Are a you a fan of just charging it all and then paying the bill when it comes? According to CreditCards.com that may be damaging your credit score. Not only where you buy but what you buy seems to have an impact on a credit card company’s profile of spenders. Prior to the new credit card law, companies would use the information about your purchases to lower your spending limit.
This made me reflect on two young ladies I saw making purchases of less than $15 at a thrift store. Would that purchase reflect on their credit score or spending habits? The only time I spend less than $15 on a credit card happens when a large department store has a special sale and you get an additional percentage off of any purchase made with the store’s credit card.
Cash on the other hand for certain purchases is hard to trace. Granted, if you are making a small purchase and you have a problem with an item, you would be less likely to be upset about a faulty $15 dollar item than you would for a faulty $150 or $1500 dollar item.
Where and how much you spend with your credit card, gives credit card companies an accurate picture of who you are – at least through your purchases. If you only use your purchases for certain items, then they have a flawed picture. But if you use cash for many of your purchasesthen credit card companies will have a skewed picture of you.
For an example of what types of purchases will affect your credit score, try the interactive shopping cart. Certain purchases decrease your score considerably, while other seemingly innocuous purchases will raise your score considerably.
You can’t always pay for items with cash, especially online purchases but if you are prudent in your spending with your credit card, then your score and credit limit may suffer less.
Trolling the shelves.
This past weekend I spent a whopping $3.72 on things at a thrift store. I bought an Effanbee doll from 1967, two bags of yarn, and two books. I like buying books at thrift stores because you find books that are old and possibly out of print or you can get a hard cover copy of a recently popular book that people have cast off. I saw several copies of David Brown’s “The DaVinci Code” in hardcover available for 70 cents with dust cover. Softcover books from the Mary Poppins series in very good condition were a mere 35 cents. Romance novels abound as a well as other paperback books. Blank journals – they are there too. Considering that you may buy a book for yourself for about the cost of two or three day’s worth of fines owing your own book is more satisfying.
For the hobbyists who like records – more and more people have been getting rid of records. I haven’t looked at the condition of the albums themselves, but there are many that are in great shape. The thrill of the hunt at a thrift store is also interesting. Searching for nice dinnerware, a silver plated tray or a bag of wooden name key chains – you can find them in a thrift store – CHEAP!
Yesterday I went with my mother to a couple of thrift stores. I gave up on the book section because, this was a last stop after shopping at a few places and the books were shelved three deep, behind boxes of other books and records.
Even if you are just looking for one type of item, say fat quarters for quilting, or 11 inch fashion dolls for an art project you can get better quality and often cheaper ones than if you bought brand new ones from the dollar store.
There are clothes, bric-a-brac and other goodies that can be found, but you have to look. Actually, the amount of time spent looking for an item is in direct proportion to the price. You have to search but then make a decision what you want because there will be other people who may want the same thing that you do.
Thrift stores provide inexpensive entertainment and allow you to pursue a hobby for very little money. The cost of entry is free into a thrift store but you can definitely find some valuable treasures for very little money.
Sell it or pawn it?
The cash for gold commercials are very tempting. But unlike pawning an item, you have no chance to get the item back.
When should you pawn an item? If you know you can get the money back within the required time – generally 30 days. This is attractive if you need cash fast and know that you want to get the item back.
Selling your gold (or silver) items for cash is for the times when you know you do not like the piece anymore. If the item is actually really in great condition, saleable or an heirloom, you might do better to go to a jeweler’s and sell it to a place that deals in estate jewelry.
The junky jewelry that you bought when you were younger and dislike, don’t wear or it brings up bad memories could be a good source of quick cash. Although you should know that when you sell a gold item for cash, you will get less for 10 karat gold than you would 14 karat, and 14 karat gold will fetch less than 18 karat. Knowing this will save you from disappointment when you are expecting enough for your rent. In actuality, you might only receive enough for a few tanks of gas. Cash is cash, but jewelry doesn’t take up as much room as say an additional piece of furniture that you might want to get rid of.
If you really need money and want to pawn a piece of jewelry to someone but you think it might take you more than the allotted 30 days that you are given at a pawn shop, ask a trusted friend to lend you the money and let them hold the jewelry. This way you can get the item back. Make sure that you write up a contract if necessary.
Over the top extravagances. When money gets tight, these extravagances are among the first to go, but you still might miss them. One way to regain the lost luxury in your life is to DIY – do it yourself.
Learning to do things yourself like some our grandparents (and some parents) did, really will save us a lot of money. Having a professional do some things for you, isn’t going to cut it anymore. Some people are going out and buying their own tools to take care of their own needs which may cost more initially, but will save a lot of money over the long run. If you have been cooking more at home, investing in a good set of cookware is important, even if you aren’t a gourmet chef – this way you won’t have to buy new items often.
Some people may see doing certain household chores themselves as a way to save money but aren’t really sure they want to take the plunge. Over time, doing a task yourself will save a you a lot of money if you learn to do a good job at it. I admit that making my own coffee at home is good, but I have yet to find a reasonably priced cappuccino maker for my home that I am satisfied with. Stove top espresso makers like people have in their homes in Italy is tasty, it just takes more work for good foam.
Buying your own items to do it yourself means that you really have to be committed to doing it yourself. If you live in an apartment building, washing your own car at home, isn’t something you are likely to do. If you don’t have a steady hand, cutting your won hair might not be the best route to take, either.
There has to be a reasonable expectation that you can do certain things yourself and will continue to do them to at least pay for the tools, materials that you need to buy. Buying a lawn mower to cut your own lawn instead of having a landscaping service take care of it will save money, but do you want to get out there and do it yourself or would you rather shop around and find a less expensive service? Buying some goodies to pamper yourself at home rather than at the spa may be great, but you might not have that same feel. Another route might be to search out aestheticians’ and massage schools where students practice on you for a lower fee.
People are spending a lot more time at home.
What they are cooking I don’t know? Grocery stores aren’t even that crowded anymore, even the ones that are not near public transportation. The gardening bandwagon has just started and it hasn’t been warm enough to plant anything in Northern Illinois, let alone harvest anything yet.
What has been happening?
Near college campuses, restaurants and coffee shops still seem to be doing a brisk business.
Some stores have been reducing the amount of items that they offer, which makes it seem as they are either going out of business or going for a high end empty shelf boutique look. There are fewer items on shelves and fewer choices.
I had gotten used to having a lot choices in stores when I went shopping. Now there aren’t as many things being carried because stores don’t want be stuck with the merchandise. Especially if it is perishable merchandise.
This Gallup Poll shows that consumer sentiment has improved but people are still holding on to their cash. Things are so uncertain many are just waiting to buy what is necessary. The data also showed that people were still spending, just spending less when they did go out or buy necessities.