ATM Adverts and Where to Find Legitimate Advice

Posted by in Articles, personal finance, Ramblings | 16 comments

Save Your Money

Here, piggy, piggy....

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:

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?


Join the conversation and post a comment.

  1. krantcents

    I am not familiar with that particular ad, but they are marketing product to you. They have a vested interest in the outcome. Immediately, one should be distrustful. There is very few sources of information that is truly unbiased and without a money motivation.
    .-= krantcents´s last blog ..My 2011 New Year’s Resolutions =-.

  2. MoneyCone

    Any ad from BofA about them looking out for you always amuses me!
    .-= MoneyCone´s last blog ..Et Tu OptionsHouse =-.

  3. retirebyforty

    Yeah, I agree with MoneyCone. You gotta look out for #1. Corporations are money sucking machines second to only the government. :p
    .-= retirebyforty´s last blog ..Best Financial Advice =-.

  4. Ronald R. Dodge, Jr.

    I agree with many of these statements. As for me doing business with an atm, I rarely do business with an atm (not even once a month). Why’s that?

    I look for every way to cut out every single bit of expense one can cut out. Here’s why?

    Generally, the only reason for doing business with an atm is either to deposit or to withdraw, and even with to deposit, it’s very restrictive (at least where I bank, so if I’m going to make a deposit, I will instead just drop the deposit in the deposit box. Even this is a less than once a month trip for the same basic transportation reason.

    With the saving rates as they are today, you can’t honestly say you can make up that transportation expense with the interest you earn off of that money you put into the bank, if it’s a relatively small amount as it would work out to be for me.

    Do direct deposit, so as you don’t have to drive to the bank to deposit your pay checks or tax refund costing you between $0.33 and $0.75 per mile of total transportation expense (note, this is not just for the gas and oil, but for all other wear and tear on the vehicle too). Save up all of your repair bills for a 5 year period, and see what your total repair bill is for that time period. Not only noting the cost of such repairs, but also noting the inflation as time progress.

    For many things, I use the CC, so the need for the cold hard cash greatly reduces. Of course, due to financial security reasons, I won’t do DCs (Sorry Dave Ramsey, your claim that the DC has the same protection as the CC doesn’t match to my experience of fraud on the DC vs my experience of fraud on the CC). Fraud protection on the DC is basically non-existent based on my experiences. Not only that, but as I’m doing my shopping at Sam’s Club, I can get cash at the check out from my CC without any sort of a finance charge, so the few items I may need cash for, I’m well covered there too. Over the period of a week, I don’t even spend $30.00 on the average with that cold hard cash.

    You can go ahead and call me a tight wad if you want. I know I am one cause of what I been through in the first 25 years (well really 30, but the first 25 were the worst of it all). Maybe some people don’t think about transportation expenses, transaction expenses, income taxes, or other so call necessary expenses like medical insurance. Me, I most certainly do think about anything that rings up “Expense” in my pocket.

    That’s why I go by a menu and shopping list when grocery shopping or even planning out the menu, go by what’s in the pantry first, so as not to waste. That’s why I look for ways to cut back the mileage as much as I can, so as to cut out as much of the wear and tear along with the reduced costs of gas, oil and other vehicle liquids.

    • Little House

      @Ronald – You bring up a good point about transportation costs and driving to the ATM. I do receive direct deposits, but I also receive various forms of income in the mail as well. Since my ATM scans checks just as a bank teller does, its much easier to deposit them into an ATM than wait in line for a bank teller. Although now I’ll have to factor in the transportation cost and see if there is maybe a better way to deposit checks!

  5. First Gen American

    Taking savings advice from a bank is like asking a fox to guard your hen house. It’s just not in your best interest to do so. Yeah, the bank took the save 10% rule and warped it.

  6. Petunia

    I noticed that ad just yesterday too, at a Wells Fargo ATM. I thought it was pretty lame advice.

    Have you tried out the new budgeting tool on their website? I have not, I like Mint.
    .-= Petunia´s last blog ..Paycheck Bump =-.

    • Little House

      @Petunia – I haven’t tried out their budgeting tool since I use Quickbooks to enter all of my expenses. I’ll have to look into the Wells tool and see if it’s actually helpful.

  7. Squirrelers

    Consider the source of such advice. If they were smart, they would be giving truly good advice, which would help their credibility in the long run. The intent of businesses is not to help the consumer, but to increase their own revenues and ultimately profits. I agree, focus on saving first.
    .-= Squirrelers´s last blog ..Yakezie Blog Swap =-.

    • Little House

      @Squirrelers – I have to agree that if they were “smart” they’d be giving legitimate advice. However, I think they’ve become too big for their own britches and are only looking out for number one. At least that’s my take on their ad.

  8. Barb Friedberg

    Give me a break. I’m with you, that has to be up there with the worst personal finance advice. Of course, you are correct, like any business or public company, their job is to make money for their shareholders or themselves, not their customers!
    .-= Barb Friedberg´s last blog ..WHAT YOUR NEW ASTROLOGICAL SIGN MEANS FOR YOUR MONEY =-.


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