Monday, January 30, 2006

(Getting Out of) Consumer Debt

As I believe I mentioned in regard to my savings plan for the year, for the first few months of 2006 my net cashflow will be painfully curtailed as I pay off the balance of some evil consumer debt. I financed two purchases in late 2005:
  • Window coverings for our new home. I consider this a forgivable dip into the consumer debt morass as it was arguably necessary and came with some manageable provisions (i.e. pay no interest for 6 months). With regular payments, I should have this one licked, interest-free, by April.
  • A new Dell laptop, presumably to replace my old PC that died last summer. Considering I could have got a new PC with more than I needed for under $1K, I consider this a shameful (and honestly, uncharacteristic) display of conspicuous consumption.
Besides this, I've been pretty good and don't keep a balance on credit cards, and usual avoid any purchase I can't pay in full with cash, with exceptions noted above.

My own situation came to mind today when reviewing the latest news about spending and indebtedness. As reported in the Toronto Star, Americans increased their spending in 2005 by dipping into their savings, pushing their savings rate for all of 2005 into negative territory at -0.5 %, the lowest it's been since the Great Depression.

Lest Canadians feel at all smug, Statistics Canada last reported that our current personal savings rate is only marginally 'better' at -0.2%.


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Disclaimer: These articles are for information only, and are not to be construed as financial advice, legal advice, or a solicitation to buy or sell securities.