Keeping More of Your Money
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Ever wonder why some couples always seem to have more money than other couples, even though you know for a fact that they earn about the same amount? It’s because they know that making money is only half of what it takes to have money!
This article isn’t on get rich quick schemes, multilayered marketing or earning money at home. It isn’t about making money at all--it’s about keeping it once you get it. Ask yourself one question: is it easier make money by standing on your feet or sweating at a keyboard all day, or getting it from people who do? It’s a basic fact of capitalism that every one is out there with their hand out, trying to get as much of your hard-earned money as they can, in any way they can!
Your first step in keeping your money is to recognize that fact, and also recognize that for the most part you have to give them permission to do it! Visualize hands extended out to grab what you have, and visualize you slapping it. This is war, and there are “enemies” everywhere who are out to get your money. That is true for the government—especially the government—as well as every other company, in the world. This article is designed to point out at least some of your “enemies” so that you can fight them. What you decide to do with that information is up to you. There’s nothing personal in their quest for your money—it’s strictly a matter of business. For the purposes of this article, we’re going to refer to those capitalists as “public enemies.”
A militant mind-set if your first defense! Be suspicious of anyone or anything trying to tell you that their goal is your welfare—baloney! Everyone is and should be out for himself/herself first. I’m not talking about personal relationships in which you should and must have the other’s welfare at heart—this is business, and business is and has always been dog eat dog. A fair deal is one in which everyone gets what they want, but it’s up to you to negotiate it.
For instance, when I go to a grocery store, the store wants my money and is willing to let me take merchandise home with me in return. That’s a fair deal. It becomes business when they aim to make the most they can from as little merchandise and services as they can give back in return. Starting to ring a bell? In my area, Oscar Meyer bacon is selling for $6.00 in all the grocery stores—and there are six different chains. So how come I can buy it for a $3.89 at the 7-11? The marketing strategy of the convenience stores has always been that they sell for slightly higher in return for convenience—so how come the 7-11 can afford to sell it for $3.89? When Wal-Mart came to town, they started selling it for $2.50! I would presume that Wal-Mart is making a profit; they wouldn’t be in business if they weren’t. By the way, it wasn't long before they found out what was being charged locally, and jacked up their prices to $5.00. Again, is this starting to ring a bell? That’s business—it’s you against them, and you better be on your guard to win.
Public Enemy #1 is the government. We’re going to get to them a little later in this article. They’re #1 because they take the greatest share of your money for the littlest return—and I have the facts and figures to back that statement up—just try me.
Public Enemy #2 are credit card companies. Since when should they get an 18% to 24% or even more commission on everything you buy? I don’t know how many times I’ve heard from people (the poor ones, of course), “I just have it for emergencies.” That’s the last place you should use a credit card! That’s what you save for—emergencies! If you use a credit card in an emergency, you will not be able to pay the balance due before the next billing cycle, and you have begun the short and rapid road to poverty. Don’t believe me? It can take you 35 years to pay off a debt of $10,000 if you pay the minimum--and that's definitely the way they want it! Remember this: credit cards are the company store of the 21st century!
Keep and contribute to savings accounts for emergencies, and have a debit card that deducts right from your checking account for ordinary transactions. It’s free, you can track your spending online, and of you don’t have it, you don’t spend it. When you deal with a credit card, you are dealing with a bank—now there’s an institution that has taking your money down to a fine science! As only one instance, all you have to do is be one day late in the billing cycle, and you’re now paying 24%. Even if they decide they want you to be one day late—as MBNA did before they got nailed by consumer groups a few years ago—your rate goes up. It goes up not only for that credit card, it goes up for all your credit cards—didn’t you know they communicate almost instantly between themselves? Don’t tell me you’re paying less than 18%--I know better and I can prove it. The only thing you “need” a credit card for is to rent a car. I haven’t had a credit card since 1991, so when I went to rent a car I asked them if they would take a cash deposit, and they were happy to. I gave them the $400 they asked for, rented the car for the day, and when I returned they handed me back the $400 in cash right on the spot. So did I “need” a credit card? No! If you think these are strong words, it may be your misfortune in a few years to find out that I wasn’t strong enough. Are you working for them or for you, because if you’re working for you, don’t own one. They weren’t created for your benefit—they were created for theirs—and it’s your money they’re trying to get!
Public Enemy #3—disposables and fancy cleaning supplies. Before the end of World War II, women bought a dozen dishcloths and a dozen dishrags for about $1.00 a dozen and threw them in the washer when they got dirty. Then after World War II, some executive decided he needed an addition to his mansion, or perhaps a larger second or third resort home (I’m not being sarcastic—am I?) and decided that women should now pay a weekly installment fee to do what they had always done for free--and that was the advent of paper towels. They were actually invented in the 20’s for school janitorial services, but our parents and grandparents during the depression wouldn’t buy them—good for them!
Recently, the highly overpaid CEOs of this world decided that it wasn’t enough—so they brought out paper towels that are supposed to function as wash cloths. They made each sheet bigger, cut down on the amount of paper on each roll, made them a little tougher to the feel, and of course, raised the prices a lot! Very few people actually use them as reusable wash cloths, especially since they do a lousy job in that function—they still use them as one-use paper towels—but they pay much more for them. Remember folks: they’re supposed to benefit me—since when?
