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Monday, April 11, 2011

debt and stuff

When did debt become a normal part of our lives? Why is it accepted as normal to take out so much debt to buy a home, pay for college, take vacations, buy whatever we want, whenever we want? I'm pretty sure that it has only been common place for the past 25 years. And why doesn't any school every talk about taking on debt and the risks involved?

Obviously part of the problem is the greediness we all have now in such a consumer oriented society. We watch some program on TV and expect that we should have *fill in the blank.* I wish that I knew then what I know now. That all that stuff is not really going to fulfill your existence, and pretty soon it will be tossed aside for the next latest and greatest thing.

I think about the Christmas's in the past, when I can barely remember what I got. Or the look on Emma's face when she opened her presents to throw them aside and really only care about the doll that I knit for her. Why is it that when Matt spends the time to build a beautiful kitchen for Emma, that we felt the need to also buy her the talking Elmo doll which she could care less about? Am I teaching my children to be consumers of stuff too? Probably...better try and break that pretty quick!

I am assuming I am not the only one with debt out there (crazy assumption, huh?). And my family definitely has a long way to go before we get out of debt. What would you do to get out of debt? Would you sell everything, cut to the bare bones, get second jobs, sell your home, move in with your parents again? There are so many choices. I think that the biggest choice though is to realize that we need to start living within our means. Does that mean not living? No, not necessarily. But, for us anyways, it means cutting out some things like driving down town...do we need to drive down town??? It is literally down the hill...ok a little farther than that, and that hill is a crazy steep hill that I'm not sure I could push the stroller up...but it is one way. So there, we save a couple bucks on gas. Can I make three meals this week using beans, yup, I certainly can...probably more actually. Make my coffee instead of the occasional coffee out, even if it is just a dollar. Even though these are little things, they add up after a while. I just need to be diligent. It is not easy, but with summer coming, the warm weather will definitely help me to stay motivated, and stick to that budget!

How do you stay motivated to keep to a budget? Or am I insane and should I just live life to the fullest and debt be damned?

1 comment:

  1. I am a penny pincher..of the type that I always leave a cushion in my account. Right now we're primarily living off of savings with some income coming in, but we budgeted for these purposes and it's definitely nice to have this freedom. Hub is a spender, so we hate talking about money. Since getting married we've had to learn to compromise somewhat and we keep separate accounts for everything. As long as he pays the bills he's supposed to pay I don't ask about his money flow (although I will make the occasional comment about expensiveness...) and vice versa. I'm a huge proponent of paying down debt, but with my student loans for some reason I've been taking it slower and instead I've increased the amount that I'm giving to charity. Maybe not the best as I'm paying more interest in the long run (definitely something I've been thinking about), but I also feel that (especially with the current economic situation) charitable donations could use a boost. As Americans we do live outside our means however and we definitely need to do a better job of managing our funds. One of the many reasons hub and I are NOT interested in buying a house until we're ready to actually stay somewhere long term---easier and more financially prudent in our case to pay reasonable rent than all the extra expenses of owning a home with the added stress of having to sell it one day....

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