Warning Signs of Financial Trouble

Print Friendly
pay off your credit card debt

Proverbs 22:7 “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender”

Here is an excerpt from Ruby J. Wallace’s book, “Being Smart About Credit and Debt.” It is cute and, unfortunately, too true. 

Warning Signs

It is amazing how we fail to recognize some warning signs when we get into financial trouble:

  • Your combined minimum monthly payment for your credit cards is more than your rent.
  • You use one-hour processing to develop that roll of film you finished three months ago.
  • You look to casinos as your retirement plan.
  • Your library or video rental fines are more than the original cost of the book or video you rented.
  • When you take the film out of your $400 camera, you have to wait until payday to get it developed.
  • You pay your Visa card with your Discover card.
  • You have all the latest technology equipment but no electricity.
  • You buy a $30,000 car but then have to worry about gas.
  • You have refinanced 3 times and still owe 30 years on your house
  • You get upset when you are assessed a late fee after you fail to pay your bill on time.
  • You pay more in finance charges than you give to God’s work.
  • You buy more food before you eat all the food you bought two weeks earlier.
  • During peak electrical usage times in your community, the electric company calls you personally and asks if you could cut back some.

Photo By: Håkan Dahlström


  1. Bea says

    From my job experience I can tell you a few more of the warning signs that people are in financial trouble. Some people will stop paying their gas or electric bills sometime in late Sept or early Oct to start “SAVING” money to have a “BIG” Christmas. I have personally talked to people at my job that told me this. The law states that heat can’t be shut off for nonpayment between November 1st and April 1st, so many people use that law to get away with not paying on their heat bills in order to buy presents.
    Also, many people simply can’t afford their cars, but insist they need a new one when many of their other bills are very behind, especially credit card bills. They will not even consider using public transportation, sharing rides, walking or biking anywhere.

  2. cheryl says

    I tell people that we pay ourselves every month & they look at me like I am crazy. But in my budget just like a monthly bill I pay I put money into savings. & until Sat when we decided to buy a different car we were debt free. But we bought a $16000 car & only financed $7000 as we had the rest in cash.

  3. Erica says

    I have to admit, I didn’t understand the film one right away. I rarely ever print photos unless they are ones I’m giving away or framing, everything else I keep on my computer (and backed up).

    And we frequently do the food one, especially now that I’m back in school…eek! Since the other ones made me shudder I know that’s bad and I really need to buckle down but it’s definitely hard. I need to figure out how to manage school and home life!

  4. Jeanne says

    “During peak electrical usage times in your community, the electric company calls you personally and asks if you could cut back some.”

    Now that one’s a puzzler. It isn’t the electric company’s business to regulate our usage or tell us how much we should be using, and it’s intrusive. For one thing, every household has different needs, including when they are home (some people work odd hours) to do the laundry and other tasks that require electricity. As free citizens we are certainly entitled to voluntarily cut back on our energy usage in order to save money. But the utility companies have no business sticking their noses into how we run our households.

    My sister-in-law (Mpls.) told me a couple weeks ago that they recently received a letter from their local electric company, a generic one probably sent to many others, saying something like “You may be using more electricity than you need.” There has been a big brouhaha in their community over those pesky “smart meters’, and the community doesn’t want them; there have been public meetings over this issue. (In some places around the country, they are mandatory, and some people have even been arrested for resisting. One woman pulled a gun on the technician who was “trespassing” on her property to install it without her consent.) Smart meters are jut another method of surveilling your activities in your home (yes, they can track when you’re running your dishwasher, when you’re on your computer, when you’re using your washer/dryer), without the customer’s consent, and they don’t need a warrant to do it. I hope everyone understands the implications of this. It’s not about “saving energy”. It is about controlling your behavior.

    Anyway, my SIL called the company and demanded to know why they sent the letter. Needless to say, she was not happy about it. She told them that, for one thing, they do not know how many people are living in the house and therefore had no basis on which to suggest they “might” be using too much electricity. The person on the other end couldn’t really give a satisfactory answer as to why these letters were being sent. I suspect the utility company is trying to “nudge” people to install the smart meters before they finally decide to make them mandatory. My SIL told the person, “Do NOT send these letters again.”

