Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Finance Companies Suck

Today with SCF going into receivership I have been thinking about finance companies and general and why I hate them. Adrian pointed out that for the most part farmers would have been buying machinery from SCF as opposed to new plasma televisions.

I will not tell a lie, I have had various hire purchases and store cards over the years where the debt has been managed by finance companies. Nine times out of ten a lot of these debts were incurred because I wanted something immediately and did not either have the savings for it, or did not want to save for it.

Do not get me wrong, I am not against hire purchases with interest free terms provided you need the item. To me household items that you need to replace immediately if they die are things like ovens, fridges, washing machines and possibly a dryer. I do not believe you should get yourself into debt for a new plasma TV, iPhone or Android phone, computer etc. It comes back to whether you believe something is a “want” or a “need”. Check out Jill’s blog titled 'Do you REALLY need it or just want it?'

A few years back in the lead up to Christmas I just about had a meltdown about a particular finance company’s advertising. It went a little like this “want a new XX or new boobs then come and see us”. Seriously, how are new boobs (unless you have chronic back pain) a reason to use a finance company?!! Shame on you finance companies preying on people during financially vulnerable times like Christmas! This also made me realise just how commercialised Christmas has become. There are also companies that target particular socio-economic or ethnic groups. GRRR they just make me so angry!

I am far from being a financial expert, so from my personal experience here are some advice/thoughts:
- Think about wants versus needs
- If it is not an urgent purchase then do your research and shop around. You might find that if you wait a week or two the initial “need to have it now” feeling has worn off. Or save up for it...it will mean more!
- If you do not have the money, but want something then how about selling some of the “stuff” you do not use or want anymore.
Liz and her family did this so that they could have a family trip to Fiji
- Try and put some money aside for “emergencies”; even $20 a month is better than nothing
- Avoid finance companies like the plague!
- Be wary of store cards especially those that can be used everywhere! I used my Farmers card at book shops, to get petrol and to buy groceries and then was hit with the 20% interest
- If you cannot use a credit card properly then get rid of it. As my boss once said to me “Vanessa your credit card limit is not for you to spend up to”...stink!

Please feel free to add your ideas or experiences below!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Birthday week/end

Jumped on the scales this morning and my weight had not changed. To be honest I was a little disappointed, but not really that surprised. I had my birthday last Friday; so from Friday through to Monday it was all about birthday food and cake. So staying the same is better than gaining.

How do we get through weeks of “celebration”? Eating in moderation, not snacking on party food (fill a small plate and move away from the table), upping the amount of exercise. A few months ago I met a woman that strongly advocated weight-loss using meal replacement shakes for all meals. Over our lives there are going to be times when this is not achievable and seriously….HOW BORING!

So do not fear birthdays, weddings, parties etc. but just be prepared. If you are hosting the party then think about healthy options i.e. salsa, hummus, rice crackers, dipping vegetables, fruit kebabs etc. If you are a guest then offset a “naughty” choice with healthy options and eat a proper meal before you go to the party.

I had a quick chat with Arlene my personal trainer on the weekend and there are about 4.5 months until summer officially kicks in. She mentioned that she thought I could be down about 40kg by then. This would mean losing about 2kg per week for the next 18-20 weeks. I figure that it is quite achievable with a lot of planning, focus, healthy eating, portion control and regular exercise.

I tend to hibernate in winter; yes like a bear. When we get home in the evenings after the gym I tend to have a HUGE meal and then hop into bed with the cats and watch TV. So my plan from here on in is to drastically reduce the size of my dinner every evening and make a conscious effort not to eat rice, pasta or potatoes after 2pm each day.

Every day I have to reconfirm to myself why I am doing this:
- For my health
- To get pregnant
- To stop feeling obese and crappy
- To have more energy
- To fit into an airline seat and actually put the tray down properly

Previous Weight: 157.4kg
Current Weight: 157.4kg
Weight Difference: 0kg
Initial Goal Weight: 99kg
Work out pledge: 3 cardio and 2 resistance workouts