As promised, a couple of simple things young people can do that will provide them better protection than dependence on credit cards.
- Carry a $100.00 bill in your wallet.
- I heard this idea when I was a very young new accounts rep at a bank. It has stuck with me since then, and I do keep that money. The idea behind this is very simple: If you were stranded on the side of a road, you could probably get a place to stay for a hundered dollars. You could definitely get a meal. You may even be able to fix your car. Remember, hard as it may be to believe, not everybody takes plastic yet.
- Keep the money with you, but try to forget it is there, or else you will wind up spending it.
- Along the same lines, buy a pack of traveler’s checks, and put them somewhere safe in your car. Especially with older, used cars (the ones I recommend), they have a tendency to break down in a place that is not near anywhere. Use these as a sort of hazard insurance like the Benjamin!
- Get a small checking account without checks, and put a fixed amount in there every week. You can use your debit card anywhere you would use a credit card, and you don’t have to pay interest on the money you may take out.
- Plan ahead. Things are less expensive if you can plan ahead, for instance, think of how much it would cost to repair a car. Now think about the price to do preventative maintenance. Just don’t go nuts with it!
- Ask a trusted family member to hold on to some money that you are saving for a specific reason. Don’t ask about the money, and when you get your monthly satement, just review long enough to see that there are no unnatural transactions. After that, put the statement away and resume your savings plan.