Growing up I didn’t have a lot, hell, even into my 30s I wasn’t exactly well off. Sure, I got by, but there was definitely much to be desired. As a college graduate I was a little too young and a little too dumb and I let the bills pile up. Fortunately for me, as the inevitable gray hairs started sprouting, I got wise and decided to move out of the poorhouse.
It wasn’t an overnight transition, but once I decided to take control of my finances I was able to really turn my life around. If you’re like I was (broke and directionless) here are a few tips that will hopefully push you toward your, what I hope to be, inevitable monetary freedom:
Chapter 1: the Beginning.
I had recently completed my bachelor’s degree in Biology and the bills were piling up, and that post-college exhaustion was building as I searched for a new job. The 40 to 50 hours I spent working at a local coffee shop was barely enough for me to keep the lights on, and with a slew of creditors armed with pitchforks and pink slips in tow, I realized something had to be done.
So I picked up my laptop, and like so many unfortunate post-grads before me, I dove desperation first into the vast recesses of the job search.
Chapter 2: the Next Part
Although the job search was underway, I needed a way to start squaring away my debts.
I was the last of my friends to decide it was time to grow up. sit down on the couch, and watch a big screen TV. Granted I didn’t have the big screen, the dream was there nonetheless. I never had the financial prowess to save up for a new Sony, Panasonic, or what have you. When I approached the finance plan there were a few things to consider, and at the advice of my friends, a few TVs to consider as well.
To remove the bother of debt collectors ringing me throughout the work week, and strategize my financial plan, I looked into debt consolidation. After reading a review on the subject, I quickly discovered that I can find a trustworthy firm to negotiate my debt into a lower sum, which I then pay on a payment plan with my debt consolidators.
A few weeks ahead, same coffee house, same apartment, less bills and I’m feeling a bit freer. The quest begins for the LCD TV but not on a search engine this time. First, I travelled to the dens of Walmart to glance upon the crystalline walls of light and sound. Unfortunately, they were all dim or scratchy and every price appeared a gross misrepresentation of what sat on the shelves. I had to go elsewhere, and not back to my laptop.
My strategy was to go around town, do a price comparison and then head home looking for deals on ebay, Amazon, and Best Buy. When I finally made the rounds I found myself in a bit of a conundrum. If I wanted more pixels, I paid more, but if I got a smaller screen I saved on the price. Prices around town seemed to be relative, and even to the best of my ability there were no glaring deals. I started to suspect something was amiss when I noticed this trend amongst only the LCD screens. So, I write this story for one major reason. Consumers beware, as this story took place in 2006, I ended up getting a TV only to find out from the FBI years later that prices amongst these products were raised and kept fixed in a conspiracy effort.
Consumers beware, just when I had gotten my finances in order, I was led to buy a product with a fixed price. It’s a shame that this happened but we can thankful that the problem was caught, even if very few took notice. We are all subject to making poor decisions financially, but we have to hope that the producers and sellers of goods will play a fair game.
FRank McCourt writes about finance, debt, and the real life conspiracies therein.