Ask the Readers: What Money Advice are You Sick Of? (Chance to Win $20!)

by Linsey Knerl on 7 September 2010 105 comments

In a recent weekly Tweetchat that Wise Bread participated in, we asked some readers what financial advice was getting old. The responses were varied, but the themes were the same: "Quit telling me to cut out my daily latte! I don't even drink latte!" Basically, people are feeling the strain of the economy, but are still getting one-size-fits-all answers to help them stay within budget.

Do you feel the same way? Or do you find this to be good advice for you, personally? Maybe there is some other bit of advice that you've heard here or on other blogs that you're just sick and tired of hearing. Share with us the personal finance tip that you are tired of hearing for a chance to win a $20 Amazon GC!

Win one of three $20 Amazon gift cards:

We're doing three giveaways — one for random comments, one for random Facebook "Likes", and another one for random tweets.

How to Enter:

  1. Post your answer in the comments below, or
  2. Go to our Facebook page, "Like" us, then "Like" the update mentioning this giveaway (you can comment, as well — but you don't have to for entry.)
  3. Tweet your answer. Include both "@wisebread" and "#WBAsk" in your tweet so we'll see it and count it.

If you're inspired to write a whole blog post OR you have a photo on flickr to share, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.

Giveaway Rules:

  • Contest ends Monday, September 13th at 11:59 pm CST. Winners will be announced after September 13th on the original post and via Twitter. Winners will also be contacted via email and Twitter Direct Message.
  • You can enter all three drawings — once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.
  • Only tweets that contain both "@wisebread" and "#WBAsk" will be entered. (Otherwise, we won't see it.)
  • Only those who have "Liked" both our Facebook page and the contest update will be entered.

Good Luck!

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Guest's picture
Kelli

I get tired of hearing how everyone should have 3, 6, 9, 12, 18, whatever months worth of an emergency fund. I think most rational people understand that, yes, saving is good and we should all have at least a little money in the bank for things that come up. I try to do that, and I WISH I had a year or two of emergency savings but sometimes that simply isn't doable/realistic when things happen NOW that require money. That and the ever-popular "pay yourself first". Well, I'd love to, but I think the mortgage, car, and insurance people wouldn't be too happy if they don't get their share! It just seems like a lot of financial advice is common sense that rings true but doesn't need to be repeated ad nauseum.

Guest's picture
Betty

I think the advise of pay off your credit card with the highest interest is not only old, but common sense! I also often hear create a budget. I'm not tired of hearing that, but sure wish someone would hold my hand to do it. I haven't been very successful in trying!

Guest's picture

1. Lay off the designer coffee. I know, I get it, I rarely drink coffee, move on!
2. Pack lunches for work/school. Really? I mean, really? It's so obvious and redundant I feel like next they'll be telling me not to brush my teeth with gold flakes.
3. Put X amount of money into savings and X amount into investments. If you can put aside $500 a month towards savings and $500 towards investments/401k etc then you DON'T have significant financial issues. Some of us work very diligently to spend wisely and save often but sometimes it's simply a matter of not making enough money to live on or not being able to find a job. I hate that all the financial advice I see assumes that I have a lot of money I'm simply not budgeting it well.

P.S. It's not letting me comment in Firefox again, the same issue I had last week. Works fine in IE though.

Guest's picture
amanda

Advice to move somewhere with a lower cost of living than where you are now is unbelievably tone deaf. We live where we live because we have family, friends, jobs, children in school, mortgages, etc. Additionally, moving someplace cheap means you probably won't be paid as much. Your current debts will cost proportionally more than they did living in an expensive area where you have a higher gross income.

Guest's picture

- "cash is king"
- "instead of going out with friends, have a board game night." sorry, my friends and i are just too high maintenance for that.
- Not necessarily a fan of GTD though, but hey, if it works for you.

Guest's picture
Marcus

I hate hearing "Pay off your debt!" all the time.

Thanks for the words of wisdom, but if I had money to pay off my debt, I'd have done it by now. Simply telling me to do something that I already know I have to do doesn't help me one bit.

Guest's picture
Alicia C.

That after paying the bills, rent, groceries, etc., I should be saving 30% of my income for retirement. I can hardly pay for what my family needs - how on EARTH am I supposed to be able to save that much each month?!

