viva in the 'select a size', too. Great idea. I've not seen them before and don't know how they measure up price-wise. I now use about four of the sections per day where I was using four big ones. However I leave one on the counter to use over and over again, unless it's for something gross.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2005 at 4:01PM
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Has anyone else noticed that the candy bags they are selling for Halloween are smaller (but not cheaper) than what I purchased last year? I live in a different state but these are national brands.

Also, it irks me when products appear to be the same size but upon closer examination, they have, once again, taken off a couple of ounces.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2005 at 9:31PM
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Went from 175 ml. to 125 ml. to 113 ml.


But - still several individual servings (sometimes - on sale) are less expensive than one 750 ml. larger container (which seldom goes on sale).

Go figure.

o j

    Bookmark   October 30, 2005 at 2:08PM
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The only thing I can think of is to quit using so much. We are a consumer society and companies know that. They will try to get away with whatever you let them.

Papertowels - My messmakers are little so we go through a lot of these. I have a bunch of those useless little tea towels that I make the kids use to clean up. It cuts down on papertowel waste. I try to use the paper towels only when I have to. I have noticed that the 'select-a-size' ones do last longer. Also, it's great to hit the stores the day after Christmas for those half price brand name holiday paper towels.

Halloween candy - I was talking to some of the other mothers. It seems they recycle candy. After they do the big community safe trick or treat events, mom high grades the candy for chocolate and other favorites. They pass the rest out to the trick or treaters that show up at the door. I'm seriously tempted to do this. The kids don't need that much candy. I'm already fat enough. I live on one of the streets that get hit really hard. My neighbor said she bought eight bags of candy and still ran out. We bought three big bags of candy and I made three Halloween costumes. I think that's as much as I'm going to spend on this holiday.

Not sure how to cut back on yogurt. It's a treat at our house. The kids discovered the Yoplait whips earlier this year and now waste anything else. I buy yogurt only when it's on sale which usually coincides with when I get coupons.

    Bookmark   October 31, 2005 at 12:35AM
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In the library the other day I was reading in "Tightwad Gazette II" about the writer having rescued an apple from the waste bucket that had a couple of bites taken out of it, and telling the mother how it could be reclaimed, adding sugar syrup and baking.

Mother was *shocked*!! I mean - **disgusted shocked**!!

We have become so squeamish - so insulated from the realities of life.

Remember Ross Perot talking about " ... that sucking sound of many jobs going to Mexico ... " etc.?

It's still going on: shoes used to be made in North America; not now. Same for steel. Same for clothing. Same for knick knacks.

Which we're going deep into debt to buy.

One day the lenders will ask us to pay up.

When we're the ones who no longer have jobs.

Best to plan now to build a kitty for survival in case of potential job loss later.

Have a great week, everyone.

o j

    Bookmark   November 1, 2005 at 2:29PM
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an apple from the waste bucket that had a couple of bites taken out of it, and telling the mother how it could be reclaimed, adding sugar syrup and baking.

My mother would have looked shocked too--at the idea that she should do so much work (and spend cooking gas) on using up that one stupid little apple. A total imbalance in effort/reward.


The first time I left the picturesque edges on the top and bottom of an apple, I was made to come back and eat those parts (washed off, of course).

    Bookmark   November 8, 2005 at 7:37PM
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The first time I left the picturesque edges on the top and bottom of an apple, I was made to come back and eat those parts (washed off, of course).

That's another difference between "then" and "now." Many parents seem to think it would be too injurious to little Kayla's or Hunter's self-esteem to make their child do something the kid didn't want to do. I can understand that there are a few foods a kid doesn't like (and should not be served repeatedly). But the bit about eating a couple of bites and leaving the rest should not happen repeatedly. Someone's just not paying attention.

My favorite (?) "How stupid do they think we are" is any phrase preceded by "For your convenience," which, I've discovered, hardly ever is convenient: "For your convenience, all packages must be checked at the door." "For your convenience, we are now delivering twice a week" (instead of daily). "For your convenience, we accept cash only." How stupid do they think we are?

    Bookmark   November 10, 2005 at 8:36AM
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"For your convenience, we accept cash only" ... yeah, right.

And when you ask a store that has a credit card symbol on the door for a discount for cash, they look at you as though you had two heads.

I've told some clerks that, if they were to be paid today's wages from the proceeds of the sale made to the lady ahead of me in the line who used a credit card, they'd have to wait about 6 weeks for their pay.

And have it about 2% or so short, too, I've heard - can someone tell us what percentage the card company docks from the payments to the store? Probably depends partly on volume.

