If you do enough internet reading, you are sure to run across some interesting offbeat websites with unusual types of information. Jeff Yeager authors “The Ultimate Cheapskate” and is a repository of spending and financial information.
Among recent posts are five unusual factoids that are not particularly helpful, but certainly are entertaining and interesting. Here we go:
ALLOWANCE FOR THE AMERICAN CHILD: the average child in America now receives about $780 per year. That works out to $65 per month or $15 per week. Being one without shame, I’ll admit that I was happy getting 50 cents a week when I was a kid! Even adjusting for inflation, that wasn’t very much! This figures comes from the American Institute of CPAs (talk about a scintillating group to which to belong!). Alas, just as is the case these days, I generally spent my whole allowance. However, all I could afford was five “DC Comics” or three “Classics Illustrated” during any given week.
HIGH SCHOOL DEBT: according to http://www.Creditloan.com, these days the typical American takes her/his first step into debt (car loan or credit card are typical types of initial debt) while still in high school. I must be a great case of “delayed development” because I didn’t undertake my first debt until I reached my mid-20’s. One consequence of “earlier” debt seems to be “oftener” debt – since the average adult currently carries thirteen outstanding credit obligations.
TRUE DOWNSIZING: Ever since the advent of the disastrous mortgage crisis, countless individuals have been “simplifying”, “cutting back”, “de-leveraging”, etc. in an effort to reduce costs and improve their total financial condition. That is quite a contrast to the period between 1990 and 2007, when it seemed as though “supersize” was not just a McDonald’s term, but a standard adjective for everything from Slurpies and movie popcorn to Humvees and houses. According to www.Trulia.com (a real estate website) and the National Association of Home Builders — this trend has started to reverse itself, at least within the residential home space. Believe it or not, the size of the average U.S. home in the 1950’s was no more than 1,000 square feet. Within just 50 years, it had ballooned to over 2,300 square feet – even though (paradoxically) the trend in average family size decreased throughout that period.
That trend appears to not just be waning but reversing. Since 2010, most Americans now report in surveys that they prefer 2,l00 feet or less. Even more impressively, a full one-third of survey respondents indicate a preference for homes under 2,000 feet!
SPEAKING OF MCDONALDS: New York Mayor Bloomberg’s single-minded and single-handed attack on all-things “supersize” notwithstanding, www.BankRate.com reports that our hunger for fast food is nearly bottomless. We now spend $110 billion each year on fast food, and when we pay for our fast food craving with Visa, MC, Discover, or American Express – we buy a whole lot more of it (in fact, on average, we buy fifty percent more!! Oops, so that’s how we got to look like the Pillsbury Dough Boy!
BEST SALES PITCH
TALK ABOUT SALES: those who enjoy psychology are becoming more and more aware of the wonders of “financial” psychology. A survey by the Omnibus Company during this past holiday season revealed a number of fascinating insights regarding consumer behavior. The survey focused upon what type of sales strategy was most appealing to any given consumer. The results were as follows:
a) “Buy one, get one free” – preferred by 45%;
b) A discount of a specific dollar amount – preferred by 17%;
c) A deal offering a certain “percentage off” – also preferred by 17%;
d) A deal that is accompanied by “free shipping” – preferred by 16%.
As for me, I always prefer “free”!