Guest's picture
Pam

There are a lot of them!
1. The latte factor -- yes, I get that there cutting back spending on the small things can add up over time, but there has to be a point where guilt inducing or shaming behaviours are detrimental as well.
2. 3/6 months worth of expenses in savings -- yes, that's nice, but sometimes you aren't starting off with a clean slate and being made to feel bad for not being where it would be best at your age? Not helpful.
3. No phone/tv/home internet -- this is one I have heard a lot, and while these are expenses that are not "necessary" it shouldn't be a situation where you are judged as bad with money if you choose to keep utilities or services

Guest's picture

"Pay yourself first." It's good advice, and I've followed it for years. But unfortunately, "myself" doesn't charge interest or late fees, unlike everybody else I'm supposed to pay.

Guest's picture
Guest

I hate the advice that if I just tracked where I spend my money and made "easy" cuts that I don't even miss, I would save $500, $200, whatever amount a month. I do track every penny we spend and if we spend money on something non-essential then it's because we've thought about it and have decided it's worth it and is aligned with our financial goals. We may budget more than some, but I think few people are so dumb not to realize that if you spend $10 a day on lunch, it adds up.

Guest's picture
Patrick

I'm sick of hearing how easy it is to make money on the side, in addition to your day job. After I spend the 65 hours a week at my day job, I'd like a little time to spend with my wife and daughter. Between the pittance I earn from surveys and and the unprofitable hours of selling I'd have to do for anything more project-oriented, with higher returns, finding a truly profitable side income is a no-go for me. It would be great to get down to 40 hours a week, but that would likely trigger poor evaluations, a layoff or my job being outsourced. I'd like to avoid all three, so I'll stick to my one job.

Guest's picture
Stefanie

I hate the advice to earn more by getting a second (or third, etc.) job. It's hard enough finding a first job out there right now; I don't know why people think its just a simple cake walk to find another job if you've already got one.

Guest's picture
Ru

- Latte factor. Enough said. I don't drink coffee and often make $10 stretch for a week. That's not my problem.
- Pay off your credit cards. I know. I'm working on it. How do I deal with everything else going on in the meantime?
- Move to a cheaper home. I did everything right (20% down, can afford my mortgage, etc) and am still upside down now, so unless you are telling me to walk on that (which is valid advice and something I'm considering) this isn't' an option right now. My savings went into buying it 5 years ago with a solid down payment (3 years before the crash when it wasn't on anyone's radar) and isn't there to get me out from underwater now.

Guest's picture
Paul

"Spend less than you earn." Well, duh.

Guest's picture
Mim

I'm sick of hearing about taking an extra job to get extra income. My husband has been unemployed and underemployed on and off for the last 2 years. He's got a strong work ethic, and he applies to virtually everything - from the skilled labor he's experienced with to the meanest of menial jobs - but there just isn't enough work to go around to even cover a first job!

Guest's picture
Lynda

"Eat at home! Stop eating out!"

Guest's picture
joe23521

Do you think this is bad advice?

Guest's picture
saudade

That I need to be saving 20-30 percent of my income for retirement.

Guest's picture
Jessica

So much to choose from...

I get tired of hearing about how I should sell my dvd collection/massive wardrobe/luxury car/etc and use the proceeds to pay off my debt. What about those of us who never overspent on frivolous material things in the first place? I never splurged on big vacations or lots of clothes or daily lattes or whatever it is that so many "get out of debt!" bloggers seem to have done to get themselves in (and then out, of course) a heap of consumer debt. What I did do was spend money on my "priceless" education that hasn't gotten me the kind of job (yet) that makes the student loans worth it.

Guest's picture
Dobie

A Dave Ramsey favorite - Don't use credit cards. Sorry - but I like my credit card. It's easy to track my spending, and I get a little bit of cash back. As long as you don't carry a balance - credit cards rock!

Guest's picture
Nic

I'm tired of hearing "Pay yourself first." Yes, all well and good GRANTED YOU HAVE MONEY! Sometimes paying yourself first is simply done by eating and catering to basic needs. What do they really mean when they say that? When I have more, I will do more, including putting aside a bit more for myself. Until then, it's food and shelter and something alloted to simple pleasures. I do need the occasional lip gloss, pair of socks, hair pin...

Guest's picture
Jill

I get tired of hearing how much I should be saving each year towards my retirement. I KNOW that is important. I am 29 years old and I fully believe that there will be no such thing as social security when I am old enough to retire (or I won't be able to retire until I am 80). BUT right now I am living paycheck to paycheck with a job I LOVE! I might not be able to buy everything I want, and I might not be able to save as much as I am supposed to, but I do what I can, and again, I LOVE my work. I have a savings account, I have a retirement account, but I cannot put in as much as the "experts" say I should or else I would not be able to pay my basic bills (house, car, utilities). My job also only pays ONCE a month, it is hard to budget that!