If she were paid from the proceeds of my cash sale, she could be paid tonight - and get paid a dollar instead of about 98 cents per dollar.

Many of them have never given that concept a thought - that's the store's problem.

As I've said to many over the years" "Learning how money works is an interesting hobby - that pays well".

Enjoy your week ... and the measure of good health that you enjoy ...

...while you have it.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   November 10, 2005 at 2:51PM
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Hi Joyful! I can probably address a couple of your questions.

It varies from place to place but here's how it worked with the stores, states and communities I've been associated with: Most CC companies charge a monthly rate for allowing you the pleasure of accepting their cards. However if you go through a bank as an intermediary, you can accept more than one card for essentially the same fee. Then there's a transaction fee, usually 2% to 3% on Visa/Master/Discover (depending on the outfit you use). AmEx is about 4%-7% and could even be more. (One of the reasons I refused to accept AmEx when I had the option.) It's important to note that these fees assume that you swipe the card using the magnetic strip and electronically process it. If you manually punch in the numbers due to a damaged card or a phone order, the fee is higher. Essentially doubled. We were charged about 4%-6% for a manual input. Plus if you call in to charge it through the bank/CC outfit, there's another fee. However the beauty of it now is there is no problem with insufficient funds, counterfeit, stolen cards or the like. Once approved, the business is safe even if the card is stolen since the CC outfit absorbs it or charges it to the cardholder until it gets into the system.

Keep in mind that these charges apply to the transaction. So if someone comes in and buys something from you, you lose the 2% in a good case and if they return it, you lose another 2% to refund the money. If the charge is challenged, you're charged unless you prove the charge is legitimate and in that case you will get re-credited (eventually).

That said, it's still a better deal than to accept checks in most cases. The number of bad checks and the associated fees (remember the store gets charged in the area of $35 for each bad check deposited) so the charges add up quickly in many cases. We had a better clientele so we didn't have many bad checks so in that aspect we were fortunate. However in the convenience stores I've run, the CC was far better than checks.

Also given the increasing number of counterfeit bills out there, cash isn't the end-all-be-all that many feel it is. Plus there's related expenses with handling cash, such as increased robberies, employee theft and given that for a small business, banks actually charge to deposit more than a few dollars in a transaction!

Discount for cash used to be rather commonplace around here, however it's now very difficult, nay, next to impossible to do it anymore. The CC companies complained to the Feds that a cash discount was essentially a surcharge for using a CC and subsequently cash discounts were banned.

Credit cards can be great. I enjoy the convenience of having everything together on one or two statements and then do an electronic payment, saving check costs and postage. Plus I have a gas card that gives 5% rebate on gas and related purchases (like oil changes if the business is listed as a gas/auto vendor) so coupled with a $2 off gas coupon accepted at many stations around here, I knock off 13-16¢ per gallon for the coupon and an additional 10¢-15¢ per gallon credited back when I charge the gas on the gas card. I pay the balance off monthly (in the CC business I'm known as a "deadbeat" since I don't carry a balance) and I don't have to carry cash or checks, nor do I even pay postage or check to pay off the balance monthly. Just by not mailing bills anymore on the few that I can EFT, I've figured out I'm saving $18/year just in postage/mailing/check expenses (I have to pay for my checks). $18 won't make or break me but I figure that is a nice little bonus and using the "Joyful-addon" of the effective income if I figure 25% income tax, hey, that's nearly a full tank of gas for me. Whether you figure it as just money saved, or as my cousin likes to put it "how many 12 packs is that?" the money is better in my pocket than theirs.

The ironic thing is that the gas station does lose quite substantially on me. Given that a typical markup on gas is 6¢-10¢ per gallon (on a good day) and I'm taking roughly 15¢ per gallon off for the coupon plus the CC fee of probably a nickel a gallon, well they know they often lose on gas but want to make it up by the cigarette, pop, candy sales but don't on me. Do I feel bad? Nope. They set the rules and I play by them. I'm just taking advantage of what's offered. Same with the CC outfit. They give the rebate banking that they'll more than make it up on interest, late fees, etc. I hope not too many people are smart enough to take advantage of it. If they do, they'll go back to charging annual fees for the cards and I won't pay a fee to carry a credit card. Then I'll go to checks, cash or EFT.

Boy did that become long-winded, eh? Oh well, happy holidays to all and enjoy your Thanksgivings!

