Tuesday, April 21, 2009

This Post Paid For By The Stimulus Package

I've just realized I'm a hypocrite. Shocking, isn't it? Allow me to rant, if I may.

To use a southern term, I have been "torn up" about the economy and how our government has been trying to rectify all the bad decisions made by the banks, auto industry, etc. "Bail-out" has become a four-letter-word these days and I've been the leader of the pack on expressing my displeasure with it all. First of all, why is it the government's responsibility to pick up the slack here? Secondly, shouldn't businesses take responsibility for their bad decisions and "go under?" I mean, call me crazy, but it seems like if we make our proverbial bed, we should also lie in it. To put it another way, if we were to fall and skin our knee, don't you think that the next time we'll make doubly sure to take precautions not to do the same things that led us to fall in the first place? Toddlers teach us that, people. But alas, I'm not a business guru. What do I know?

Well, apparently not much. It has occurred to me that like so many others, when the paycheck doesn't seem to reach as far as it should, I turn to Visa and Discover for my own personal "bail-out." It has become a safety net of sorts and despite "legitimate" reasons of doing so: medicine and medical supplies for Anna, there have been just as many non-essential items to make it to my monthly statement as well. If I took a dose of my own medicine, I should just let the cards fall where they may and "let the rough end drag" as my mother would say when I failed to budget the finances accordingly. So why do we do it? Because we have never had to "do without" the way previous generations have.

Consider my grandparents: often referred to as "the greatest generation." Not only did they live through the Great Depression and fight for freedom in the second World War, their ideals on money and debt management alone put them in that category in my book. Neither of my grandparents have a credit card. I have so many that I'm not even sure how many I actually have. They live in a modest 2 bedroom/ 1 bath house that only recently got central air within the last decade... and we're in the SOUTH people! The furniture in their "formal living room" has been with them for as long as I can remember and I'm 36. Their cars: paid for. Their house: paid for. The greatest generation indeed.

It seems like such a simple concept: "Act your wage!" Dave Ramsey shouts this mantra from the rooftops. Alas, no one seems to be listening. I guess we don't want to admit to ourselves or the people in our life that we are trying to impress that we can't afford the life that "they" (whoever "they" are) think we should. What we don't realize is we are all in the same boat... that is apparently SINKING in debt. Sounds kind of silly doesn't it? Going broke trying to impress the broke.

Well anyway, I've got my listening ears on now. I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired over the finances (another one coined from Dave). And honestly, we can't expect to clean up our neighborhoods, our state, or even our country until we decide to do something about the trash that's cluttering our own front walk. When I pay these credit cards off... I'm done. But first, I have to quit using them and that's going to take some foresight... at least a little more than I've had previously. My grandmother has told me since I was a little girl "Save your pennies for a rainy day" and I'd say that's as good a place as any to start. Ironically, Dave Ramsey also recommends to start an emergency fund right after you cut those cards up. I won't be cutting them up, but they are going into HIDING!! So who's with me? Let's rally together and say "NO WAY" to any more bail-outs, on the home front or elsewhere. We can do it. Maybe there is just enough blood from the "greatest generation" running through our veins to do it. I hope so. For more information on becoming debt free visit http://www.daveramsey.com/.

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