Friday, May 23, 2008

Dave Ramsey's Thoughts on Gas Prices

Thoughts on Gas Prices
By Dave Ramsey

Gasoline has gone up 26% since this time last year. SHOCKER! Since most of us are used to daily commutes, running the kids here and there for their various activities, and visiting friends and family, this price increase is affecting us. The Consumer Price Index figures say this is the number one thing that's gone up in our household budgets this year — and it's only May!

"But there's nothing I can do," some say. I say, "Oh, yes there is!"

It's time to revisit the budget.

When I tell people this, some tell me they've crunched their budgets as much as they can. Then I ask, "How much is your car payment? ... How much is your monthly cable or satellite bill? ... Is the Starbucks drive-thru a regular stop on your morning commute?"

I hate to break it to you, but new cars, cable, and Starbucks are luxuries, NOT necessities! You can easily survive with a used (and paid-for!) car, no cable reality shows, and coffee made at home. Just think of all that money you could use to pay off debt and put toward your gasoline money for the month if you did just those 3 things!

Earlier this month, an algebra teacher in Michigan sent me a great email that I read on the radio show. She wrote:

Dave, I often give my math students this calculation to figure out. A typical latte costs $3.59 for 16 oz. That's 22 cents per ounce or $28.72 a gallon! Ask your listeners if they've drank a gallon of latte lately! Read the blog

HOLY COW! If that doesn't put things into perspective, I don't know what will!

First Things First
You must remember there IS a difference between needs and wants in life. The first things at the top of your budget should be your needs: shelter, food, transportation, clothing, and utilities. If you currently go to the movie theatre every weekend or have a Hawaiian vacation at the top of your list when you struggle to pay the electric bill, your priorities are out of wack. Don't sacrifice your needs to finance your wants. If you do, it will catch up with you and you'll regret it.

Plan Ahead
You can also strategically plan ahead when running errands and commuting to work. If you go to the grocery store twice a week, reorganize your list so you only have to go once a week. If you have a lot of errands to run, plan your route ahead of time so you're not retracing your steps around town. You could also organize a carpool with some of your coworkers who live near you.
June will be here before you know it, so go have a Budget Committee Meeting right now to see where you can free up some more money — because every little bit adds up when gas is $4 a gallon!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Treasury head sees economy rebounding in late 2008

The following appeared on page 2C of the Saturday May 17, 2008 issue of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said Friday that financial markets are "considerably calmer" now than they were two months ago. He predicted the economy will rebound by the second half of this year. In a speech to business executives in Washington, Paulson said the drag from housing, which he characterized as still the biggest risk to the economy, will soon be lessened by nearly $100 billion in economic stimulus payments to U.S. households.

"The fiscal stimulus will provide support to the economy as we weather the housing correction, capital-markets turmoil and higher energy and food prices," Paulson said in his prepared remarks.

The economy has been pushed to the brink of a recession by a prolonged housing slump, a credit crisis, soaring energy prices and more than a quarter-million layoffs over the past four months. In his remakrs, Paulson never used the word recession, although many private economists believe the country is in one.

National Debt Clock