Personal Finance The Peter Griffin Way

Personal FinancePeter Griffin is the not so lovable dad in the hit television program, Family Guy. Unfortunately for Peter it would seem that the producers have used a fairly stereotypical typecast for his character. Sadly this means that he joins a long list of other crass, rude impulsive and somewhat dense parents. He could easily be accused of living in the past.

This blog post will use a degree of humour in highlighting the methods that Peter adopts regarding personal finance, plus more importantly why they might not be right for everyone.

Value for Money

For most people, cash will become more difficult to come by. However, this doesn’t stop us from spending it on things that we don’t really need, or the things that represent poor value for money. The way to keep more of your hard earned income in your own pocket is often to adopt a brand new policy. Don’t buy something that you just don’t need.

Buying something because it looks “cool” can be great initially. But, when the novelty factor has worn off, things won’t be so amusing. This normally happens around the time that the credit card statement lands on your mat.

Seek value for money when buying important items. There is nothing wrong at all with shopping around before making a commitment to purchase something. In all probability you will have saved a good deal of money in the process.

Peter Griffin’s example on how to do things:

Peter – I’ll give you $40 for that coffin.

Shop keeper – Sorry sir, this casket is priced at $1000.

Peter – Okay, I’ll give you $2000.

Shop keeper – Sir, $2000 is double what it costs.

Peter – Very well, $60 is my final offer.

Brian (to the store owner) – He doesn’t know how to haggle!

Of course the above example over-exaggerates the point, but it is important to be as savvy as possible when trying to negotiate with store owners. Some of the best savings can be made when you have a good understanding about just how much the store actually pays for their item. The Internet is a powerful source for this kind of information. Whilst you might not arrive at the exact net figure, it should still give you a firm platform on which to base your negotiation on.

Sensible Credit Card Usage

Another great example provided by the aloof Mr. Griffin can be found when he is at a local lemonade stand:

Lemonade girl – Sorry sir, I can’t take a credit card. I need real cash.

Peter – Oh yeah? What are you selling? Meth, Ecstasy, Crack, Block, Dust? IN MY NEIGHERBOURHOOD, I DON’T THINK SO!

Of course in reality, most people wouldn’t try to buy something so small with a credit card. Or would they? How much different is the above example, from buying a Latte at somewhere like Starbucks and placing it on one’s credit card?

Constantly using a credit card to pay for things will often mean that there is little or no connection around the real cost. This is very different when an individual reaches into their purse or wallet and hands over their own money. One particular aspect of overuse of a credit card is that the holder will often find they have considerably less disposable income available, as a result of this they are more likely to resort to either a consolidation loan or a cash advance.

Financially Coherent

The final element of this blog post will concentrate on Peter’s ability to understand financial contracts. In one scene the lovable family dog (Brian) enquires as to whether or not Peter has read the document properly:

Brian – Peter, have you read the small print on this loan agreement?

Peter – If by “read” you mean did I imagine naked ladies, then yes.

The main thing here is to take your time and read all legal documents carefully. Best practice would suggest that a family should have their own person that they can trust when it comes to the checking over of loan or cash advance documentation.

Assuming that the other party has your best interests at heart will inevitably lead to an additional financial burden that could so easily have been avoided.

Bob Emerald is a copywriter who has a great interest in financial matters. Even when watching cartoons after work, he still thinks about how the characters should actually run their finances, perhaps with a cash advance.

Image Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/alancleaver/4375850315/

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