News 12 at 6, November 10, 2008
ATLANTA --- It's a rough financial world these days. The government is bailing out banks with billions of bucks, the stock market is on its own roller-coaster ride, everything costs more, and it's affecting everyone.
It's hard to survive for anyone, but how about someone many people consider a consumer expert, Clark Howard? How's he doing it?
Clark has been dispensing consumer advice for 2 decades now. He talks about anything and everything handing out tips on mortgages and investing and, of course, letting you know how to save a few bucks.
But the financial world is a bit topsy-turvy these days and we went straight to the source to see how he's saving his sanity.
21 years, that's how long Clark has been offering consumer advice. And you could say people are leaning on him like never before. He says he's ready for the challenge.
So we sat down with him one October afternoon after he finished his radio show at WSB in Atlanta.
I ask him: "Have you learned everything yet? He laughs and says "Oh not a chance. My listeners teach me what i need to know."
There's no denying Clark knows a lot about the consumer world. And as crazy as the one we're living in now, he says he's weathering the storm.
"In my own life, I carry no debt. Because of that we haven't had to make too many adjustments." he said.
Clark says he's certainly suffered like anyone else, but he is getting by just fine. "Of course I lost money in the market like anyone else, but it's money we're not gonna need for years and years."
In those years, he says he can make up what he lost because things are bound to come back. During the good and the bad without buying cheap.
"I did a show the other day and wore my $3.50 sport coat from the Salvation Army." he said with a smile. And he continued, "I love the dollar store. I love buying things on clearance."
But the fast food junkie has to had to make one minor change when the price of a Mcdonald's double cheeseburger went from $.99 to $1.09.
"All I did was trade down to the double hamburger. I stick to the dollar menu." he told us.
He also does something that can benefit you these days. If he goes to a store that offers carts, he doesn't take one.
"With a cart you buy things on impulse. " He said he just carries what he picks up. "My arms get heavier and heavier. Do i need that? More often than not, I don't."
The important thing he has done is to remain calm. Markets are going to be markets. Gas prices are going to go up and then go down again. He hasn't panicked and neither should you.
One last thing he says you've probably heard before, but you may not have adhered to, may be worth remembering.
"There's a lot of fat to trim in our budgets. It's a matter of necessity being the mother of invention." he concluded.
You can catch Clark Howard on the radio on WGAC.