Ross Perot is Charting Again

Remember Ross Perot? Rich guy from Texas, ran for president, made a lot of noise. A lot of what he says makes sense, and when a millionaire – or more likely billionaire – is willing to talk about money and share his insights, maybe the rest of us peasants should listen to him and take his advice. He is a powerful and persuasive speaker and is notorious for using lots of charts to illustrate his points.

Perot has launched a website called that has . . . you guessed it! Charts.

He’s trying to help America manage it’s money and its debt. Check it out.

Road Rage Linked to Bumper Stickers

Read a cool article in the Washington Post yesterday about a study that has linked drivers that have a problem with road rage to their use of bumper stickers on their cars.

A recent study by Colorado State University social psychologist William Szlemko concluded that:

Drivers of cars with bumper stickers, window decals, personalized license plates and other “territorial markers” not only get mad when someone cuts into their lane or is slow to respond to a traffic light, they also are far more likely than others to use their vehicles to express rage —by honking, tailgating and other aggressive behavior.

And you may be interested to know that I do not have any bumper stickers on any of my cars. I think they look trashy. But I have seen a few that made me laugh. Last week I saw this one on an old Humpty:

“If you are going to ride my ass . . .
. . . at least pull my hair.”

Lance Snacks

We went Krogering yesterday and I was wanting a snack of some sort, but cruising the cookie aisle I couldn’t find anything that looked all that appealing. What I wanted was something small and portable, that I could munch on late at night when all I need is a small snack. Since I’m usually in the car and most stores are closed, I need to bring it with me.

I lost my sweet tooth years ago and most of the snacks I like nowadays are on the salty and crunchy side. So Kroger was running a special on Lance snack crackers and I stopped to take a look. I didn’t realize that there are some many variations and different flavors of those little square orange crackers filled with cheese. Do you know which ones I’m talking about? They come in little rectangular cellophane packs of 6 crackers. I picked the ones called “Captain’s Wafers” which is regular crackers filled with peanut butter and honey. I bought 4 of them them on sale and tossed them in the car console so that next time I need something for a snack they’ll be handy.

Emergency Cash

My step daughter had borrowed one of my cars for the past week as hers was broken down for some unexplained mechanical problem. I don’t mind letting her borrow the car for short periods, but she makes it very difficult to keep my resolve to close down the “Daddy ATM.” Her mother and I decided at the first of the year that we must stop shelling out hundreds of dollars each month to “help out” as long as she continues to choose this path down the wrong road.

As I was cleaning out the car upon it’s return, I noticed a paper stuck between the seats and the console. It was a paper receipt for a payday loan. I was shocked and dismayed, but then again, since we told her in no uncertain terms that the cash handouts from our wallets are over, I suppose she thinks she has no choice but to use those types of cash advances to tide her over.

The problem with this is that she never seems to have enough money to pay the loan off and she ends up renewing the loan, putting herself farther behind. This is exactly the type of behavior that we are trying to discourage and she must be even more hard headed than I thought if she is not learning this important financial and independent lifestyle lesson.

Payday loans are a great tool for a one time emergency cash advance. It is supposed to be used for things like emergency car repairs and emergency medical expenses, with the key words being “emergency.”

Now I know I just said that her car was broken down, but I’m not sure I believe her. The car was in excellent condition when we bought it for her last year. I check it over once in a while to make sure the oil is changed and the fluids are OK, the tires are OK, etc. I hadn’t noticed anything going wrong so I have to wonder what the emergency repair was for and she has managed to not share that information with us. If it is true, I hope she is going to handle this payday loan as a responsible adult and pay it off with her very next paycheck.

Oil Change

An article on Yahoo News says that the adage of needing to change your car’s oil every 3,000 miles is no longer true. With modern advances in the types of oils and the new engines, most cars do fine with an oil change every 5,000 or 7,000 miles – some even at 10,000 miles. What a blessing that would be for my wallet.

It used to be that you could get an oil change for $19 at Firestone or one of the regular car and tire places. Then the price went up to $24 but you could sometimes score a $5 off coupon from the Sunday paper. Now it’s gone up to $33 and I haven’t seen a coupon in ages. So, like gasoline, the cost of oil changes has gone up quite a bit these past few months and to be honest, I think we’ll have to start pushing the envelope on the amount of miles in between. Instead of every 3,000 miles I’ll see if we can get by on every 5,000 for a while.