The Frugal Café | Photo credit: Rebecca Anne, "Flora's Cup"</a> | Creative Commons License, Flickr.com
Photo credit: Rebecca Anne, "Flora's Cup" | Creative Commons License, Flickr.com

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Spend wisely.
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Having Money Requires Planning, Not Luck: FeedThePig.org Has Fun Providing Common-Sense Solutions on Saving & Frugality

By Vicki McClure Davidson

 

I started hearing FeedThePig.org's financial advice radio ads a few months back. I was riding in my car and nearly rear-ended the car in front of me when I heard the totally unexpected punchline. It was about how it's pretty stupid and childish to think you can just wish away your credit card debts.

Bizarre pig-man in a pink suit is the mascot for FeedThePig.org | Photo credit: FeedThePig.org & AICPA
Bizarre pig-man in a pink suit is the mascot for FeedThePig.org | Photo credit: FeedThePig.org & AICPA

Whammo-bammo, hook to the jaw!

The commercials are wickedly funny, honest, and thought-provoking about how to manage and save your money, even on a strapped shoestring budget. No punches are pulled, either, about how so many naive people live in a fantasy about how to get out of a financial jam or how to improve their economic situation. Not everyone wants to be frugal—instead, they want to just magically dissolve those pesky debts.

Ain't gonna happen.

I know people like that—you probably do, too. They lament and complain about how their stocks are in the dumper and they have limited money and they can't pay their bills, but to suggest that they plan on making some significant sacrifices and tighten the family's financial belt makes them just glaze over. Or angry.

This site (its name refers to the feeding of coins into a piggy bank) is sponsored by the AICPA—American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. It's quirky, practical, and to the point. I've never considered CPAs having a sense of humor, but this site has changed my mind on that one. The site's mascot, a man in a pale pink business suit wearing a large piggy-bank head, creates a bizarre, Lewis Carroll-ish mood. But, that's not necessarily a bad thing. The freakish Pig Man in the Pink Suit definitely rivets your attention.

Let's be honest. For most people, reading or talking about finances is mind-numbingly dull... it becomes blah blah blah, right? Which may partly explain why so many people are in financial trouble. It's a formidable challenge for any website that strives to actually HELP people start saving money and paying off their debts. But follow through is hard—in order to start saving, lifestyle changes must be made. And people hate change, especially when it comes to using their diminishing disposal income. A certain expectation of what they can buy, on a whim, is defended, even when they can't justify nor afford it.

Below is a script for one of Feed The Pig's radio spots about the realities of not winning the lottery.

 

Funny yet admonishing script for a FeedThePig.org radio spot about the realities of not winning the lottery. | Photo credit: FeedThePig.org & AICPA
Funny yet admonishing script for a FeedThePig.org radio spot about the realities of not winning the lottery.

 

Feed The Pig is the funniest financial advice website I've even seen... OK, I must profess that I've not ever seen a funny financial site before this one. It squares off on the cause and effect of money problems: Financial problems are a result of spending too much and saving too little. Feed The Pig gives valuable advice and suggestions on many ways to save money, cut out non-essentials, and be frugal so that more money can be available to "feed the pig,". There are quizzes (many designed like TV game shows, complete with audience applause), videos, audio files, and links to other financial help/advice sites, in addition to brass-tacks short articles.

Head shot of Feed The Pig's mascot... or Spokes-pig. We're calling him Pig Man in the Pink Suit, for lack of another name.
Head shot of Feed The Pig's mascot... or Spokes-pig. We're calling him Pig Man in the Pink Suit, for lack of another name

The AICPA is a national professional association of public accountants with approximately 350,000 members in business, industry, public practice, government, and education. The AICPA sets the ethical standards for the profession and the auditing standards for private companies, non-profit groups, and federal, state, and local governments. So, the organization is considered one of the quintessential gurus of smart and frugal money matters.

Studies reveal that many people overspend when depressed, stressed, or bored. Studies also show that adults who don't know how to live within their budgets or how to save money pass on those same self-destructive, negative behaviors to their children. Their children, in turn, will usually grow up to be self-indulgent, impulsive, or clueless about how to save money and budget themselves. They have trouble distinguishing between legitimate needs and impulsive wants—self-denial is a foreign concept to them. The cycle continues when they have children.

Adults who correct their own consumption mistakes and improve their spending decisions not only improve their cash flow and debt management, but they impart extraordinary lessons to their children. Hopefully, that's when the overspending/overindulging cycle ends. Children learn by their parents' example, good or bad. Compulsive shopping and lack of money-saving habits are difficult to overcome. But with effort and guidance, it can be done.

Here's one of the FeedThePig.org's public service announcements on how to save serious money by bringing your lunch to work instead of eating out:

 

Visit the website today to learn how you and your children can change old habits and put into practice many ways to painlessly "feed the pig," even during our current economic crisis.

Be wise... be frugal.

 

 

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