Oh, but to address the initial topic, I shake my head when I look at things like dish soap or something and they change the shape of the bottle to a more "ergonomic" shape or something and somehow cut a couple of ounces out of it in the process! And has anyone else noticed it having a slightly larger squirt hole so when you give it a squeeze it shoots a bit more out of it?

And I got so disgusted with toilet paper getting to the point where there's about 12 sheets to a roll now with that ever-increasing core size but the same diameter roll so it takes up as much room, but doesn't last as long. That's why I've switched to Scott and Walgreen's version of it with 1000 sheets to a roll. 39¢ a roll and one roll is the equivalent of 5 or more rolls of Northern or Charmin. And guess what? Both do the same job and wind up in the same place! :)

    Bookmark   November 20, 2005 at 4:56PM
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Hi again ole cynic,

Enjoyed your message.

Yes - it appears that not only bowels can get loose, but they can wrap the TP loosely on the (larger) cores.

Yogurt around here went from 175 ml to 125 ml, then 113 ml - and now they list the total in the whole package of a dozen or so.

I guess they thought they were being virtuous - in aiding us in our dieting program. Isn't everyone on one?

While 3/4 of the world is hungry.

Go figure.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   November 22, 2005 at 3:38PM
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I got tired of the wastefullness of paper towels, but couldn't get the rest of the household (husband and Dad) to use cloth rags. I did a bit of research and ended up buying a paper towel dispenser and a case of 4000 single fold brown kraft paper towels from a local wholesale supply co for $17 and $25 respectively. I thought if I couldn't get the guys to use the brown paper towels in the house, I could always put the dispenser and towels in my husband's shop. However, the guys fell into line and I've gotten quite a bargin!

The brown, single fold towels cost .006 each, compared to .0139 for each sheet of a sale roll of paper towels - less than 1/2 the cost. Often, a sheet of toweling is tossed after one use, whether it is "used up" or not. I rarely have to use more than one of the brown towels, and will often re-use them if they weren't used for something icky. And I've noticed that they guys don't seem to use as many of them - it was not unusual for us to go through 2, 60 sheet rolls of paper towels in a week, but I'm still not half way through the case of towels that I bought over 6 months ago, so I figure we're using about half as many. I do notice that they guys are using the regular cloth bar towels more often to dry their hands, etc... than they were before - aversion therapy, maybe?! The cardboard box of towels is small enough that a year's supply can be stored easily on a pantry shelf.

As a bonus, the brown paper towels require less processing - no bleaching; so there are fewer harsh chemicals being put in to the environment during their manufacture. There are no cores and no individual plastic wrappers to be recycled or landfilled, just simple paper wrappers and a cardboard box, both of which are recycled through composting. The brown towels also break down in the compost pile faster than the heavier, bleached white ones. And, since I purchase a case at a time, which will be over a year's supply, there are fewer trips to town to shop, and less shipping costs to be absorbed as well.

Saving money, using less resources, less stress on the environment - what's not to like?!

    Bookmark   December 11, 2005 at 7:47AM
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I have one of those towel dispensers in the garage and I agree, I seem to use less of them. I got the dispenser and a case and a half of towels for free. Possibly in part due to the mentioned poor perforation or probably more likely they're a touch smaller. Don't even remember where they came from but it was going to be tossed and I said no way, it's coming home with me!

I know it's strange, but for some reason I really like the brown towels. Sort of a "comfort" item.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2005 at 12:46PM
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" ... don't remember where it came from, but it was going to be tossed and I said, "No way!".

Boy, does that idea sound familiar!

I've said it myself, lots of times.

I lived for a time in what had been originally a poor country, just after a hugely devastating war, where thousands of refugees were scrounging a few scraps of whatever in order to build a tiny shack in which to live.

Very little available land - high on a hillside, over open sewers, etc.

How people could be well turned out when coming from such squalor, I found amazing.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   December 13, 2005 at 4:22PM
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Often, and interestingly, coming from such backgrounds people often learn something that the people who have everything often can't benefit from. Being able to appreciate simple things. I have so much more respect for them than spoiled brats like the Menendez boys who have the world in the palm of their hand and still demand more. Greed can come at any level, filthy rich or dirt-poor just as generosity can come at either level. I'd just like to see less of the former and more of the latter.

All too often I see more good in folks who started out with less. Too bad there's such a shortage of ethics, morals & scruples!

Though I'm a recovering packrat, I still have to take advantage of a bargain! But the frugal person knows that something is not a bargain if it is not useful. Paper towels will keep, and will get used. And I've given a bunch away too.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2005 at 12:36AM
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Another way retailers take advantage of people is letting you assume that larger size containers are a better bargain.