  5. annie says

    Jeanne, I believe you are correct about those “smart meters”. The only thing smart about them is how smart the “powers that be” become about the behavior of the people who are not smart enough to refuse them.

    • Jeanne says

      I agree, Annie. It’s really the consumer’s business as to how much they want to spend on their utilities. I try to keep our electric and gas costs down as much as possible. One of the ways I do that is to keep the thermostat low in winter and higher in the summer. I also hang up the laundry (except for towels and sheets; we don’t have a yard for an outdoor clothesline), sometimes drying clothes for 10 minutes to get the wrinkles out.

    • getfrofree says

      How would they know what appliance you are running. They might know how much electricity you are using at any given moment, but how would they know which appliance is using it. I might start my washer, then use my vacuum for a few minutes, my pool pump might be running whenever I turn it on, and the refrigerator using the power on and off automatically. I might leave the house for a couple hours and my dishwasher or washer might still be on. The air conditioner turning on and off automatically, so they wont’ know whether I am home or just don’t turn it on to save on electricity.

      I think the smart meters just save them money not having to pay to send out someone come and physically check you meter.

  6. getfrofree says

    I don’t understand why buying more food before you eat all you have is bad. I buy food when it’s on sale and I find a good deal and stock up, not when I run out of it and about half of what I need will be regular price and even no coupon available for that exact item. I try to get food, especially the non perishable kind when I would pay less than 50% of the regular price for it, not when I run out and have to buy it at any price.

    Sometimes when there aren’t any good deals in a certain week, all we buy is milk and bananas, sometimes I buy nothing at all if I found a deal on the milk the previous week and stocked up. Once I bought 10 gallons and haven’t set my foot into a store for almost 3 weeks. Whenever I buy milk, I get the ones with the latest expiration date available, sometimes from the very back of a fridge, and the milk and the other dairy products are good for at least 7 days after the expiration date.

    • says

      You can freeze milk too. You just need to shake real well after it it thawed. It tastes no different milk that hasn’t been frozen. I freeze mine all the time.

      • getforfree says

        Yes, I tried freezing milk before. It works out ok. You just have to remove about 3-4 oz from each gallon before placing it into the freezer. I just prefer to grab one with the latest expiration date and not having to deal with freezing unless the expiration date is tomorrow and we still have 3 gallons of milk.

        • says

          If you milk container has a round circle indented on it the way some do you don’t need to remove any because that indented circle helps with expansion in the freezer.One way to make it easier too removing the little bit of milk from each one before freezing is I use a small pitcher to keep my milk in because it is easier for little hands to pour then a large gallon so if I get 5 gallons on sale I just pour 3-4 oz. from each one into my pitcher that I would be filling with milk anyway. All the milk is ready for freezing and my little pitcher is filled in one fell swoop.

          The thing is we drink mostly water and use very little milk. It would take me 2 weeks or more to use one gallon. Plus it is nice for the times like when Tawra found about 30 gallons on sale for a dollar. Even though she shared a lot of it with others she still had way more then they could have used up.

  7. Mary Jane says

    I believe the comment about the electric company calling you and asking you to cut back a bit, is actually tongue-in-cheek, or a joke. The article is about warning signs that you may have financial problems. The implication is that you cannot pay your bills, but you aren’t cutting back any. I live in Canada and where so-called smart meters have been installed, but not yet fully employed. There is always a public propaganda campaign to get people to use less energy, in theory, to save the environment. However,further investigation reveals that the true motive is to re direct power for mega energy projects to produce and sell Liquid Natural Gas overseas, and to make huge profits for the shareholders of the projects involved, and the government. We live very close to one of one of the largest hydro electric producing dams in Canada. There has never been a formal, personally directed request from the power company to cut back anyone’s power usage, but the ultimate goal of smart meters is to set up times of the day, when power will be more expensive than at other times of the day, and to charge accordingly, as they have already done in Ontario. The point about having extra groceries is again related to the intent of the article. If you don’t have enough money to meet your financial obligations and you already have sufficient food in the house, do not spend your precious resources on what you don not actually need. It is not a slam against smart shopping or planning ahead. Go ahead and stockpile food, as long as you can pay for it. It is about priorities and really being able to see where you can change if your finances are tight.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

9 + two =

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>