Monday, August 17, 2009

Frugalista, Recessionista or just plain Broke....

Today's tip comes from Ed. T. Barron. Writing on DC, he says those in mortgage trouble simply have to demand the "Note" from their mortgage company. This buys them the time they may need to get it together:

"Send, via certified mail and notarized, a letter to the lending institution requesting them to “Produce the Note.” The note, of course establishes that the homeowner is indebted to the bank for the mortgage. It is interesting to note that almost half of the banks who have been contacted by potential foreclosees cannot produce the note. This can result in delays of foreclosure of up to nine months while the lending institution scrambles to find that silly one-page document. With banks selling mortgages to other banks, it is very likely that your note cannot be produced. It also gives the homeowners some negotiating leverage with the foreclosing lending institution."

Rhode Island's Attorney General has successfully used the "Produce the Note" strategy to fight foreclosures. It's not a way to prevent foreclosure, but it can buy valuable time.

Can't refresh your wardrobe like Laura Steins of Harrison, New York? The Washington Post reports she's just barely managing to survive making a little less than $300 thousand per year. I'd love to sympathize with her plight but:

  1. She refuses to fire the nanny
  2. She refuses to move
  3. She hasn't had to skip a mortgage payment
  4. She hasn't had to forego a medical procedure for any of her kids.

But goll-dang it, despite the $2.5 million 4,000 square foot house, the rugs are worn and she agonizes over buying a sweater from Ann Taylor. (She buys it). What's a recessionista to do? (First step - fire your financial advisor since you obviously aren't listening to him/her anyway)

A colleague pointed out to me that this really isn't a recession story - its about a divorce. Great blog about it from Frank James.

I've long been a fan of clothing swaps aka "Switch and Bitch." Suzanne Agasi runs a website devoted entirely to clothing swaps - how to do it - what to expect, etc. If you can't be bothered, just come to my next session.

Valerie Elizabeth is taking this frugalista business a step further. She's keeping an online diary - wearing the same black dress every day, but dressing it up with accessories. She says her "little black dress experiment" helps women get creative with the stuff they already have. Get a clue, Laura Steins...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Have you ever attended a town hall meeting?

(photo courtesy of ken_1001)

People are nutting out across the country about the health care reform bill. Well, the health bill is their excuse. Members of Congress are dodging chairs just like happy hour at a bikers bar. Maybe that's what they should be doing.

For so long, they would hold these boring meetings - an excuse to get back to the District - and they'd read their press release/prepared remarks and congratulate themselves for yet another snoozefest. Have you ever attended a town hall meeting? I haven't. I may go now - its cheaper than tickets to a World Federation wrestling match.

Even if many of the people attending the meeting aren't actually members of that particular Congressional District, lawmakers should be grateful for their presence. The media is breathlessly covering most of these town hall meetings. Look for incumbents running for re-election to recycle this free publicity - as clips in their ads to demonstrate their willingness to take a brick for Democracy.