Bought Quikrete at Lowe's the other day. 80# bags were $3 each. 60# bags were $2 each. Saved five bucks by buying 20 60# bags instead of 15 80# bags-and they were easier to handle as well.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2006 at 11:51AM
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How many times do we have to pay for ingredients -- such as sugar -- to be REMOVED from grocery items -- such as soft drinks? DH said, "The company has to pay for a new system of making the no-sugar items."
Sure. Toothpicks may have been pretty pricey when the makers were paying for whittling a stick of wood into 500 of them; now I can get as many for $1. I'm not still paying for THAT process.

I'm convinced that someone is making big bucks keeping track of consumer choices. [Could that be what the grocery/drug store/gas cards are about?] I'm going to catch one of them looking over my shoulder one of these days. This observer would've had a field day watching me compare cans of Mandarin oranges: Del Monte and Kroger,same size, but DM is 10 cents higher. Why? B/c DM has a pop-top. But the Kroger brand is in its own juice, no syrup! So good-mommy-me reaches for the Kroger oranges, but in mid-reach remember I have a 50-cent coupon for the DM oranges -- and Kroger DOUBLES coupons! So much for keeping track of sugar intake. . .chery2

    Bookmark   January 16, 2006 at 8:14PM
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That fits in with my peeve about less-processed food items costing more. Seems a real loaf of bread, perhaps started with sourdough instead of yeast, using whole grains and no preservatives, always costs more than a squishy loaf of national-brand-white-bread-with-dots-on-the-wrapper. Low-sodium vegetables and spaghetti sauces and soups frequently cost more than their sodium-laden brethren. So we're paying for the removal of ingredients which weren't part of the original recipe anyway. Grrrr ...

    Bookmark   January 17, 2006 at 8:36AM
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Oh steve!

I agree.


I think it's called, "What the traffic will bear", isn't it?

And they ain't above softening up the cusomers' (heads).

It's called "advertising" - and it's *expensive*.

Guess who pays?

The customers (with the "softened" heads), of course.

Have a great week, everyone.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   January 17, 2006 at 4:12PM
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This is a bit off the subject, but no less outrageous. My friend is about to embark on a cruise, and someone misspelled her name on one of the multitudinous documents. She has to pay $50 to have it corrected! I said to her, "How much would it cost to leave it alone?"

    Bookmark   January 18, 2006 at 5:38PM
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"How much would it cost to leave it alone?"

In today's "terrorized" America, probably the entire cruise. :-( The first time someone saw an ID that didn't match the ticket name, she'd regret not spending the $50. I agree that it's outrageous for her to have to pay to fix it, but I would do it. No sense putting a vacation at risk for that relatively-tiny amount.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2006 at 9:09AM
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We'll make you pay for our mistake? I'd get it fixed now and recoup when I get back.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2006 at 9:33AM
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I think this idea is worthy of a separate thread, as some may miss it here.

If that screw-up on a ticket documentation happened to me - boy, would they be hearing from me!

And more than once - till I got satisfaction.

Pleasant, courteous, reasonable - but persistent.

Sort of nice to be a senior with (more or less) the time to spend on such an issue.

Actually - I have more time than they have.

To sit in their office, wearing them down, if necessary - and talking to all the customers that come in.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   January 19, 2006 at 12:54PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana


I am retired and also have 'extra' time on my hands to fight (if need be) for what's right. Sometimes I just do it for the fun of it.

Example...bought some Reeses cups (2 10 packs)lfrom a small supermarket which may not have had much turnover on them. They were dry and crumbly...possibly they had been frozen somewhere along the line. I called the 800 number on the package, complained nicely, explained they did not have a date of any sort on the package..(that is what really ticks me off)....only a hodgepodge of numbers and letter that meant nothing to me the consumer. She said she would send me 4 $2.00 off coupons...would that be all right? I agreed to it, and received quickly. No purchase was necessary to use them either.

If the manufacturer can put codes on them that they are able to dicipher (determine a date) then why can't they just put the date on it so I too can see it? What is the big secret?

I wonder if one complained long and loud enough if the cruise line would have awarded a couple free cruises to keep a customer happy and coming back.

Sue... who may have had too much coffee this am.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2006 at 11:23AM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

I just stopped by, so this may have been addressed b4 many times.

What is up with Car Dealerships advertising how much a car is per month as opposed to advertising the sale price? Do they think I can't do the math??? Monthly payment times number of months =HIGH PRICED Vehicle

Sue...who hasn't financed a vehicle in about 15 years

    Bookmark   January 20, 2006 at 11:30AM
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What is up with Car Dealerships advertising how much a car is per month as opposed to advertising the sale price?

