Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Don't Take After the Government

"I want it all, I want it all, and I want it now"

Have you heard this song? It's on a credit card commercial promoting the ability to receive a text message stating how much you can spend until you reach the credit limit.

Americans are sucked into it: overspending. The bailout adds up to close to $11 trillion in debt. 33% of Americans carry over $10,000 in non-mortgage debt. (Source: Center for American Progress) Society tells us that we need that new car or that big house.

Eli and I needed our 2 bedroom apartment in a safe area of Dallas to start our family. With four incomes and no kids, (we both had two jobs) we signed our lease as I fell in love with the big kitchen, laundry room, and bright open floor plan. We are guilty of thinking, sure we'll be able to pay! Just plain dumb. Our rates increased while our income decreased. Today our rent, water, and electricity add up to more than 70% of our take home pay. Thankfully, this is a lease and not a mortgage, and we will be moving soon.

I sympathize with those who rack up credit card debt because they just can't make ends meet. Those who frivolously spend money beyond their budget on the other hand, are doing nothing but shooting themselves in the foot. What's the joy in buying a beautiful new fall wardrobe if it takes you the next 10 years to pay it off? That money could be going to more important things! (i.e. an emergency fund)

The fortunate lesson is that we are humans with free will. We choose what to spend and where to spend it--or rather what not to spend. We can focus our attention on many more wonderful things in life instead of a new pair of shoes that bring us little fulfillment. What a miserable life we would paint for ourselves if we were imprisoned by the thoughts of need every second of the day. So go outside and enjoy the beautiful fall weather...for free!

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