Lately, we’ve all been barraged with ads for a whole range of disposables—supposedly because they’re convenient for us! Really? Since when is it more convenient for me to buy a whole range of supplies that I am now supposed to run to the store and spend time and money replacing? One of the newest things are these beefed-up paper towels that go on floor applicators to wash floors. First you have to buy their unique applicator that looks like nothing more than the sponge mop I’ve bought for years and is far cheaper than that, and then I have to buy the disposable paper towel that fits in it? All in the name of a convenience that is more of a hassle than it’s worth? I don’t think so! Oh, I can hear it now--but a non-disposable washcloth and and dishtowel aren't clean. Put it in the microwave for about a minute and a half--it will be much more sterile than those disposables you buy that were put together in heavens-knows-what conditions!
Cleaning supplies are another trip to the poorhouse. All a residence needs for cleaning is baking soda, vinegar, dishwasher detergent (which is mildly gritty and contains bleach, and straight bleach. Orange oil cleaner is a nice add on—but you can buy a whole gallon of it in a hardware store for $8.00 and dilute it ˝ and ˝ and put it in a spray bottle yourself. Have you noticed that the vast majority of things that already come in a spray bottle have been fixed so that there is no way you can use the last of it? Do you think that’s an accident? There is no place in any home for a gritty cleanser like Comet or Bon Ami—none at all. All they will do is scratch the devil out of anything they’re applied to, and once it’s scratched, the dirt gets in the scratches and it’s impossible to clean. Use baking soda the same way you would Comet. It cleans as well or better, particularly on stainless steel sinks, but it won’t scratch. Better yet, these supplies last and cost about $1.00 to $2.00 per bottle or box!
It amuses me to see cleaners with added ammonia, or added baking soda, or added bleach, all of course a higher price. I can add those myself if I want them in it—and for far cheaper. Again—they’re doing something for me? I don’t think so! These are the things that American business uses to get every last dime out of you and I—and it’s up to you to tell them no. Slap that extended hand back!
And now we come to Public Enemy #1—the government—local, state, and federal. Has it ever struck anyone but me that when you receive your paycheck, the respective governments have already taken their share? It’s my money, yet they think they can take their cut of my hard-earned money, that I stood on my feet and earned, before my food and my mortgage? You’ve got their attitude and methods in a nutshell with the above statement. This is a very opinionated article that you’re welcome to agree with or not, but I’m telling you that your elected officials regard you as a bottomless pit they can pull money from anytime they want unless you slap their extended hand! That opinion stands for each and every one of them from the lowest unpaid school board member to the President of the United States.
Unless you start recognizing that fact, you can’t slap that hand—and it must be slapped constantly and everywhere. What they try to hide from you is the fact that we already pay over 50% of our hard-earned dollar to them--and what, exactly, do you think you get in return? Peons in the middle ages only paid one-third! Is there something wrong with this picture? Ask yourself why anyone would become an elected official. Let’s say the job pays about $70,000 on the state level. In addition, they often get a car and in every state get a wonderful pension, medical and dental plan for both themselves and their families—for free—which usually extends beyond their term in office into retirement, in other words, for life. Their campaign is likely to cost millions--on other words, far more than they’re going to get for the entire four years in office. So why would anyone be interested in becoming an elected official? Simple: sweetheart deals! These people get the inside track on every lucrative deal you can think of, and if they don’t get re-elected, they get wonderful job offers paying enormous amounts of money. In other words, get elected once, and you’re set for life!
You can bet the farm that the last thing they’re thinking about is you or your welfare or how much return you get for the dollars you spend on them. What the solution? It’s a lot simpler you think: (1) VOTE--IN EVERY ELECTION and (2) IF YOU ARE NOT BETTER OFF, VOTE FOR SOMEONE ELSE! That's your secret weapon. No matter how much yah dah, yah dah they want to talk about--and when times are bad they can invent more crises than anyone to distract you from how bad it is--before you go into that voting booth ask yourself if times are better for you, and if they aren't--you know what to do. The message you send is simple: enjoy now, buddy, because you won't be around again!
The very second one of them breathes the words “tax increase” start yelling—literally! Make it a point to attend their meetings. Tell your friends to attend their meetings. Your alternative is to pay and pay—that’s your choice. That’s where they plan how they can pull the fast ones on you, and they’re counting on your absence! Remember, you were the one who went out there every day and earned it--are you going to let them sit on their butts and rake it in?
Your parents most likely worked half the hours you are and their standard of living was most likely twice as high. Ever wonder why? Simple—not only the increase in taxes, which has outstripped the rate of inflation for well over 40 years now, but the sweetheart deals handed to the “friends” who paid in campaign contributions to get them elected. Just as an example, we’re the only country that doesn’t have price controls on pharmaceuticals. As a result, the United States pays three times more than any other country in the world for the same drugs. Ever wonder why there are no price controls? Did you know that the greatest expense in health insurance is not doctors or hospitals, it’s insurance company administrative staff. If we eliminated that by nationalizing the health insurance system, we would save enough money to insure every uninsured person in the United States—all 45 million of them! The health insurance companies are big campaign contributors—think it’s a coincidence? Incidentally, where are they getting the millions to donate to both political parties when they keep telling us they’re barely profitable?
You can make a difference—I have and you can. If what they’re doing doesn’t stand up to scrutiny, even one loud mouth that is willing to blow the whistle on them will cause them to back off. If their activities are underhanded, they won’t stand up to the public scrutiny, and you better believe they’ll back off—but only until the next time they don’t think you’re looking.
Do your homework, read the papers, and don’t let them blow you off. Don’t be afraid to call them on issues right in public as often as possible. Above all, don’t let them slip in tax increases on you without a fight! It’s your money—what have you gotten for it? If you’re not getting much back now, how can an increase possibly benefit you?
Be on your guard—they’re out to get your money!
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