Guest's picture
Rita

I am overwhelmed by the gorilla coupon warriors. I can't measure up. I have mother guilt.

Guest's picture
Frances

The one that gets me irritated "Pay in cash!" There is nothing wrong with using credit if you can pay it off at the end of the month. It also helps build your credit score, whereas paying in cash leaves no record that you have financial discipline. On the flip side of that: If on rare occasions you can't pay your statement balance and you're broke, atleast you still have a credit card to keep you from going hungry until payday.

Guest's picture
lostAnnfound

I agree with the "get a second or third job". I'm grateful for the one I have, but after putting in 8-10 hours a day and then taking the kids to their activities, PTO, housework, grocery shopping, cooking, helping with homework, checking in on elderly parents, etc., there are only so many hours in a day!

Guest's picture
Keis

I'm tired of hearing "Save your money" I want to hear about making more money. I save a lot. It's easy but it hardly makes a dent, I want to be able to enjoy that money sometimes.

Guest's picture
Vanessa

I'm sick of hearing to pay things in cash and to stop using credit.

Guest's picture
staci

How about the all too familiar turn the water off while brushing your teeth. Didn't we learn that one in preschool?

Guest's picture
Kristy

"Sell your stuff." I've already sold all my excess stuff because you've already told me to do it 300 times.

Guest's picture
blackomen

1) Using public transportation: The busses and trains where I live are so overpriced, run very infrequently, and do not go to every location I need to be at. Having a car getting 30+ mpg that's paid off and being on my family's insurance plan, my cost of transportation is simply MUCH smaller by driving that taking the (joke of a ) public transportation here in S. California.

Ditto for getting a more fuel efficient car. Only way that's gonna happen given my current car is to dish out a fortune for a hybrid (how's that frugal?)

2) Getting a second job: I work 50+ hours a week at a job I really like.. it doesn't pay that great, at least in this economy but I simply do not have time for another job on top of it.

3) Moving to a new location (and/or move back in with your parents): My career is in investment banking. There's almost no place in this country with both investment banking jobs AND a low cost of living. (And who said investment bankers can't be frugal?)

4) Lay off the internet: Not gonna happen because a) I use the internet to find deals and ways to be more frugal and b) It's already included in my rent.

5) Lay off the cable/blackberry/gym-membership/etc.: I don't subscribe to any of those since I have so little time outside of work to enjoy any of them.

6) Buy store brands and stop shopping at fancy stores: Whenever I need to buy some big ticket item, I'll check Ebay and GoodWill first. Then Big Lots. Then Walmart's my last resort.

Guest's picture
Steven P

I would say the one on how easy it is to make money on the side, in addition to your day job, family, etc and wanting to enjoy some part of your life.

Guest's picture
Holly

Same as others: "Save 20-30% for retirement." Blogs hardly ever mention that if you have a good-paying government job, you might have a pension...and if it increases each year by 3% for cost-of-living, that's like, about 1.5 million dollars worth of pension!

Do we ALL need to save 20-30% or can I just take out a 1.5 mil whole life policy on my husband (since if he passes -- morbid, but life isn't always roses and rainbows -- the beneficiary, me, will only get 30% of the benefit)? Can't there be a disclaimer w/that advice?

Guest's picture
Kay

Buy coupons!! ?????

Guest's picture
gt0163c

I tired of hearing about all the easy ways to save money that I'm already doing. Pack a lunch instead of buying (do that), eat at home rather than eating out (yep), drink water when you do eat out (check), cut down on the expensive coffees and other "treats" (not really my issue), use coupons (been doing since I was a kid helping Mom shop), drop cable in favor of Hulu and Netflix (I've never paid for cable and don't even have Netflix). I've been doing all of these for years. I even do the "more advanced" options - shop around for cheaper rates on recurring bills (in the middle of an ongoing conversation with my insurance agent to lower my auto insurance while also shopping around for cheaper rates), ask for discounts (I always look for the AAA logo at local shops, know where my employment status gets me a discount and regularly email customer service for companies that do great work as well as those that I have issue with).
I've grabbed all the low hanging fruit and a lot of it on the upper branches. I'd like to hera some NEW ideas on how to save even more money.

Oh, and also, how it's horrible to use credit cards. I pay mine off every month, have no annual fee and get airline miles which I use to visit family or go on vacations. Plus it's more convenient to use than cash and safer than a debit card. For me, it would be silly not to use my credit card.

Guest's picture
Emily

I hate being told to pay cash. I can't track where I spend cash unless I keep all the receipts. Credit cards are so much easier (plus reward points/cash back/statement credits) so long as you're responsible.

