In the June issue of Success Magazine there is an article which poses the question: can you spend money only on essentials for one month? As written in the table of contents “No fancy coffee. No new clothes. No eating out. Nothing fun. Do you have the self-discipline to go a month without spending money on unnecessary items?” Wow…nothing fun?
I honestly don’t know if I have that kind of self-discipline. Thinking about it, here is what I come up with as “necessary”: basic food for me and my cats, prescriptions, soap and toilet paper, mortgage, utilities, gasoline for commuting to work, and my church offering. So that would mean for me foregoing my weekly dinner out with friends; three takeout coffees per day-black, no sugar; no purchased snacks during the day; no comic books, movies, or Amazon Prime video rentals; no impulse purchases; and so on. I admit that while I don’t buy a lot of new clothes (hardly any unless something wears out, in fact) and other household items, I also don’t pay a lot attention to my “nickel and dime” expenses. As an aside, that is clearly an outdated phrase!
I’m honestly not prepared to go a whole month on a no-spending spree. I will though commit to keeping detailed track of my expenses for a week beginning when I wake up tomorrow. Care to join me?
A little bit at a time will eventually add up to a lot.
I was watching TV the other night and it seemed like during every break there was a commercial for new cars and trucks. Sure, I like shiny and new and loaded with goodies and gadgets as much as anyone. But to hear the underlying messages, my paid-for pickup truck is somehow substandard and I MUST buy or lease a new car NOW, before the “special” incentive of the month goes away.
There was a time not all that long ago when the automobile companies built in some very obvious planned obsolescence so that people would feel compelled to buy a new car pretty much every year or two. Now the message is more subtle but no less present. This looks to me an awful lot like a concerted effort on their part-as well as the lenders-to convince people to engage in willful perpetual debt, for something that drops 10 to 20 percent in value before the first payment! How stupid is that?
Here’s my alternative suggestion: get out of debt and stay out of debt! It’s a radical notion, I know, but there it is. I paid off my truck earlier this year, and it feels great to not have a car payment! I will probably spend less than the equivalent of 2 of my old payments on maintenance each year, and I’m confident I’ll get at least 200,000 miles out of my truck. I’m applying the money I used to spend on car payments to another debt with an eye toward eliminating all my debts as quickly as possible, and saving up for the inevitable day when I’ll have to replace my truck so I can pay in cash.
I fall back on what the Bible says about debt: “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender. Proverbs 22:7.” In my movement toward decrappification I choose to be a slave the lenders no longer.