“With three kids, it was always very, very tight, and it was always a scramble for what was my next job. So I learned never to go into debt because I don’t want those monthly payments to preoccupy my thoughts. I never spend more than what I can afford, and I don’t owe anything.”
I suppose all the listeners to this show have all the money they will ever need and life is wonderfully well funded, right? Oh, I guess not. Most of us have lived all our lives from payday to payday, and have accumulated debt along the way. Paying cash for everything seems quite foreign to us, and it feels like we could never have our piece of the “American Dream” if we never accumulate any debt.
A few years ago, the American president was quoted as saying our responsibility as Americans was to use our credit cards to get the economy rolling again.
Is it even possible to have a cash based lifestyle? There are plenty of websites, such as Dave Ramsey.com who say that this is not only possible, but completely practical. Mr. Ramsey talks about becoming debt free after being initially captured in the net of debt, while Mr. Shatner wisely didn’t get snared in the first place.
Imagine where you would be now if you had never gotten into debt in the first place. We immediately think we would have absolutely nothing. I really think this is wrong. It would be an interesting exercise to get an actual accounting of how much of the income we earned actually went to interest paid to some credit card company, many times in the upper 20s in percentages. I imagine some people have paid as much as 1/10th of their income on interest alone.
Starting small and building up to a “normal” lifestyle is a very practical way to add to the happiness and eliminate a lot of worry.
Many young people today start off in the hole immediately with huge amounts of crushing college loan debt. In addition to the actual debt, the government can be counted on from time to time to change the conditions of the debt to be more favorable to itself, and more devastating to the former student.
The Bible, Proverbs 22:7 The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender.
Kind of scary isn’t it? We have made ourselves economic slaves by our borrowing. We find ourselves completely paralyzed by the financial bondage we have voluntarily chained ourselves with.
What can we do to reverse the cycle? First of all, we can reduce the control the lenders have over us by cutting up our credit cards, and paying them down and off over time. One way to help is to get the high interest debt consolidated onto a fixed loan with a much lower rate. This gives you a set time to be free of it, and reduces drastically how much money you waste paying it all off.
Second, don’t accumulate more debt. Even if it is a small amount each payday, start saving an emergency fund for those car repairs, etc that seem to pop up at the worst possible moment. This further reduces our reliance on expensive revolving debt.
Here’s another suggestion. What if every time you saved money by buying a used item at a yard sale instead of new, you banked the savings? My wife and I recently saved around $200 by buying a used artist’s easel for our daughter to paint with, and the chair and computer monitor I am using right now. Curiously, I have no idea what happened to the $200. It just evaporated.
Most of the time, we get a warm feeling when we save a few cents on gas, buying a sub sandwich, or using coupons at the grocery store, but if we got a cute jar to save the total of the savings, the spare change, it would soon be an amount large enough for a savings deposit in the bank. Try it and see!
While we may never achieve a 100% debt free status, we can surely make things much better by making some changes in our financial lives.
Check out Dave Ramsey.com for more info. He has a wonderful article on “The Truth About Debt Reduction”. There are more sources of info, but check them out very carefully. The financial vultures are even victimizing those who want to get out of debt. If it sounds too good to be true, and too easy, it probably is.
“Love is fire. But whether it is going to warm your hearth or burn down your house, you can never tell.”
Do you have love in your life? Have you experienced true love? One of the misconceptions about love today, is that most people just think that love = sex. Our media promotes this idea even in our children’s shows. While sex certainly is part of many loving relationships, let’s take a look at actual love. One time a guy asked me if he should marry a girl he had been dating for a while, and I asked him,
“If you were married for a year or so, and she had a horrible, disfiguring accident so that you could never have sex with her again for the rest of your lives, would you stay with her?”
After an initial shock, he suddenly looked quite confident and said, “Yes I would!” My reply was, “Marry her!”
Ms. Crawford was right that love and fire share many similarities. Fire behaves itself based on how we prepare for its use. We use it every day under controlled conditions to cook food, to warm our houses and even in the internal combustion engines that make our automobiles go. A good relationship has the same steady, controlled burn. The passion is measured and works effectively to make a great and warm environment for the entire family.
That same passion can flame into an amazingly destructive force when allowed to burn out of control. The much publicized divorce trials of celebrities always give an insight into how sensational selfish behavior can be. Further fuel is added to the flames by tabloids and other celebrity friends who enjoy seeing the fight, and getting their names involved for their own selfish purposes.
We all have the capacity for great love inside of us. Will your love be a force for caring and nurturing others, or will you scorch the earth around you with your selfish passion, no matter what grief you cause others?
I came across a great article on the Spirituality & Health website regarding
“50 Loving Sentiments We Should All Say More Often” by Joyce Marter
The Best of everything. A Joan Crawford Encyclopedia