Guest's picture
Maggie

Reading through the comments, everyone make it sound so easy to pay off the credit cards and give up all non-essentails. Ok that makes sense, but we are still living and my husband is not about to give up his expanded basic cable. He had a hard enough time giving up the digital tier and the DVR.

But the biggest piece of advice I have seen that drive me crazy is when the "frugal experts" want me to save money on bed sheets by buying a queen-sized top sheet for my king size bed. Yes, it covers the top of the bed, but have you every wrestled with getting enough covers when your bedmate rolls over?

Guest's picture
Jill

At the end of the day dump all your change in a jar. As a SAHM, I usually don't spend any money and if I do I am usually using my debit card. This tip might have applied before the majority of people starting using debit cards.
Also, bring your lunch to work. Make your coffee at home. Don't drink coffee and I already eat lunch at home.

Guest's picture

Cut up all your credit cards.

How stupid.

Like the credit cards themselves are running out and swiping themselves.

The better advice is to grow up and learn how to use them effectively--to get them to make money for you rather than costing you money

Guest's picture
judyyy

It really does not apply to me as I don't drink coffee but I get tired of hearing "don't buy Starbucks." Anybody who is really having money problems surely is not spending $4 or more for a cup of coffee. Get real!

Guest's picture
Molly

The latte factor. Don't you DARE take away my weekly treat. I also don't like the "if you save $X a week and make X% return, you'll have $XX in 10 years. Um, I never get X% return now...

Guest's picture
Luke

save your money by cutting back on things you enjoy.
I love the idea of finding ways of saving money ($30 for internet, unlimited phone and unlimited movies rather then $120 for any other package) But there are some things that are worth spending money on.

Guest's picture
Candice

Mine's a little different than most - I'm sick of hearing people advise me that I can save money on food by buying a package from AngelFood Ministries. Sure I could, if I was buying crap to begin with! But we tend to cook from scratch and buy from local vendors in bulk when possible, as well as clipping coupons and matching them with sales, so AngelFood is a lot more money than what we spend! Plus I can control the quality of my food.

Guest's picture
Kerri

I am sick if hearing about snowballing. It doesn't work!

Guest's picture
S

I agree with the dislike for the comment - Spend Less than you earn.

Are most people that dense that this wouldn't be the first thing they would think of?

kg4rmt at arrl dot net

Guest's picture
Tracy

I'm sick of people telling me that I should be happy in the home that I have...that I should feel guilty for needing and wanting a larger home so all of us have room to breath!

Guest's picture
HighOrderGuiltComplex

"grow your own food". I can't even keep cacti alive much less something that needs constant attention.

Guest's picture
Guest

That cracked me up!!

Guest's picture
Tara

I am sick of hearing all the advice about being responsible with credit cards...isn't it common sense? If you don't have it don't charge it!

Guest's picture
Tara

Liked your facebook page and the status!

Guest's picture
Jessica

The one I'm kind of sick of is when it comes to your food/grocery budget. A lot of people talk about creating a "spending book" or whatever it's called where you track certain items that you buy all the time to see when they're the cheapest, and what's a "good" price for those items. I was going to try it, but it seems like a lot of work to save a few cents on each item.
I am also sick of all the "save $X ($200, $500, etc) a month without even knowing it" with ideas like "increase your deductible on your car insurance to bring your premium down" who doesn't already do that? Or "raise the temperature on your thermastat in the summer and decrease it in the winter"- I try to do that, but I'm not going to be ridiculous and keep my thermastat at 80 degrees in the summer and 68 in the winter- that's just a little unrealistic for some people. If anywhere I want to be comfortable in my own home.

Guest's picture
Merrily

I am open to most budgeting and frugality advice so I don't mind hearing them over and over again. I like to hear it and see if it applies to my lifestyle. However, I am tired of some of the self-satisfied and sanctimonious attitude of most comments. That I could do without.

Guest's picture
Guest

Reduce your number of date nights with your spouse. Reduce? Hmmm.. when you start at 0, it's hard to reduce.

Guest's picture
Jaime

I'm sick and tired of hearing people who have been wasting 500 bucks a month on excess crap telling people how easy it is to cut money from your budget. Well, yeah, if I drank SBUX everyday of course I could save that money. But what if you don't do the coffee, you bring your lunch, no cable, use the library. Where else can I save?

Guest's picture
Olivia

Standard advice, (remember the latte factor, save six month's income, buy bulk, cook from scratch, etc) isn't just "shop worn", but it's "quaranteed" to give financial success, when it doesn't. That's why it frustrates the normally frugal Wisebread reader. You can do everything "right" and still not get what you're looking for in the end.

