Could you pay off $18,000 in debt in one year? Writer Anna Newell Jones did. She racked up over $23,000 in debt, and when it became unmanageable, she decided to go on a spending fast.
In an opinion piece on CNNMoney, Jones explains how she spent an entire year only purchasing necessities and no longer indulging with things she simply thought she deserved. She explains that she came to understand why others didn’t pay down their debt; it seemed impossible and it was easy to pretend it would just go away.
Jones stopped shopping, eating out and going to movies. She started riding the bus religiously, which she estimates saved her about $1,400 for the year. And after a year of total frugality, she ended up saving $17,911.89 in just one year. Do you think you could do this, too?
Get your own frugality ideas with my roundup of my top 10 favorite personal finance blog posts from the past week.
How often do you write checks these days?
A growing number of people have given up check writing as electronic, plastic and online payment methods have expanded. That’s why I’m a bit puzzled by a new campaign called: “Stand up for your right to write checks.”
A press release about the campaign quotes the results of a telephone poll of 1,005 adults conducted July 17-21, 2010. More than a third of respondents (38 percent) said they would consider walking out of or not returning to a restaurant or business that refused to accept checks for payment. Three out of four people (75 percent) said they should have the freedom to pay at stores or restaurants with whatever method they choose — check, credit card, debit card or cash.
But check writing is on a steady decline in the United States — has been for two decades. Who’s really upset about places that don’t take checks?
Armed with online access and a credit card, I discovered that I’ve been married twice in Texas and accumulated 31 criminal records nationwide and one federal criminal record. The trouble is, I’ve never done any of those things — those are different Jeremy Simons.
That information was revealed courtesy of a personal background report. As a reporter who covers the credit industry, and having recently downloaded a copy of my credit report, I decided to see what other consumer information is easily accessible. Using myself as the test subject, I ordered a complete background check on my own name (first name, middle initial and last name) plus nationwide and federal criminal checks at a cost of $69.90 through Bellevue, Wash.-based information company Intelius.