Wednesday, October 22, 2008

If wishes were horses, beggars would ride

The state of the U.S. economy has a lot of people skittish and some say they're even afraid. A recent survey conducted by Decision Research shows that fear about our current economic state outweighs fear of terrorism.

I don't know that I'm afraid but I'm certainly concerned and more than just a tad angry about it all. However, being concerned, angry, or afraid doesn't solve the problems and doesn't make me feel any better. But what does make me feel better is knowing that YHWH is in control and I'm fairly prepared for recession and even a depression.

An article in The Modesto Bee has practical advice about saving during these tough times. The advice given is pretty standard stuff - cut back on expenses and save your money. Cook more and eat out less. Don't drive a gas guzzling vehicle. Buy used or sale clothing items. We've all heard this advice before yet most of us don't follow it.


I'm not sure but I think it's because most of us have a devil may care, play now pay later attitude about life in general and money in particular. When I was 20 I didn't worry about having money for retirement. I just assumed I'd have it. Don't ask me where or how I thought I'd get it because I don't know the answer to that. I was young, naive, married and raising children and with the day to day stresses, my future 40 or 50 years down the road simply wasn't a factor. It didn't dawn on me that someday I'd be approaching 50 and staring my golden years in the face. And now here I am.

It's taken me time and a lot of work but I have money saved and I don't have a lot of debt. I do have some old debt that I'm trying to pay off. I'm making dents in it a little at a time and it's working for me. It sure would have been a lot easier if I hadn't accrued the debt, though. If I'd saved/invested all the charges I incurred and all the money I've blown over the years I'd be quite comfortable right now and years down the road.

I have no credit cards and rarely use a debit card or check. I use cash for almost everything. To me, plastic just isn't money. It's something else, I'm not sure what, so I go to great effort to not even be around it. I know, there's something wrong with me to feel that way but a lot of Americans are like me. We simply can't handle credit.

If you're one of those, admit it now, cut up the cards, and get them all paid off. You know you should, you know you need to, and you probably know that your life will be a lot better in the long run if you do.

If you don't see plastic as something other as money, that's okay. You might be one of the lucky ones who could save quite a lot of money if you just quit using the cards. You might be one of the lucky ones who has plenty of money and just likes the convenience of credit cards. But at what price convenience? The credit card companies abuse you and you say, "More, more!" If that's okay with you, great. But if it isn't okay you know what to do about it.

If you aren't one of the lucky ones and credit helps you get through the month, like Dave Ramsey says, deliver pizzas, cut hair on the weekends, look into a paper route..just do what it takes to get those debts paid off and start saving money.

We don't know just where our economy is headed. It might tank and it might not. But there are some things you can do to prepare, even just a little.

Decrease your spending, increase your income, and increase your money reserves. Even if you can't increase your income, you can do the other two. You'll feel a lot better for it.

Don't expect the government to be there for you in the near future or your old age and don't just sit around wishing things would get better.

If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.

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