Your question inspired a more contemplative blog post. I write at:
http://frugalbohemian.blogspot.com

Guest's picture
Stacey Lou

Hands down, "spend less than you make." I know I'm #3 w/this, but it's my #1 irksome remark!

For those who aren't tired of hearing about coupons, go to www.coupon.com and www.redplum.com and www.cellfire.com These sites have saved me some money lately and maybe they could for you, too.

Guest's picture
JimmyDaGeek

People don't want to be told they shouldn't spend money. They're adults. They might have a job. They should be free to buy what ever they want, when ever they want. If they don't have the cash now, they should be able to borrow as much money as they want to. If bills pile up and they fall behind on their payments, they will file for bankruptcy, like any business that has hard times.

Guest's picture
Reba

tired about the suggestion to use coupons from the newspaper. If one is being frugal, cut out the newspaper subscription and go online for the news. The store ads are delivered via the post office in most metro areas and if one starts shopping for the unprocessed foods and using just the sales ads along with being flexible about what they eat, one can eat healthy and cheap.

Guest's picture
Evan

Buy Term and Invest the difference. Have you invested the difference the past 20 years since that internet gem has been around? If so how has the account done?

Also telling me to move somewhere cheaper. You know what I am not moving, I don't want to move...I like living near my family and I like civilization in New York.

Guest's picture
Eric

Spend less than you earn. Duh! If people have not figured that out by now, I don't know if they ever will.

Guest's picture

"Skip the lattes." I hate advice that says squander now be rich later. What if we get hit by a bus?

Guest's picture
Beth

My biggest pet peeve is people who are well off suddenly deciding how to live frugal and acting self-righteous about it. Their cutbacks amount to how I live my life. What? They want a medal for it?

Guest's picture

Sad but true: the latte thing drives me bananas. Also, any advice that begins with the word "just."

Guest's picture
Caroline

What is it with lattes and money managers? Do they assume that the majority of us spends $3 on coffee every single day? I’ve lived and worked in Seattle (home of the latte) for over 30 years, and conservatively estimate that only about 30 percent of my friends and associates purchase lattes on a daily basis.
I also take issue with the advice to use coupons in the grocery store. The coupons aren’t usually worth much (a dollar off isn’t a huge sum these days), they’re for brand-name products which cost more anyway, and discount and high volume retailers like Grocery Outlet and Costco don’t take them. And as far as looking for stores offering “double coupon days:” I’m beginning to think they’re an urban myth.

Guest's picture
Guest

Hallelujah, I don't do lattes or coupons on overpriced items. Great tip. Well put, too!

Guest's picture
Sam

Candice - AMEN on the Angle food thing! I totally agree.

I second everything on here - and the chnage jar! Oh, my.... someone told me a couple weeks ago that if I & my kids put our change in a jar we'd have 40-60 at the end of the month. You have to have 40-60 to waste in the first place & like someone else said, who carries cash? If I loose my debit card I can have it rpelaced. If I loose the cash grocery money I'm hosed.
And don't even get me started on why/how the kids would have that much chanmge in a month - I never give them money, they loose it. Each has a savings acct that they deposit money they find into but for them to find that much I'd be wondering if they are stealing from freind's houses. All my kids are under 11 - too younge for real jobs yet. All the paperwroutes & yard care gigs are taken up by adults around here.

Guest's picture
Form 4506

Buy Gold! I'm sick of hearing this! Also, "buy silver"! Mostly the bloggers that are promoting this idea are the ones that are promoting gold investment sites so they have a vested interest in having the public buy gold. Maybe buying gold is a good idea but I don't have tons of cash sitting around to purchase $1200 ounces of gold (or $18 ounces of silver for that matter). It's getting tired.

Guest's picture
Cheryl

I get really frustrated hearing over and over to get down to bare basics, get rid of cable, don't have both a landline and cell phone, etc. We have been down to bare basics forever. Have NEVER had cable so can't get rid of it and I have never owned a cell phone :-)

Guest's picture
Mario

There are plenty of money advices but, the worst one is "Don't use credit card". First off, the "reason" for not using them, do not apply to me. I pay in full every single time, I even pay before my statement cuts shall I want to pimp my credit score for any reason for that month.
I also think this advice is actually a bit harmful. Card networks, such as Visa, MasterCard and American Express, charge the merchants a fee for each transactions which, at the end, affect the consumer price-wise. So, if you are not paying with a rewards/cashback/miles credit card, you are just overpaying.

