PERSONAL FINANCE / JOHN NINFO: Thoughts after the vacation


We were on vacation in Cape Cod. I had never really been there and what we did was very relaxing, including not watching CNN or FOX news, listening to NPR or reading the papers. After returning for almost a week, I’m happy to report that I don’t feel like I really missed anything. That alone is definitely food for thought!

I thought I would share a few thoughts and experiences, most of which are at least related to personal finance.

First, in one of the more upscale hotels we stayed in, there was “hair wash” in the shower and no shampoo. My first impression was of course to think about the marketing and cost aspects of this product, which was new to me. Can you ask more for this beauty product calling it shampoo rather than shampoo because some people think it’s fancier and more exclusive? On the other hand, are you asking for less because some people think it’s just watered down shampoo? I asked the people in my hair salon about this product. You have never heard of Hair Wash before but plan to ask your rep about it next time. I googled it and couldn’t find a definition or how it could be different from shampoo, which comes in all sorts of fancy types like clarifying, cleansing, moisturizing, bulkier and so much more. I found a reference to hair cleansers that claim to be made from formulas that are much gentler than shampoos.

I have to be honest. Shampoos are pretty much the same to me and as you’d expect, I’m pretty sure I’m not paying too much for qualities that I really don’t need.

Second, I know that we’ve talked a lot in the past that cash is king and that some businesses are going cashless and that more and more small businesses are offering a discount on cash or a fee when you pay by credit card and it has to be Pay merchant fee. We all see discount discounts at gas stations on our travels, but a hotel in the Catskills, where we’re celebrating a wedding in the fall, charges a 4% fee to those who pay by credit card. Similarly, a small Cape grocery store had a notice stating that there was a small charge to be made when paying by credit card as they could no longer afford the charges without a price increase. When larger items hit my market in the future, I’ll offer to pay by check and share the merchant fee the seller would otherwise have to pay if I paid by credit card, and I’ll let you know how I get on.

Third, we’ve all heard that we’re seeing the highest gasoline prices nationwide in seven years, and we certainly saw that firsthand on our vacation. We also hear that due to increased demand and this whole OPEC thing, they’re likely to keep going up. I have to repeat myself. Please keep checking these apps and websites to find the best gasoline prices near you so you can save real money.

Fourth, I was very encouraged to hear recently that the youth unemployment rate was the lowest since the 1950s. We have certainly seen many of them working in the Cape. So if you have a work permit aged teenager in the family, this is a great time for them to make some money and save. Companies are hiring and I believe wages and available hours have increased in many cases over the past few years. That being said, it’s a good time to sit down with them and come up with a budget that will dictate how much of what they earn they’ll spend and how much they’ll save, including some specific categories of spending and saving.

Fifth, as I write this column, the Biden administration is re-promoting its $ 109 billion proposal for two years of free community college.

In the context of free community college, as recently reported on Whitney Bowers [email protected], 69% of Americans believe that the government gives freshmen who attend college two years, according to a new survey by Teaching should be provided by public community colleges, with 13% of respondents saying they should have a minimum GPA from high school.

Americans also support government support for costs beyond tuition, such as textbooks and study materials (51%), school fees (44%), technology like laptops and routers (36%), and broadband or internet (35%) and 15% To use funds at the discretion of the students.

As a taxpayer and without having to pay for it, I might support a free community college for students: (1) who are college ready and don’t have to take tutoring; (2) actually need some financial help; (3) have considered business and vocational schools as alternatives, knowing that there are good jobs for these graduates; (4) and will likely finish their chosen program on time, even if they are in a 2 + 2 program. In addition, there are locally, regionally or nationally good jobs for the course they are studying.

Incidentally, the Biden proposal also provides an additional $ 39 billion in two years of subsidized tuition for students from families who earn less than $ 125,000 in a four-year historically black college, tribal-controlled university, or minority institution . This does not need to be discussed in this column.

Finally, a few non-financial signs from vacation that made me smile. In a well-tended front yard was a dog house with a sign that said, “Warning, dog bites all Republicans”. In a popular cake shop window, the sign reads: “Well-behaved children are welcome. Children who do not behave well are made into cakes. ”Finally, in a shop window of a clothing store, the sign reads:“ Unsupervised children are welcome, unsupervised children are made into shark bait ”.

John Ninfo is a retired bankruptcy judge and founder of the National CARE Financial Literacy Program. For his previous weekly columns, see

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