Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Just Thinking Out Loud

Do you ever wonder what would happen if everyone's debt was completely wiped clean... Yep, that's right... just one day, everyone started fresh.  No past payments; no debts, no unpaid loans from friends... just starting tomorrow morning the slate is clean; the clock starts ticking for electricity and water, and you are current on everything!  Would everyone stay ahead of the game and do the right thing from then on, or in 6 months would the same people that were in debt before, be in debt again?  Would those that had always been responsible with the money they had, and those that paid their debts on time, still be that way 6 months from now?  Are people the same no matter what their circumstances? 

I hear people everyday talk about how if they only had money to do this, or time to do that, or good enough health to do the other... People who are not content with the situation they find themselves in, or people who are too content in the situation they are in, and never try to do better.  Is it just a matter of teaching someone how to live differently, or is it an experience that causes some to change the way they live? 

I make a certain amount of money each paycheck.  It doesn't change unless I miss a day, or work overtime.  The only time it makes a distinct change is every year when my raise goes through (hopefully).  When you have bills and cost of living that uses almost everything you get paid, you can do one of two things... you can either never improve your situation (always live in the apartments, never buy another car with payments, always shop at 2nd hand stores, and pray for good health and no unexpected emergencies)... or you can get a 2nd job (if you have the energy), get a roommate who is willing to split the expenses with you until you can save enough to move onward, be lucky enough to marry someone who has a super-great job and can provide a living to where you never have to work again in your life, unless you WANT to, or look for a better paying job (but who wants to do that after you've established yourself their for 11 years and have great benefits)... or you can start to apply new habits to your life:  no more Starbucks (except for special occasions), cut coupons, don't drive unless absolutely necessary, no more going out to eat, cut out the renting of movies (try the Library), save your change, hide your $5 bills, and do your best to pay a little more than what is just owed on all your bills. 

For me, it will probably be the life-habits that will help me see the light at the end of the tunnel in finances.  Mom says I "nickle and dime" myself.  Not sure what that means, but I believe her.  She's always been a good steward with her money, and that's what I want to be.  I know I'm 50, and it seems a little late in the game, but its NEVER too late to change. 

I am not looking to be wealthy/rich or even successful as the world thinks of success, but I would like to be content without worry and stress.  I need money to take care of necessities of life and do a few extra fun things occasionally, but I don't want to have it so nice that I never want to get out of here... Remember, this isn't my real home.  Heaven is.  I also don't want things so stressful and have so little that I want to leave too soon.  God promised to meet my every need, if I followed certain Bible principals (especially when it comes to money).  I need to get back on track.  The last 2 years have been a struggle.  Learning to live on one income (after hubby passed away), has not been easy. 

I've made wrong judgement calls, and have been lax in certain things.  It is a new year, and I don't typically make "resolutions", but in this case, I am absolutely making a statement, that I am going to be a better steward of the money God has brought into my life.  If He can't trust me with the little things, how can He trust me with more?  (there's a thought to ponder)... 

I want to be a good example to my children and grandchildren not only in the life I live, but that includes my finances.  So, here's to the tin box with change in it... and the apothecary jar with quarters in it... all strategically placed in hiding places (which I hope I can find the next time I have a load of change to deposit)...  I am going to increase my 401k and try to leave those $5 bills alone that I've saved up.  "Step away from the tin can..." 

Wish me well...

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