Guest's picture
Cee

Pack your lunch and don't eat out. Yes, it makes perfect sense. But when you hate your job and the hour away from the office with friends is your only solace in the work week, shouldn't that cost be a necessary part of your mental health budget? In long run, isn't it cheaper than paying legal fees because you got fed up and went postal on the boss?

Guest's picture
p

I hate all the money advice "tailored" for a 20-something year old woman. Not all of us run out and spend our salaries (and then some) on Louis Vuitton, Manalos, spa treatment, mani/pedis.

Guest's picture
Jenny Dee

Set aside $50 (I've seen advice up to $200!) a month to savings. I'm single and living paycheck to paycheck - I don't have $50 a month leftover after I pay everything! Heck, if I had $50 extra, I'd be tossing it at my credit card debt.

Guest's picture
Jess

I agree that the whole latte factor thing is very annoying, especially for someone who isn't a big coffee drinker. But even more annoying to me is the whole cut grocery costs by using coupons thing...to really get a good deal with coupons takes a lot more time than I think it's worth! And you can usually save more by choosing a different brand or a generic.

Guest's picture
Jessica

There's a lot that could be considered an extension of the latte factor -- lunches out, cable, all of those "luxuries" that we could never afford to begin with. A coworker made a comment to me recently, after I said I'd brought my lunch to work, that she really ought to bring her lunch more often to save a few dollars and eat healthier. It made me cringe a bit because she makes so much more than me that I know it didn't occur to her that I don't have the option not to pack my lunch, except for special occasions.

Basically I'm looking for advice that doesn't involve telling me to cut out things I could never afford to begin with.

Guest's picture
Sushi

* Getting a second job to earn more money. I haven't been able to hold a first job, and that's after looking for nearly a year and a half. If I can't find a first job, how does the mysterious voice of personal finance expect me to find a second job?

* The latte factor. I don't even drink coffee! I'm actually quite frugal when it comes to buying things for myself just because I don't like having a lot of stuff lying around.

* Moving. I already live in a really inexpensive area, but 1. I don't have a car and can't drive one for health reasons, and 2. New York City and San Francisco are the areas where my area is vibrant. There's nothing here in my area at all, so moving would actually be more practical...if I could afford to, of course.

I'm sure some of this will be relevant as I get a job and actually have bills to pay, but it's mostly

Guest's picture
Coupons

Use your credit cards smartly is not a easy job. For coupons, I used some coupons for online shopping a lot of times. Yes, coupon works for me.

Guest's picture
Kristine

Latte factor.
Snowballing.
Cut coupons (return for time is ridiculously small-time better spent with children, learning a new skill, or networking).
Get rid of your landline (so 911 can only roughly triangulate, and not locate you in a real emergency).
Invite friends over instead of going out (Suppose I am antisocial?)
Save X% for retirement- who can really achieve those percentages?
It's in your power to change things! (Sometimes yes, sometimes no.)

Guest's picture
Codes

Get real! It really does not apply to me as I don't drink coffee but I get tired of hearing "don't buy Starbucks." Anybody who is really having money problems surely is not spending $4 or more for a cup of coffee.

Guest's picture
Adam

Hmmmm. I just read though nearly 70 responses. I'm not going to add any peeves, but comment on the comments... which I understand doesn't quality me for any $20. That's okay.

I appreciate that folks are responding to the question asked. But there is also a sentiment expressed here that some wish for suggestions that are more helpful to people who are already doing the obvious. This what I'm responding to.

There are two categories of complaints. One is the category of good-but-tiresome bits of frugal advice. Like giving up the lattes and brown-bagging it to work. While this stuff is obvious, the reality is that many people who believe they can't save money haven't even done these basics yet. So it is worth putting this stuff out there for the newbies, which means that everyone else has to wade through it.

The second category is the generally lame tips. I call this the "shop the perimeter of the store" category. Huh, baking supplies are in the center aisles. In this category I include the one about not using credit cards... credit cards are a very useful tool if used properly. This category deserves the complaints.

But I think the thing to bear in mind is that, unfortunately, there are few really new and innovative ideas that save a great deal of money and apply to everyone. When we are first new to this save-money thing, it is exciting because there are lots of strategies to learn. But eventually we pretty much have learned what there is to learn that we can apply to our lives. We all want to continue to learn, so we come to sites like wisebread. But it is an unrealistic expectation that we will continue to find a wealth of completely new ideas at the same rate.

Frugality has limitations. That's just the reality. You can't save so much money that your cost of living is zero. There is a bottom limit that is a realistic standard of living. But even if you do everything possible, for some people it still will not be enough to make ends meet. There just is no magic.

