I do most of my banking activities at my bank branch’s ATM. It’s easy, it’s quick, and my bank’s ATMs offer digital scanning of deposits and will email me my receipt saving me the hassle of misplacing it or wasting paper. However, one down side of ATM banking is waiting the few moments while the machine processes my transaction and having to stare at the advertisements. I say ‘stare’ since I normally read them only long enough to make sure it’s not asking me for a response.
Yesterday while waiting for my transaction to be completed, I noticed a quick ad that seemed to be giving budgeting advice. It only caught my attention because of the green little piggy bank with coins floating into or away from it (depending on interpretations.) The sage advice said something to the effect of, “Budget your monthly bills, then save 10% of what’s left over.” What caught my eye was the “10% of what’s LEFT OVER.” This advice, coming from a banking institution, seemed a bit odd or backwards even. Unless I misunderstood the ad, it’s giving its customers the advice to save what’s left over at the end of a month’s budget. Shouldn’t a budget already include a savings portion which would really mean, save 10% AT THE START OF THE MONTH?
For instance, let’s say that the total monthly bills of customer A equaled $3,200. Customer A has an income of $3,600 so that would mean saving 10% of the “what’s left over” would be $40! Unless I’m flubbing up my math, $400 is “what’s left over,” and 10% of $400 is $40.00. What kind of crack-pot advice is this?!
Coming from a bank, you’d think the advice would be more useful. Scratch that last comment; I’m not so sure bank’s are looking out for anyone but themselves. I also don’t want to knock anyone for saving $40, it’s better than nothing, but it’s just not good enough.
So where can one find decent, helpful budgeting and banking information if not from one’s own bank? A few great sites to begin with are:
- The Dollar Stretcher
- Yakezie Personal Finance Bloggers
- Get Rich Slowly
- Motley Fool
- Bank Rate
- Dave Ramsey
Of course, there are also plenty of budgeting and finance books as well that give much better advice than an ATM screen. Then again, maybe no one really reads ATM screen adverts anyway.
Have you seen ridiculous money advice coming from a “reliable” source? Do you think anyone actually believes this advice?