Who remembers seeing the cookie jar up on the counter and, as a young child, not being able to reach it? Eventually, I figured out how to get a chair, climb up it, reach the cookie jar and reap the reward of chocolate chips melting in my mouth. My mom didn’t put the cookie jar on the floor for me to crawl over and just stick my hand in the jar.
I’ve always been in awe at the number of credit card offers I received in the space of a week. This year, my 8 year old started receiving credit card offers, too. Wow. Free money. Pay no interest for 6 months, 12 months, 24 months. Refinance, spend, speculate. Fortunately, my dad always taught me to treat credit cards with a lot of trepidation. If I didn’t have the money in the bank, I was not to put anything on the card. I still live by that rule. No money, no purchase. Do I have obligations? Yes. On a house. On a car. And in the past few years, the cookie jar was often and enticingly laid on the floor for me — I could have refinanced my home 10 times over and redesigned my kitchen, my lawn, re-roofed, repainted, remodeled and even…re-chiminied. But I didn’t. Taking on additional debt scared me after a lifetime of conservative spending. But I watched my friends buy into homes at no interest and inflated rates. And even with little debt, my cash flow is tight, as it is with many of us across the country. So I looked at all the junk in my garage, worth a whole lot at one time, and now, potential cash flow. Fall, back to school over…cooler weather coming…good time for a garage sale. And the influx of the $600 – $1000 I’ll make on the items in my garage (which, when new, probably cost me $10,000), will help pay for my food, my gas, my electric bill and a magazine subscription from my daughter’s school’s magazine drive.
So now the US is having fantastic garage sale, too. $700 billion to buy all those overinflated mortgages at 10 cents on the dollar, but it will give some liquidity to the market. When the President says that we are experiencing a “serious economic crisis”, it means we have no money. And the infusion of money into the market through purchase of unsaleable mortgages (and more) is really a massive garage sale. Depression era in the 21st century. Very bad. The money culture is over? I don’t know…somehow the rich, rich seem to hang on.
Anyhoo….my garage sale is next Saturday, 8 a.m. Cash accepted. See you there.