But even if you can't make ends meet, or meet comfortably, what frugality gives you is the opportunity to have a rich life for less money. If hubbie loses his job, there will still be Christmas because we know how to come up with great gifts inexpensively or even free. We know we don't have to blow our wad to have a romantic date. We know how to put together attractive meals from the most humble ingredients. For people who do not have these basic skills, their experience of tough times is bleak and miserable. We know how to live really well, even in tough times.

Guest's picture
Cari

My pet peeves when it comes to money advice:
1. Like others, the 'latte' factor. I don't drink coffee, but every once in awhile I do splurge and get a cafe mocha; to me it's like hot chocolate with a kick. and $3 once a month is not going to make a difference in the grand scheme of things.
2. Cut the TV cable. I get a bundle package with TV, phone, and Internet, and if I cut one of them the price on the others go up.
3. Get rid of landline phone and use cell phone only. See #2, plus I have to have a landline because I use the fax machine in my work.
4. Sell the car and use public transporation. Anyone seen the schedule/routing for public trans in my city? You can't get there from here. P.S. My car is paid off anyway.
5. As someone else mentioned, the gorilla coupon warriors. I live alone and don't spend more than $50 a month on groceries. Coupons are usually for things a)my stores don't carry, b)things I don't like/use, or c)that are processed or full of chemicals/preservatives/non-food stuff that I don't want to eat.

Guest's picture
Laurie

1. I agree with the many that say "packing your own lunch". I can't imagine going out for lunch everyday! Is that common???

2. I heard someone say that getting rid of your land-line phone is supposed to save you money... does this person pay cell phone bills?? They'll charge you for everything!

3. Buy in bulk (at places like Costco, and Sam's Club) Ugh. It may save you money, but I prefer to buy locally and at farmer's markets.

Guest's picture
Kerrie

I am also bothered by advice blogs that tell me to give up my daily latte... I can barely afford coffee, much less a latte.
I don't like blogs or advice books that talk about buying in bulk. I'm a single woman who lives alone and eats very close to the earth---it isn't as if I can buy dried beans and rice in bulk at Sam's Club!
I also get annoyed at books that tell me to pay off my debt---if it were that easy I would have already done it.

Guest's picture
Guest

Move to a small town! Low cost of living! Yes, that's because no one wants to live there. There's nothing to do! At least living in the city I can stroll through my walker-friendly neighborhood (free), go to the art museum that's a block from my house (free), walk to all the stores/restaurants in the area, and have access to all the (student-priced) concerts and performers that come through town. I hate small town life. I'll gladly double my rent to avoid it. It's cheaper than therapy.

Guest's picture
Guest

Any advice that is given without asking for is really the worst. I wasn't asking you how to save money why in the world are you just giving out your unwanted advice!

The worst on blogs/website, get rid of one car. We work in different directions at different times, how do you think we could ever just give up one car as if it's nothing.

Guest's picture
jamie g

I am sick of hearing about owning a house rather than renting! My rent in a big city is now about $350 including everything! As a single working professional, budgeting is easy with the cheap rent and I love not having house maintenance. A house would be great someday...maybe it's the right advice, wrong time for me.

Guest's picture
Raina

I'm going to echo Dobie - the advice that we should use debit cards instead of credit cards. It might work for some, but there are those of us who are responsible with credit, pay the balance in full, and earn cash back.

Guest's picture
Jessica

One thing I am sick of hearing about is saving early for retirement. It's always the same example, where Susie Saver starts saving when she's 20 and Larry Loser doesn't start for another 10 years and Susie ends up with a million more dollars or something. The reason I hate this is twofold: 1) The amount the people put into retirement is always high, like $1000 a month. I'm just starting out, newly married, with a spouse still trying to find work, and I know I can't afford to put anywhere near that much into my retirement account right now and still buy rent, groceries, and gas every month. I'm putting in what I can. 2) The interest rates these people get on their 401(k)s are incredibly high as well, usually 10%. The average, as I understand it, is around 6% or 7%, and right now mine is about -7% because I haven't had it very long.

I understand the lesson, but if the demonstration only works with really high figures, then it's not very helpful to me.

Guest's picture
Carol

I am tired of hearing "pay yourself first." What bill to you ignore to make this happen? Do you risk late fees to do this? How do you pay yourself when there is no pay?

Guest's picture
RebeccaD

I'm fine with a little tough love in regards to consumable spending but stop assuming I am squandering 50% of my pretax dollars on coffee and shoes. Someone that reckless is beyond your help and probably not reading your blog. (their money comes from daddy anyway!) It is the financial equal of the movie where the ugly girl takes off her glasses and the quarterback notices how beautiful she is. If we all had a simple $10 daily habit we were free to invest in a magic compounding stock, you'd be out of a job!