Dealerships know that most people don't do the math; they just go for what they can afford to spend every month. Many people are only too willing to stretch out the length of the loan, as well. Another six months? "Oh, well. The car has the deluxe framistan I really wanted." That's what drives leasing, too, though leasing is a bad idea, economically-speaking, for most people.

True story: when I bought my current car, I told them they had to hit a particular price (two, actually, one for the car they were selling and another for my trade-in if they were going to get it). We finally got to a difference figure several hundred dollars apart. I commented that the new payment over my required term was more than I was paying monthly for my current car. The salesperson suggested, "Well, you could just take the loan for longer then!" Umm, I don't think so.

We got to my figure. I bought the car. But how many people say "OK" when that suggestion is made?

    Bookmark   January 21, 2006 at 12:21PM
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I pay cash for cars and usually less than $500 for them, too but then my DH teaches Autoshop, so I have advantages other folks don't. However, I did the same thing before I met and married him, so maybe anyone can do it? You end up with a car five to ten years old and usually in the "boring" classification (i.e. a four door sedan) but you can get them in fairly good shape and fairly reliable too. Check the newspapers, but usually the cars you find will be in someone's front yard with a sign in the window. They just want it out of their yard and don't really care to make money on it. The other nice thing about these cars is nobody steals them or messes with them. You don't come out and find the paint all scratched up. Also, get a model that was popular so there will be lots of used parts at the salvage yards. Then if you do want to put a new interior in it or exchange the doors for ones with wing windows it will be very inexpensive to do it.

Oh, those paper towels? Just cut the whole roll in half. It lasts twice as long. Although we don't buy them ourselves, we just use shop towels and rinse them out afterwards or use old newspapers if it is an extrememly gunky mess.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2006 at 12:10AM
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Here in Canada, when I borrow to buy a vehicle, the interest I pay is not deductible ... unless I operate a business for which I use the car then I make it partially deductible.

Many people borrow to buy a car.

And many pay cash when they buy stocks, mutual funds, or other investments.

However, when I borrow to invest in an asset that I expect will produce income, the Canada Revenue Agency (counterpart of I.R.S.) allows me to deduct the interest that I pay on such loans.

So - people borrow to buy cars ... and pay cash for investments.

Tax-wise, they should pay cash for their car - and borrow to invest.

Simple, huh?

And if they buy an old beater of a car - they won't have nearly so much trouble raising the cash to pay for it.

Enjoy your week, what's left of it.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   February 8, 2006 at 5:06PM
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Here's my horror story; When I got my divorce, I had it put into the agreement that I legally re-took my maiden name. No problem to anybody but the gas company, who told me that they had to - for my convenience of course- shut off my gas, then come out and read the meter and re-start it in my new name, for a small fee, of course. I successfully fought this off by going to the PUC, but what a hassle.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2006 at 6:38PM
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Sign in store:

"For your convenience ...

... you must ...

... ...... ..... ..


'Nuff said!

ole joyfoul

    Bookmark   February 13, 2006 at 4:22PM
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When it comes to cars, I've never thought of one as a status symbol and it's paid off. I've purchased two new vehicles in my life. Not sure if I'll ever buy another. Run them about 15 years and pay cash for them to make it cost-effective. I don't like monthly payments. Even with my mortgage I took pains to pay off early. Whenever possible I paid extra on the principle and even $10, $50, $100 makes a big difference since that comes off the principle and you don't pay the interest on it. The earlier you do it, the better. I cut five years off the mortgage with extra payments in rather small amounts. That's 60 x the monthly payment. Well worth it. And it came at a good time as I was laid off right after it was paid off. Not having that house payment hanging over my head let me sleep better and be able to take lower paying jobs and be comfortable until I could get something better.

A friend was getting a sales job on renewing a lease on the vehicle. When she finally realized what it was costing and pointed it out to them the response was "no problem, we'll just roll that into the loan!" A time or two like that and you'll never be able to pay it off!

They play and prey on stupidity and naivety. It's a war!

And when I keep getting these things to take out an equity mortgage to take a vacation or add on or whatever, I shake my head and wonder just how stupid they think I am!

    Bookmark   March 2, 2006 at 12:16PM
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"... just how stupid they think I am", huh?

We know better!

Were I a car salesman who saw you come in the door - I'd bow to another salesman and extend my hand toward you, palm up ...

... and smile.

o j

    Bookmark   March 3, 2006 at 3:57PM
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