I have a coworker who I adore, but who is very gullible when it comes to small scale scams. She’s not going to wire money to Nigeria or anything, but she’s a sucker for a good pitchline. She has purchased a lot of infomercial items, and she’s always talking about the latest miracle cure.
(Not to bash all informercial items – I have seen infomercials and then researched the products and found that hey, these have pretty good reviews. For example, I have used Bare Minerals makeup for years after watching their infomercial and checking it out in the store. Also, as a joke, years ago, my mom bought us all FlipFolds. I have to admit, I still use that thing to keep my drawers organized. Necessary? Not at all. Does what it claims? Sure does.)
I try not to pry, but I wonder just how much money my coworker is wasting on all of these things. It’s her money and she is getting something for her money. Those specialty spa treatments probably aren’t doing any good, but she is still getting a nice massage and an enjoyable afternoon. But on the other hand, that $3.00 bottle of miracle water is really just water that could have been purchased for much less.
Of course, it’s her money. And if these things make her happy, that’s all that matters. I just try to slowly slip in information where I know I have the proper information. She’s going to buy a computer in the next few months. Two of us in the office have looked at what she’s picked out and said “Okay, you need this and this and this. If they try to sell you something else, don’t buy it. If you think you might need it, call one of us first.”
My coworker is an intelligent woman. She’s got a great education and lots of real world experience. But she’s also a bit naive. She believes that a salesperson has her best interest in mind rather than the idea of selling something. Don’t get me wrong, there are salespeople out there who are looking out for their customers (such as the tire salesman who told me if I wanted to, I could buy only two tires and wait 6 months for the other two when I wanted to buy all 4). But I think you always have to be a wary buyer. Do your research. And hey, if you decide you still want to buy that salt lamp, go ahead. It might not be a cure-all, but they can be very pretty.
Megan is a 30-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.