Surf a few financial blogs with a bottle of moonshine and one could get completely hammered with a shot each time the latte factor is mentioned. Every budget deserves a latte. If I want to spend it on coffee, graphic t-shirts or glass unicorns I think I am allowed to do that without judgment. The size of my fool budget in that area will depend on my debt/income level obviously. Get serious about budgets, but I'm a big girl and can spend my allowance as I please. Now show me real ways to save money!

Guest's picture
midlfig

I am tired of news outlets running "special" articles on careers that supposedly pay at least $38,000 with almost no education.

First off, there are few nursing programs (which always rank 1st in the article) that are as short as advertised. The graduates from those that really do take just a few years will tell you that jobs are scarce and there are plenty of better trained competitors for the positions.

Second, if I had the money to freely spend on 1-2 two years of education minimum, I would probably not be looking for advice on how to reduce my costs.

Guest's picture
Mikal407

The whole business of "one size fits all" mentality of the so-called financial experts. A few of these people thought up a few good ideas (and some not-so-good ideas) years ago and now they all just repeat them over and over. And they get rich from passing on this kind of hyped up advice. These advisors are so removed from the people they are supposed to be helping, that the babble they spew forth is useless to most.

Guest's picture
Carmen

Make your own laundry detergent. Yes, it can probably save you money, but when you're talking $40 / year balanced against the time it takes, I'd rather have the convenience.

Guest's picture
Jennifer

Carmen, it takes about 30 minutes and $2 to make enough laundry detergent to last 4 months. I used to spend about $15/month for detergent for my large family. It would actually take about the same amount of time, or maybe more, over the course of 4 months to buy the detergent and lug it home. I just made $58 in 30 minutes, at an hourly rate of $116. Making your own detergent is a great idea.

Guest's picture
Kristine

Give coupons as gifts "free night of babysitting...free backrub", etc. Does anyone like getting these? IT is awkward to "redeem a coupon, and if it happens to be inconvenient timing for the giver- they feel bad, the redeemer feels stupid and shortchanged, and usually, to avoid this kind of thing, the giver is thanked, hugged, and the coupons thrown in a drawer, to be thrown out later.

The only situation in which this might work is between siblings- I will make your bed fora week...take out the garbage for you...etc., because the parents can enforce fulfillment, thus eliminating any awkwardness or agitation between the 2 parties.

Guest's picture
Christina

Cancel cable. Also, go to a one car family and walk/bike everywhere. Great advice but if you are not interested in it, uber frugal people attack!

Guest's picture
Lisa

Aside from the tired ‘latte factor’ and ‘pay yourself first nuggets,’ the one that annoys me most is to ‘get rid of the car and use public transportation.’ Commuting 35 miles each way to work each day is actually cheaper—even with gas and maintenance—than using the public transportation available in my area. No, I don’t drive a hybrid—my car is old, reliable, and paid for—but there’s no one to tell me to shut it when I sing along to the radio and the drive lets me gear up or decompress from a long day…

Guest's picture
Jan

The thing I'm most irked by is the grocery coupon game - or any approach that deals primarily with trying to get deals on food. It's extremely important to me to support my local farmers, food producers, and greengrocers. I buy processed food as little as possible. Coupons are either a) not available for the things I want to buy, or b) take money directly out of the pockets of the individuals who work very hard to grow my food. If anything is worth spending money on, it's nutrition and local farmers.

Guest's picture
GuestMary

Sick of getting the obvious ideas for advice.
1. Skip the lattes, daily newspaper, & impulse purchases
2. Pay down the credit cards
3. Pack a lunch
4. Carpool, bike or use public transport
5. Cancel cable
6. Turn out the lights - and other obvious energy saving 'tips' for the home -fluorescent lights, insulation, etc
Anyone can think of these things. It's annoying to find them in published articles and lists. If I'm going to click to read, I want to be rewarded with new ideas. Not retreads.

Guest's picture
asmrtckie

Wow, there are so many things. I think what I'm most sick of is advice that tells people (like me) who are in debt that the best way to get financially healthy is to pay off your debt. Um, duh. Thanks. Doing that. Have any other words of wisdom?

Guest's picture
Guest

I hate hearing about about the percentages- 30% of your income should go to housing, etc. etc. It really all depends on what your income is!

As well, I hate the coffee example: "Instead of going for a daily coffee, if you saved that money, in 20 years you would have X dollars". You could do this example with anything; people need to learn the basics of saving, not how to cut things out of their lives to be happier later- let's all be happy now, but for less!