Columnist: Watch your money; don’t fear, do

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Jerry Johnson

Contributing columnist

Watching your money does not have anything to do with being cheap — it is your job and no one else’s.

Dave Ramsey says, “If you’re a senior and you should get a discount, ask for it.”

Are you wrong to ask for the best price on a set of tires? No, you should check the price. Sometimes paying with cash may get you a few more dollars off too.

Are you correct to make sure you’re not paying too much for your medicine each month? I went from a big drug store to a private drug store and saved $165 per month. Now in my good old boy terms that will get me and Louise a week in Destin!

One of the big things I see people waste money on is not spending money when your heat pump is 15 years old. When you say, “It is paid for” you may cut 40 percent off your bill by putting a new energy-efficient unit in. It may pay for itself in 24 months.

It is not how much money you make or have, it is about spending your money with a plan. In everything you do, look and see if you can do it cheaper.

Sometimes it will amaze you how much you can save. If even your cell phone has become a big bill, check around because you may be able to save money there also.

The last one could be the big one! Paying interest and late fees; never, never get caught paying late fees.

Pay your bills on time, that is a big rule. Now, the next one most everyone is used to paying is a house note that they expect to pay for the rest of their lives. Not so fast, if you owe $100,000 at 6 percent your payments would be $600 per month, but now you can refinance that at 3 percent for 15 years for $703 per month.

You say, “Jerry, my payments went up $103!” Yes, but we cut out 15 years.

You could go to many places on vacation for the savings, not to mention peace of mind when you got there. Let me know if you try these or pass them on to a loved one.

• • •

Fear — what are you scared of?

When I was 12 there was a 16-year-old kid that was still in the eighth grade, who outweighed the rest of the kids by 50 pounds, that always picked on the rest of us.

Everyone had those guys to deal with. However, you get smarter and avoid those guys.

Most people I see are afraid to fail or lose. Why not join a gym or get a group to walk with you if you know you need to work on your weight so that you will not be a diabetic? They get that deer in the headlights stare, freeze and doing nothing, which is the worst thing they can do.

Instead of doing nothing, what is the worst thing you could do or have happen to you? If it is your health, by doing nothing it can get lots worse fast.

By writing down your goals and having a plan many good things can, and will, happen. Your friends and family inspire you to do better.

My friend John makes it easy for me to get up and start my workout at 5:30 a.m. Why? Because I know John has lost 102 pounds and is still focused on the big goal that is to be healthy and have fun in life.

When you have fear, do not face your fears by yourself, get a friend to be your hero at whatever you do. Ask yourself what would John do? John would get off his butt, walk, go to the gym and get happy with his workout.

Fear is not all bad. We need fear to survive. Sometimes it is a wake-up call to be more careful in what we’re doing.

I have to check my blood sugar, but when I miss checking it I find the cheesecake and other things that make it elevated give me a fear of high blood sugar, which makes me be a good eater most of the time.

We all have to deal with fear, but all the time your goal should be to not let fear control what you do. Learn to look at what the worst things are that could happen and plan on that not being what you focus on. Now go out and enjoy life to the best of your ability so that you will conquer fear.

Jerry Johnson is president of First Realty of LaGrange.