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Understanding money, debt and income. Deceptive advertising and marketing manipulation, how to get the best values, the Columbine tragedy, and even a little history of mass marketing. Editorials by Rick Doble, Editor.
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You know about slipping into debt. It starts very slowly at first and then snowballs as more payments come due, the interest charges mount up, and there's less money to pay the bills.

As I pointed out in the last issue, this is very easy to do with credit cards. You can live beyond your means for several years and get into the habit of living a little better. The payments are so small you probably won't even notice that it will take years to pay off your obligations.

The good news is that instead of the slippery slope of falling into debt, you can climb slowly, then faster up the hill into wealth. The more money you save, the more you have to work with and the easier it is to put your money to work. If you use that money wisely, you can get the savings to snowball in your favor.

For example, if you saved $1000 last year reading you could use that extra money to stockpile everyday purchases when products you buy go on sale. Your $1000 then could be worth as much as $2000.

The next year, having saved $2000, you could insulate your home and buy energy-efficient (but initially expensive) fluorescent lights. As a result, you'll have lower energy bills.

The following year with the additional money saved, you could start paying down your credit cards and save on interest charges.

One author called today's frantic style of living, "Work and Spend." Many people work 50 or 60 hours a week, then spend lavishly on the weekends in malls and restaurants or when they are on vacation.

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If you'd like to break out of the rat race, it can be done. It takes a bit of discipline but more importantly a commitment to being just a little more careful with your money.

Money is like a plant. If you give it sunlight, water and fertilizer, you can get a seedling to grow into a large bush over time. Just don't neglect it, or it will die.

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